The author laments the desolation of the city in vv. 1-10. Beginning with v. 11, the city speaks for itself about its misfortune. In both sections, the primary concern is on the cause of the fall of God's people. In the first section, a contrast is drawn between the present and the past. Though the city was once filled with people and enjoyed the status of a queen with great splendor and treasures, she has become a widow, and a slave. The city where there was laughter and joy is now weeping. She had many friends; now she is lonely and without comfort. Once she was the object of praise; now she is a despised city. This city is not an ordinary city; it is the city of God, and the people who live in it were the people of God with whom he had made a covenant. The covenant community, however, did not consider their future while they were enjoying the blessings of God. Instead they sinned greatly and became unclean (see vv. 5, 8, 9, 14, 17, 18, 20). There is no doubt in the mind of the author that the pagan desecration of the Holy City and the temple was the direct consequence of the sins of God's people (vv. 5, 12-14, 17, 22). The conditional nature of God's covenantal blessings upon his people is clearly implied here. The most tragic consequence of the sins of God's people is the withdrawal of God's presence from them, which leaves them with no resting place (v. 3) or comfort in the world (vv. 2, 9, 16, 17, 21). Rest or comfort (in Hebrew these two are related words) is a state of being that a believer enters into by faith in God (see Heb 3:17-4:2). There is no one to comfort Zion because God does not comfort her. Yet the writer calls the suffering community to admit that God is righteous in all that he does (see Dt 32:4), and to confess that they have rebelled against his command (v. 18).
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