It's highly recommended to read various translations.
The Lamentations is one of the most beautifully written books in the bible. An inverse of humiliation before exaltation. This book of scripture is instead structured from exaltation of Zion to humiliation and desolation. The writing is stark and includes parallelism, word-links, alphabetical acrostics, and the entire book has both a literal and spiritual interpretation as well as a historical context and an end times or latter days context. The text itself provides the evidence for these things.
"Lamentations consists of five distinct poems, corresponding to its five chapters. The first four are written as acrostics – chapters 1, 2, and 4 each have 22 verses, corresponding to the 22 letters of the Hebrew alphabet, the first lines beginning with the first letter of the alphabet, the second with the second letter, and so on. Chapter 3 has 66 verses, so that each letter begins three lines, and the fifth poem is not acrostic but still has 22 lines.  The purpose or function of this form is unknown. 
Unlike standard alphabetical order, the middle chapters in Lamentations have the letter Pe (the 17th letter) comes before Ayin (the 16th). The first chapter uses standard alphabetical order."
It is clear that at the time Lamentations was written the Law had been found. It has allusions to Isaiah and direct references as well.
doth the city sit solitary,
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!
Beginning with the lament How, this verse describes a city that is not populated any more but was once full of people. Another lament, how, the city is like a widow. "She that was great among the nations," telling us that this city was in an exalted state and is now humiliated. Her leaders are now subjects of other nations and within their power.
2 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.
She, the city, is in bitterness and weeps. Her tears on her cheeks is linking idea to other parts of the book. Falling from the good graces of the nations she traded with and had relations with, none of them will help her, in fact, they have betrayed her, and treat her like an enemy.
3 Judah is gone into captivity
because of affliction, and because of great servitude:
she dwelleth among the heathen,
she findeth no rest:
all her persecutors overtook her
between the straits.
Judah has been exiled. Historically this refers to the scattering. In an end times context, Judah is made miserable because of harsh oppression, and lives among the nations, but can't stay in one place because of persecution.
4 The ways of Zion do mourn,
because none come to the solemn feasts:
all her gates are desolate:
her priests sigh,
her virgins are afflicted,
and she is in bitterness.
The roads of Zion are in mourning, which means the people still there are in a state of misery because the pilgrims who came to the festivals are no longer coming. The place is deserted except for the priests and maidens who sigh and are unhappy. The whole city itself is in bitterness or is utterly disconsolate.
5 Her adversaries are the chief,
her enemies prosper;
for the LORD hath afflicted her
for the multitude of her transgressions:
her children are gone into captivity
before the enemy.
The city of Zion is in subjection to her enemies, they are masters over her now. They prosper while she is afflicted and driven into captivity. The Lord is the one who has caused her to suffer these things because of her "many transgressions;" These transgressions are expressed and clarified later.
6 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.
From Fair Zion all the people or leaders that gave her glory are gone. They were like stags with no pasture that could not out walk their pursuers. The metaphor of leaders as animals is a very common theme in the Hebrew Prophets.
7 Jerusalem remembered
in the days of her affliction
and of her miseries
all her pleasant things
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.
Now we switch to Jerusalem who thinks back on the good times after her downfall. When she "fell into the hand of the enemy," this word hand or hands is a word link to the King of Assyria on one level who conquers her. On another level it can refer to the Lord's Servant from Isaiah who becomes a foe or an enemy to her in chapter 2 verse 4.
No one will help her and her enemies gloat over her downfall and mock her.
8 Jerusalem hath grievously sinned;
therefore she is removed:
all that honoured her despise her,
because they have seen her nakedness:
yea, she sigheth,
and turneth backward.
The reason the Lord has punished His own people Jerusalem, is because they have greatly sinned. That's why she has become a mockery. Everyone who admired her now despise her. They saw her disgraced and now she can only sigh and shrink back.
9 Her filthiness is in her skirts;
she remembereth not her last end;
therefore she came down wonderfully:
she had no comforter.
O LORD, behold my affliction:
for the enemy hath magnified himself.
She wears her uncleanness like clothing. It clings to her. She never thought about how her behavior would effect her in the very end. So she fell or sunk appallingly. No one will comfort her now. She asks the Lord to look at her misery. And laments that her enemy jeers at her and magnifies himself.
10 The adversary hath spread out his hand
upon all her pleasant things:
for she hath seen that the heathen
entered into her sanctuary,
whom thou didst command
that they should not enter
into thy congregation.
