From The Work of God's Children
THE LAMENTATIONS OF JEREMIAH
In these JEREMIAH laments in a most sorrowful manner the miseries of his people, and the destruction of JERUSALEM and the temple, in Hebrew verses, beginning with different letters according to the order of the Hebrew alphabet.
Lamentations Chapter 1
The location of modern-day Israel
PREFACE: And it came to pass, after Israel was carried into captivity, and Jerusalem was desolate, that Jeremiah the prophet sat weeping, and mourned with this lamentation over Jerusalem, and with a sorrowful mind, sighing and moaning, he said:
And it came to pass, etc. . .This preface was not written by Jeremiah, but was added by the seventy interpreters, to give the reader to understand upon what occasion the Lamentations were published.
1:1. Aleph. How does the city sit solitary that was full of people! How is the mistress of the Gentiles become as a widow: the princes of provinces made tributary!
1:2. Beth. Weeping, she has wept in the night, and her tears are on her cheeks: there is none to comfort her among all them that were dear to her: all her friends have despised her, and have become her enemies.
1:3. Ghimel. Judah has removed her dwelling place, because of her affliction, and the greatness of her bondage; she has dwelt among the nations, and she has found no rest; all her persecutors have taken her in the midst of straits.
1:4. Daleth. The ways of Zion mourn, because there are none that come to the solemn feast: all her gates are broken down; her priests sigh; her virgins are in affliction; and she is oppressed with bitterness.
1:5. He. Her adversaries are become her lords; her enemies are enriched; because the Lord has spoken against her for the multitude of her iniquities; her children are led into captivity, before the face of the oppressor.
1:6. Vau. And from the daughter of Zion, all her beauty is departed; her princes are become like rams that find no pastures; and they are gone away without strength before the face of the pursuer.
1:7. Zain. Jerusalem has remembered the days of her affliction, and prevarication of all her desirable things which she had from the days of old, when her people fell in the enemy's hand, and there was no helper; the enemies have seen her, and have mocked at her Sabbaths.
1:8. Heth. Jerusalem has grievously sinned, therefore is she become unstable; all that honored her, have despised her, because they have seen her shame; but she sighed, and turned backward.
1:9. Teth. Her filthiness is on her feet, and she has not remembered her end; she is wonderfully cast down, not having a comforter: behold, O Lord, my affliction, because the enemy is lifted up.
1:10. Jod. The enemy has put out his hand to all her desirable things: for she has seen the Gentiles enter into her sanctuary, of whom you gave commandment that they should not enter into your assembly.
1:11. Caph. All her people sigh, they seek bread: they have given all their precious things for food to relieve the soul: see, O Lord, and consider, for I am become vile.
1:12. Lamed. O all that pass by the way, attend, and see if there be any sorrow like to my sorrow: for he has made a vintage of me, as the Lord spoke in the day of his fierce anger.
1:13. Mem. From above he has sent fire into my bones, and has chastised me: he has spread a net for my feet, he has turned me back: he has made me desolate, wasted with sorrow all the day long.
1:14. Nun. The yoke of my iniquities has watched: they are folded together in his hand, and put upon my neck: my strength is weakened: the Lord has delivered me into a hand, out of which I am not able to rise.
1:15. Samech. The Lord has taken away all my mighty men out of the midst of me: he has called against me the time, to destroy my chosen men: the Lord has trodden the winepress for the virgin daughter of Judah.
1:16. Ain. Therefore do I weep, and my eyes run down with water: because the comforter, the relief of my soul, is far from me: my children are desolate because the enemy has prevailed.
1:17. Phe. Zion has spread forth her hands, there is none to comfort her: the Lord has commanded against Jacob, his enemies are round about him: Jerusalem is as one unclean among them.
1:18. Sade. The Lord is just, for I have provoked his mouth to wrath: hear, I pray you, all you people, and see my sorrow: my virgins, and my young men are gone into captivity.
1:19. Coph. I called for my friends, but they deceived me: my priests and my ancients pined away in the city: while they sought their food, to relieve their souls.
1:20. Res. Behold, O Lord, for I am in distress: my heart is turned within me, for I am full of bitterness: abroad the sword destroys and at home there is death alike.
1:21. Sin. They have heard that I sigh, and there is none to comfort me: all my enemies have heard of my evil, they have rejoiced that you have done it: you have brought a day of consolation, and they shall be like unto me.
1:22. Thau. Let all their evil be present before you: and make vintage of them, as you have made vintage of me for all my iniquities: for my sighs are many, and my heart is sorrowful.
Lamentations Chapter 2
2:1. Aleph. How has the Lord covered with obscurity the daughter of Zion in his wrath! how has he cast down from heaven to the earth the glorious one of Israel, and has not remembered his footstool in the day of his anger.
