Lamentations 1:1
Parallel Verses
New International Version
How deserted lies the city, once so full of people! How like a widow is she, who once was great among the nations! She who was queen among the provinces has now become a slave.

New Living Translation
Jerusalem, once so full of people, is now deserted. She who was once great among the nations now sits alone like a widow. Once the queen of all the earth, she is now a slave.

English Standard Version
How lonely sits the city that was full of people! How like a widow has she become, she who was great among the nations! She who was a princess among the provinces has become a slave.

New American Standard Bible
How lonely sits the city That was full of people! She has become like a widow Who was once great among the nations! She who was a princess among the provinces Has become a forced laborer!

King James Bible
How doth the city sit solitary, that was full of people! how is she become as a widow! she that was great among the nations, and princess among the provinces, how is she become tributary!

Holman Christian Standard Bible
How she sits alone, the city once crowded with people! She who was great among the nations has become like a widow. The princess among the provinces has been put to forced labor.

International Standard Version
How lonely she lies, the city that thronged with people! Like a widow she has become, this great one among nations! The princess among provinces has become a vassal.

NET Bible
Alas! The city once full of people now sits all alone! The prominent lady among the nations has become a widow! The princess who once ruled the provinces has become a forced laborer!

GOD'S WORD® Translation
"Look how deserted Jerusalem is! Once the city was crowded with people. Once it was important among the nations. Now it is a widow. Once it was a princess among the provinces. Now it does forced labor.

Jubilee Bible 2000
Aleph How does the city sit solitary, that was full of people! The great one among the nations is become as a widow; the princess of provinces is become tributary.

King James 2000 Bible
How does the city sit lovely, that was full of people! how has she become as a widow! she that was great among the nations, and princess among the provinces, how has she become a slave!

American King James Version
How does the city sit solitary, that was full of people! how is she become as a widow! she that was great among the nations, and princess among the provinces, how is she become tributary!

American Standard Version
How doth the city sit solitary, that was full of people! She is become as a widow, that was great among the nations! She that was a princess among the provinces is become tributary!

Douay-Rheims Bible
Aleph. How doth the city sit solitary that was full of people! how is the mistress of the Gentiles become as a widow: the princes of provinces made tributary!

Darby Bible Translation
How doth the city sit solitary [that] was full of people! She that was great among the nations is become as a widow; the princess among the provinces is become tributary!

English Revised Version
How doth the city sit solitary, that was full of people! how is she become as a widow! she that was great among the nations, and princess among the provinces, how is she become tributary!

Webster's Bible Translation
How doth the city sit solitary, that was full of people! how is she become as a widow! she that was great among the nations, and princess among the provinces, how is she become tributary.

World English Bible
How the city sits solitary, that was full of people! She has become as a widow, who was great among the nations! She who was a princess among the provinces is become tributary!

Young's Literal Translation
How hath she sat alone, The city abounding with people! She hath been as a widow, The mighty among nations! Princes among provinces, She hath become tributary!
Parallel Commentaries
Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary

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.

Pulpit Commentary

Verse 1. - How. The characteristic introductory word of an elegy (comp. Isaiah 1:21; Isaiah 14:4, 12), and adopted by the early Jewish divines as the title of the Book of Lamentations. It is repeated at the opening of ch. 2 and ch. 4. Sit solitary. Jerusalem is poetically personified and distinguished from the persons who accidentally compose her population. She is "solitary," not as having retired into solitude, but as deserted by her inhabitants (same word as in first clause of Isaiah 27:10). How is she become as a widow! etc. Rather, She is become a widow that was great among the nations; a princess among the provinces, she is become a vassal. The alteration greatly conduces to the effect of the verse, which consists of three parallel lines, like almost all the rest of the chapter. We are not to press the phrase, "a widow," as if some. earthly or heavenly husband were alluded to; it is a kind of symbol of desolation and misery (comp. Isaiah 47:8). "The provinces" at once suggests the period of the writer, who must have been a subject of the Babylonian empire. The term is also frequently used of the countries under the Persian rule (e.g. Esther 1:1, 22), and in Ezra 2:1 and Nehemiah 7:6 is used of Judah itself. Here, however, the "provinces," like the "nations," must be the countries formerly subject to David and Solomon (comp. Ecclesiastes 2:8).

Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible

How doth the city sit solitary, that was full of people!.... These are the words of Jeremiah; so the Targum introduces them,

"Jeremiah the prophet and high priest said;''

and began thus, "how"; not inquiring the reasons of this distress and ruin; but as amazed and astonished at it; and commiserating the sad case of the city of Jerusalem, which a little time ago was exceeding populous; had thousands of inhabitants in it; besides those that came from other parts to see it, or trade with it: and especially when the king of Babylon had invaded the land, which drove vast numbers to Jerusalem for safety; and which was the case afterwards when besieged by the Romans; at which time, as Josephus (f) relates, there were eleven hundred thousand persons; and very probably a like number was in it before the destruction of it by the Chaldeans, who all perished through famine, pestilence, and the sword; or were carried captive; or made their escape; so that the city, as was foretold it should, came to be without any inhabitant; and therefore is represented as "sitting", which is the posture of mourners; and as "solitary", or "alone" (g), like a menstruous woman in her separation, to which it is compared, Lamentations 1:17; or as a leper removed from the society of men; so the Targum,

"as a man that has the plague of leprosy on his flesh, that dwells alone;''

or rather as a woman deprived of her husband and children; as follows:

how is she become as a widow! her king, that was her head and husband, being taken from her, and carried captive; and God, who was the husband also of the Jewish people, having departed from them, and so left in a state of widowhood. Jarchi (h) observes, that it is not said a widow simply, but as a widow, because her husband would return again; and therefore only during this state of captivity she was like one; but Broughton takes the "caph" not to be a note of similitude, but of reality; and renders it, "she is become a very widow". Vespasian, when he had conquered Judea, struck a medal, on one side of which was a woman sitting under a palm tree in a plaintive and pensive posture, with this inscription, "Judea Capta", as Grotius observes:

she that was great among the nations, and princess among the provinces, how is she become tributary! that ruled over many nations, having subdued them, and to whom they paid tribute, as the Philistines, Moabites, Syrians, and Edomites, in the times of David and Solomon; but since obliged to pay tribute herself, first to Pharaohnecho, king of Egypt; then to the king of Babylon in the times of Jehoiakim; and last of all in the times of Zedekiah; so the Targum,

"she that was great among the people, and ruled over the provinces that paid tribute to her, returns to be depressed; and after this to give tribute to them.''

(f) De Bello Jud. l. 6. c. 9. sect. 3.((g) "sola", V. L. Montanus. (h) E Talmud Bab. Sanhedrin. fol. 104. 1. & Taanith, fol. 20. 1.

Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary

THE LAMENTATIONS OF JEREMIAH Commentary by A. R. Faussett

INTRODUCTION

In the Hebrew Bible these Elegies of Jeremiah, five in number, are placed among the Chetuvim, or "Holy Writings" ("the Psalms," &c., Lu 24:44), between Ruth and Ecclesiastes. But though in classification of compositions it belongs to the Chetuvim, it probably followed the prophecies of Jeremiah originally. For thus alone can we account for the prophetical books being enumerated by Josephus [Against Apion, 1.1.8] as thirteen: he must have reckoned Jeremiah and Lamentations as one book, as also Judges and Ruth, the two books of Samuel, &c., Ezra and Nehemiah. The Lamentations naturally follow the book which sets forth the circumstances forming the subject of the Elegies. Similar lamentations occur in 2Sa 1:19, &c.; 3:33. The Jews read it in their synagogues on the ninth of the month Ab, which is a fast for the destruction of their holy city. As in 2Ch 35:25, "lamentations" are said to have been "written" by Jeremiah on the death of Josiah, besides it having been made "an ordinance in Israel" that "singing women" should "speak" of that king in lamentations; Josephus [Antiquities, 10.5.1], Jerome, &c., thought that they are contained in the present collection. But plainly the subject here is the overthrow of the Jewish city and people, as the Septuagint expressly states in an introductory verse to their version. The probability is that there is embodied in these Lamentations much of the language of Jeremiah's original Elegy on Josiah, as 2Ch 35:25 states; but it is now applied to the more universal calamity of the whole state, of which Josiah's sad death was the forerunner. Thus La 4:20, originally applied to Josiah, was "written," in its subsequent reference, not so much of him, as of the throne of Judah in general, the last representative of which, Zedekiah, had just been carried away. The language, which is true of good Josiah, is too strong in favor of Zedekiah, except when viewed as representative of the crown in general. It was natural to embody the language of the Elegy on Josiah in the more general lamentations, as his death was the presage of the last disaster that overthrew the throne and state.

