A1  A1  1:1-7. Judgments. (Aleph [א=A] to Zayin [ז=Z].)
     B1  D1  1:8-11. Zion. Confession. (Cheth [ח=H] to Kaph [כ=K].)
          E1  1:12,13. Appeal to passers by. (Lamed [ל=L] to Mem [ם=M].)
         D2  1:14-18-. Zion. Confession. (Num [נ=N] to Tzaddi [צ=Z].)
          E2  1:-18,19. Appeal to passers by. (Koph, ק=K.)
           C1  1:20-22. Prayer. (Resh [ר=R] to Tau [ת=T].)
A2  A2  2:1-13. The Judge. (Aleph [א=A] to Mem [ם=M].)
     B2  D3  2:14. Zion. Sin unconfessed. (Num, נ=N.)
          E3  2:15-17. Recrimination of passers by. (Samech [ס=S] to Pe [פ=P].)
           C2  2:18-22. Prayer. (Tzaddi [צ=Z] to Tau [ת=T].)
A3  A3  3:1-21. The Judge. (Aleph [א=A] to Zayin [ז=Z].)
     B3   E4  3:22-26. Remembrance of Yehovah's mercies. (Lamed [ל=L] to Cheth [ח=H].)
         D4  3:37-51. Zion. Sin confessed. (Mem [ם=M] to Pe [פ=P].)
           C3  3:52-66. Prayer. (Tzaddi [צ=Z] to Tau [ת=T].)
A4  A4  4:1-12. Judgments. (Aleph [א=A] to Lamed [ל=L].)
     B4  D5  4:13-20. Zion. Confession. (Mem [ם=M] to Resh [ר=R].)
          E5  4:21,22. Retribution of Yehovah. (Shin [ש=S] to Tau [ת=T].)
           C4  5:1-22. Prayer.

  For the place of Lamentations in the Hebrew Canon, go here, were it is found to be the central book of the 5 Megilloth [or scrolls].
  The book consists of 5 Elegies on the destruction of Jerusalem; and not, as Josephus supposed, on the death of Josiah, basing his opinion on 2 Chron. 35:25.
  The book is appropriately read on the Feast of the 9th day of the 5th month [Ab, July 26-27th]. For on that day are still commemorated the 5 great calamities which befell the nation, viz:-
   1. The return of the 12 spies, and the decree of the 40 years' wanderings in consequence of the rebellion of the People.
   2. The destruction of the 1st Temple by Nebuchadnezzar.
   3. The destruction of the 2nd Temple by the Romans under Titus.
   4. The taking of Bether by the Romans under Hadrian, when 580,000 were slain.
   5. The ploughing of Zion like a field, in fulfillment of Jer. 26:18,&c. and Micah 3:12.

  The 5 Elegies are arranged in a remarkable manner:-

  The first 2 [chapters 1 and 2] consist of 22 long verses of 3 lines each, each verse respectively commencing with the successive letters of the alphabet.

Aleph [א=A]
  The 3rd [chap. 3] consists of 66 verses [3x22], each triad of verses commencing with the same letter: e.g. the first 3 lines commence with Aleph [א=A], the next 3 with Beth [ב=B], and so on through the 22 letters of the alphabet.
  The 4th [chap. 4] is arranged in 22 long verses of 2 lines each, also arranged acrostically.
  The 5th [chap. 5] Lamentations is resolved into a prayer, and the acrostic arrangement gives way before the outburst of emotion. The only connection with the alphabet is that the number of the verses corresponds with the number of the letters [22].

  The Septuagint [followed by the Arabic and Vulgate versions] prefaces its version with these words: "It came to pass that, after Israel was taken captive and Jerusalem was made desolate, Jeremiah sat weeping, and lamented with this lamentation over Jerusalem, and said..."
  The Arabic Targum begins its paraphrase thus: "Jeremiah the prophet, and great priest, said..."



(In the Hebrew text the name of the book is in its first word, Eykah = ALAS! The Talmud calls it Kinoth = dirges or elegies. The Sept. has Threnoi, with the same meaning. The Vulg. has Thremi, i.e. Lamentationes and Laments.)

Lamentations 1)