The foe or adversary and the word hand or hands again refers to the King of Assyria on one level or more literally, with secondary allusions to the Lord's Servant on a more spiritual level. They or He has taken away everything dear to her. Then the sin is stated, she, the Lord's people, let the nations enter into her Sanctuary, most likely the temple, which God had denied permission for them to enter. As well as let them into their community.
11 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.
Everyone of the Lord's people sighs. They are hungry and sell their possessions for food so they can survive. They ask the Lord to look at them and their situation and consider how abject, or ironically what gluttons they have become.
12 Is it nothing to you,
all ye that pass by?
behold, and see
if there be any sorrow like unto my sorrow,
which is done unto me,
wherewith the LORD hath afflicted me
in the day of his fierce anger.
In the first line the meaning of the Hebrew is uncertain but it could mean that she is saying to never let what has happened to me happen to you even though she later asks for that very thing. She asks those passing by her in the streets to look around and see if there is any agony like hers. Which the Lord dealt out to her and afflicted her with on His day of wrath. This day is the Day of Judgement from Isaiah. The wrath or fierce anger is an allusion to the destruction caused by the King of Assyria in his conquering the whole earth.
13 From above 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.
A fire is send from above which refers to the type of destruction. Fire also is a metaphor for the King of Assyria. The fire coming down into their bones is a spiritual metaphor with the implication that the destruction or shame of humiliation and desolation run deep. A trap was set for them and they were caught. Then hurled backward. They are left desolate or forlorn. In constant misery.
14 The yoke of my transgressions is bound
by his hand: they are wreathed,
and come up upon my neck:
he hath made my strength to fall,
the Lord hath delivered me into their hands,
from whom I am not able to rise up.
The people's transgressions are like a yoke by His hand, the King of Assyria, imposed on their neck. This denotes they are put into a position of servitude. It saps their strength. They are delivered into "their hands" and they can't withstand it or rise up from their situation. The word hands again refers to the King of Assyria and the Lord's Servant.
15 The Lord hath trodden under foot
all my mighty men
in the midst of me:
he hath called an assembly against me
to crush my young men:
the Lord hath trodden the virgin,
the daughter of Judah,
as in a winepress.
The first three verses imply that the Lord is in the midst of them or was and has rejected all their heroes or killed them. He, the Lord, proclaimed a set time against them to crush their young men or kill them. Just like a winepress the Lord has trodden the Fair Maiden Judah. Note here we are back to Judah and this is a pattern that includes Judah, Zion, and Jerusalem as well as Israel and Jacob, and implicates all of the Lord's people.
16 For these things I weep;
mine eye, mine eye runneth down with water,
because the comforter
that should relieve my soul
is far from me:
my children are desolate,
because the enemy prevailed.
This is the same theme or linking statement from verse 2. In both verses there is no comfort, it's far away. In verse 2 her lovers and friends become enemies and now in this verse her children are desolate or forlorn and the enemy has prevailed.
17 Zion spreadeth forth her hands,
and there is none to comfort her:
the LORD hath commanded concerning Jacob,
that his adversaries should be round about him:
Jerusalem is as a menstruous woman among them.
Now the pattern continues to Zion who spreads out her hands, the King of Assyria and Lord's Servant, and there is no one to comfort her. The Lord has summoned against Jacob, enemies all around him. With Jerusalem they are a thing that's unclean.
18 The LORD is righteous;
for I have rebelled against his commandment:
hear, I pray you, all people,
and behold my sorrow:
my virgins and my young men
are gone into captivity.
She, Jerusalem, admits that the Lord is right in punishing her because she disobeyed or rebelled against Him. Then asks all people to hear and see her her agony. How her maidens and youths have gone into captivity.
19 I called for my lovers,
but they deceived me:
my priests and mine elders
gave up the ghost in the city,
while they sought their meat
to relieve their souls.
She cried out to her friends but they deceived her and her priests and elderly died in the city as they searched for food to stay alive.
20 Behold, O LORD; for I am in distress:
my bowels are troubled;
mine heart is turned within me;
for I have grievously rebelled:
abroad the sword bereaveth,
at home there is as death.
She asks the Lord to look because she's in distress. Her heart is in anguish and she now understands how wrong she was to disobey God. Outside the sword deals death, a metaphor for the King of Assyria, and indoors there is a plague. It takes these circumstances for her to realize her mistake.