2:2. Beth. The Lord has cast down headlong, and has not spared, all that was beautiful in Jacob: he has destroyed in his wrath the strong holds of the virgin of Judah, and brought them down to the ground: he has made the kingdom and its princes unclean.
2:3. Ghimel. He has broken in his fierce anger all the horn of Israel: he has drawn back his right hand from before the enemy: and he has kindled in Jacob as it were a flaming fire devouring round about.
2:4. Daleth. He has bent his bow as an enemy, he has fixed his right hand as an adversary: and he has killed all that was fair to behold in the tabernacle of the daughter of Zion, he has poured out his indignation like fire.
2:5. He. The Lord is become as an enemy: he has cast down Israel headlong, he has overthrown all its walls: he has destroyed his strongholds, and has multiplied in the daughter of Judah the afflicted, both men and women.
2:6. Vau. And he has destroyed his tent as a garden, he has thrown down his tabernacle: the Lord has caused feasts and Sabbaths to be forgotten in Zion: and has delivered up king and priest to reproach, and to the indignation of his wrath.
2:7. Zain. The Lord has cast off his altar, he has cursed his sanctuary: he has delivered the walls of its towers into the hand of the enemy: they have made a noise in the house of the Lord, as in the day of a solemn feast.
He has cursed his sanctuary. . .That is, he permitted his sanctuary to be destroyed, as if it had not been consecrated, but execrable.
2:8. Heth. The Lord has purposed to destroy the wall of the daughter of Zion: he has stretched out his line, and has not withdrawn his hand from destroying: and the bulwark has mourned, and the wall has been destroyed together.
2:9. Teth. Her gates are sunk into the ground: he has destroyed, and broken her bars: her king and her princes are among the Gentiles: the law is no more, and her prophets have found no vision from the Lord.
2:10. Jod. The ancients of the daughter of Zion sit upon the ground, they have held their peace: they have sprinkled their heads with dust, they are girded with haircloth, the virgins of Jerusalem hang down their heads to the ground.
2:11. Caph. My eyes have failed with weeping, my stomach churns: my liver is poured out upon the earth, for the destruction of the daughter of my people, when the children, and the babes, fainted away in the streets of the city.
2:12. Lamed. They said to their mothers: Where is corn and wine? when they fainted away as the wounded in the streets of the city: when they breathed out their souls while held close to the hearts of their mothers.
2:13. Mem. To what shall I compare you? or to what shall I liken you, O daughter of Jerusalem? to what shall I equal you, that I may comfort you, O virgin daughter of Zion? for great as the sea is your destruction: who shall heal you?
2:14. Nun. Your prophets have seen false and foolish things for you: and they have not laid open your iniquity, to excite you to penance: but they have seen for you false revelations and banishments.
2:15. Samech. All they that passed by the way have clapped their hands at you: they have hissed, and wagged their heads at the daughter of Jerusalem, saying: Is this the city of perfect beauty, the joy of all the earth?
2:16. Phe. All your enemies have opened their mouth against you: they have hissed, and gnashed with the teeth, and have said: We will swallow her up: lo, this is the day which we looked for: we have found it, we have seen it.
2:17. Ain. The Lord has done that which he purposed, he has fulfilled his word, which he commanded in the days of old: he has destroyed, and has not spared, and he has caused the enemy to rejoice over you, and has set up the horn of your adversaries.
2:18. Sade. Their hearts cried to the Lord upon the walls of the daughter of Zion: Let tears run down like a torrent day and night: give yourself no rest, and do not let the apple of your eye cease.
2:19. Coph. Arise, give praise in the night, in the beginning of the watches: pour out your heart like water, before the face of the Lord: lift up your hands to him for the life of your little children, that have fainted for hunger at the top of all the streets.
2:20. Res. Behold, O Lord, and consider whom you have thus dealt with: shall women then eat their own fruit, their children of a span long? Shall the priest and the prophet be slain in the sanctuary of the Lord?
2:21. Sin. The child and the old man lie without on the ground: my virgins and my young men are fallen by the sword: you have slain them in the day of your wrath: you have killed, and shown them no pity.
2:22. Thau. You have called as to a festival, those that should terrify me round about, and there was none in the day of the wrath of the Lord that escaped and was left: those that I brought up, and nourished, my enemy has consumed them.
Lamentations Chapter 3
3:1. Aleph. I am the man that see my poverty by the rod of his indignation.
3:2. Aleph. He has led me, and brought me into darkness, and not into light.
3:3. Aleph. Only against me he has turned, and turned again his hand all the day.
3:4. Beth. My skin and my flesh he has made old, he has broken my bones.
3:5. Beth. He has built round about me, and he has compassed me with gall, and labor.
3:6. Beth. He has set me in dark places as those that are dead forever.
