By July 10, 2008 Read More →

Lamentations 1-5

The Hebrew Bible

Lonely sits the city

Once great with people!

She that was great among nations

Is become like a widow;

The princess among states

Is become a thrall.

2Bitterly she weeps in the night,

Her cheek wet with tears.

There is none to comfort her

Of all her friends.

All her allies have betrayed her;

They have become her foes.

3Judah has gone into exile

Because of misery and harsh oppression;

When she settled among the nations,

She found no rest;

All her pursuers overtook her

In the narrow places.

4Zion’s roads are in mourning,

Empty of festival pilgrims;

All her gates are deserted.

Her priests sigh,

Her maidens are unhappy—

She is utterly disconsolate!

5Her enemies are now the masters,

Her foes are at ease,

Because the Lord has afflicted her

For her many transgressions;

Her infants have gone into captivity

Before the enemy.

6Gone from Fair Zion are all

That were her glory;

Her leaders were like stags

That found no pasture;

They could only walk feebly

Before the pursuer.

7All the precious things she had

In the days of old

Jerusalem recalled

In her days of woe and sorrow,

When her people fell by enemy hands

With none to help her;

When enemies looked on and gloated

Over her downfall.

8Jerusalem has greatly sinned,

Therefore she is become a mockery.

All who admired her despise her,

For they have seen her disgraced;

And she can only sigh

And shrink back.

9Her uncleanness clings to her skirts.

She gave no thought to her future;

She has sunk appallingly,

With none to comfort her.—

See, O Lord, my misery;

How the enemy jeers!

10The foe has laid hands

On everything dear to her.

She has seen her Sanctuary

Invaded by nations

Which You have denied admission

Into Your community.

11All her inhabitants sigh

As they search for bread;

They have bartered their treasures for food,

To keep themselves alive.—

See, O Lord, and behold,

How abject I have become!

12May it never befall you,

All who pass along the road—

Look about and see-

Is there any agony like mine,

Which was dealt out to me

When the Lord afflicted me

On His day of wrath?

13From above He sent a fire

Down into my bones.

He spread a net for my feet,

He hurled me backward;

He has left me forlorn,

In constant misery.

14The yoke of my offenses is bound fast,

Lashed tight by His hand;

Imposed upon my neck,

It saps my strength;

The Lord has delivered me into the hands

Of those I cannot withstand.

15The Lord in my midst has rejected

All my heroes;

He has proclaimed a set time against me

To crush my young men.

As in a press the Lord has trodden

Fair Maiden Judah.

16For these things do I weep,

My eyes flow with tears-

Far from me is any comforter

Who might revive my spirit;

My children are forlorn,

For the foe has prevailed.

17Zion spreads out her hands,

She has no one to comfort her;

The Lord has summoned against Jacob

His enemies all about him;

Jerusalem has become among them

A thing unclean.

18The Lord is in the right,

For I have disobeyed Him.

Hear, all you peoples,

And behold my agony-

My maidens and my youths

Have gone into captivity!

19I cried out to my friends,

But they played me false.

My priests and my elders

Have perished in the city

As they searched for food

To keep themselves alive.

20See, O Lord, the distress I am in!

My heart is in anguish,

I know how wrong I was

To disobey.

Outside the sword deals death;

Indoors, the plague.

21When they heard how I was sighing,

There was none to comfort me;

All my foes heard of my plight and exulted.

For it is Your doing-

You have brought on the day that You threatened.

Oh, let them become like me!

22Let all their wrongdoing come before You,

And deal with them

As You have dealt with me

For all my transgressions.

For my sighs are many,

And my heart is sick.


The Lord in His wrath

Has shamed Fair Zion,

Has cast down from heaven to earth

The majesty of Israel.

He did not remember His Footstool

On His day of wrath.

2The Lord has laid waste without pity

All the habitations of Jacob;

He has razed in His anger

Fair Judah’s strongholds.

He has brought low in dishonor

The kingdom and its leaders.

