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Sunday, June 16th, 2024
the Week of Proper 6 / Ordinary 11
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Bible Commentaries
Lamentations 1

Old & New Testament Restoration CommentaryRestoration Commentary

Verses 1-11

Lam 1:1-11

Jerusalem the widow of Shame (Lamentations 1:1-11)

How doth the city sit solitayr, that was full of people! She is become as a widow, that was great among the nations! She that was a princess among the provinces is become tributary! She weepeth sore in the night, and her tears are on her cheeks; Among all her lovers she hath none to comfort her: All her friends have dealt treacherously with her; they are become her enemies. Judah is gone into captivity because of affliction, and because of great servitude; She dwelleth among the nations, she findeth no rest: All her persecutors overtook her within the straits (Lamentations 1:1-3).

Jerusalem (Zion) was once considered a world power under the reigns of David and Solomon. She was known as a princess among the provinces but now as tributary. Those nations that Judah had used as allies are refered to as lovers. Nations such as Egypt, in whom Judah put her trust rather than God, were not around to comfort her in her time of sorrow (cf. Jeremiah 2:36 ff). Those who would be recognized as her friends had dealt treacherously with her. The Edomites (Psalms 137:7), Ammonites, Tyrians (Ezekiel 25:3-6), and the Moabites (Jeremiah 40:14) all rejoiced over the fall of Judah.

Captivity of Judah filled with affliction and servitude.

The ways of Zion do mourn, because none come to the solemn assembly; All her gates are desolate, her priests do sigh: Her virgins are afflicted, and she herself is in bitterness. Her adversaries are become the head, her enemies prosper; For Jehovah hath afflicted her for the multitude of her transgressions: Her young children are gone into captivity before the adversary. And from the daughter of Zion all her majesty is departed: Her princes are become like harts that find no pasture, And they are gone without strength before the pursuer. Jerusalem remembereth in the days of her affliction and of her miseries all her pleasant things that were from the days of old: When her people fell into the hand of the adversary, and none did help her, The adversaries saw her, they did mock at her desolations. Jerusalem hath grievously sinned; therefore she is become as an unclean thing; All that honored her despise her, because they have seen her nakedness: Yea, she sigheth, and turneth backward. Her filthiness was in her skirts; she remembered not her latter end; Therefore is she come down wonderfully; she hath no comforter: Behold, O Jehovah, my affliction; for the enemy hath magnified himself (Lamentations 1:4-9).

As Jerusalem, depicted as an individual, pondered upon her glorious days of worship and activities at the gates of the city, she mourned even more. She now lay in affliction due to the sins she shamelessly committed against Jehovah God.

Jerusalem is depicted as an unclean woman that was to be shunned (cf. Leviticus 12:2-5). Her enemies had seen her nakedness, and she was now ashamed. Jerusalem sinned and did not think about the latter end. This verse depicts a sinner who was caught up in the pleasure of the moment and disregarded the consequences of his or her sinful actions (cf. Deuteronomy 32:29; Isaiah 47:7).

The adversary hath spread out his hand upon all her pleasant things: For she hath seen that the nations are entered into her sanctuary, Concerning whom thou didst command that they should not enter into thine assembly. All her people sigh, they seek bread; They have given their pleasant things for food to refresh the soul: See, O Jehovah, and behold; for I am become abject (Lamentations 1:10-11).

Jerusalem was plundered. Treasures were taken from the city because they had sinned. Jeremiah had warned that this would be the case (cf. Jeremiah 20:5).

Aside from suffering the shame of being plundered, the people starved to death in the famine. Jeremiah had warned the people of this, too, as a consequence of their disobedience (Jeremiah 14:11-12; Jeremiah 21:7; Jeremiah 24:10; etc...).

Verses 12-22

Lam 1:12-22

Sorrows of captive Zion (Lamentations 1:12-22)

Is it nothing to you, all ye that pass by? Behold, and see if there be any sorrow like unto my sorrow, which is brought upon me, Wherewith Jehovah hath afflicted [me] in the day of his fierce anger. From on high hath he sent fire into my bones, and it prevaileth against them; He hath spread a net for my feet, he hath turned me back: He hath made me desolate and faint all the day. The yoke of my transgressions is bound by his hand; They are knit together, they are come up upon my neck; He hath made my strength to fail: The Lord hath delivered me into their hands, against whom I am not able to stand (Lamentations 1:12-14).

Jerusalem called out for sympathy to those who passed by and hissed at the sight of her shame. Jerusalem wore the yoke of affliction as a consequence of her sins tightly upon her neck. These verses are indicative that Judah recognized that her suffering was of her own sinful doing.

The Lord hath set at nought all my mighty men in the midst of me; He hath called a solemn assembly against me to crush my young men: The Lord hath trodden as in a winepress the virgin daughter of Judah. For these things I weep; mine eye, mine eye runneth down with water; Because the comforter that should refresh my soul is far from me: My children are desolate, becausethe enemy hath prevailed (Lamentations 1:15-16).