21 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 called,
and they shall be like unto me.
She sighs and her enemies have heard it or do hear it. Again there is no one to comfort her. All her enemies have heard about what has happened to her and they are happy it has happened. It is the Lord's doing. He has brought the Day of Judgement that he threatened them with.
22 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.
Now, she asks for her enemies wickedness to be taken into account and for God to deal with them just as he did to her for all her transgressions because she sighs so much and her heart is sick.
hath the Lord covered
the daughter of Zion
with a cloud in his anger,
and cast down from heaven unto the earth
the beauty of Israel,
and remembered not his footstool
in the day of his anger!
We begin with Zion and a lament. This verse reiterates Zion's fallen state and shame. His anger, an allusion to the King of Assyria indicates that the Lord personally caused the fall of Zion through him. He cast down from an exalted state to a humiliation. The day is the Day of Judgement in which the King of Assyria who is the Lord's anger has power over the entire earth.
2 The Lord hath swallowed up
all the habitations of Jacob,
and hath not pitied:
he hath thrown down in his wrath
the strong holds of the daughter of Judah;
he hath brought them down to the ground:
he hath polluted
the kingdom and the princes thereof.
The Lord lays waste without pity. Wrath or anger refers to the King of Assyria who razes Fair Judah's strongholds. So the Lord brings the whole kingdom and it's leaders low into dishonor.
3 He hath cut off in his fierce anger
all the horn of Israel:
he hath drawn back his right hand
from before the enemy,
and he burned against Jacob like a flaming fire,
which devoureth round about.
Fierce or blazing anger is paralleled with right hand showing allusions to both the King of Assyria who is the anger and the Lord's Servant who is the right hand. All the might of Israel is cut down or killed. The right hand is withdrawn in the presence of the enemy. The Lord is making these things happen and ravages Jacob through the King of Assyria who consumes like a flaming fire on all sides.
4 He hath bent his bow like an enemy:
he stood with his right hand as an adversary,
and slew all that were pleasant to the eye
in the tabernacle of the daughter of Zion:
he poured out his fury like fire.
Bow is paralleled with right hand showing they are synonymous ideas just as enemy is paralleled with adversary and have the same meaning. The bow and right hand is the Lord's Servant who acts as an enemy or foe to God's people. The Lord through the instrumentality of the fire or King of Assyria slays all who delighted the eye in the tent of Fair Zion.
5 The Lord was as an enemy:
he hath swallowed up Israel,
he hath swallowed up all her palaces:
he hath destroyed his strong holds,
and hath increased in the daughter of Judah
mourning and lamentation.
The Lord himself acts as an enemy to his own people. He lays waste Israel. Lays waste all of her citadels. Destroys her strongholds. By doing this He has increased within Fair Judah mourning and moaning.
6 And he hath violently taken away his tabernacle, as if it were of a garden:
he hath destroyed his places of the assembly:
the LORD hath caused
the solemn feasts and sabbaths
to be forgotten in Zion,
and hath despised in the indignation of his anger
the king and the priest.
The tabernacle or Booth is the Temple which is destroyed or stripped like a garden. He, the Lord, destroyed the dwelling place of Zion. He ends the festivals and sabbaths. By the hands of the King of Assyria who is raging anger He has spurned the king and priest. Both the political and religious leaders.
7 The Lord hath cast off his altar,
he hath abhorred his sanctuary,
he hath given up into the hand of the enemy
the walls of her palaces;
they have made a noise in the house of the LORD,
as in the day of a solemn feast.
The altar and sanctuary refer to the Temple which is rejected and disdained. The walls of it's citadels are given into the hand, the King of Assyria literally, and the Lord's Servant on a second level because he is an enemy and adversary in verse 4. When the temple is taken and destroyed they make a noise in the house of the Lord as if celebrating a festival day.
8 The LORD hath purposed to destroy
the wall of the daughter of Zion:
he hath stretched out a line, he hath not withdrawn
his hand from destroying:
therefore he made the rampart and the wall to lament;
they languished together.
The Lord resolved to destroy the wall of Fair Zion, he planned it and did not refrain from using his hand, the King of Assyria, to destroy. The wall and rampart lament and languish or more particularly the people on the wall and rampart.
9 Her gates are sunk into the ground;
he hath destroyed and broken her bars:
her king and her princes are among the Gentiles:
the law is no more;
her prophets also find
no vision from the LORD.
