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  Lamentations

1 How the city sits 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! 2She bitterly weeps in the night, and her tears are on her cheeks; Among all her lovers she has none to comfort her: All her friends have dealt treacherously with her; they are become her enemies. 3Judah is gone into captivity because of affliction, and because of great servitude; She dwells among the nations, she finds no rest: All her persecutors overtook her within the straits. 4The ways of Zion do mourn, because none come to the solemn assembly; All her gates are desolate, her priests do sigh: Her virgins are afflicted, and she herself is in bitterness. 5Her adversaries are become the head, her enemies prosper; For Jehovah has afflicted her for the multitude of her transgressions: Her young children are gone into captivity before the adversary. 6And from the daughter of Zion all her majesty is departed: Her princes are become like harts that find no pasture, And they are gone without strength before the pursuer. 7Jerusalem remembers in the days of her affliction and of her miseries all her pleasant things that were from the days of old: When her people fell into the hand of the adversary, and none did help her, The adversaries saw her, they did mock at her desolations. 8Jerusalem has grievously sinned; therefore she is become as an unclean thing; All that honored her despise her, because they have seen her nakedness: yes, she sighs, and turns backward. 9Her filthiness was in her skirts; she remembered not her latter end; Therefore is she come down wonderfully; she has no comforter: Behold, O Jehovah, my affliction; for the enemy has magnified himself. 10The adversary has spread out his hand upon all her pleasant things: For she has seen that the nations are entered into her sanctuary, Concerning whom you did command that they should not enter into your assembly. 11All her people sigh, they seek bread; They have given their pleasant things for food to refresh the soul: See, O Jehovah, and behold; for I am become abject.

12Is it nothing to you, all you that pass by? Behold, and see if there be any sorrow like unto my sorrow, which is brought upon me, Wherewith Jehovah has afflicted me in the day of his fierce anger. 13From on high has he 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. 14The yoke of my transgressions is bound by his hand; They are knit together, they are come up upon my neck; He has made my strength to fail: The Lord has delivered me into their hands, against whom I am not able to stand. 15The Lord has set at nothing all my mighty men in the midst of me; He has called a solemn assembly against me to crush my young men: The Lord has trodden as in a winepress the virgin daughter of Judah. 16For these things I weep; my eye, my eye runs down with water; Because the comforter that should refresh my soul is far from me: My children are desolate, because the enemy has prevailed. 17Zion spreads forth her hands; there is none to comfort her; Jehovah has commanded concerning Jacob, that they that are round about him should be his adversaries: Jerusalem is among them as an unclean thing. 18Jehovah is righteous; for I have rebelled against his commandment: Hear, I pray you, all you peoples, and behold my sorrow: My virgins and my young men are gone into captivity. 19I called for my lovers, but they deceived me: My priests and my elders gave up the ghost in the city, While they sought them food to refresh their souls. 20Behold, O Jehovah; for I am in distress; my heart is troubled; My heart is turned within me; for I have grievously rebelled: Abroad the sword bereave, at home there is as death. 21They have heard that I sigh; there is none 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 proclaimed, and they shall be like unto me. 22Let all their wickedness come before you; And do unto them, as you have done unto me for all my transgressions: For my sighs are many, and my heart is faint.

 

