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The prophetic book Lamentations

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Author: --- Background & Theme --- dated at:
Thought to be Jeremiah reference made in Jeremiah 7:29. To lament the falling of Jerusalem / Judah and the people. Judah was carried off captive to Babylon in 586bc, 2nd Kings 25, while Israel had already been taken captive by the Assyrians, 136 years earlier in 722bc. The book consists of five poems, one per chapter. Three of the poems are written as acrostics, with each verse beginning with the next letter of the Hebrew alphabet. The theme of the poem's deals with: God's judgment in response to man's sin and God's compassion.
five chapters
Around the fall of Jerusalem, about 586 BC.

Verse by verse, account of the book of Lamentations.

Lamentations: chapter 1

1Jerusalem, the once great city, among the nations filled with people, has now become as a widow, alone and desolate and is as a slave. 2The city weeps in the night but her tears are all in vain, all have turned on her among those she desired, she has none to comfort her, they have all become her enemies. 3Judah has also gone into captivity because of her misdeeds, her people find no rest as they have been overtaken by their persecutors and are now severing the heathen. 4The pathways to the LORD's solemn feasts do mourn, for her city gates are desolate, her virgins have been affected and her priests do sigh, bitterness has overtaken her. 5Her enemies rule and reign over her and even prosper, for the children have gone into captivity, for the LORD has affected them for her many transgressions. 6All beauty has departed from the daughters of Zion, her leaders no longer have cities to lead and they have gone before their pursuers without strength. 7Now in the days of her affection, Jerusalem remembers the pleasant things that her she had before her people fell captive, for in those days none helped her and her adversaries mocked her Sabbaths as useless. 8Jerusalem has grievously sinned, turned backwards, becoming unclean thus being removed, those who once honored her have seen her shame and now despise her. 9She is defiled! She gave little thought to her final end, therefore her fall was great, from a royal throne to slavery. There is no one to comfort her even as she cries out to the LORD, for the enemy has triumphed over her. 10Her enemies have even defiled her holy places, for she has seen them entering her sanctuaries, taking the holy things, the people that the LORD commanded should not enter. 11Her people groan, they seek for food, bartering with their precious things for food. As the people cry out to the LORD, consider how low we have fallen.

12And to those who pass by, Look at how great our sorrow is, there is none greater, for the LORD has afflicted us. 13For the LORD has made our bones burn like fire, we are within His nets and He has turned us back, we are most miserable and hopeless. 14Our yoke that our transgressions have put on us, is controlled by His hand. He has delivered us into their hands and has caused our strength to fail. 15All of our mighty men has the LORD defeated, He has set forth a time to crush my young men, pressing, as a winepress, even the daughters of Jerusalem. 16Because of these things I weep and cry. For the comforter that could relieve my soul, is far from me, the enemy has prevailed and my children are desolate. 17Even though Jerusalem has reached out her hands, there is no one there to comfort her. The LORD has commanded its enemies to surround her, for Jerusalem is unclean and defiled. 18The LORD is just and righteous, for we have rebelled against Him. Hear this all you people and see our sorrow for our virgins and young men have gone into captivity. 19 For I called to my lovers and they deceived me, also our priests and elders were merely self-serving. 20Look upon us LORD, we are in distress. Our insides are in knots, our thoughts alone are concerned with our survival. We have greatly rebelled 21There is none to comfort me, all my foes have heard my groans and troubles and they are glad. For you will bring the day of Judah's punishment, as you foretold, for it also involves our enemies and they shall become like us. 22May their wickedness come before you and do unto them as You have done unto us for our transgressions. for our hearts faint and we groan day and night.

Lamentations: chapter 2

1How the LORD has covered Jerusalem in His anger and cast them down from their high throne, as if He had forgotten about His footstool in the day of His anger. 2The LORD has sent down His wrath and swallowed up the inhabitation of Israel and brought Judah down low. 3In His anger He has broken down Israel's defense, empowered the enemy and they have surrounded Israel. 4With the bow the enemy did slay all that they saw, even within the people's sacred places, for the LORD stood by their side. 5 The LORD has become like as an enemy to Israel. He has swallowed her up, destroyed her strong holds and their mourning has greatly increased. 6For He has withdrawn His Tabernacle in His rage and destroyed the assemblies of their high places. Causing them to forget of His solemn feasts and Sabbaths, for in His anger He has rejected their kings and priests. 7The LORD has rejected and cast off His altar, He has given Israel over to the enemy and they now hold a victory triumph, in the house of the LORD, on the feast days. 8For the LORD has purposed to destroy the wall of Jerusalem,. 9The gates are sunken into the ground and the bars are broken. Her kings and officials are taken captive, the law is no more and her prophets find no visions in the LORD.