Her, Fair Zion, is utterly overthrown. Her gates sink into the ground and her bars are broken to bits implying a total and devastating destruction. Her king and leaders are in exile. There is no more instruction. Her prophets receive no vision from the Lord or revelation.
10 The elders of the daughter of Zion
sit upon the ground, and keep silence:
they have cast up dust upon their heads;
they have girded themselves with sackcloth:
the virgins of Jerusalem hang down
their heads to the ground.
Those with seniority sit and keep silent and put dust on their heads. Something you would do when in a state of mourning. The girding of sackcloth also shows the destitute situation Zion finds itself in. The maidens bow down their heads to the ground, they don't even look up. They just stare at the ground.
11 Mine eyes do fail with tears,
my bowels are troubled,
my liver is poured upon the earth,
for the destruction of the daughter of my people;
because the children and the sucklings swoon
in the streets of the city.
The theme of weeping is repeated and we see the desolation is so immense it's as if the people's beings melt away. In verse 2 and 16 they weep and have no comfort. In 16 her children are desolate. In this verse they languish or swoon in the streets or squares of the city.
12 They say to their mothers,
Where is corn and wine?
when they swooned as the wounded
in the streets of the city,
when their soul was poured out
into their mothers' bosom.
The children ask their mothers where bread and wine are? Food and drink. They languish or swoon as if wounded in battle in the streets of the city as they die in their mothers laps.
13 What thing shall I take to witness for thee? what thing shall I liken
to thee, O daughter of Jerusalem?
what shall I equal to thee, that I may comfort thee,
O virgin daughter of Zion?
for thy breach is great like the sea:
who can heal thee?
The question is asked to what can I compare Fair Jerusalem? Who is Fair Zion's equal in misery so she may be comforted. The breach being great like the sea may be a reference to the King of Assyria who is the sea in Isaiah. The questions of comparison and healing suggest that only the Lord can find a witness and only he can heal since he brought about the destruction and desolation. Indeed there will be a witness, all of her enemies will suffer the same fate, and she will be healed as they are destroyed. This is expressed more fully later in lamentations. As well as in Isaiah.
14 Thy prophets have seen vain and foolish things for thee:
and they have not discovered thine iniquity,
to turn away thy captivity;
but have seen for thee
false burdens and causes of banishment.
The religious leaders prophesied delusion and folly. They didn't expose her iniquity, which would have restored her fortunes, but they prophesied delusion and deception. They make us excuses as to why they have been humiliated and destroyed, which are not actually the reason.
15 All that pass by
clap their hands at thee;
they hiss and wag their head
at the daughter of Jerusalem,
saying, Is this the city that men call
The perfection of beauty,
The joy of the whole earth?
The people passing by Jerusalem clap their hands, which could refer to the King of Assyria and the Lord's Servant. The hissing and wagging of their heads shows just how far Jerusalem has fallen from grace. From exaltation where the city was called Perfect in Beauty and Joy of All the Earth to complete desolation and destruction.
16 All thine enemies
have opened their mouth against thee:
they hiss and gnash the teeth:
they say, We have swallowed her up:
certainly this is the day that we looked for;
we have found, we have seen it.
Her enemies are in a state of gloating over the destruction. They take pride that they have ruined her and make fun of her. They wanted this to happen and are boasting that they have lived to see it happen.
17 The LORD hath done that which he had devised;
he hath fulfilled his word
that he had commanded in the days of old:
he hath thrown down, and hath not pitied:
and he hath caused thine enemy to rejoice over thee,
he hath set up the horn of thine adversaries.
God planned this long ago that he would throw down his own people without pity. Now He has accomplished it. He orchestrated things in such a way that His own people's enemies rejoice at their downfall and empowered thier enemies over them so they could be destroyed.
18 Their heart cried unto the Lord,
O wall of the daughter of Zion,
let tears run down like a river
day and night:
give thyself no rest;
let not the apple of thine eye cease.
In their state of ruin they cry out the Lord and literally weep continually. They have no rest. It's implying that they should continue to pray to God.
19 Arise, cry out in the night:
in the beginning of the watches
pour out thine heart like water
before the face of the Lord:
lift up thy hands toward him
for the life of thy young children,
that faint for hunger
in the top of every street.
They are told to arise and cry out in the night when the guards first start their shifts. To arise means to come up from their current situation. They are told to pour out their hearts like water in the presence of the Lord. The lifting of the hands to Him implies a form of prayer literally and may also refer to both the King of Assyria and the Lord's Servant. They should keep praying because of their children who are starving on every street corner.
