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Lamentations 1-5 New King James Version (NKJV)

Jerusalem in Affliction

How lonely sits the city
That was full of people!
How like a widow is she,
Who was great among the nations!
The princess among the provinces
Has become a [a]slave!

She weeps bitterly in the night,
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 have become her enemies.

Judah has gone into captivity,
Under affliction and hard servitude;
She dwells among the [b]nations,
She finds no rest;
All her persecutors overtake her in dire straits.

The roads to Zion mourn
Because no one comes to the [c]set feasts.
All her gates are desolate;
Her priests sigh,
Her virgins are afflicted,
And she is in bitterness.

Her adversaries have become [d]the master,
Her enemies prosper;
For the Lord has afflicted her
Because of the multitude of her transgressions.
Her children have gone into captivity before the enemy.

And from the daughter of Zion
All her splendor has departed.
Her princes have become like deer
That find no pasture,
That [e]flee without strength
Before the pursuer.

In the days of her affliction and roaming,
Jerusalem remembers all her pleasant things
That she had in the days of old.
When her people fell into the hand of the enemy,
With no one to help her,
The adversaries saw her
And mocked at her [f]downfall.

Jerusalem has sinned gravely,
Therefore she has become [g]vile.
All who honored her despise her
Because they have seen her nakedness;
Yes, she sighs and turns away.

Her uncleanness is in her skirts;
She did not consider her destiny;
Therefore her collapse was awesome;
She had no comforter.
“O Lord, behold my affliction,
For the enemy is exalted!”

10 The adversary has spread his hand
Over all her [h]pleasant things;
For she has seen the nations enter her [i]sanctuary,
Those whom You commanded
Not to enter Your assembly.

11 All her people sigh,
They [j]seek bread;
They have given their [k]valuables for food to restore life.
“See, O Lord, and consider,
For I am scorned.”

12 Is it nothing to you, all you who [l]pass by?
Behold and see
If there is any sorrow like my sorrow,
Which has been brought on me,
Which the Lord has inflicted
In the day of His fierce anger.

13 “From above He has sent fire into my bones,
And it overpowered them;
He has spread a net for my feet
And turned me back;
He has made me desolate
And faint all the day.

14 “The yoke of my transgressions was [m]bound;
They were woven together by His hands,
And thrust upon my neck.
He made my strength fail;
The Lord delivered me into the hands of those whom I am not able to withstand.

15 “The Lord has trampled underfoot all my mighty men in my midst;
He has called an assembly against me
To crush my young men;
The Lord trampled as in a winepress
The virgin daughter of Judah.

16 “For these things I weep;
My eye, my eye overflows with water;
Because the comforter, who should restore my life,
Is far from me.
My children are desolate
Because the enemy prevailed.”

17 Zion [n]spreads out her hands,
But no one comforts her;
The Lord has commanded concerning Jacob
That those around him become his adversaries;
Jerusalem has become an unclean thing among them.

18 “The Lord is righteous,
For I rebelled against His [o]commandment.
Hear now, all peoples,
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
Breathed their last in the city,
While they sought food
To restore their life.

20 “See, O Lord, that I am in distress;
My soul[p] is troubled;
My heart is overturned within me,
For I have been very rebellious.
Outside the sword bereaves,
At home it is like death.

21 “They have heard that I sigh,
But no one comforts me.
All my enemies have heard of my trouble;
They are glad that You have done it.
Bring on the day You have [q]announced,
That they may become 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.”

God’s Anger with Jerusalem

How the Lord has covered the daughter of Zion
With a cloud in His anger!
He cast down from heaven to the earth
The beauty of Israel,
And did not remember His footstool
In the day of His anger.

The Lord has swallowed up and has not pitied
All the dwelling places of Jacob.
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 its princes.

He has cut off in fierce anger
Every [r]horn of Israel;
He has drawn back His right hand
From before the enemy.
He has blazed against Jacob like a flaming fire
Devouring all around.

