Lamentations 1

How Lonely Lies the City!
(2 Kings 24:10–17)

1Howa lonely lies the city,

once so full of people!

She who was great among the nations

has become a widow.

The princess of the provinces

has become a slave.

2She weeps aloud in the night,

with tears upon her cheeks.

Among all her lovers

there is no one to comfort her.

All her friends have betrayed her;

they have become her enemies.

3Judah has gone into exile

under affliction and harsh slavery;

she dwells among the nations

but finds no place to rest.

All her pursuers have overtaken her

in the midst of her distress.

4The roads to Zion mourn,

because no one comes to her appointed feasts.

All her gates are deserted;

her priests groan,

her maidens grieve,

and she herself is bitter with anguish.

5Her foes have become her masters;

her enemies are at ease.

For the LORD has brought her grief

because of her many transgressions.

Her children have gone away

as captives before the enemy.

6All the splendor has departed

from the Daughter of Zion.

Her princes are like deer

that find no pasture;

they lack the strength to flee

in the face of the hunter.

7In the days of her affliction and wandering

Jerusalem remembers all the treasures

that were hers in days of old.

When her people fell into enemy hands

she received no help.

Her enemies looked upon her,

laughing at her downfall.

8Jerusalem has sinned greatly;

therefore she has become an object of scorn.

All who honored her now despise her,

for they have seen her nakedness;b

she herself groans and turns away.

9Her uncleanness stains her skirts;

she did not consider her end.

Her downfall was astounding;

there was no one to comfort her.

Look, O LORD, on my affliction,

for the enemy has triumphed!

10The adversary has seized

all her treasures.

For she has seen the nations

enter her sanctuary—

those You had forbidden

to enter Your assembly.

11All her people groan

as they search for bread.

They have traded their treasures for food

to keep themselves alive.

Look, O LORD, and consider,

for I have become despised.

12Is this nothing to you, all you who pass by?

Look around and see!

Is there any sorrow like mine,

which was inflicted on me,

which the LORD made me suffer

on the day of His fierce anger?

13He sent fire from on high,

and it overpowered my bones.

He spread a net for my feet

and turned me back.

He made me desolate,

faint all the day long.

14My transgressions are bound into a yoke,c

knit together by His hand;

they are draped over my neck,

and the Lord has broken my strength.

He has delivered me into the hands

of those I cannot withstand.

15The Lord has rejected

all the mighty men in my midst;

He has summoned an army against med

to crush my young warriors.

Like grapes in a winepress,

the Lord has trampled the Virgin Daughter of Judah.

16For these things I weep;

my eyes flow with tears.

For there is no one nearby to comfort me,

no one to revive my soul.

My children are destitute

because the enemy has prevailed.

17Zion stretches out her hands,

but there is no one to comfort her.

The LORD has decreed against Jacob

that his neighbors become his foes.

Jerusalem has become

an unclean thing among them.

18The LORD is righteous,

for I have rebelled against His command.

Listen, all you people;

look upon my suffering.

My young men and maidens

have gone into captivity.

19I called out to my lovers,

but they have betrayed me.

My priests and elders

perished in the city

while they searched for food

to keep themselves alive.

20See, O LORD, how distressed I am!

I am churning within;

my heart is pounding within me,

for I have been most rebellious.

Outside, the sword bereaves;

inside, there is death.

21People have heard my groaning,

but there is no one to comfort me.

All my enemies have heard of my trouble;

they are glad that You have caused it.

May You bring the day You have announced,

so that they may become like me.

22Let all their wickedness come before You,

and deal with them

as You have dealt with me

because of all my transgressions.

For my groans are many,

and my heart is faint.


1 a This chapter is an acrostic poem, each verse beginning with the successive letters of the Hebrew alphabet.
8 b Or her shame
14 c Most Hebrew manuscripts; other Hebrew manuscripts and LXX He kept watch over my sins
15 d Or has set a time for me

Lamentations 2
Lamentations 2

God’s Anger over Jerusalem

1Howa the Lord has covered the Daughter of Zion

with the cloud of His anger!

He has cast the glory of Israel

from heaven to earth.

He has abandoned His footstool

in the day of His anger.

2Without pity the Lord has swallowed up

all the dwellings of Jacob.

In His wrath He has demolished

the fortified cities of the Daughter of Judah.

He brought to the ground and defiled

her kingdom and its princes.

