The miseries of Jerusalem and of the Jews pathetically lamented, with confessions of their sins, 1-11. The attention and compassion of beholders demanded to this unprecedented case, 12-17. The justice of God acknowledged and his mercy supplicated, with prayers against insulting foes, 18-22.
1 How the city sits solitary that was full of people! How she has become as a widow! She who was great among the nations and princess among the provinces, how she has become tributary!
2 She weeps bitterly in the night, and her tears are on her cheeks. Among all her lovers she has no one to comfort her. All her friends have dealt treacherously with her. They have become her enemies.
3 Judah has gone into captivity because of affliction and because of great servitude. She dwells among the heathen. She finds no rest. All her persecutors overtook her in the midst of distress.
4 The ways of Zion mourn, because no one comes to the solemn feasts. All her gates are desolate. Her priests sigh. Her virgins are afflicted. She is in bitterness.
5 Her adversaries are the chief. Her enemies prosper, for the LORD has afflicted her for the multitude of her transgressions. Her children have gone into captivity before the enemy.
6 And from the daughter of Zion all her beauty has departed. Her princes have become like harts that find no pasture, and they have gone without strength before the pursuer.
7 Jerusalem remembered in the days of her affliction and of her miseries all her pleasant things that she had in the days of old, when her people fell into the hand of the enemy, and no one helped her. The adversaries saw her and mocked at her sabbaths.
8 Jerusalem has grievously sinned; therefore, she is removed. All who honored her despise her because they have seen her nakedness. Indeed, she sighs and turns backward.
9 Her filthiness is in her skirts. She does not remember her last end; therefore, she has been wonderfully abased. She had no comforter. O LORD, behold my affliction, for the enemy has magnified himself.
10 The adversary has spread out his hand upon all her pleasant things, for she has seen that the heathen entered into her sanctuary, whom you commanded that they should not enter into your congregation.
11 All her people sigh. They seek bread. They have given their pleasant things for food to relieve the soul. See, O LORD, and consider, for I have become vile.
12 Is it nothing to you, all you who pass by? Behold, and see if there is any sorrow like my sorrow, which has fallen upon me, with which the LORD has afflicted me in the day of his fierce anger.
13 From above he has sent fire into my bones, and it prevails against them. He has spread a net for my feet. He has turned me back. He has made me desolate and faint all the day.
14 The yoke of my transgressions is bound by his hand. They are knit together and come up upon my neck. He has made my strength to fall. The Lord has delivered me into their hands, from whom I am not able to rise.
15 The Lord has trodden under foot all my mighty men in the midst of me. He has called an assembly against me to crush my young men. The Lord has trodden the virgin, the daughter of Judah, as in a wine-press.
16 For these things I weep. My eye, my eye runs down with water because the comforter who should relieve my soul is far from me. My children are desolate because the enemy prevailed.
17 Zion spreads forth her hands, and there is no one to comfort her. The LORD has commanded concerning Jacob, that his adversaries should be around him. Jerusalem is as an unclean thing among them.
18 The LORD is righteous, for I have rebelled against his commandment. Hear, I pray you, all people, and behold my sorrow. My virgins and my young men have gone into captivity.
19 I called for my lovers, but they deceived me. My priests and my elders resigned their breath in the city while they sought their food to relieve their souls.
20 Behold, O LORD, for I am in distress. My heart is troubled. My heart is turned within me, for I have grievously rebelled. Abroad the sword bereaves, at home it is as death.
21 They have heard that I sigh. There is no one to comfort me. All my enemies have heard of my trouble. They are glad that you have done it. You will bring the day that you have called, and they shall be like me.
22 Let all their wickedness come before you, and do to them as you have done to me for all my transgressions. For my sighs are many and my heart is faint.
Matthew Henry Commentary - Lamentations, Chapter 1[➚]
John Gill's Chapter Summary:
This chapter contains a complaint of the miseries of the city of Jerusalem and the nation of the Jews, first by the Prophet Jeremiah, then by the Jewish people, and is concluded with a prayer of theirs. The prophet deplores the state of the city, now depopulated and having become tributary, which had been full of people and ruled over others, but now in a very mournful condition and forsaken and ill used by her lovers and friends, turned her enemies (Lamentations 1:1-2); and next the state of the whole nation, being carried captive for their sins among the Heathens, having no rest, being overtaken by their persecutors (Lamentations 1:3); but what most of all afflicted him was the state of Zion, her ways mourning, her solemn feasts neglected, her gates desolate, her priests sighing and virgins afflicted, her adversaries prosperous, her beauty departed, her sabbaths mocked, her nakedness seen, and all her pleasant things in the sanctuary seized on by the adversary, and all this because of her many transgressions, grievous sins, and great pollution and vileness, which are confessed (Lamentations 1:4-11); then the people themselves, or the prophet representing them, lament their case and call upon others to sympathize with them (Lamentations 1:12); observing the sad desolation made by the hand of the Lord upon them for their iniquities (Lamentations 1:13-15); on account of which great sorrow is expressed, and their case is represented as the more distressing that they had no comforter (Lamentations 1:16-17); then follows a prayer to God in which his righteousness in doing or suffering all this is acknowledged, and mercy is entreated for themselves and judgments on their enemies (Lamentations 1:18-22).