Standing like an enemy, He has bent His bow;
With His right hand, like an adversary,
He has slain all who were pleasing to His eye;
On the tent of the daughter of Zion,
He has poured out His fury like fire.

The Lord was like an enemy.
He has swallowed up Israel,
He has swallowed up all her palaces;
He has destroyed her strongholds,
And has increased mourning and lamentation
In the daughter of Judah.

He has done violence to His [s]tabernacle,
As if it were a garden;
He has destroyed His place of assembly;
The Lord has caused
The appointed feasts and Sabbaths to be forgotten in Zion.
In His burning indignation He has spurned the king and the priest.

The Lord has spurned His altar,
He has abandoned His sanctuary;
He has [t]given up the walls of her palaces
Into the hand of the enemy.
They have made a noise in the house of the Lord
As on the day of a set feast.

The Lord has [u]purposed to destroy
The wall of the daughter of Zion.
He has stretched out a line;
He has not withdrawn His hand from destroying;
Therefore He has caused the rampart and wall to lament;
They languished together.

Her gates have sunk into the ground;
He has destroyed and broken her bars.
Her king and her princes are among the [v]nations;
The Law is no more,
And her prophets find no [w]vision from the Lord.

10 The elders of the daughter of Zion
Sit on the ground and keep silence;
[x]They throw dust on their heads
And gird themselves with sackcloth.
The virgins of Jerusalem
Bow their heads to the ground.

11 My eyes fail with tears,
My [y]heart is troubled;
My [z]bile is poured on the ground
Because of the destruction of the daughter of my people,
Because the children and the infants
Faint in the streets of the city.

12 They say to their mothers,
“Where is grain and wine?”
As they swoon like the wounded
In the streets of the city,
As their life is poured out
In their mothers’ bosom.

13 How shall I console[aa] you?
To what shall I liken you,
O daughter of Jerusalem?
What shall I compare with you, that I may comfort you,
O virgin daughter of Zion?
For your ruin is spread wide as the sea;
Who can heal you?

14 Your prophets have seen for you
False and deceptive visions;
They have not uncovered your iniquity,
To bring back your captives,
But have envisioned for you false prophecies and delusions.

15 All who [ab]pass by clap their hands at you;
They hiss and shake their heads
At the daughter of Jerusalem:
Is this the city that is called
‘The perfection of beauty,
The joy of the whole earth’?”

16 All your enemies have opened their mouth against you;
They hiss and gnash their teeth.
They say, “We have swallowed her up!
Surely this is the day we have waited for;
We have found it, we have seen it!

17 The Lord has done what He purposed;
He has fulfilled His word
Which He commanded in days of old.
He has thrown down and has not pitied,
And He has caused an enemy to rejoice over you;
He has exalted the [ac]horn of your adversaries.

18 Their heart cried out to the Lord,
“O wall of the daughter of Zion,
Let tears run down like a river day and night;
Give yourself no relief;
Give [ad]your eyes no rest.

19 “Arise, cry out in the night,
At the beginning of the watches;
Pour out your heart like water before the face of the Lord.
Lift your hands toward Him
For the life of your young children,
Who faint from hunger at the head of every street.”

20 “See, O Lord, and consider!
To whom have You done this?
Should the women eat their offspring,
The children [ae]they have cuddled?
Should the priest and prophet be slain
In the sanctuary of the Lord?

21 “Young and old lie
On the ground in the streets;
My virgins and my young men
Have fallen by the sword;
You have slain them in the day of Your anger,
You have slaughtered and not pitied.

22 “You have invited as to a feast day
The terrors that surround me.
In the day of the Lord’s anger
There was no refugee or survivor.
Those whom I have borne and brought up
My enemies have destroyed.”

The Prophet’s Anguish and Hope

I am the man who has seen affliction by the rod of His wrath.
He has led me and made me walk
In darkness and not in light.
Surely He has turned His hand against me
Time and time again throughout the day.