3In fierce anger He has cut off

every hornb of Israel

and withdrawn His right hand

at the approach of the enemy.

He has burned in Jacob like a flaming fire

that consumes everything around it.

4He has bent His bow like an enemy;

His right hand is positioned.

Like a foe He has killed

all who were pleasing to the eye;

He has poured out His wrath like fire

on the tent of the Daughter of Zion.

5The Lord is like an enemy;

He has swallowed up Israel.

He has swallowed up all her palaces

and destroyed her strongholds.

He has multiplied mourning and lamentation

for the Daughter of Judah.

6He has laid waste His tabernacle like a garden booth;

He has destroyed His place of meeting.

The LORD has made Zion forget

her appointed feasts and Sabbaths.

In His fierce anger

He has despised both king and priest.

7The Lord has rejected His altar;

He has abandoned His sanctuary;

He has delivered the walls of her palaces

into the hand of the enemy.

They have raised a shout in the house of the LORD

as on the day of an appointed feast.

8The LORD determined to destroy

the wall of the Daughter of Zion.

He stretched out a measuring line

and did not withdraw His hand from destroying.

He made the ramparts and walls lament;

together they waste away.

9Her gates have sunk into the ground;

He has destroyed and shattered their bars.

Her king and her princes are exiled among the nations,

the law is no more,

and even her prophets

find no vision from the LORD.

10The elders of the Daughter of Zion

sit on the ground in silence.

They have thrown dust on their heads

and put on sackcloth.

The young women of Jerusalem

have bowed their heads to the ground.

11My eyes fail from weeping;

I am churning within.

My heart is poured out in grief

over the destruction of the daughter of my people,

because children and infants faint

in the streets of the city.

12They cry out to their mothers:

“Where is the grain and wine?”

as they faint like the wounded

in the streets of the city,

as their lives fade away

in the arms of their mothers.

13What can I say for you?

To what can I compare you,

O Daughter of Jerusalem?

To what can I liken you,

that I may console you,

O Virgin Daughter of Zion?

For your wound is as deep as the sea.

Who can ever heal you?

14The visions of your prophets

were empty and deceptive;

they did not expose your guilt

to ward off your captivity.

The burdens they envisioned for you

were empty and misleading.

15All who pass by

clap their hands at you in scorn.

They hiss and shake their heads

at the Daughter of Jerusalem:

“Is this the city that was called

the perfection of beauty,

the joy of all the earth?”

16All your enemies

open their mouths against you.

They hiss and gnash their teeth,

saying, “We have swallowed her up.

This is the day for which we have waited.

We have lived to see it!”

17The LORD has done what He planned;

He has accomplished His decree,

which He ordained in days of old;

He has overthrown you without pity.

He has let the enemy gloat over you

and exalted the hornc of your foes.

18The hearts of the people

cry out to the Lord.d

O wall of the Daughter of Zion,

let your tears run down like a river

day and night.

Give yourself no relief,

and your eyes no rest.

19Arise, cry out in the night

from the first watch of the night.e

Pour out your heart like water

in the presence of the Lord.

Lift up your hands to Him

for the lives of your children

who are fainting from hunger

on the corner of every street.

20Look, O LORD, and consider:

Whom have You ever treated like this?

Should women eat their offspring,

the infants they have nurtured?

Should priests and prophets be killed

in the sanctuary of the Lord?

21Both young and old lie together

in the dust of the streets.

My young men and maidens

have fallen by the sword.

You have slain them in the day of Your anger;

You have slaughtered them without compassion.

22You summoned my attackers on every side,

as for the day of an appointed feast.

In the day of the LORD’s anger

no one escaped or survived;

my enemy has destroyed

those I nurtured and reared.

1 a This chapter is an acrostic poem, each verse beginning with the successive letters of the Hebrew alphabet.
3 b Or all the strength
17 c Or the strength
18 d Literally Their heart cries out to the Lord.
19 e That is, between six and nine at night

Lamentations 3
Lamentations 3

The Prophet’s Afflictions

1Ia am the man who has seen affliction

under the rod of God’s wrath.

2He has driven me away and made me walk

in darkness instead of light.

3Indeed, He keeps turning His hand

against me all day long.

4He has worn away my flesh and skin;

He has shattered my bones.

5He has besieged me and surrounded me

with bitterness and hardship.