10The elders of Jerusalem sit in silence, they have put on sackcloth and put ashes on their heads, even the virgins of Jerusalem mourn. 11My eyes fail with tears and I am troubled, because of the destruction of my people, for the children and the infants are cast out into the city streets. 12As they wander the streets, they ask their mothers, where is our food and drink? 13Oh How can I comfort you, what can I compare your trials to, that I may witness to you, Oh Jerusalem? For your ruin is great, who can heal you? 14Your prophets have prophesied vain and foolish things only to increase yourself delusions and they have not revealed to you the truth of your iniquities, to turn you away from your captivity. 15All who now pass by Jerusalem, are shocked, saying; Was this the city that men called the perfection of beauty, the joy of the earth? 16All of our enemies speak against us, bragging of their conquest. 17The LORD has fulfilled His Word as He has said in the days of old, He has thrown you down without pity, He has caused your enemies to rejoice over you, for He has placed them in power over you. 18Then the hearts of Jerusalem cried out to the LORD, as the prophet Jeremiah spoke to the people, saying; Weep day and night without ceasing. 19Cry in the night, pour out your heart and lift up your hands to the LORD, for our children are at stake. 20LORD consider to whom You have done this, shall our woman eat their own children, shall our priest be slain as they worship the LORD? 21The young and the old lie in the streets and our young men and women have fallen by the sword. For in Your anger You killed them without pity. 22You, LORD have called for this day of terror and in the day of Your anger none escaped, for all have been consumed by the enemy.

Lamentations: chapter 3

1I am the man Jeremiah that has seen affliction by the rod of the LORD's wrath. 2The LORD has led me into darkness and not light. 3Surely He has turned against me, all day His hand is against me. 4He has made my flesh old and has broken my bones. 5He has built a siege against me and surrounds me with bitterness and hardship. 6He has caused me to live in dark places, as does a corpse. 7He has hedged me in, to where I cannot get out, my bondage is great. 8Also when I cry and shout, he shuts out my prayers. 9He has walled me in and set me on a crooked path. 10It was as He lied in wait for me, like a lion hiding in a secret place. 11He has turned me from my ways, ripping me in pieces, he has made me desolate. 12He has bent His bow and marked me as the target. 13And caused His arrows to enter into my heart and my desires. 14I have become a mockery to all my people, for in their songs, they mock me all day long. 15He has filled me and made me drunk with bitterness. 16He has broken my teeth and covered me with ashes. 17He has removed my soul far from peace and I have forgotten what prosperity is. 18My strength and hope in the LORD has perished. 19May the LORD remember all of my affliction and misery and my bitterness. 20My soul remembers them all and is humbled within me.

21When I recall these things, it brings me hope. 22For it is of the LORD's mercies that we are not consumed, His compassion fails not. 23They are new every morning, great is Your faithfulness. 24The LORD is my portion, says my soul. Therefore I will hope in Him. 25The LORD is good unto them that wait on Him and the soul that seeks Him. 26It is good that a man both hope and quietly wait for the salvation of the LORD. 27It is good for a man that he bears this yoke in his youth. 28Let him sit and bear in silence, for this is what God has given him. 29May he be aware of his unworthiness, so that there may still be hope. 30May he humble himself and give his cheek to the LORD that afflicts him, although he is filled full with reproach. 31For the Lord will not cast him aside forever: 32Though the LORD causes grief, yet He will have compassion according to the multitude of His mercies. 33For He does not afflict out of vengeance the children of men. 34Crushing the prisoners of the earth under His feet, 35Turning aside the right of a man before the face of the Most High, 36Subverting a man in his own cause, the Lord does not approve of these things.

37For no one shall speak and have it come to pass, unless the Lord commands it. 38For does not out of the mouth of the Most High proceed both evil and good? 39Why then does a living man complain, for the punishment of his sins? 40Let us then examine our ways and turn back to the LORD. 41Let us lift our hearts and our hands in prayer to GOD in heaven.

