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The Prophets of The Exile

(Category 10 of 16)

Watch our Read Scripture video on the book of Lamentations, which breaks down the literary design of the book and its flow of thought. There is one Read Scripture video dedicated to the book of Lamentations, which aims to help you see its unique contribution to the story of Jesus, but also how they work within the Bible’s overall framework.

The book itself is a collection of five funeral poems offered on behalf of Jerusalem after its destruction by Babylon.

Explore Lamentations



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The book of


LAMENTATIONS describes the funeral of a city. It is a tearstained portrait of the
once proud Jerusalem, now reduced to rubble by the invading Babylonian
hordes. In a five-poem dirge, Jeremiah exposes his emotions. A death has occurred;
Jerusalem lies barren.
Jeremiah writes his lament in acrostic or alphabetical fashion. Beginning each
chapter with the first letter A (aleph) he progresses verse by verse through the
Hebrew alphabet, literally weeping from A to Z. And then, in the midst of this terrible
holocaust, Jeremiah triumphantly cries out, “Great is Your faithfulness”
(3:23). In the face of death and destruction, with life seemingly coming apart, Jeremiah
turns tragedy into a triumph of faith. God has never failed him in the past.
God has promised to remain faithful in the future. In the light of the God he knows
and loves, Jeremiah finds hope and comfort.
The Hebrew title of this book comes from the first word of chapters 1, 2, and 4:
Ekah, “Ah, how!” Another Hebrew word Ginoth (“Elegies” or “Lamentations”) has
also been used as the title because it better represents the contents of the book.
The Greek title Threnoi means “Dirges” or “Laments,” and the Latin title Threni
(“Tears” or “Lamentations”) was derived from this word. The subtitle in Jerome’s
Vulgate reads: “Id est lamentationes Jeremiae prophetae,” and this became the
basis for the English title “The Lamentations of Jeremiah.”

Jerusalem in Affliction


1 HOW lonely sits the city That was full of people! aHow like a widow is she, Who was great among the nations! The bprincess among the provinces Has become a 1slave!

2 She aweeps bitterly in the bnight, 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.

3 aJudah has gone into captivity, Under affliction and hard servitude;

CHAPTER 1 References

1 aIs. 47:7–9
b1 Kin. 4:21;
Ezra 4:20; Jer.
31:7 1Lit.
forced laborer
2 aJer. 13:17
bJob 7:3
3 aJer. 52:27
bLam. 2:9
cDeut. 28:65
4 aIs. 27:10
5 aDeut. 28:43
bJer. 30:14, 15;
Dan. 9:7, 16
cJer. 52:28
1Lit. her head

bShe dwells among the 1nations, She finds no crest; All her persecutors overtake her in dire straits.

4 The roads to Zion mourn Because no one comes to the 1set feasts. All her gates are adesolate; Her priests sigh, Her virgins are afflicted, And she is in bitterness.

5 Her adversaries ahave become 1the master, Her enemies prosper; For the LORD has afflicted her bBecause of the multitude of her transgressions. Her cchildren have gone into captivity before the enemy.

6 And from the daughter of Zion All her splendor has departed.

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Her princes have become like deer That find no pasture, That 1flee without strength Before the pursuer.

7 In the days of her affliction and roaming, Jerusalem aremembers 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 1downfall.

8 aJerusalem has sinned gravely, Therefore she has become 1vile. All who honored her despise her Because bthey have seen her nakedness; Yes, she sighs and turns away.

9 Her uncleanness is in her skirts; She adid 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 1pleasant things; For she has seen athe nations enter her 2sanctuary, Those whom You commanded bNot to enter Your assembly.

11 All her people sigh, aThey 1seek bread; They have given their 2valuables for food to restore life. “See, O LORD, and consider, For I am scorned.”

12 “Is it nothing to you, all you who 1pass by? Behold and see aIf 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 aspread a net for my feet And turned me back; He has made me desolate And faint all the day.

