37 Who is able to say a thing, and give effect to it, if it has not been ordered by the Lord? 38 Do not evil and good come from the mouth of the Most High? 39 What protest may a living man make, even a man about the punishment of his sin? 40 Let us make search and put our ways to the test, turning again to the Lord; 41 Lifting up our hearts with our hands to God in the heavens.

42 We have done wrong and gone against your law; we have not had your forgiveness. 43 Covering yourself with wrath you have gone after us, cutting us off without pity; 44 Covering yourself with a cloud, so that prayer may not get through. 45 You have made us like waste and that for which there is no use, among the peoples. 46 The mouths of all our haters are open wide against us. 47 Fear and deep waters have come on us, wasting and destruction. 48 Rivers of water are running down from my eyes, for the destruction of the daughter of my people. 49 My eyes are streaming without stopping, they have no rest, 50 Till the Lord's eye is turned on me, till he sees my trouble from heaven. 51 The Lord is unkind to my soul, more than all the daughters of my town. 52 They who are against me without cause have gone hard after me as if I was a bird; 53 They have put an end to my life in the prison, stoning me with stones. 54 Waters were flowing over my head; I said, I am cut off.

55 I was making prayer to your name, O Lord, out of the lowest prison. 56 My voice came to you; let not your ear be shut to my breathing, to my cry. 57 You came near in the day when I made my prayer to you: you said, Have no fear. 58 O Lord, you have taken up the cause of my soul, you have made my life safe. 59 O Lord, you have seen my wrong; be judge in my cause. 60 You have seen all the evil rewards they have sent on me, and all their designs against me. 61 Their bitter words have come to your ears, O Lord, and all their designs against me; 62 The lips of those who came up against me, and their thoughts against me all the day. 63 Take note of them when they are seated, and when they get up; I am their song. 64 You will give them their reward, O Lord, answering to the work of their hands. 65 You will let their hearts be covered over with your curse on them. 66 You will go after them in wrath, and put an end to them from under the heavens of the Lord.

The Punishment of Zion Accomplished

41 How dark has the gold become! how changed the best gold! the stones of the holy place are dropping out at the top of every street. 2 The valued sons of Zion, whose price was the best gold, are looked on as vessels of earth, the work of the hands of the potter! 3 Even the beasts of the waste land have full breasts, they give milk to their young ones: the daughter of my people has become cruel like the ostriches in the waste land. 4 The tongue of the child at the breast is fixed to the roof of his mouth for need of drink: the young children are crying out for bread, and no man gives it to them. 5 Those who were used to feasting on delicate food are wasted in the streets: those who as children were dressed in purple are stretched out on the dust. 6 For the punishment of the daughter of my people is greater than the punishment of Sodom, which was overturned suddenly without any hand falling on her. 7 Her holy ones were cleaner than snow, they were whiter than milk, their bodies were redder than corals, their form was as the sapphire: 8 Their face is blacker than night; in the streets no one has knowledge of them: their skin is hanging on their bones, they are dry, they have become like wood. 9 Those who have been put to the sword are better off than those whose death is caused by need of food; for these come to death slowly, burned up like the fruit of the field. 10 The hands of kind-hearted women have been boiling their children; they were their food in the destruction of the daughter of my people. 11 The Lord has given full effect to his passion, he has let loose his burning wrath; he has made a fire in Zion, causing the destruction of its bases. 12 To the kings of the earth and to all the people of the world it did not seem possible that the attackers and the haters would go into the doors of Jerusalem.

13 It is because of the sins of her prophets and the evil-doing of her priests, by whom the blood of the upright has been drained out in her. 14 They are wandering like blind men in the streets, they are made unclean with blood, so that their robes may not be touched by men. 15 Away! unclean! they were crying out to them, Away! away! let there be no touching: when they went away in flight and wandering, men said among the nations, There is no further resting-place for them. 16 The face of the Lord has sent them in all directions; he will no longer take care of them: they had no respect for the priests, they gave no honour to the old men. 17 Our eyes are still wasting away in looking for our false help: we have been watching for a nation unable to give salvation. 18 They go after our steps so that we may not go in our streets: our end is near, our days are numbered; for our end has come. 19 Those who went after us were quicker than the eagles of the heaven, driving us before them on the mountains, waiting secretly for us in the waste land. 20 Our breath of life, he on whom the holy oil was put, was taken in their holes; of whom we said, Under his shade we will be living among the nations.