6He has made me dwell in darkness

like those dead for ages.

7He has walled me in so I cannot escape;

He has weighed me down with chains.

8Even when I cry out and plead for help,

He shuts out my prayer.

9He has barred my ways with cut stones;

He has made my paths crooked.

10He is a bear lying in wait,

a lion hiding in ambush.

11He forced me off my path and tore me to pieces;

He left me without help.

12He bent His bow

and set me as the target for His arrow.

13He pierced my kidneys

with His arrows.

14I am a laughingstock to all my people;

they mock me in song all day long.

15He has filled me with bitterness;

He has intoxicated me with wormwood.

16He has ground my teeth with gravel

and trampled me in the dust.

17My soul has been deprived of peace;

I have forgotten what prosperity is.

18So I say, “My strength has perished,

along with my hope from the LORD.”

The Prophet’s Hope

19Remember my affliction and wandering,

the wormwood and the gall.

20Surely my soul remembers

and is humbled within me.

21Yet I call this to mind,

and therefore I have hope:

22Because of the loving devotionb of the LORD we are not consumed,

for His mercies never fail.

23They are new every morning;

great is Your faithfulness!

24“The LORD is my portion,” says my soul,

“therefore I will hope in Him.”

25The LORD is good to those who wait for Him,

to the soul who seeks Him.

26It is good to wait quietly

for the salvation of the LORD.

27It is good for a man to bear the yoke

while he is still young.

28Let him sit alone in silence,

for God has disciplined him.

29Let him bury his face in the dust—

perhaps there is still hope.

30Let him offer his cheek to the one who would strike him;

let him be filled with reproach.

31For the Lord will not

cast us off forever.

32Even if He causes grief, He will show compassion

according to His abundant loving devotion.

33For He does not willingly afflict

or grieve the sons of men.

34To crush underfoot

all the prisoners of the land,

35to deny a man justice

before the Most High,

36to subvert a man in his lawsuit—

of these the Lord does not approve.

God’s Justice

37Who has spoken and it came to pass,

unless the Lord has ordained it?

38Do not both adversity and good

come from the mouth of the Most High?

39Why should any mortal man complain,

in view of his sins?

40Let us examine and test our ways,

and turn back to the LORD.

41Let us lift up our hearts and hands

to God in heaven:

42“We have sinned and rebelled;

You have not forgiven.”

43You have covered Yourself in anger and pursued us;

You have killed without pity.

44You have covered Yourself with a cloud

that no prayer can pass through.

45You have made us scum and refuse

among the nations.

46All our enemies

open their mouths against us.

47Panic and pitfall have come upon us—

devastation and destruction.

48Streams of tears flow from my eyes

over the destruction of the daughter of my people.

49My eyes overflow unceasingly,

without relief,

50until the LORD

looks down from heaven and sees.

51My eyes bring grief to my soul

because of all the daughters of my city.

52Without cause my enemies

hunted me like a bird.

53They dropped me alive into a pit

and cast stones upon me.

54The waters flowed over my head,

and I thought I was going to die.

55I called on Your name, O LORD,

out of the depths of the Pit.

56You heard my plea:

“Do not ignore my cry for relief.”

57You drew near when I called on You;

You said, “Do not be afraid.”

58You defend my cause, O Lord;

You redeem my life.

59You have seen, O LORD, the wrong done to me;

vindicate my cause!

60You have seen all their malice,

all their plots against me.

61O LORD, You have heard their insults,

all their plots against me—

62the slander and murmuring of my assailants

against me all day long.

63When they sit and when they rise,

see how they mock me in song.

64You will pay them back what they deserve, O LORD,

according to the work of their hands.

65Put a veil of anguish over their hearts;

may Your curse be upon them!

66You will pursue them in anger and exterminate them

from under Your heavens, O LORD.

1 a This chapter is an acrostic poem, each 3–verse stanza beginning with the successive letters of the Hebrew alphabet.
22 b Forms of the Hebrew chesed are translated here and in most cases throughout the Scriptures as loving devotion; the range of meaning includes love, goodness, kindness, faithfulness, and mercy, as well as loyalty to a covenant.

Lamentations 4
Lamentations 4

The Distress of Zion

1Howa the gold has become tarnished,

the pure gold has become dull!

The gems of the temple lie scattered

on every street corner.

2How the precious sons of Zion,

once worth their weight in pure gold,

are now esteemed as jars of clay,

the work of a potter’s hands!