20 Behold, O LORD, and consider
to whom thou hast done this.
Shall the women eat their fruit,
and children of a span long?
shall the priest and the prophet be slain
in the sanctuary of the Lord?
They ask the Lord to look and see to who he had brought this great destruction upon. The women are eating their own babies they are so hungry. The religious leaders are killed in the Temple.
21 The young and the old
lie on the ground in the streets:
my virgins and my young men
are fallen by the sword;
thou hast slain them in the day of thine anger;
thou hast killed, and not pitied.
Basically everyone the young and old the men and women have been killed on the day of wrath or the the Day of Judgement that God brought on his own people and so He killed them without pity.
22 Thou hast called as in a solemn day
my terrors round about,
so that in the day of the LORD'S anger
none escaped nor remained:
those that I have swaddled and brought up
hath mine enemy consumed.
Just like on a holy or solemn day, the Lord summoned Zion's neighbors from roundabout and none survived or escaped the destruction on the Day of Judgement. Their children were consumed by their enemies.
1 I am the man that hath seen affliction
by the rod of his wrath.
Jeremiah speaks using himself as a type for the Lord's servant. What the people suffer collectively the Servant goes through personally. He sees affliction by the rod of God's wrath who is the King of Assyria.
2 He hath led me, and brought me
into darkness, but not into light.
He is brought into darkness instead of light. It's both literal and spiritual.
3 Surely against me is he turned;
he turneth his hand against me all the day.
The Lord is turned against the Servant by his hand the King of Assyria unceasingly. He alone endures this kind of personal punishment.
4 My flesh and my skin hath he made old;
he hath broken my bones.
His flesh is worn away and his bones shattered.
5 He hath builded against me,
and compassed me with gall and travail.
All around Him is built misery and hardship.
6 He hath set me in dark places,
as they that be dead of old.
He lives in darkness like those who have been dead a long time. It implies that he can't see. The darkness is an allusion to the King of Assyria.
7 He hath hedged me about, that I cannot get out:
he hath made my chain heavy.
His situation is impossible to escape from. The heavy chains that weigh him down suggest servitude just as the people are put into servitude so is he and to larger degree.
8 Also when I cry and shout,
he shutteth out my prayer.
It doesn't matter how much he cries out or prayer God will not turn away the punishment.
9 He hath inclosed my ways with hewn stone,
he hath made my paths crooked.
He is enclosed in the situation with no way out and his paths are made into a maze.
10 He was unto me as a bear lying in wait,
and as a lion in secret places.
Like animals they lie in wait to attack so was the Lord to his own Servant. The lion may have allusions to the King of Assyria or Babylon as that's who the lion in Jeremiah refers to.
11 He hath turned aside my ways, and pulled me in pieces:
he hath made me desolate.
He has been forced out of his way and mangled. He is left numb.
12 He hath bent his bow,
and set me as a mark for the arrow.
The bow is the right hand or the Lord's servant. But here the Lord bends the bow as if to fire it and makes the Servant the target.
13 He hath caused the arrows of his quiver
to enter into my reins.
The arrows plunge into this vital organs. The wounds are severe. The quiver in Isaiah is where the Lord hides the servant from the world for a time and this implies that he is left exposed and wounded before the world.
14 I was a derision to all my people;
and their song all the day.
He is made into a laughingstock to all people. The butt of their jokes. There is an undercurrent of culture surrounding him.
15 He hath filled me with bitterness,
he hath made me drunken with wormwood.
Bitterness is paralleled with wormwood showing they have the same meaning. He is drunk with bitterness.
16 He hath also broken my teeth with gravel stones,
he hath covered me with ashes.
His teeth are broken on gravel, and he is ground into the dust. Suggesting that he becomes a non-entity. Reverts to a state of chaos.
17 And thou hast removed my soul far off from peace:
I forgat prosperity.
His situation is so dire that he has no peace, its far from him, just like his people and he forgets what happiness is.
18 And I said, My strength and my hope
is perished from the LORD:
He seems to be on the verge of giving up. His strength is gone and his hope is dead.
19 Remembering mine affliction and my misery,
the wormwood and the gall.
When he thinks about his distress and misery it's like bitterness and poison.
20 My soul hath them still in remembrance,
and is humbled in me.
Whenever he thinks about his situation he is bowed low or humbled.