42For we have transgressed and rebelled, God did not pardon us. 43For You have covered Yourself with anger and persecuted and slain us without mercy. 44And in such anger, our prayers do not pass through. 45You have made us as an outcast midst of the people. 46All our enemies have spoken against us. 47Fear has come upon us, of desolation and destruction. 48I cry rivers of tears, because of the destruction of my people. 49My eyes overflow continually without ceasing, 50Until the LORD sees from heaven. 51My eyes cause me grief at the fate of my city. 52My enemies have hunted me down, without cause. 53They have cut off my life in the dungeon and cast stones upon me. 54Waters flowed over my head, then I said, I am gone.

55Then, I called upon the name, O LORD, out of my low state. 56You then heard my voice and did not hide from my prayer of relief. 57You did draw near in the day when I called and You said; Fear not. 58O Lord, You did contend with my soul and You have redeemed my life. 59O LORD, You have seen my overthrow, therefore, judge my case. 60You have seen their vengeance against me. 61You have heard their reproach towards me and their imaginations against me; 62How they have spoken and their deeds against me. 63You know all of their movements, behold, I am their amusement. 64Give unto them a recompense, O LORD, according to the work of their hands. 65Give them sorrow of heart, place Your curse upon them. 66LORD, persecute and destroy them with Your anger.

Lamentations: chapter 4

1The holy things of the sanctuary have been treated so carelessly, the gold has become dim and the precious stones are poured out on the street. 2The princes and priests, once worth their weight in fine gold for they are God's chosen, are now considered as common dirt. 3Even the lowest of life nurse and care for their children, but my people have become cruel and they have deserted their young. 4The infant dies of thirst while the young child asks for bread in vain. 5Those who eat rich foods are now destitute in the street, while they who were robed in rich garments lie in ash heaps. 6For the despair that has come to my people, is greater than the punishment of Sodom. For it was overthrown in a moment. 7For in appearance, her priests were whiter than snow and robust in body. 8But my people are blacker than coal, they are as skin and bone. 9They who are slain with the sword are more fortunate than they who are slain with hunger, for they that perish due to hunger slowly waste away. 10Even the hand of the merciful women have boiled their own children, for this was their food during the destruction of the city. 11The LORD has fulfilled His wrath, He has poured out His anger and devoured the foundations of the people. 12No one believed at first that the enemy could enter into the gates of Jerusalem.

13But this happened, due to the sins of the false prophets and the iniquity of the priests. 14They wander as blind men in the streets and have polluted themselves with blood, as unclean men. 15They cry, unclean, unclean, as they wander like fugitives. 16The anger of the LORD has scattered them and does not regard them. 17As for us, our hopes for other nations to save us have been in vain. 18They track our steps and our days are numbered for our end has come. 19Our persecutors are swift, wherever we run to they are there. 20They have even taken the breath of our nostrils, the anointing of the LORD.

21Rejoice for now, you people of Edom. For your turn will come and you shall bear your shame. 22Jerusalem, the punishment for your iniquity has been done, no more will the LORD carry you away into captivity, but He will visit iniquities on the people of Edom.

Lamentations: chapter 5

1Consider, what has come upon us, O LORD and look upon our reproach. 2Our inheritance is turned to strangers, our houses to foreigners. 3We are orphans and fatherless, our mothers are as widows. 4We have to pay money to drink our own water, our own wood is sold back to us. 5We are under persecution and do labor, there is no rest for us. 6We have given our pledge to the Egyptians and the Assyrians, merely to get food. 7It was our fathers whom sinned and are no more and we have bore their iniquities. 8Even slaves rule over us, there is no one to deliver us. 9Even to reap our own harvest, we risk our own lives, because of the sword of wicked men. 10Our skin is parched because of the burning heat of the famine. 11They have ravished the women of Jerusalem and the maids in the cities of Judah. 12They have hung princes by their hands, neither do they respect elders. 13The young men they have made to carry millstones, also making the children burdens to heavy to carry and they have fallen. 14The elders no longer gather together and the young men no longer play their happy tunes. 15There is no longer joy in our hearts and our dance has turned into mourning. 16Woe unto us for we have sinned! The crown is fallen from our head.

17For this reason our heart is faint and our eyes are dim. 18The foxes now walk over the mountains of Jerusalem, for they stand desolate. 19But You, O LORD, reign forever, Your throne is from generation to generation. 20Have you forgotten us? Why have we been forsaken for so long? 21Turn to us, O LORD and we shall turn and be restored, renew our days as before. 22Or have You utterly rejected us? Are You still angry with us?