Lamentations 1

The prophet speaks

1 The city that was full of people is lonely now.

The city is like the wife of a dead husband.

Once she was great.

She was like a queen among the other places in the country.

Now she is a slave.

1:1God made Jerusalem great and important. So he can stop it being great or important. He will stop it if the people go against him. In Isaiah 47:1-11 and Revelation 18:1-8, he says that he will do this to another city, Babylon.

2 She weeps in the night

and there are tears on her face.

Not one of her lovers comforts her.

All her friends have left her.

They have gone against her and they are now her enemies.

1:2Many people had always come to Jerusalem. They do not come any longer. God took their friends away so that Jerusalem's people would turn back to him. See how very sad Jeremiah is: Jeremiah 9:1.

3 The enemies have taken Judah's people away as slaves.

The slaves have only trouble and difficult work.

They now live among strangers.

They have no rest, and they live far away from home.

They cannot go away from those who do cruel things to them.

4 Zion's streets are sad places now.

1:4Zion is another name for Jerusalem. Jerusalem was the capital city of the country called Judah.

Nobody comes to worship God there any longer.

There is nothing to hear at the city gates.

1:4The leaders always met at the city gate to talk together. See Lamentations 5:14.

The priests are sad.

Strangers are cruel to the young women.

The people in Zion are very sad.

5 The people's enemies rule them now.

Those who hate them have plenty.

The Lord has caused trouble for the people

because they did so many wrong things.

1:5When we write Lord like this, it is a special name for God. Sometimes people write it as ‘Yahweh’, or as ‘Jehovah’. It is his own name that he told Moses. See Exodus 3:14. It means ‘I am who I am’. This shows that God has always been there and he always will be there.

The enemies took the children away to work as slaves.

6 Zion is not beautiful any longer.

Her leaders are like animals without food.

They are too weak to run from their enemies.

7 Jerusalem's people are in trouble and they are away from their homes now.

So they remember the good things

that they had a long time ago.

When their enemies came, nobody was there with them.

Nobody helped them.

Their enemies laughed when they destroyed Jerusalem.

8 Jerusalem's people have sinned very much.

That is why this city is not clean any longer.

People thought that this city was the best.

Now they think that it is not important.

They see it as it is.

Jerusalem's people make sad noises and they want to hide themselves away.

9 Jerusalem seemed dirty because the people were so bad.

They never thought that the end would be like this.

But their enemies destroyed the city.

They do not have anyone who can comfort them.

God did not listen any longer when they asked for his help.

Lord, see our troubles.

See how happy our enemies are,’ the people pray.

10 The enemies have taken away all Jerusalem's valuable things.

Foreign people have walked into God's holy house.

But God had said that people like that must not go in there.

They are not his people.

11 Jerusalem's people are making sad noises.

They are sad as they look for food.

They sell things that they love.

They use them to buy food.

That way, they can keep themselves alive.

1:11The city's people speak like one person

Lord, see what is happening.

Think about me,

because nobody else does,’ the people pray.

12 ‘Come and really look at me!

All you people who pass me do not show any interest in me.

But you have never seen anything as sad as I am.

The Lord was very angry with me.

So it was the Lord who did this to me.

1:12The city's people speak

13 It is like God has sent fire down into our bones to hurt us.

He wants us to turn towards him again,

so he has caused things to be very difficult for us.

All day he causes us to feel lonely and weak.

14 He has caused our sins to seem like something very heavy that lies on our necks.

It makes us weak.

He has let the enemy be very strong.

He let them win against us.

So we cannot beat them.

15 The Lord has let the enemy beat all our strong men.

He brought a big army to fight our young men, and the enemy won that fight.

The Lord God has punished us, like people walk on grapes to break them.

1:15People walk on grapes to make wine. This means that the Lord caused trouble and pain for the people. He was punishing them. But he also did it to teach them. He wanted them to change.

He has let the enemy destroy the people of Judah.

16 We weep because of these things.

Tears run down our faces because God is not with us.

Nobody will help us.

We are the children of this city

and we have nothing now.

The enemy has won.’

1:16Jeremiah speaks again

17 Zion's people ask for help,

but nobody is their friend.

They are Jacob's children.

1:17Jacob was the ancestor of all the Israelites. The Bible sometimes uses the name Jacob to mean all God's people, the Israelites. God often saved the Israelites from troubles. Now they are in trouble because they have turned against God.

But the Lord has said that he will cause their enemies

to come from every country near them.

Those other people think about Jerusalem as they would think about something dirty.

1:17Verses 18-22 The city's people speak again.

18 ‘The Lord is right to punish us.

We have not obeyed him.

1:18When God causes trouble, he causes it for a reason. People should know that he is right. Some people might say that he is wrong. If they say that, they do not understand either him or themselves. See 2 Chronicles 12:5-6.

Listen, all people everywhere, and look at us.

We are in very bad trouble.

The enemy has taken away our young women

and our young men to be slaves.’

19 ‘We shouted to our friends.

They had said that they would help us.

But they did not help us.

Our priests and our leaders died in the city.

They were looking for food to keep themselves alive.

20 Look, Lord, we are in a lot of trouble.

We are very sad.

We are weak deep inside ourselves

because we have done so many bad things.

They are killing our people in the streets.

People are dying in the houses.’

1:20Jerusalem's people are talking to God, (see verses 20-22). It helps people to know that God sees all their troubles. God thinks about their troubles because he loves them. He will even cause good things to be the result of bad things.

21 ‘Everybody knows that we are very sad.

Nobody wants to help us.

All our enemies know about our trouble.

They are happy, God, that you caused that trouble.

Please cause trouble for those enemies too, as you promised.

22 You know that they have done many bad things.

Punish them as you have punished us.

You punished us because we did many bad things.

Now we are ashamed and we are very sad.’