"... he has made my fetters
3:7. Ghimel. He has built against me round about, that I may not get out: he has made my fetters heavy.
3:8. Ghimel. Yea, and when I cry, and entreat, he has shut out my prayer.
3:9. Ghimel. He has shut up my ways with square stones, he has turned my paths upside down.
3:10. Daleth. He is become to me as a bear lying in wait: as a lion in secret places.
3:11. Daleth. He has turned aside my paths, and has broken me in pieces, he has made me desolate.
3:12. Daleth. He has bent his bow, and set me as a mark for his arrows.
3:13. He. He has shot into my reins the daughters of his quiver.
3:14. He. I am made a derision to all my people, their song all the day long.
3:15. He. He has filled me with bitterness, he has inebriated me with wormwood.
3:16. Vau. And he has broken my teeth one by one, he has fed me with ashes.
3:17. Vau. And my soul is removed far off from peace, I have forgotten good things.
3:18. Vau. And I said: My end and my hope is perished from the Lord.
3:19. Zain. Remember my poverty, and transgression, the wormwood and the gall.
3:20. Zain. I will be mindful and remember, and my soul shall languish within me.
3:21. Zain. These things I shall think over in my heart, therefore will I hope.
3:22. Heth. The mercies of the Lord that we are not consumed: because his commiserations have not failed.
3:23. Heth. They are new every morning, great is your faithfulness.
3:24. Heth. The Lord is my portion, said my soul: therefore will I wait for him.
3:25. Teth. The Lord is good to them that hope in him, to the soul that seeks him.
3:26. Teth. It is good to wait with silence for the salvation of God.
3:27. Teth. It is good for a man, when he has borne the yoke from his youth.
3:28. Jod. He shall sit solitary, and hold his peace: because he has taken it up upon himself.
3:29. Jod. He shall put his mouth in the dust, if so be there may be hope.
3:30. Jod. He shall give his cheek to him that strikes him, he shall be filled with reproaches.
3:31. Caph. For the Lord will not cast off forever.
3:32. Caph. For if he has cast off, he will also have mercy, according to the multitude of his mercies.
3:33. Caph. For he has not willingly afflicted, nor cast off the children of men.
3:34. Lamed. To crush under his feet all the prisoners of the land,
3:35. Lamed. To turn aside the judgment of a man before the face of the most High,
3:36. Lamed. To destroy a man wrongfully in his judgment, the Lord has not approved.
3:37. Mem. Who is he that has commanded a thing to be done, when the Lord commands it not?
3:38. Mem. Shall not both evil and good proceed out of the mouth of the Highest?
3:39. Mem. Why has a living man murmured, man suffering for his sins?
3:40. Nun. Let us search our ways, and seek, and return to the Lord.
3:41. Nun. Let us lift up our hearts with our hands to the Lord in the heavens.
3:42. Nun. We have done wickedly, and provoked you to wrath: therefore you are inexorable.
3:43. Samech. You have covered in your wrath, and have struck us: you have killed and have not spared.
3:44. Samech. You have set a cloud before you, that our prayer may not pass through.
3:45. Samech. You have made me as an outcast, and refuse in the midst of the people.
3:46. Phe. All our enemies have opened their mouths against us.
3:47. Phe. Prophecy is become to us a fear, and a snare, and destruction.
3:48. Phe. My eye has run down with streams of water, for the destruction of the daughter of my people.
3:49. Ain. My eye is afflicted, and has not been quiet, because there was no rest:
3:50. Ain. Till the Lord regarded and looked down from the heavens.
3:51. Ain. My eye has wasted my soul because of all the daughters of my city.
3:52. Sade. My enemies have chased me and caught me like a bird, without cause.
3:53. Sade. My life is fallen into the pit, and they have laid a stone over me.
3:54. Sade. Waters have flowed over my head: I said: I am cut off.
3:55. Coph. I have called upon your name, O Lord, from the lowest pit.
3:56. Coph. You have heard my voice: turn not away your ear from my sighs, and cries.
3:57. Coph. You drew near in the day, when I called upon you, you said: Do not fear.
3:58. Res. You have judged, O Lord, the cause of my soul, you the Redeemer of my life.
3:59. Res. You have seen, O Lord, their iniquity against me: judge you my judgment.
3:60. Res. You have seen all their fury, and all their thoughts against me.
3:61. Sin. You have heard their reproach, O Lord, all their imaginations against me.
3:62. Sin. The lips of them that rise up against me: and their devices against me all the day.
3:63. Sin. Behold their sitting down, and their rising up, I am their song.
3:64. Thau. You shall render them a recompense, O Lord, according to the works of their hands.
3:65. Thau. You shall give them a buckler of heart, your labor.
3:66. Thau. You shall persecute them in anger, and shall destroy them from under the heavens, O Lord.