14 “Thea yoke of my transgressions was 1bound; They were woven together by His hands,

6 1Lit. are
7 aPs. 137:1
1Vg. Sabbaths
8 a[1 Kin. 8:46] bJer. 13:22;
Ezek. 16:37;
Hos. 2:10
moved or removed
9 aDeut. 32:29;
Is. 47:7; Jer.
10 aPs. 74:4–8;
Is. 64:10, 11;
Jer. 51:51
bDeut. 23:3;
Neh. 13:1 1desirable
place, the
11 aJer. 38:9;
52:6 1hunt
food 2desirable
12 aDan. 9:12
1Lit. pass by
this way
13 aEzek.
12:13; 17:20
14 aDeut. 28:48
1So with MT,
Tg.; LXX,
watched over
15 aIs. 63:3;
[Rev. 14:19] 16 aPs. 69:20;
Eccl. 4:1; Jer.
13:17; Lam.
17 a[Is. 1:15];
Jer. 4:31
b2 Kin. 24:2–4;
Jer. 12:9
18 aNeh. 9:33;
Ps. 119:75;
Dan. 9:7, 14
b1 Sam. 12:14,
15; Jer. 4:17
1Lit. mouth
20 aJob 30:27;
Is. 16:11; Jer.
4:19; Lam.
2:11; Hos. 11:8
bDeut. 32:25;
Ezek. 7:15
1Lit. inward
21 aPs. 35:15;
Jer. 48:27;
50:11; Lam.
2:15; Obad. 12
bIs. 13; [Jer.
46] 1proclaimed
22 aNeh. 4:4, 5;
Ps. 109:15;
137:7, 8; Jer.

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; aThe Lord trampled as in a winepress The virgin daughter of Judah.

16 “For these things I weep; My eye, amy 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 aZion 1spreads out her hands, But no one comforts her; The LORD has commanded concerning Jacob That those baround him become his adversaries; Jerusalem has become an unclean thing among them.

18 “The LORD is arighteous, For I brebelled against His 1commandment. 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 asoul1 is troubled; My heart is overturned within me, For I have been very rebellious. bOutside 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 aglad that You have done it. Bring on bthe day You have 1announced, That they may become like me.

22 “Leta all their wickedness come before You, And do to them as You have done to me For all my transgressions;

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For my sighs are many, And my heart is faint.”

God’s Anger with Jerusalem


1 How the Lord has covered the daughter of Zion With a acloud in His anger! bHe cast down from heaven to the earth cThe beauty of Israel, And did not remember dHis footstool In the day of His anger.

2 The Lord has swallowed up and has anot 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; bHe has profaned the kingdom and its princes.

3 He has cut off in fierce anger Every 1horn of Israel; aHe has drawn back His right hand From before the enemy. bHe has blazed against Jacob like a flaming fire Devouring all around.

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

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

6 He has done violence ato His 1tabernacle, bAs 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 cspurned the king and the priest.

7 The Lord has spurned His altar, He has aabandoned His sanctuary;

CHAPTER 2 References

1 a[Lam. 3:44] bMatt. 11:23
c2 Sam. 1:19
dPs. 99:5
2 aLam. 3:43
bPs. 89:39, 40
3 aPs. 74:11
bPs. 89:46
4 aIs. 63:10
bEzek. 24:25
5 aJer. 30:14
bJer. 52:13
6 aPs. 80:12;
89:40 bIs. 1:8
cIs. 43:28 1Lit.
7 aEzek. 24:21
bPs. 74:3–8
8 aJer. 52:14
b[Is. 34:11] 1determined
9 aJer. 51:30
bDeut. 28:36
c2 Chr. 15:3
dPs. 74:9
10 aIs. 3:26
bJob 2:12 cIs.
15:3 1A sign
of mourning
11 aLam. 3:48
bJob 16:13
cLam. 4:4 1Lit.
inward parts
2Lit. liver
13 aLam. 1:12
1Or bear witness
14 aJer. 2:8;
23:25–29; 29:8,
9; 37:19 bIs.


He has 1given up the walls of her palaces Into the hand of the enemy. bThey have made a noise in the house of the LORD As on the day of a set feast.