He has aged my flesh and my skin,
And broken my bones.
He has besieged me
And surrounded me with bitterness and [af]woe.
He has set me in dark places
Like the dead of long ago.

He has hedged me in so that I cannot get out;
He has made my chain heavy.
Even when I cry and shout,
He shuts out my prayer.
He has blocked my ways with hewn stone;
He has made my paths crooked.

10 He has been to me a bear lying in wait,
Like a lion in [ag]ambush.
11 He has turned aside my ways and torn me in pieces;
He has made me desolate.
12 He has bent His bow
And set me up as a target for the arrow.

13 He has caused the [ah]arrows of His quiver
To pierce my [ai]loins.
14 I have become the ridicule of all my people—
Their taunting song all the day.
15 He has filled me with bitterness,
He has made me drink wormwood.

16 He has also broken my teeth with gravel,
And [aj]covered me with ashes.
17 You have moved my soul far from peace;
I have forgotten [ak]prosperity.
18 And I said, “My strength and my hope
Have perished from the Lord.”

19 Remember my affliction and roaming,
The wormwood and the [al]gall.
20 My soul still remembers
And [am]sinks within me.
21 This I recall to my mind,
Therefore I have hope.

22 Through the Lord’s mercies we are not consumed,
Because His compassions fail not.
23 They are new every morning;
Great is Your faithfulness.
24 “The Lord is my portion,” says my soul,
“Therefore I hope in Him!”

25 The Lord is good to those who wait for Him,
To the soul who seeks Him.
26 It is good that one should hope and wait quietly
For the salvation of the Lord.
27 It is good for a man to bear
The yoke in his youth.

28 Let him sit alone and keep silent,
Because God has laid it on him;
29 Let him put his mouth in the dust—
There may yet be hope.
30 Let him give his cheek to the one who strikes him,
And be full of reproach.

31 For the Lord will not cast off forever.
32 Though He causes grief,
Yet He will show compassion
According to the multitude of His mercies.
33 For He does not afflict [an]willingly,
Nor grieve the children of men.

34 To crush under one’s feet
All the prisoners of the earth,
35 To turn aside the justice due a man
Before the face of the Most High,
36 Or subvert a man in his cause—
The Lord does not approve.

37 Who is he who speaks and it comes to pass,
When the Lord has not commanded it?
38 Is it not from the mouth of the Most High
That woe and well-being proceed?
39 Why should a living man [ao]complain,
A man for the punishment of his sins?

40 Let us search out and examine our ways,
And turn back to the Lord;
41 Let us lift our hearts and hands
To God in heaven.
42 We have transgressed and rebelled;
You have not pardoned.

43 You have covered Yourself with anger
And pursued us;
You have slain and not pitied.
44 You have covered Yourself with a cloud,
That prayer should not pass through.
45 You have made us an offscouring and refuse
In the midst of the peoples.

46 All our enemies
Have opened their mouths against us.
47 Fear and a snare have come upon us,
Desolation and destruction.
48 My eyes overflow with rivers of water
For the destruction of the daughter of my people.

49 My eyes flow and do not cease,
Without interruption,
50 Till the Lord from heaven
Looks down and sees.
51 My eyes bring suffering to my soul
Because of all the daughters of my city.

52 My enemies without cause
Hunted me down like a bird.
53 They [ap]silenced my life in the pit
And threw [aq]stones at me.
54 The waters flowed over my head;
I said, “I am cut off!”

55 I called on Your name, O Lord,
From the lowest pit.
56 You have heard my voice:
“Do not hide Your ear
From my sighing, from my cry for help.”
57 You drew near on the day I called on You,
And said, “Do not fear!”

58 O Lord, You have pleaded the case for my soul;
You have redeemed my life.
59 O Lord, You have seen [ar]how I am wronged;
Judge my case.
60 You have seen all their vengeance,
All their schemes against me.