3In blazing anger He has cut down

All the might of Israel;

He has withdrawn His right hand

In the presence of the foe;

He has ravaged Jacob like flaming fire,

Consuming on all sides.

4He bent His bow like an enemy,

Poised His right hand like a foe;

He slew all who delighted the eye.

He poured out His wrath like fire

In the Tent of Fair Zion.

5The Lord has acted like a foe,

He has laid waste Israel,

Laid waste all her citadels,

Destroyed her strongholds.

He has increased within Fair Judah

Mourning and moaning.

6He has stripped His Booth like a garden,

He has destroyed His Tabernacle;

The Lord has ended in Zion

Festival and sabbath;

In His raging anger He has spurned

King and priest.

7The Lord has rejected His altar,

Disdained His Sanctuary.

He has handed over to the foe

The walls of its citadels;

They raised a shout in the House of the Lord

As on a festival day.

8The Lord resolved to destroy

The wall of Fair Zion;

He measured with a line, refrained not

From bringing destruction.

He has made wall and rampart to mourn,

Together they languish.

9Her gates have sunk into the ground,

He has smashed her bars to bits;

Her king and her leaders are in exile,

Instruction is no more;

Her prophets, too, receive

No vision from the Lord.

10Silent sit on the ground
The elders of Fair Zion;

They have strewn dust on their heads

And girded themselves with sackcloth;

The maidens of Jerusalem have bowed

Their heads to the ground.

11My eyes are spent with tears,

My heart is in tumult,

My being melts away

Over the ruin of my poor people,

As babes and sucklings languish

In the squares of the city.

12They keep asking their mothers,

“Where is bread and wine?”

As they languish like battle-wounded

In the squares of the town,

As their life runs out

In their mothers’ bosoms.

13What can I take as witness or liken

To you, O Fair Jerusalem?

What can I match with you to console you,

O Fair Maiden Zion?

For your ruin is vast as the sea-

Who can heal you?

14Your seers prophesied to you

Delusion and folly.

They did not expose your iniquity

So as to restore your fortunes,

But prophesied to you oracles

Of delusion and deception.

15All who pass your way

Clap their hands at you;

They hiss and wag their head

At Fair Jerusalem-

“Is this the city that was called

Perfect in Beauty,

Joy of All the Earth?”

16All your enemies

Jeer at you;

They hiss and gnash their teeth,

And cry- “We’ve ruined her!

Ah, this is the day we hoped for;

We have lived to see it!”

17The Lord has done what He purposed,

Has carried out the decree

That He ordained long ago;

He has torn down without pity.

He has let the foe rejoice over you,

Has exalted the might of your enemies.

18Their heart cried out to the Lord.

O wall of Fair Zion,

Shed tears like a torrent

Day and night!

Give yourself no respite,

Your eyes no rest.

19Arise, cry out in the night

At the beginning of the watches,

Pour out your heart like water

In the presence of the Lord!

Lift up your hands to Him

For the life of your infants,

Who faint for hunger

At every street corner,

20See, O Lord, and behold,

To whom You have done this!

Alas, women eat their own fruit,

Their new-born babes!

Alas, priest and prophet are slain

In the Sanctuary of the Lord!

21Prostrate in the streets lie

Both young and old.

My maidens and youths

Are fallen by the sword;

You slew them on Your day of wrath,

You slaughtered without pity.

22You summoned, as on a festival,

My neighbors from roundabout.

On the day of the wrath of the Lord,

None survived or escaped;

Those whom I bore and reared

My foe has consumed.

3I am the man who has known affliction

Under the rod of His wrath;

2Me He drove on and on

In unrelieved darkness;

3On none but me He brings down His hand

Again and again, without cease.

4He has worn away my flesh and skin;

He has shattered my bones.

5All around me He has built

Misery and hardship;

6He has made me dwell in darkness,

Like those long dead.

7He has walled me in and I cannot break out;

He has weighed me down with chains.