2 How has the Lord covered the daughter of Zion with a cloud in his anger! He has cast down from heaven unto the earth the beauty of Israel, And has not remembered his footstool in the day of his anger. 2The Lord has swallowed up all the habitations of Jacob, and has not pitied: He has thrown down in his wrath the strongholds of the daughter of Judah; He has brought them down to the ground; he has profaned the kingdom and the princes thereof. 3He has cut off in fierce anger all the horn of Israel; He has drawn back his right hand from before the enemy: And he has burned up Jacob like a flaming fire, which devours round about. 4He has bent his bow like an enemy, he has stood with his right hand as an adversary, And has slain all that were pleasant to the eye: In the tent of the daughter of Zion he has poured out his wrath like fire. 5The Lord is become as an enemy, he has swallowed up Israel; He has swallowed up all her palaces, he has destroyed his strongholds; And he has multiplied in the daughter of Judah mourning and lamentation. 6And he has violently taken away his tabernacle, as if it were of a garden; he has destroyed his place of assembly: Jehovah has caused solemn assembly and sabbath to be forgotten in Zion, And has despised in the indignation of his anger the king and the priest. 7The Lord has cast off his altar, he has abhorred his sanctuary; He has given up into the hand of the enemy the walls of her palaces: They have made a noise in the house of Jehovah, as in the day of a solemn assembly. 8Jehovah has purposed to destroy the wall of the daughter of Zion; He has stretched out the line, he has not withdrawn his hand from destroying; And he has made the rampart and wall to lament; they languish together. 9Her gates are sunk into the ground; he has destroyed and broken her bars: Her king and her princes are among the nations where there is no law; yes, her prophets find no vision from Jehovah.

10The elders of the daughter of Zion sit upon the ground, they keep silence; They have cast up dust upon their heads; They have girded themselves with sackcloth: The virgins of Jerusalem hang down their heads to the ground. 11My eyes do fail with tears, my heart is troubled; My liver is poured upon the earth, because of the destruction of the daughter of my people, Because the young children and the sucklings swoon in the streets of the city. 12They say to their mothers, Where is grain and wine? When they swoon as the wounded in the streets of the city, When their soul is poured out into their mothers’ bosom. 13What shall I testify unto you? what shall I liken to you, O daughter of Jerusalem? What shall I compare to you, that I may comfort you, O virgin daughter of Zion? For your breach is great like the sea: who can heal you? 14Your prophets have seen false and foolish visions; And they have not uncovered your iniquity, to bring back your captivity, But have seen for you, false oracles and causes of banishment. 15All that pass by clap their hands at you; They hiss and wag their head at the daughter of Jerusalem, saying, Is this the city that men called The perfection of beauty, The joy of the whole earth? 16All your enemies have opened their mouth wide against you; They hiss and gnash the teeth; they say, We have swallowed her up; Certainly this is the day that we looked for; we have found, we have seen it. 17Jehovah has done that which he purposed; He has fulfilled his word that he commanded in the days of old; He has thrown down, and has not pitied: And he has caused the enemy to rejoice over you; He has exalted the horn of your adversaries. 18Their heart cried unto the Lord: O wall of the daughter of Zion, let tears run down like a river day and night; Give yourself no respite; let not the apple of your eye cease. 19Arise, cry out in the night, at the beginning of the watches; Pour out your heart like water before the face of the Lord: Lift up your hands toward him for the life of your young children, that faint for hunger at the head of every street. 20See, O Jehovah, and behold to whom you have done this! Shall the women eat their fruit, the children that are dandled in the hands? Shall the priest and the prophet be slain in the sanctuary of the Lord? 21The youth and the old man lie on the ground in the streets; My virgins and my young men are fallen by the sword: you have slain them in the day of your anger; you have slaughtered, and not pitied. 22You have called, as in the day of a solemn assembly, my terrors on every side; And there was none that escaped or remained in the day of Jehovah’s anger: Those that I have dandled and brought up has my enemy consumed.

 

3 I am the man that has seen affliction by the rod of his wrath. 2He has led me and caused me to walk in darkness, and not in light. 3Surely against me he turns his hand again and again all the day. 4My flesh and my skin has he made old; he has broken my bones. 5He has built against me, and compassed me with gall and travail. 6He has made me to dwell in dark places, as those that have been long dead. 7He has walled me about, that I cannot go forth; he has made my chain heavy. 8Yes, when I cry, and call for help, he shuts out my prayer. 9He has walled up my ways with hewn stone; he has made my paths crooked. 10He is unto me as a bear lying in wait, as a lion in secret places. 11He has turned aside my ways, and pulled me in pieces; he has made me desolate. 12He has bent his bow, and set me as a mark for the arrow. 13He has caused the shafts of his quiver to enter into my reins. 14I am become a derision to all my people, and their song all the day. 15He has filled me with bitterness, he has sated me with wormwood. 16He has also broken my teeth with gravel stones; he has covered me with ashes. 17And you have removed my soul far off from peace; I forgot prosperity. 18And I said, My strength is perished, and my expectation from Jehovah. 19Remember my affliction and my misery, the wormwood and the gall. 20My soul has them still in remembrance, and is bowed down within me.