61 You have heard their reproach, O Lord,
All their schemes against me,
62 The lips of my enemies
And their whispering against me all the day.
63 Look at their sitting down and their rising up;
I am their taunting song.

64 Repay them, O Lord,
According to the work of their hands.
65 Give them [as]a veiled heart;
Your curse be upon them!
66 In Your anger,
Pursue and destroy them
From under the heavens of the Lord.

The Degradation of Zion

How the gold has become dim!
How changed the fine gold!
The stones of the sanctuary are [at]scattered
At the head of every street.

The precious sons of Zion,
[au]Valuable as fine gold,
How they are [av]regarded as clay pots,
The work of the hands of the potter!

Even the jackals present their breasts
To nurse their young;
But the daughter of my people is cruel,
Like ostriches in the wilderness.

The tongue of the infant clings
To the roof of its mouth for thirst;
The young children ask for bread,
But no one breaks it for them.

Those who ate delicacies
Are desolate in the streets;
Those who were brought up in scarlet
Embrace ash heaps.

The punishment of the iniquity of the daughter of my people
Is greater than the punishment of the sin of Sodom,
Which was overthrown in a moment,
With no hand to help her!

Her [aw]Nazirites were [ax]brighter than snow
And whiter than milk;
They were more ruddy in body than rubies,
Like sapphire in their [ay]appearance.

Now their appearance is blacker than soot;
They go unrecognized in the streets;
Their skin clings to their bones,
It has become as dry as wood.

Those slain by the sword are better off
Than those who die of hunger;
For these pine away,
Stricken for lack of the fruits of the field.

10 The hands of the compassionate women
Have [az]cooked their own children;
They became food for them
In the destruction of the daughter of my people.

11 The Lord has fulfilled His fury,
He has poured out His fierce anger.
He kindled a fire in Zion,
And it has devoured its foundations.

12 The kings of the earth,
And all inhabitants of the world,
Would not have believed
That the adversary and the enemy
Could enter the gates of Jerusalem—

13 Because of the sins of her prophets
And the iniquities of her priests,
Who shed in her midst
The blood of the just.

14 They wandered blind in the streets;
They have defiled themselves with blood,
So that no one would touch their garments.

15 They cried out to them,
“Go away, unclean!
Go away, go away,
Do not touch us!”
When they fled and wandered,
Those among the nations said,
“They shall no longer dwell here.

16 The [ba]face of the Lord scattered them;
He no longer regards them.
The people do not respect the priests
Nor show favor to the elders.

17 Still our eyes failed us,
Watching vainly for our help;
In our watching we watched
For a nation that could not save us.

18 They [bb]tracked our steps
So that we could not walk in our streets.
Our end was near;
Our days were over,
For our end had come.

19 Our pursuers were swifter
Than the eagles of the heavens.
They pursued us on the mountains
And lay in wait for us in the wilderness.

20 The breath of our nostrils, the anointed of the Lord,
Was caught in their pits,
Of whom we said, “Under his shadow
We shall live among the nations.”

21 Rejoice and be glad, O daughter of Edom,
You who dwell in the land of Uz!
The cup shall also pass over to you
And you shall become drunk and make yourself naked.

22 The punishment of your iniquity [bc]is accomplished,
O daughter of Zion;
He will no longer send you into captivity.
He will punish your iniquity,
O daughter of Edom;
He will uncover your sins!

Prayer for Restoration

Remember, O Lord, what has come upon us;
Look, and behold our reproach!
Our inheritance has been turned over to aliens,
And our houses to foreigners.
We have become orphans and waifs,
Our mothers are like widows.

We pay for the water we drink,
And our wood comes at a price.
They pursue at our [bd]heels;
We labor and have no rest.
We have given our hand to the Egyptians
And the Assyrians, to be satisfied with bread.

Our fathers sinned and are no more,
But we bear their iniquities.
Servants rule over us;
There is none to deliver us from their hand.
We get our bread at the risk of our lives,
Because of the sword in the wilderness.