1 (א) Alas! (or, O how! Heb. 'eykah = an exclamation of pain and grief, a wailing cry [preserved in English "jackal"]. The Massorah) points out that this exclamation is used by 3 prophets, concerning Israel: 1) by Moses in her multiplication [Deut. 1:12. Cp. v.11]; 2) by Isaiah in her dissipation [Isa. 1:21]; 3) by Jeremiah in her desolation [Lam. 1:1]. This word "How" is to be supplied at the beginning of vv.2 and 3. Cp. also 2:1; 4:1; and Isa. 14:12) does the city sit solitary (i.e. empty; referring to the houses and streets), that was full of people! how is she become as a widow! she that was great among the nations, and princess among the provinces, how is she become tributary!
2 (ב) She weeps sore (see Gen. 26:28) in the night, and her tears are on her cheeks: among all her lovers (i.e. allies, whom she preferred to Yahaveh. See Jer. 2:17,27,36,37; 4;30; 22:22. Ezek. 23; and 29:6,7,16) she has none to comfort her: all her friends have dealt treacherously with her, they are become her enemies. (Especially the Edomites and Ammonites. Cp. Jer. 12:14.)
3 (ג) Judah is gone into captivity because of affliction, and because of great servitude: she dwells among the nations (cp. Deut. 28:64,64), she finds no rest: all her pursuers overtook her between the straits. (Like a hunted animal driven where there is no escape)
4 (ד) The ways (not streets in the city, but the roads leading thereto) of Zion do mourn, because none come to the appointed feasts: all her gates are desolate: her priests sigh, her virgins are afflicted, and she is bitter for her. (Instead of festal joy. Cp. Jer. 7:34; 16:9; 25:10; 31:13; 33:11.)
5 (ה) Her adversaries are the head (cp. Deut. 28:13,44), her enemies prosper; for the LORD (Yehovah) has afflicted her for the multitude of her rebellions: her young children are gone into captivity before the enemy.
6 (ו) And from the daughter of Zion all her beauty is departed: her princes are become like harts that find no pasture, and they are gone without strength before the pursuer.
7 (ז) Jerusalem remembered in the days of her affliction and of her miseries all her pleasant things (put for things she used to enjoy) that she had in the days of old, when her people fell into the hand of the enemy, and none did help her: the adversaries saw her, and did mock at her sabbaths. (Or, sabbath-keepings; which she herself had profaned. See Jer. 17:21-23. Ezek. 22:8,26; 23:38.)

8 (ח) Jerusalem has grievously sinned; therefore she is separated as unclean: all that honored her despise her, because they have seen her nakedness: yes, she sighs, and turns backward.
9 (ט) Her filthiness is in her skirts; she remembered not her hereafter; therefore she came down a great wonder: she had no comforter. O LORD, see, behold my affliction: for the enemy has magnified himself.
10 (י) The adversary has spread out his hand upon all her pleasant things: for she has seen that the heathen entered into her sanctuary (cp. Deut. 23:3, a technical expression), whom you did command that they should not enter into your convocation (or assembly).
11 (כ) All her people sigh, they seek bread; they have given their pleasant things for meat to relieve the soul: see, O LORD, and consider; for I am become vile.

12 (ל) Is it nothing to you, all you that pass by? look attentively, and see if there exists any sorrow like unto my pain, which is done to me, wherewith the LORD has afflicted me in the day of His fierce anger.
13 (מ) From above has He sent fire into my bones, and it prevails against them: He has spread a net for my feet, He has turned me back: He has made me desolate and faint all the day.

14 (נ) The yoke (cp. Deut. 28:48) of my transgressions is bound by His hand: they are intertwined, and come up upon my neck: He has made my strength to stumble, the LORD has delivered me into their hands, from whom I am not able to rise up.
15 (ס) The LORD has trodden under foot all my valiant ones in the midst of me: He has proclaimed a festal gathering against me to crush my young men (not that Israel's feasts had ceased, there was another of a different nature and with a different object): the LORD has trodden the virgin, the daughter of Judah, as in a wine-press. (Where the grapes are trodden. Not the vat into which the juice was received.)
16 (ע) For these things I weep; my eye, my eye runs down with water, because the comforter that should bring me back to life is far from me: my sons are desolate, because the enemy prevailed.
17 (פ) Zion spreads forth her hands, and there is none to comfort her: the LORD has commanded concerning Jacob (referring to the natural seed. See Gen. 32:28; 43:6; 45:26,28. Cp. 2:1), that his adversaries should be round about him: Jerusalem is as a menstrual woman among them.
18 (צ) The LORD He is righteous; for I have rebelled against His commandment:

hear, I pray you, all peoples, and behold my sorrow: my virgins and my young men are gone into captivity.
19 (ק) I called for my lovers, but they deceived me: my priests and my elders expired (or, breathed out their last) in the city, while they sought their meat to relieve their souls.

20 (ר) Behold (here begins the prayer), O LORD; for I am in distress: my bowels are troubled; my heart is turned within me; for I have grievously rebelled: abroad the sword bereaves (cp. Deut. 32:25), at home there is as death.
21 (ש) They have heard that I sigh: there is none to comfort me: all my enemies have heard of my trouble; they are glad that You hast done it: You will bring the day (i.e. the day of vengeance of Jer. 25:17-26) that You have called, and they shall be like unto me.
22 (ת) Let all their wickedness come before You (this prayer is in accordance with that Dispensation. Not with this); and do to them, according as You have done to me for all my rebellions: for my sighs are many, and my heart is faint.

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