The title more frequently given by the Jews to these Elegies is, "How" (Hebrew, Eechah), from the first word, as the Pentateuch is similarly called by the first Hebrew word of Ge 1:1. The Septuagint calls it "Lamentations," from which we derive the name. It refers not merely to the events which occurred at the capture of the city, but to the sufferings of the citizens (the penalty of national sin) from the very beginning of the siege; and perhaps from before it, under Manasseh and Josiah (2Ch 33:11; 35:20-25); under Jehoahaz, Jehoiakim, and Zedekiah (2Ch 36:3, 4, 6, 7, 10, 11, &c.). Lowth says, "Every letter is written with a tear, every word the sound of a broken heart." The style is midway between the simple elevation of prophetic writing and the loftier rhythm of Moses, David, and Habakkuk. Terse conciseness marks the Hebrew original, notwithstanding Jeremiah's diffuseness in his other writings. The Elegies are grouped in stanzas as they arose in his mind, without any artificial system of arrangement as to the thoughts. The five Elegies are acrostic: each is divided into twenty-two stanzas or verses. In the first three Elegies the stanzas consist of triplets of lines (excepting La 1:7; 2:19, which contain each four lines) each beginning with the letters of the Hebrew alphabet in regular order (twenty-two in number). In three instances (La 2:16, 17; 3:46-51; 4:16, 17) two letters are transposed. In the third Elegy, each line of the three forming every stanza begins with the same letter. The stanzas in the fourth and fifth Elegies consist of two lines each. The fifth Elegy, though having twenty-two stanzas (the number of letters in the Hebrew alphabet), just as the first four, yet is not alphabetical; and its lines are shorter than those of the others, which are longer than are found in other Hebrew poems, and contain twelve syllables, marked by a cæsura about the middle, dividing them into two somewhat unequal parts. The alphabetical arrangement was adopted originally to assist the memory. Grotius thinks the reason for the inversion of two of the Hebrew letters in La 2:16, 17; 3:46-51; 4:16, 17, is that the Chaldeans, like the Arabians, used a different order from the Hebrews; in the first Elegy, Jeremiah speaks as a Hebrew, in the following ones, as one subject to the Chaldeans. This is doubtful.

CHAPTER (ELEGY) 1

La 1:1-22.

Aleph.

1. how is she … widow! she that was great, &c.—English Version is according to the accents. But the members of each sentence are better balanced in antithesis, thus, "how is she that was great among the nations become as a widow! (how) she who was princess among the provinces (that is, she who ruled over the surrounding provinces from the Nile to the Euphrates, Ge 15:18; 1Ki 4:21; 2Ch 9:26; Ezr 4:20) become tributary!" [Maurer].

sit—on the ground; the posture of mourners (La 2:10; Ezr 9:3). The coin struck on the taking of Jerusalem by Titus, representing Judea as a female sitting solitary under a palm tree, with the inscription, Judæa Capta, singularly corresponds to the image here; the language therefore must be prophetical of her state subsequent to Titus, as well as referring retrospectively to her Babylonian captivity.

Beth.

Lamentations 1:1 Additional Commentaries
Context
How Lonely Lies the City
1How lonely sits the city That was full of people! She has become like a widow Who was once great among the nations! She who was a princess among the provinces Has become a forced laborer! 2She weeps bitterly in the night And her tears are on her cheeks; She has none to comfort her Among all her lovers. All her friends have dealt treacherously with her; They have become her enemies.…
Cross References
1 Kings 4:21
And Solomon ruled over all the kingdoms from the Euphrates River to the land of the Philistines, as far as the border of Egypt. These countries brought tribute and were Solomon's subjects all his life.

2 Kings 23:35
Jehoiakim paid Pharaoh Necho the silver and gold he demanded. In order to do so, he taxed the land and exacted the silver and gold from the people of the land according to their assessments.

