Old Testament

Lamentations is a series of five poems, each of which mourns the fall of Jerusalem in 586 BC and the suffering of its people that resulted from that disaster. The first four poems are alphabetic acrostics, in which the successive verses begin with successive letters of the Hebrew alphabet. The acrostic form expresses grief from A to Z.
A tradition recorded in the Greek version of the Old Testament attributes authorship to Jeremiah.
The Humiliation of the Daughter of Zion[]
11How lonely the city sits, which once was full of people!
She, who was great among the nations, is now a widow.
She, who was a princess among the provinces, now works as a slave.
2At night she weeps bitterly, and her tears linger on her cheek.
Not one of her lovers is there to comfort her.
All her friends have betrayed her. They are now her enemies.
3Judah has gone into exile. She endures affliction and harsh labor.
She lives among the nations. She finds no rest.
All her pursuers caught up with her when she was in great distress.
4The roads to Zion are mourning,
because there are no travelers going to the appointed assemblies.
All her gates are deserted. Her priests groan.
Her virgins grieve. Her grief is bitter.
5Her foes have risen to the top. Her enemies prosper.
Because of her many acts of rebellion,
the Lord has brought grief to her.
Her children have gone into captivity in the presence of the foe.
6The daughter of Zion[] has lost all her splendor.
Her officials have become like deer that find no pasture.
Powerless, they fled[] before the pursuer.
7Jerusalem remembers the days of her affliction
and her homeless wandering.
She remembers all her precious things which were hers from long ago.
When her people fell under the hand of the foe,
there was no one to help her.
Foes saw her and laughed at the end she has come to.
8Jerusalem has sinned terribly, so she is unclean.[]
All who once honored her now despise her,
because they have seen her nakedness.
She can only sigh and turn away.
9Her flow of blood stains her skirt.
She did not consider the outcome of her sin.
Her collapse was astonishing.
There was no one to comfort her.
Look, Lord, at my affliction,
for the enemy has done awful things.
10The foe has laid hands on all her precious things.
She has even seen nations enter her sanctuary,
nations about whom you commanded,
“They shall not enter your assembly.”
11All her people are sighing as they search for bread.
They traded their precious things for food in order to stay alive.
Look, Lord, and see that I have become despised.
12But nothing like this is happening to you,
all you who pass me by.[]
Look and see if there is any pain like my pain,
which was dealt out to me,
which the Lord caused me to suffer
on the day of his burning anger.
13From on high he sent fire into my bones and overpowered[] me.
He spread a net for my feet. He turned me back.
He made me desolate. I was sick all day long.
14The yoke of my sinful rebellion is fastened to my neck.
My sins are bound together by his hand.
They have risen up as high as my neck.
He has weakened my strength.[]
The Lord has given me into the hands of people I cannot resist.
15The Lord has tossed aside all the strong men in my midst.
He called an assembly against me to break my best young men.
The Lord has trampled the virgin daughter of Judah in a winepress.
16Because of these things I am weeping.
My eye, my eye flows with water,
because the comforter, the one who restores my soul,
is far away from me.
My children have become desolate,
because the enemy has prevailed.
17Zion spreads out her hands, but there is no one to comfort her.
The Lord has commanded those who surround Jacob to be his foes.
Among them, Jerusalem has become an unclean thing.
18The Lord is righteous.
I am the one who rebelled against the word from his mouth.
Please listen, all you peoples, and see my pain.
My virgins and my best young men have gone into captivity.
19I called to my lovers, but they deceived me.
My priests and my elders perished in the city,
as they sought food for themselves to restore their lives.
20See, Lord, I am in distress. My emotions are in turmoil.
My heart turns over inside me, because I have been very rebellious.
Outside, the sword takes away my children.
Inside, there is death.
21People have heard that I am groaning.
There is no one who comforts me.
All my enemies have heard about my misery,
and they rejoiced that you did this.
Bring on the day that you have announced,
so that they may become like me.
22May all their wickedness come before you.
Deal harshly with them,
just as you dealt harshly with me
because of all my rebellion.
Yes, my groans are many, and my heart is sick.


  • 1:1 This chapter is an alphabetic acrostic. The 22 successive verses begin with the 22 successive letters of the Hebrew alphabet.
  • 1:6 The phrase daughter of Zion is a personification of Jerusalem and her people. Daughter of Jerusalem and daughter of Judah are the same figure of speech.
  • 1:6 Or they were too weak to escape from
  • 1:8 The Hebrew term refers to ceremonial impurity caused by blood. Compare verse 9.
  • 1:12 Or is all this nothing to you, all you who pass me by?
  • 1:13 Or it came down on
  • 1:14 This verse is difficult.