8 The LORD has 1purposed to destroy The awall of the daughter of Zion. bHe 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.

9 Her gates have sunk into the ground; He has destroyed and abroken her bars. bHer king and her princes are among the 1nations; cThe Law is no more, And her dprophets find no 2vision from the LORD.

10 The elders of the daughter of Zion aSit on the ground and keep silence; 1They bthrow dust on their heads And cgird themselves with sackcloth. The virgins of Jerusalem Bow their heads to the ground.

11 aMy eyes fail with tears, My 1heart is troubled; bMy 2bile is poured on the ground Because of the destruction of the daughter of my people, Because cthe 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 aconsole1 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 aprophets have seen for you False and deceptive visions; They have not buncovered your iniquity, To bring back your captives,

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But have envisioned for you false cprophecies and delusions.

15 All who 1pass by aclap their hands at you; They hiss band shake their heads At the daughter of Jerusalem: “Is this the city that is called c‘The perfection of beauty, The joy of the whole earth’?”

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

17 The LORD has done what He apurposed; 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 brejoice over you; He has exalted the 1horn of your adversaries.

18 Their heart cried out to the Lord, “O wall of the daughter of Zion, aLet tears run down like a river day and night; Give yourself no relief; Give 1your eyes no rest.

19 “Arise, acry out in the night, At the beginning of the watches; bPour 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 cat the head of every street.”

20 “See, O LORD, and consider! To whom have You done this? aShould the women eat their offspring, The children 1they have cuddled? Should the priest and prophet be slain In the sanctuary of the Lord?

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

14 cJer.
15 aEzek. 25:6
bPs. 44:14
c[Ps. 48:2;
50:2] 1Lit.
pass by this
16 aJob 16:9,
10 bPs. 56:2;
124:3 cLam.
1:21 dPs. 35:21
17 aLev. 26:16
bPs. 38:16
18 aJer. 14:17
1Lit. the
daughter of
your eye
19 aPs. 119:147
bPs. 42:4; 62:8
cIs. 51:20
20 aLev. 26:29
1Vg. a span
21 a2 Chr.
36:17 bJer.
22 aPs. 31:13
bHos. 9:12
cJer. 16:2–4;

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

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Rejoicing in Answered Prayer

A Psalm of David.

1 TO You I will cry, O LORD my Rock: aDo not be silent to me, bLest, if You are silent to me, I become like those who go down to the pit.
2 Hear the voice of my supplications When I cry to You, aWhen I lift up my hands btoward Your holy sanctuary.
3 Do not 1take me away with the wicked And with the workers of iniquity, aWho speak peace to their neighbors, But evil is in their hearts.
4 aGive them according to their deeds, And according to the wickedness of their endeavors; Give them according to the work of their hands; Render to them what they deserve.

PSALM 28 References

1 aPs. 35:22;
39:12; 83:1
bPs. 88:4;
143:7; Prov.
2 aPs. 5:7 bPs.
3 aPs. 12:2;
55:21; 62:4;
Jer. 9:8 1drag
4 a[Ps. 62:12];
2 Tim. 4:14;
[Rev. 18:6;
22:12] 5 aIs. 5:12
7 aPs. 18:2;
59:17 bPs.
13:5; 112:7
8 aPs. 20:6 1So
with MT, Tg.;
LXX, Syr.,Vg.
the strength
of His people
Heb. messiah
9 a[Deut. 9:29;
32:9; 1 Kin.
8:51; Ps.
33:12]; 106:40
bDeut. 1:31;
Is. 63:9

5 Because athey do not regard the works of the LORD, Nor the operation of His hands, He shall destroy them And not build them up.

6 Blessed be the LORD, Because He has heard the voice of my supplications!
7 The LORD is amy strength and my shield; My heart btrusted in Him, and I am helped; Therefore my heart greatly rejoices, And with my song I will praise Him.

8 The LORD is 1their strength, And He is the asaving refuge of His 2anointed.
9 Save Your people, And bless aYour inheritance; Shepherd them also, bAnd bear them up forever.




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