37 Who is he who says, and it comes to pass, when the Lord doesn’t command it? 38 Doesn’t evil and good come out of the mouth of the Most High? 39 Why does a living man complain, a man for the punishment of his sins? 40 Let us search and try our ways, and turn again to Yahweh. 41 Let us lift up our heart with our hands to God in the heavens.

42 We have transgressed and have rebelled; you have not pardoned. 43 You have covered with anger and pursued us; you have killed, you have not pitied. 44 You have covered yourself with a cloud, so that no prayer can pass through. 45 You have made us an off-scouring and refuse in the midst of the peoples. 46 All our enemies have opened their mouth wide against us. 47 Fear and the pit are come on us, devastation and destruction. 48 My eye runs down with streams of water, for the destruction of the daughter of my people. 49 My eye pours down, and doesn’t cease, without any intermission, 50 Until Yahweh look down, and see from heaven. 51 My eye affects my soul, because of all the daughters of my city. 52 They have chased me sore like a bird, those who are my enemies without cause. 53 They have cut off my life in the dungeon, and have cast a stone on me. 54 Waters flowed over my head; I said, I am cut off.

55 I called on your name, Yahweh, out of the lowest dungeon. 56 You heard my voice; don’t hide your ear at my breathing, at my cry. 57 You drew near in the day that I called on you; you said, Don’t be afraid. 58 Lord, you have pleaded the causes of my soul; you have redeemed my life. 59 Yahweh, you have seen my wrong. Judge my cause. 60 You have seen all their vengeance and all their devices against me. 61 You have heard their reproach, Yahweh, and all their devices against me, 62 The lips of those that rose up against me, and their device against me all the day. 63 You see their sitting down, and their rising up; I am their song. 64 You will render to them a recompense, Yahweh, according to the work of their hands. 65 You will give them hardness of heart, your curse to them. 66 You will pursue them in anger, and destroy them from under the heavens of Yahweh.

The Punishment of Zion Accomplished

41 How is the gold become dim! how is the most pure gold changed!
The stones of the sanctuary are poured out at the head of every street. 2 The precious sons of Zion, comparable to fine gold,
How are they esteemed as earthen pitchers, the work of the hands of the potter! 3 Even the jackals draw out the breast, they nurse their young ones:
The daughter of my people has become cruel, like the ostriches in the wilderness. 4 The tongue of the sucking child cleaves to the roof of his mouth for thirst:
The young children ask bread, and no man breaks it to them. 5 Those who did feed delicately are desolate in the streets:
Those who were brought up in scarlet embrace dunghills. 6 For the iniquity of the daughter of my people is greater than the sin of Sodom,
That was overthrown as in a moment, and no hands were laid on her. 7 Her nobles were purer than snow, they were whiter than milk;
They were more ruddy in body than rubies, their polishing was as of sapphire. 8 Their visage is blacker than a coal; they are not known in the streets:
Their skin cleaves to their bones; it is withered, it is become like a stick. 9 Those who are killed with the sword are better than those who are killed with hunger;
For these pine away, stricken through, for want of the fruits of the field. 10 The hands of the pitiful women have boiled their own children;
They were their food in the destruction of the daughter of my people. 11 Yahweh has accomplished his wrath, he has poured out his fierce anger;
He has kindled a fire in Zion, which has devoured its foundations. 12 The kings of the earth didn’t believe, neither all the inhabitants of the world,
That the adversary and the enemy would enter into the gates of Jerusalem.

13 It is because of the sins of her prophets, and the iniquities of her priests,
That have shed the blood of the just in the midst of her. 14 They wander as blind men in the streets, they are polluted with blood,
So that men can’t touch their garments. 15 Depart! they cried to them, Unclean! depart, depart, don’t touch!
When they fled away and wandered, men said among the nations, They shall no more sojourn here. 16 The anger of Yahweh has scattered them; he will no more regard them:
They didn’t respect the persons of the priests, they didn’t favor the elders. 17 Our eyes do yet fail in looking for our vain help:
In our watching we have watched for a nation that could not save. 18 They hunt our steps, so that we can’t go in our streets:
Our end is near, our days are fulfilled; for our end is come. 19 Our pursuers were swifter than the eagles of the sky:
They chased us on the mountains, they laid wait for us in the wilderness. 20 The breath of our nostrils, the anointed of Yahweh, was taken in their pits;
Of whom we said, Under his shadow we shall live among the nations.

21 Rejoice and be glad, daughter of Edom, that dwell in the land of Uz:
The cup shall pass through to you also; you shall be drunken, and shall make yourself naked. 22 The punishment of your iniquity is accomplished, daughter of Zion; he will no more carry you away into captivity:
He will visit your iniquity, daughter of Edom; he will uncover your sins.

A Prayer for Mercy

51 Remember, Yahweh, what has come on us:
Look, and see our reproach. 2 Our inheritance is turned to strangers,
Our houses to aliens. 3 We are orphans and fatherless;
Our mothers are as widows. 4 We have drunken our water for money;
Our wood is sold to us. 5 Our pursuers are on our necks:
We are weary, and have no rest. 6 We have given the hand to the Egyptians,
To the Assyrians, to be satisfied with bread. 7 Our fathers sinned, and are no more;
We have borne their iniquities. 8 Servants rule over us:
There is none to deliver us out of their hand. 9 We get our bread at the peril of our lives,
Because of the sword of the wilderness. 10 Our skin is black like an oven,
Because of the burning heat of famine. 11 They ravished the women in Zion,
The virgins in the cities of Judah. 12 Princes were hanged up by their hand:
The faces of elders were not honored. 13 The young men bare the mill;
The children stumbled under the wood. 14 The elders have ceased from the gate,
The young men from their music. 15 The joy of our heart is ceased;
Our dance is turned into mourning. 16 The crown is fallen from our head:
Woe to us! for we have sinned.

17 For this our heart is faint;
For these things our eyes are dim; 18 For the mountain of Zion, which is desolate:
The foxes walk on it. 19 You, Yahweh, abide forever;
Your throne is from generation to generation. 20 Why do you forget us forever,
And forsake us so long time? 21 Turn us to yourself, Yahweh, and we shall be turned.
Renew our days as of old. 22 But you have utterly rejected us;
You are very angry 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.