21This I recall to my mind; therefore have I hope. 22It is of Jehovah’s lovingkindnesses that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. 23They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. 24Jehovah is my portion, says my soul; therefore will I hope in him. 25Jehovah is good unto them that wait for him, to the soul that seeks him. 26It is good that a man should hope and quietly wait for the salvation of Jehovah. 27It is good for a man that he bear the yoke in his youth. 28Let him sit alone and keep silence, because he has laid it upon him. 29Let him put his mouth in the dust, if so be that there may be hope. 30Let him give his cheek to him that smites him; let him be filled full with reproach. 31For the Lord will not cast off for ever. 32For though he causes grief, yet will he have compassion according to the multitude of his lovingkindnesses. 33For he does not afflict willingly, nor grieve the children of men. 34To crush under foot all the prisoners of the earth, 35To turn aside the right of a man before the face of the Most High, 36To subvert a man in his cause, the Lord approves not.

37Who is he that says, and it comes to pass, when the Lord commands it not? 38Out of the mouth of the Most High comes there not evil and good? 39Why then does a living man complain, a man for the punishment of his sins? 40Let us search and try our ways, and turn again to Jehovah. 41Let us lift up our heart with our hands unto God in the heavens.

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

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

 

4 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. 2The precious sons of Zion, comparable to fine gold, How are they esteemed as earthen pitchers, the work of the hands of the potter! 3Even the jackals draw out the breast, they give suck to their young ones: The daughter of my people is become cruel, like the ostriches in the wilderness. 4The tongue of the sucking child cleaves to the roof of his mouth for thirst: The young children ask bread, and no man breaks it unto them. 5They that did feed delicately are desolate in the streets: They that were brought up in scarlet embrace dunghills. 6For 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 upon her. 7Her nobles were purer than snow, they were whiter than milk; They were more ruddy in body than rubies, their polishing was as of sapphire. 8Their appearance 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. 9They that are slain with the sword are better than they that are slain with hunger; For these pine away, stricken through, for want of the fruits of the field. 10The hands of the pitiful women have boiled their own children; They were their food in the destruction of the daughter of my people. 11Jehovah has accomplished his wrath, he has poured out his fierce anger; And he has kindled a fire in Zion, which has devoured the foundations thereof. 12The kings of the earth believed not, neither all the inhabitants of the world, That the adversary and the enemy would enter into the gates of Jerusalem.

13It 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. 14They wander as blind men in the streets, they are polluted with blood, So that men cannot touch their garments. 15Depart, they cried unto them, Unclean! depart, depart, touch not! When they fled away and wandered, men said among the nations, They shall no more sojourn here. 16The anger of Jehovah has scattered them; He will no more regard them: They respected not the persons of the priests, they favored not the elders. 17Our eyes do yet fail in looking for our vain help: In our watching we have watched for a nation that could not save. 18They hunt our steps, so that we cannot go in our streets: Our end is near, our days are fulfilled; for our end is come. 19Our pursuers were swifter than the eagles of the heavens: They chased us upon the mountains, they laid wait for us in the wilderness. 20The breath of our nostrils, the anointed of Jehovah, was taken in their pits; Of whom we said, Under his shadow we shall live among the nations.

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

 

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

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

   

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  All text copyright © 2005 Aaron Randall. All rights reserved.  Photos, unless otherwise credited, are the property of the auth, all rights reserved.  Originally posted February 24, 2004.  Revised: April 07, 2010.