8And when I cry and plead,

He shuts out my prayer;

9He has walled in my ways with hewn blocks,

He has made my paths a maze.

10He is a lurking bear to me,

A lion in hiding;

11He has forced me off my way and mangled me,

He has left me numb.

12He has bent His bow and made me

The target of His arrows-

13He has shot into my vitals

The shafts of His quiver.

14I have become a laughingstock to all people,

The butt of their gibes all day long.

15He has filled me with bitterness,

Sated me with wormwood.

16He has broken my teeth on gravel,

Has ground me into the dust.

17My life was bereft of peace,

I forgot what happiness was.

18I thought my strength and hope

Had perished before the Lord.

19To recall my distress and my misery

Was wormwood and poison;

20Whenever I thought of them,

I was bowed low.

21But this do I call to mind,

Therefore I have hope-

22The kindness of the Lord has not ended,

His mercies are not spent.

23They are renewed every morning—

Ample is Your grace!

24“The Lord is my portion,” I say with full heart;

Therefore will I hope in Him.

25The Lord is good to those who trust in Him,

To the one who seeks Him;

26It is good to wait patiently

Till rescue comes from the Lord.

27It is good for a man, when young,

To bear a yoke;

28Let him sit alone and be patient,

When He has laid it upon him.

29Let him put his mouth to the dust—

There may yet be hope.

30Let him offer his cheek to the smiter;

Let him be surfeited with mockery.

31For the Lord does not

Reject forever,

32But first afflicts, then pardons

In His abundant kindness.

33For He does not willfully bring grief

Or affliction to man,

34Crushing under His feet

All the prisoners of the earth.

35To deny a man his rights

In the presence of the Most High,

36To wrong a man in his cause—

This the Lord does not choose.

37Whose decree was ever fulfilled,

Unless the Lord willed it?

38Is it not at the word of the Most High,

That weal and woe befall?

39Of what shall a living man complain?

Each one of his own sins!

40Let us search and examine our ways,

And turn back to the Lord;

41Let us lift up our hearts with our hands

To God in heaven-

42We have transgressed and rebelled,

And You have not forgiven.

43You have clothed Yourself in anger and pursued us,

You have slain without pity.

44You have screened Yourself off with a cloud,

That no prayer may pass through.

45You have made us filth and refuse

In the midst of the peoples.

46All our enemies loudly

Rail against us.

47Panic and pitfall are our lot,

Death and destruction.

48My eyes shed streams of water

Over the ruin of my poor people.

49My eyes shall flow without cease,

Without respite,

50Until the Lord looks down

And beholds from heaven.

51My eyes have brought me grief

Over all the maidens of my city.

52My foes have snared me like a bird,

Without any cause.

53They have ended my life in a pit

And cast stones at me.

54Waters flowed over my head;

I said- I am lost!

55I have called on Your name, O Lord,

From the depths of the Pit.

56Hear my plea;

Do not shut Your ear

To my groan, to my cry!

57You have ever drawn nigh when I called You;

You have said, “Do not fear!”

58You championed my cause, O Lord,

You have redeemed my life.

59You have seen, O Lord, the wrong done me;

Oh, vindicate my right!

60You have seen all their malice,

All their designs against me;

61You have heard, O Lord, their taunts,

All their designs against me,

62The mouthings and pratings of my adversaries

Against me all day long.

63See how, at their ease or at work,

I am the butt of their gibes.

64Give them, O Lord, their deserts

According to their deeds.

65Give them anguish of heart;

Your curse be upon them!

66Oh, pursue them in wrath and destroy them

From under the heavens of the Lord!


The gold is dulled,

Debased the finest gold!

The sacred gems are spilled

At every street corner.

2The precious children of Zion;

Once valued as gold—

Alas, they are accounted as earthen pots,

Work of a potter’s hands!

3Even jackals offer the breast

And suckle their young;

But my poor people has turned cruel,

Like ostriches of the desert.

4The tongue of the suckling cleaves

To its palate for thirst.

Little children beg for bread;

None gives them a morsel.