21 Have joy and be glad, O daughter of Edom, living in the land of Uz: the cup will be given to you in your turn, and you will be overcome with wine and your shame will be seen. 22 The punishment of your evil-doing is complete, O daughter of Zion; never again will he take you away as a prisoner: he will give you the reward of your evil-doing, O daughter of Edom; he will let your sin be uncovered.

A Prayer for Mercy

51 Keep in mind, O Lord, what has come to us: take note and see our shame. 2 Our heritage is given up to men of strange lands, our houses to those who are not our countrymen. 3 We are children without fathers, our mothers are like widows. 4 We give money for a drink of water, we get our wood for a price. 5 Our attackers are on our necks: overcome with weariness, we have no rest. 6 We have given our hands to the Egyptians and to the Assyrians so that we might have enough bread. 7 Our fathers were sinners and are dead; and the weight of their evil-doing is on us. 8 Servants are ruling over us, and there is no one to make us free from their hands. 9 We put our lives in danger to get our bread, because of the sword of the waste land. 10 Our skin is heated like an oven because of our burning heat from need of food. 11 They took by force the women in Zion, the virgins in the towns of Judah. 12 Their hands put princes to death by hanging: the faces of old men were not honoured. 13 The young men were crushing the grain, and the boys were falling under the wood. 14 The old men are no longer seated in the doorway, and the music of the young men has come to an end. 15 The joy of our hearts is ended; our dancing is changed into sorrow. 16 The crown has been taken from our head: sorrow is ours, for we are sinners.

17 Because of this our hearts are feeble; for these things our eyes are dark; 18 Because of the mountain of Zion which is a waste; jackals go over it. 19 You, O Lord, are seated as King for ever; the seat of your power is eternal. 20 Why have we gone from your memory for ever? why have you been turned away from us for so long? 21 Make us come back to you, O Lord, and let us be turned; make our days new again as in the past. 22 But you have quite given us up; you are full of wrath against us.

Matthew Henry's Commentary on Lamentations 1:0

Complete     Concise

Chapter Contents

The miserable state of Jerusalem, the just consequences of its sins. (1-11) Jerusalem represented as a captive female, lamenting, and seeking the mercy of God. (12-22)

Commentary on Lamentations 1:1-11

(Read Lamentations 1:1-11)

The prophet sometimes speaks in his own person; at other times Jerusalem, as a distressed female, is the speaker, or some of the Jews. The description shows the miseries of the Jewish nation. Jerusalem became a captive and a slave, by reason of the greatness of her sins; and had no rest from suffering. If we allow sin, our greatest adversary, to have dominion over us, justly will other enemies also be suffered to have dominion. The people endured the extremities of famine and distress. In this sad condition Jerusalem acknowledged her sin, and entreated the Lord to look upon her case. This is the only way to make ourselves easy under our burdens; for it is the just anger of the Lord for man's transgressions, that has filled the earth with sorrows, lamentations, sickness, and death.

Commentary on Lamentations 1:12-22

(Read Lamentations 1:12-22)

Jerusalem, sitting dejected on the ground, calls on those that passed by, to consider whether her example did not concern them. Her outward sufferings were great, but her inward sufferings were harder to bear, through the sense of guilt. Sorrow for sin must be great sorrow, and must affect the soul. Here we see the evil of sin, and may take warning to flee from the wrath to come. Whatever may be learned from the sufferings of Jerusalem, far more may be learned from the sufferings of Christ. Does he not from the cross speak to every one of us? Does he not say, Is it nothing to you, all ye that pass by? Let all our sorrows lead us to the cross of Christ, lead us to mark his example, and cheerfully to follow him.