10 Our skin is hot as an oven,
Because of the fever of famine.
11 They ravished the women in Zion,
The maidens in the cities of Judah.
12 Princes were hung up by their hands,
And elders were not respected.
13 Young men ground at the millstones;
Boys staggered under loads of wood.
14 The elders have ceased gathering at the gate,
And the young men from their music.

15 The joy of our heart has ceased;
Our dance has turned into mourning.
16 The crown has fallen from our head.
Woe to us, for we have sinned!
17 Because of this our heart is faint;
Because of these things our eyes grow dim;
18 Because of Mount Zion which is desolate,
With foxes walking about on it.

19 You, O Lord, remain forever;
Your throne from generation to generation.
20 Why do You forget us forever,
And forsake us for so long a time?
21 Turn us back to You, O Lord, and we will be [be]restored;
Renew our days as of old,
22 Unless You have utterly rejected us,
And are very angry with us!

Footnotes:

  1. Lamentations 1:1 Lit. forced laborer
  2. Lamentations 1:3 Gentiles
  3. Lamentations 1:4 appointed
  4. Lamentations 1:5 Lit. her head
  5. Lamentations 1:6 Lit. are gone
  6. Lamentations 1:7 Vg. Sabbaths
  7. Lamentations 1:8 LXX, Vg. moved or removed
  8. Lamentations 1:10 desirable
  9. Lamentations 1:10 holy place, the temple
  10. Lamentations 1:11 hunt food
  11. Lamentations 1:11 desirable things
  12. Lamentations 1:12 Lit. pass by this way
  13. Lamentations 1:14 So with MT, Tg.; LXX, Syr., Vg. watched over
  14. Lamentations 1:17 Prays
  15. Lamentations 1:18 Lit. mouth
  16. Lamentations 1:20 Lit. inward parts
  17. Lamentations 1:21 proclaimed
  18. Lamentations 2:3 Strength
  19. Lamentations 2:6 Lit. booth
  20. Lamentations 2:7 delivered
  21. Lamentations 2:8 determined
  22. Lamentations 2:9 Gentiles
  23. Lamentations 2:9 Prophetic revelation
  24. Lamentations 2:10 A sign of mourning
  25. Lamentations 2:11 Lit. inward parts
  26. Lamentations 2:11 Lit. liver
  27. Lamentations 2:13 Or bear witness to
  28. Lamentations 2:15 Lit. pass by this way
  29. Lamentations 2:17 Strength
  30. Lamentations 2:18 Lit. the daughter of your eye
  31. Lamentations 2:20 Vg. a span long
  32. Lamentations 3:5 hardship or weariness
  33. Lamentations 3:10 Lit. secret places
  34. Lamentations 3:13 Lit. sons of
  35. Lamentations 3:13 Lit. kidneys
  36. Lamentations 3:16 Lit. bent me down in
  37. Lamentations 3:17 Lit. good
  38. Lamentations 3:19 bitterness
  39. Lamentations 3:20 Lit. bowed down
  40. Lamentations 3:33 Lit. from His heart
  41. Lamentations 3:39 Or murmur
  42. Lamentations 3:53 LXX put to death
  43. Lamentations 3:53 Lit. a stone on
  44. Lamentations 3:59 Lit. my wrong
  45. Lamentations 3:65 A Jewish tradition sorrow of
  46. Lamentations 4:1 Lit. poured out
  47. Lamentations 4:2 Lit. Weighed against
  48. Lamentations 4:2 reckoned
  49. Lamentations 4:7 Or nobles
  50. Lamentations 4:7 Or purer
  51. Lamentations 4:7 Lit. polishing
  52. Lamentations 4:10 boiled
  53. Lamentations 4:16 Tg. anger
  54. Lamentations 4:18 Lit. hunted
  55. Lamentations 4:22 has been completed
  56. Lamentations 5:5 Lit. necks
  57. Lamentations 5:21 returned
New King James Version (NKJV)

Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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