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The Sorrowful City[a]

How lonely she lies,
    the city that thronged with people!
Like a widow she has become,
    this great one among nations!
The princess among provinces
    has become a vassal.

Bitterly she cries in the night,
    as tears stream down[b] her cheeks.
No one consoles her
    of all her friends.
All her neighbors have betrayed her;
    they have become her enemies.

Judah has gone into exile
    to escape affliction and servitude.
She that sat among the nations,
    has found no rest.
All her pursuers overtook her
    amid narrow passes.

The roads that lead to Zion are in mourning,
    because no one travels to the festivals.

All her gates are desolate;
    her priests are moaning.
Her young women[c] are grieving,[d]
    and she is bitter.

Her adversaries dominate her,
    her enemies prosper.
For the Lord has made her suffer
    because of her many transgressions.
Her children have gone away,
    taken into captivity in the presence of the enemy.

Fled from cherished[e] Zion
    are all that were her splendor.
Her princes have become like deer
    that cannot find their feeding grounds.
They flee with strength exhausted
    from their pursuers.

Jerusalem remembers[f]
    her time of affliction and misery;
all her valued belongings[g]
    of days gone by,
when her people fell into enemy hands,
    with no one to help her,
and her enemies stared at her,
    mocking her downfall.

Jerusalem sinned greatly,
    and she became unclean.[h]
All who honored her now despise her,
    because they saw her naked.
She herself groans
    and turns her face away.

Uncleanness has soiled her skirts,
    and she gave no thought to what would follow.
She fell in such a startling way,
    with no one to comfort her.
Look, Lord, upon my affliction,
    because my enemy is boasting.

10 The adversary seized in his hands
    everything she valued.
She watched the nations[i]
    enter her sanctuary;
those you forbade to enter
    your place of meeting.

11 All her people groaned
    as they searched for food.
They traded their valuables in order to eat,
    to keep themselves alive.[j]
Look, Lord, and see
    how I have become dishonored.

12 May it not befall you,[k]
    all who pass along the road!
Look and see:
    Is there any grief
like my grief
    dealt out to me,
by which the Lord afflicted me
    in the time of his fierce wrath?

13 He sent fire from on high,[l]
    making it penetrate my bones.[m]
He stretched out a net at my feet,
    forcing me to turn back.
He made me desolate;
    I’m fainting all day long.

14 The yoke of my sins was bound on,[n]
    fastened together by his hand.
They settled on my neck;
    he caused my strength to fail.
The Lord placed me in the power
    of those I cannot resist.

15 He rejected all the valiant men—
    the Lord, in my midst.
He set a time to meet with me
    to crush my young warriors.
The Lord has trampled, as in a winepress,
    the fair virgin that is[o] Judah.

16 Because of all this, I weep;
    my eyes[p] stream with tears
because far from me
    is the comforter of my soul.
My children are sorrowful,
    because the enemy has won.

17 Zion spreads out her hands;[q]
    no one is there to comfort her.
The Lord has issued an order against[r] Jacob,
    that all who are around him are to be his enemies;
Jerusalem has become
    unclean among them.

18 The Lord is in the right,
    but I rebelled against his commands.
Listen, please, all you people,
    and look at my pain—
my young men and women[s]
    have gone into captivity.

19 I called out to my lovers,[t]
    but they deceived me.
My priests and my elders
    have died within the city
while looking for something to eat
    to keep themselves alive.

20 Look, Lord, how distressed I am;
    all my insides are churning.
My heart is troubled within me,
    because I vigorously rebelled.
Outside the sword brings loss of life,
    while at home death rules.

21 People[u] heard how I groan,
    with no one to comfort me.
All my adversaries have heard about my troubles;
    they rejoice that you have caused them.
Bring on the day you have promised,
    so my adversaries[v] will become like me.
22 May all of their wickedness come to your attention,
    and deal with them
as you have done with me
    because of all my transgressions.
For I am constantly groaning,
    and my heart is faint.


  1. Lamentations 1:1 This book is an acrostic—successive verses begin with a consecutive letter of the Heb. alphabet except in chapter 3, where every three verses begin with the same consecutive Heb. letter.
  2. Lamentations 1:2 The Heb. lacks stream down
  3. Lamentations 1:4 Lit. virgins
  4. Lamentations 1:4 Or are led away.
  5. Lamentations 1:6 Lit. from the daughter of
  6. Lamentations 1:7 Or Remember, Lord, Jerusalem,
  7. Lamentations 1:7 Or Perished are all her valued belongings
  8. Lamentations 1:8 Lit. has been removed; i.e. due to ritual uncleanness
  9. Lamentations 1:10 Or watched foreigners
  10. Lamentations 1:11 Lit. to eat to refresh the soul
  11. Lamentations 1:12 Lit. It is not for you
  12. Lamentations 1:13 Lit. high into my bones
  13. Lamentations 1:13 Lit. overcoming her
  14. Lamentations 1:14 Lit. was heavy
  15. Lamentations 1:15 Lit. the virgin daughter of
  16. Lamentations 1:16 Lit. my eyes my eyes
  17. Lamentations 1:17 Or Zion rent her linen garments
  18. Lamentations 1:17 Or Lord kept watch over
  19. Lamentations 1:18 Lit. virgins
  20. Lamentations 1:19 Or friends
  21. Lamentations 1:21 Lit. They
  22. Lamentations 1:21 Lit. so they