Ezra 4:20
Jerusalem has had powerful kings ruling over the whole of Trans-Euphrates, and taxes, tribute and duty were paid to them.

Isaiah 3:26
The gates of Zion will lament and mourn; destitute, she will sit on the ground.

Isaiah 22:2
you town so full of commotion, you city of tumult and revelry? Your slain were not killed by the sword, nor did they die in battle.

Isaiah 49:21
Then you will say in your heart, 'Who bore me these? I was bereaved and barren; I was exiled and rejected. Who brought these up? I was left all alone, but these--where have they come from?'"

Isaiah 54:4
"Do not be afraid; you will not be put to shame. Do not fear disgrace; you will not be humiliated. You will forget the shame of your youth and remember no more the reproach of your widowhood.

Jeremiah 31:7
This is what the LORD says: "Sing with joy for Jacob; shout for the foremost of the nations. Make your praises heard, and say, 'LORD, save your people, the remnant of Israel.'

Jeremiah 40:9
Gedaliah son of Ahikam, the son of Shaphan, took an oath to reassure them and their men. "Do not be afraid to serve the Babylonians," he said. "Settle down in the land and serve the king of Babylon, and it will go well with you.

Jeremiah 42:2
Jeremiah the prophet and said to him, "Please hear our petition and pray to the LORD your God for this entire remnant. For as you now see, though we were once many, now only a few are left.

Ezekiel 5:5
"This is what the Sovereign LORD says: This is Jerusalem, which I have set in the center of the nations, with countries all around her.
Treasury of Scripture

How does the city sit solitary, that was full of people! how is she become as a widow! she that was great among the nations, and princess among the provinces, how is she become tributary!

how doth. The LXX. have the following words as an introduction: 'And it came to pass after Israel had been carried captive, and Jerusalem was become desolate, that Jeremiah sat weeping, and lamented with this lamentation over Jerusalem, and said.'

Lamentations 2:1 How has the LORD covered the daughter of Zion with a cloud in his …

Lamentations 4:1 How is the gold become dim! how is the most fine gold changed! the …

Isaiah 14:12 How are you fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how …

Jeremiah 50:23 How is the hammer of the whole earth cut asunder and broken! how …

Zephaniah 2:15 This is the rejoicing city that dwelled carelessly, that said in …

Revelation 18:16,17 And saying, Alas, alas that great city, that was clothed in fine …

sit

Lamentations 2:10 The elders of the daughter of Zion sit on the ground, and keep silence: …

Isaiah 3:26 And her gates shall lament and mourn; and she being desolate shall …

Isaiah 47:1 Come down, and sit in the dust, O virgin daughter of Babylon, sit …

Isaiah 50:5 The Lord GOD has opened my ear, and I was not rebellious, neither …

Isaiah 52:2 Shake yourself from the dust; arise, and sit down, O Jerusalem: loose …

Jeremiah 9:11 And I will make Jerusalem heaps, and a den of dragons; and I will …

Ezekiel 26:16 Then all the princes of the sea shall come down from their thrones, …

full

Psalm 122:4 Where the tribes go up, the tribes of the LORD, to the testimony …

Isaiah 22:2 You that are full of stirs, a tumultuous city, joyous city: your …

Zechariah 8:4,5 Thus said the LORD of hosts; There shall yet old men and old women …

as a

Isaiah 47:8,9 Therefore hear now this, you that are given to pleasures, that dwell …

Isaiah 54:4 Fear not; for you shall not be ashamed: neither be you confounded; …

Revelation 18:7 How much she has glorified herself, and lived deliciously, so much …

great

1 Kings 4:21 And Solomon reigned over all kingdoms from the river to the land …

2 Chronicles 9:26 And he reigned over all the kings from the river even to the land …

Ezra 4:20 There have been mighty kings also over Jerusalem, which have ruled …

how is

Lamentations 5:16 The crown is fallen from our head: woe to us, that we have sinned!

2 Kings 23:33,35 And Pharaohnechoh put him in bands at Riblah in the land of Hamath, …

Nehemiah 5:4 There were also that said, We have borrowed money for the king's …

Nehemiah 9:37 And it yields much increase to the kings whom you have set over us …

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