Lamentations Chapter 4
4:1. Aleph. How has the gold become dim, the finest color is changed, the stones of the sanctuary are scattered in the top of every street?
4:2. Beth. The noble sons of Zion, and they that were clothed with the best gold: how are they esteemed as earthen vessels, the work of the potter's hands?
4:3. Ghimel. Even the sea monsters have given food to their young: the daughter of my people is cruel, like the ostrich in the desert.
4:4. Daleth. The tongue of the babe has stuck to the roof of his mouth for thirst: the little ones have asked for bread, and there was none to break it for them.
4:5. He. They that were fed delicately have died in the streets: they that were brought up in scarlet have embraced the manure heaps.
4:6. Vau. And the iniquity of the daughter of my people is made greater than the sin of Sodom, which was overthrown in a moment, and hands took nothing in her.
4:7. Zain. Her Nazarites were whiter than snow, purer than milk, more ruddy than the old ivory, fairer than the sapphire.
4:8. Heth. Their face is now made blacker than coals, and they are not known in the streets: their skin has stuck to their bones, it is withered, and is become like wood.
4:9. Teth. It was better with them that were slain by the sword, than with them that died with hunger: for these pined away being consumed for want of the fruits of the earth.
4:10. Jod. The hands of the pitiful women have sodden their own children: they were their meat in the destruction of the daughter of my people.
4:11. Caph. The Lord has accomplished His wrath, He has poured out his fierce anger: and He has kindled a fire in Zion, and it has devoured its foundations.
4:12. Lamed. The kings of the earth, and all the inhabitants of the world would not have believed, that the adversary and the enemy should enter in by the gates of Jerusalem.
4:13. Mem. For the sins of her prophets, and the iniquities of her priests, that have shed the blood of the just in the midst of her.
4:14. Nun. They have wandered as blind men in the streets, they were defiled with blood: and when they could not help walking in it, they held up their skirts.
4:15. Samech. Depart you that are defiled, they cried out to them: Depart, get hence, do not touch: for they quarreled, and being removed, they said among the Gentiles: He will no more dwell among them.
4:16. Phe. The face of the Lord has divided them, He will regard them no more: they did not respect the persons of the priests, neither did they have pity on the ancient.
4:17. Ain. While we were yet standing, our eyes failed, expecting help for us in vain, when we looked attentively towards a nation that was not able to save.
4:18. Sade. Our steps have slipped in the way of our streets, our end draws near: our days are fulfilled, for our end has come.
4:19. Coph. Our persecutors were swifter than the eagles of the air: they pursued us upon the mountains, they lay in wait for us in the wilderness.
4:20. Res. The breath of our mouth, the Anointed of the Lord, is taken in our sins: to whom we said: Under your shadow we shall live among the Gentiles.
4:21. Sin. Rejoice, and be glad, O daughter of Edom, that dwells in the land of Hus: to you also shall the cup come, you shall be made drunk, and your shame exposed.
4:22. Thau. Your iniquity is accomplished, O daughter of Zion, he will no more carry you away into captivity: he has visited your iniquity, O daughter of Edom, he has discovered your sins.
THE PRAYER OF JEREMIAH THE PROPHET
Lamentations Chapter 5
5:1. Remember, O Lord, what has come upon us: consider and behold our reproach.
5:2. Our inheritance is turned to aliens: our houses to strangers.
5:3. We are become orphans without a father: our mothers are as widows.
5:4. We have drunk our water for money: we have bought our wood.
5:6. We were dragged by the necks, we were weary and no rest was given us.
5:6. We have given our hand to Egypt, and to the Assyrians, that we might be satisfied with bread.
5:7. Our fathers have sinned, and are not: and we have borne their iniquities.
5:8. Servants have ruled over us: there was none to redeem us out of their hand.
5:9. We fetched our bread at the peril of our lives, because of the sword in the desert.
5:10. Our skin was burnt as an oven, by reason of the violence of the famine.
5:11. They oppressed the women in Zion, and the virgins in the cities of Judah.
5:12. The princes were hung up by their hand: they did not respect the persons of the ancients.
5:13. They abused the young men indecently: and the children fell under the wood.
5:14. The ancients have ceased from the gates: the young men from the choir of the singers.
5:15. The joy of our heart is ceased, our dancing is turned into mourning.
5:16. The crown is fallen from our head: woe to us, because we have sinned.
5:17. Therefore is our heart sorrowful, therefore are our eyes become dim.
5:18. For mount Zion, because it is destroyed, foxes have walked upon it.
5:19. But you, O Lord, shall remain forever, Your throne from generation to generation.
5:20. Why will You forget us forever? Why will You forsake us for a long time?
5:21. Convert us, O Lord, to you, and we shall be converted: renew our days, as from the beginning.
5:22. But You have utterly rejected us, You are exceedingly angry with us.
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