5Those who feasted on dainties

Lie famished in the streets;

Those who were reared in purple

Have embraced refuse heaps.

6The guilt of my poor people

Exceeded the iniquity of Sodom,

Which was overthrown in a moment,

Without a hand striking it.

7Her elect were purer than snow,

Whiter than milk;

Their limbs were ruddier than coral,

Their bodies were like sapphire.

8Now their faces are blacker than soot,

They are not recognized in the streets;

Their skin has shriveled on their bones,

It has become dry as wood.

9Better off were the slain of the sword

Than those slain by famine,

Who pined away, [as though] wounded,

For lack of the fruits of the field.

10With their own hands, tenderhearted women

Have cooked their children;

Such became their fare,

In the disaster of my poor people.

11The Lord vented all His fury,

Poured out His blazing wrath;

He kindled a fire in Zion

Which consumed its foundations.

12The kings of the earth did not believe,

Nor any of the inhabitants of the world,

That foe or adversary could enter

The gates of Jerusalem.

13It was for the sins of her prophets,

The iniquities of her priests,

Who had shed in her midst

The blood of the just.

14They wandered blindly through the streets,

Defiled with blood,

So that no one was able

To touch their garments.

15“Away! Unclean!” people shouted at them,

“Away! Away! Touch not!”

So they wandered and wandered again;

For the nations had resolved-

“They shall stay here no longer.”

16The Lord’s countenance has turned away from them,

He will look on them no more.

They showed no regard for priests,

No favor to elders.

17Even now our eyes pine away

In vain for deliverance.

As we waited, still we wait

For a nation that cannot help.

18Our steps were checked,

We could not walk in our squares.

Our doom is near, our days are done—

Alas, our doom has come!

19Our pursuers were swifter

Than the eagles in the sky;

They chased us in the mountains,

Lay in wait for us in the wilderness.

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

Was captured in their traps—

He in whose shade we had thought

To live among the nations.

21Rejoice and exult, Fair Edom,

Who dwell in the land of Uz!

To you, too, the cup shall pass,

You shall get drunk and expose your nakedness.

22Your iniquity, Fair Zion, is expiated;

He will exile you no longer.

Your iniquity, Fair Edom, He will note;

He will uncover your sins.

5Remember, O Lord, what has befallen us;

Behold, and see our disgrace!

2Our heritage has passed to aliens,

Our homes to strangers.

3We have become orphans, fatherless;

Our mothers are like widows.

4We must pay to drink our own water,

Obtain our own kindling at a price.

5We are hotly pursued;

Exhausted, we are given no rest.

6We hold out a hand to Egypt;

To Assyria, for our fill of bread.

7Our fathers sinned and are no more;

And we must bear their guilt.

8Slaves are ruling over us,

With none to rescue us from them.

9We get our bread at the peril of our lives,

Because of the sword of the wilderness.

10Our skin glows like an oven,

With the fever of famine.

11They have ravished women in Zion,

Maidens in the towns of Judah.

12Princes have been hanged by them;

No respect has been shown to elders.

13Young men must carry millstones,

And youths stagger under loads of wood.

14The old men are gone from the gate,

The young men from their music.

15Gone is the joy of our hearts;

Our dancing is turned into mourning.

16The crown has fallen from our head;

Woe to us that we have sinned!

17Because of this our hearts are sick,

Because of these our eyes are dimmed-

18Because of Mount Zion, which lies desolate;

Jackals prowl over it.

19But You, O Lord, are enthroned forever,

Your throne endures through the ages.

20Why have You forgotten us utterly,

Forsaken us for all time?

21Take us back, O Lord, to Yourself,

And let us come back;

Renew our days as of old!

22For truly, You have rejected us,

Bitterly raged against us.

Take us back, O Lord, to Yourself,

And let us come back;

Renew our days as of old!

Tanakh, The Holy Scriptures, (Philadelphia, Jerusalem- Jewish Publication Society) 1985.

Posted in: Literary Prophecy

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