God s wrath against the ungodly is often depicted in the scriptures as a winepress that mashed the grapes under foot as the blood of the grapes flow (cf. Revelation 14:19-20).

The one in whom Judah ought to have had comfort, God, was far fromthem. The punishment and solitude of life without Jehovah God drove the prophet to exclaim, I weep; mine eye, mine eye runs down with water. Tears of deep anguish and sorrow describe the’ state of Judah. Though Jeremiah was writing this, it is apparent that this is the cry of Judah s people. They recognized their sins and the consequences thereof and therefore cried. This was precisely the state of mind Jehovah had determined to drive the people due to their sins (cf. Jeremiah 30:11; Jeremiah 31:17-20; Jeremiah 46:28).

Zion spreadeth forth her hands; there is none to comfort her; Jehovah hath commanded concerning Jacob, that they that are round about him should be his adversaries: Jerusalem is among them as an unclean thing. Jehovah is righteous; for I have rebelled against his commandment: Hear, I pray you, all ye peoples, and behold my sorrow: My virgins and my young

men are gone into captivity. I called for my lovers, [but] they deceived me: My priests and mine elders gave up the ghost in the city, While they sought them food to refresh their souls (Lamentations 1:17-19).

The Lord had driven Judah to repentance in the most grueling circumstances. The prophet had foretold of the grievous deaths (Jeremiah 16:3-4), the taking of their riches (Jeremiah 20:5), the removal of all happiness (Jeremiah 25:10), that their cities would be left desolate and uninhabited (Jeremiah 34:22), and that they would spend seventy years in captivity for their sinful deeds (Jeremiah 25:11). All had come to pass, and the people of Judah knew assuredly that Jehovah had brought them through these terrible days because of their sin. There was none to come to their aid. All had been destroyed by the Chaldeans.

Behold, O Jehovah; for I am in distress; my heart is troubled; My heart is turned within me; for I have grievously rebelled: Abroad the sword bereaveth, at home there is as death. They have heard that I sigh; there is none to comfort me; all mine enemies have heard of my trouble; they are glad that thou hast done it: Thou wilt bring the day that thou hast proclaimed, and they shall be like unto me. Let all their wickedness come before thee; And do unto them,as thou hast done unto me for all my transgressions: For my sighs are many, and my heart is faint (Lamentations 1:20-22).

The distress and’ trouble of heart because of the current’ affliction was recognized as being the result of Judah s grievous rebellion against Jehovah s commandments.

Again, the enemies of Judah were seen as rejoicing over her fall. Judah saw their happiness and prayed to Jehovah. Her prayer revealed their acknowledgment of sin. Jeremiah had spoken for God saying, Only acknowledge thine iniquity, that thou hast transgressed against Jehovah thy God... (Jeremiah 3:13), yet they said, We will not walk therein... (Jeremiah 6:16).

Now that Jehovah had chastened them with a battle axe of Babylon (cf. Jeremiah 51:20), they had humbled themselves. Their pride had turned into shame and depression due to their sins (cf. Jeremiah 6:16; Jeremiah 26:10-11).

Jeremiah Mourns for Jerusalem

Questions on Lamentations 1:1-22

Open It

1. How do you handle rejection?

2. What city would you least like to visit? Why?

3. What do you do when you know you need help?

Explore It

4. How did the writer describe the city? (Lamentations 1:1-2)

5. What happened to Judah? (Lamentations 1:3)

6. What did the empty roads to Zion depict? (Lamentations 1:4-6)

7. What did Jerusalem recall? (Lamentations 1:7)

8. How had the city become ruined? (Lamentations 1:8-11)

9. Who punished Jerusalem? (Lamentations 1:12)

10. How had the daughter of Judah suffered? (Lamentations 1:13-16)

11. Why were Zion’s pleas for help ignored? (Lamentations 1:17-19)

12. What price did Zion pay for her rebellion? (Lamentations 1:18-19)

13. How did devastated Jerusalem describe her condition? (Lamentations 1:20-22)

14. What was Zion’s prayer for her enemies? (Lamentations 1:21-22)

Get It

15. What do you consider to be the worst change in your community during the past year?

16. From your point of view, how much leadership, respect, and authority is given to God by our nation?

17. How do you think God deals with the sins of our society?

18. If God were to lament publicly over our society, what do you think He would say?

19. What social sins most trouble you?

20. How has suffering and humiliation moved you to action?

21. When have you felt ignored by God?

22. When have you felt in desperate need of God’s help?

23. What do you need to safeguard most in your relationship with God?

Apply It

24. When could you spend five minutes every day this week praying for the needs of a big city?

25. What action can you take to challenge a sinful social policy or practice in your community?

Bibliographical Information
"Commentary on Lamentations 1". "Old & New Testament Restoration Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/onr/lamentations-1.html.
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