3Even jackalsb offer their breasts

to nurse their young,

but the daughter of my people has become cruel,

like an ostrich in the wilderness.

4The nursing infant’s tongue

clings in thirst to the roof of his mouth.

Little children beg for bread,

but no one gives them any.

5Those who once ate delicacies

are destitute in the streets;

those brought up in crimson

huddle in ash heaps.

6The punishmentc of the daughter of my people

is greater than that of Sodom,

which was overthrown in an instant

without a hand turned to help her.

7Her dignitaries were brighter than snow,

whiter than milk;

their bodies were more ruddy than rubies,

their appearanced like sapphires.e

8But now their appearance is blacker than soot;

they are not recognized in the streets.

Their skin has shriveled on their bones;

it has become as dry as a stick.

9Those slain by the sword are better off

than those who die of hunger,

who waste away, pierced with pain

because the fields lack produce.

10The hands of compassionate women

have cooked their own children,

who became their food

in the destruction of the daughter of my people.

11The LORD has exhausted His wrath;

He has poured out His fierce anger;

He has kindled a fire in Zion,

and it has consumed her foundations.

12The kings of the earth did not believe,

nor any people of the world,

that an enemy or a foe

could enter the gates of Jerusalem.

13But this was for the sins of her prophets

and the guilt of her priests,

who shed the blood of the righteous

in her midst.

14They wandered blind in the streets,

defiled by this blood,

so that no one dared

to touch their garments.

15“Go away! Unclean!”

men shouted at them.

“Away, away! Do not touch us!”

So they fled and wandered.

Among the nations it was said,

“They can stay here no longer.”

16The presence of the LORD has scattered them;

He regards them no more.

The priests are shown no honor;

the elders find no favor.

17All the while our eyes were failing

as we looked in vain for help.

We watched from our towers

for a nation that could not save us.

18They stalked our every step,

so that we could not walk in our streets.

Our end drew near, our time ran out,

for our end had come!

19Those who chased us were swifter

than the eagles in the sky;

they pursued us over the mountains

and ambushed us in the wilderness.

20The LORD’s anointed, the breath of our life,

was captured in their pits.

We had said of him,

“Under his shadow we will live among the nations.”

21So rejoice and be glad, O Daughter of Edom,

you who dwell in the land of Uz.

Yet the cup will pass to you as well;

you will get drunk and expose yourself.

22O Daughter of Zion, your punishment is complete;

He will not prolong your exile.f

But He will punish your iniquity, O Daughter of Edom;

He will expose your sins.


1 a This chapter is an acrostic poem, each verse beginning with the successive letters of the Hebrew alphabet.
3 b Or serpents or dragons
6 c Or iniquity
7 d Or their polishing or their hair
7 e Hebrew lapis lazuli
22 f Or He will not exile you again

Lamentations 5
Lamentations 5

A Prayer for Restoration

1Remember, O LORD, what has happened to us.

Look and see our disgrace!

2Our inheritance has been turned over to strangers,

our houses to foreigners.

3We have become fatherless orphans;

our mothers are widows.

4We must buy the water we drink;

our wood comes at a price.

5We are closely pursued;

we are weary and find no rest.

6We submitted to Egypt and Assyria

to get enough bread.

7Our fathers sinned and are no more,

but we bear their punishment.

8Slaves rule over us;

there is no one to deliver us from their hands.

9We get our bread at the risk of our lives

because of the sword in the wilderness.

10Our skin is as hot as an oven

with fever from our hunger.

11Women have been ravished in Zion,

virgins in the cities of Judah.

12Princes have been hung up by their hands;

elders receive no respect.

13Young men toil at millstones;

boys stagger under loads of wood.

14The elders have left the city gate;

the young men have stopped their music.

15Joy has left our hearts;

our dancing has turned to mourning.

16The crown has fallen from our head.

Woe to us, for we have sinned!

17Because of this, our hearts are faint;

because of these, our eyes grow dim—

18because of Mount Zion, which lies desolate,

patrolled by foxes.

19You, O LORD, reign forever;

Your throne endures from generation to generation.

20Why have You forgotten us forever?

Why have You forsaken us for so long?

21Restore us to Yourself, O LORD, so we may return;

renew our days as of old,

22unless You have utterly rejected us

and remain angry with us beyond measure.

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