21 This I recall to my mind, therefore have I hope.
But he still has hope, even though he said his hope was dead, he still hopes.
22 It is of the LORD'S mercies that we are not consumed,
because his compassions fail not.
He knows the kindness of the Lord has not ended and his mercies are not all spent.
23 They are new every morning:
great is thy faithfulness.
They are renewed every morning. The Lord's grace is ample.
24 The LORD is my portion, saith my soul;
therefore will I hope in him.
He says with full heart the Lord is my portion. So I will hope in Him. This shows that despite his awful circumstances he has the right attitude. It contrasts in some ways with some of the people's attitude who say that the Lord has forsaken them.
25 The LORD is good unto them that wait for him,
to the soul that seeketh him.
He knows that God is good to those who trust in Him or wait for Him. To those who seek Him.
26 It is good that a man should both hope and quietly wait for the salvation of the LORD.
Waiting patiently for God's salvation or rescue is a good thing and that's exactly what the Servant is doing and what the people should do as well.
27 It is good for a man
that he bear the yoke in his youth.
He sees the positive of the situation and explains it can be good for a young man to bare a yoke. It refines him.
28 He sitteth alone and keepeth silence, because he hath borne it upon him.
He explain that the young man should sit alone a be patient when the yoke is laid upon him.
29 He putteth his mouth in the dust;
if so be there may be hope.
He should put his mouth to the dust that there may still be hope. The mouth is an allusion to the Lord's Servant and dust implies a state of chaos or non entity. So they should mimic what the servant does and accept the state of chaos knowing they can hope in the Lord.
30 He giveth his cheek to him that smiteth him:
he is filled full with reproach.
The Servant is explaining what he has done and saying that his people should do the same. To offer his cheek to the smiter, this is a reference to Isaiah where the Lord's Servant does this. To be surfeited with mockery.
31 For the Lord will not
cast off for ever:
They should do this because it is a test and the Lord does not reject them forever.
32 But though he cause grief,
yet will he have compassion according to the multitude of his mercies.
First the Lord afflicts them and then pardons because of His abundant kindness.
33 For he doth not afflict willingly nor grieve the children of men.
34 To crush under his feet all the prisoners of the earth,
35 To turn aside the right of a man before the face of the most High,
36 To subvert a man in his cause, the Lord approveth not.
37 Who is he that saith, and it cometh to pass, when the Lord commandeth it not?
38 Out of the mouth of the most High proceedeth not evil and good?
39 Wherefore doth a living man complain, a man for the punishment of his sins?
Jeremiah or the Servant says in these verses God doesn't punish for no reason. In fact he doesn't want to do it. But these are all things he has done he afflicted and grieved his own people, he crushed the prisoners of the earth. However he does not deny a man his rights in His presence. He doesn't willfully wrong man in his cause without reason. Then it states that nobody can predict the future and have it happen unless God wills it.
Out the mouth of the Most High comes good and woe. The mouth is also the Lord's Servant, he speaks good things for God's people and also speak woes or covenant curses if they don't obey the Most High God.
We have nothing to complain about because everyone is punished for their own sins.
40 Let us search and try our ways,
and turn again to the LORD.
If there's a problem in our lives let us search and examine our own ways first and turn back to the Lord. This implies that we have no one to blame but ourselves, and the Lord is most definitely not at fault.
41 Let us lift up our heart with our hands
unto God in the heavens.
To perform prayer with our hearts as well as in the proper way.
42 We have transgressed and have rebelled:
thou hast not pardoned.
The people are beginning to realize their own mistakes now. Confessing their sins. Because they transgressed and rebelled, God has not forgiven them.
43 Thou hast covered with anger,
and persecuted us:
thou hast slain, thou hast not pitied.
God clothed himself with anger or the King of Assyria and killed his own people without pity.
44 Thou hast covered thyself with a cloud,
that our prayer should not pass through.
He screens Himself with a cloud denoting the absence of His presence. Their prayers can't reach him.
45 Thou hast made us as the offscouring and refuse
in the midst of the people.
God made his people like filth and refuse among all peoples.
46 All our enemies have opened their mouths against us.
Their enemies speak loudly and rail against them.
47 Fear and a snare is come upon us,
desolation and destruction.
They are filled with panic and pitfalls, they are desolate and destroyed.
48 Mine eye runneth down with rivers of water
for the destruction of the daughter of my people.
The Servant speaks again about the ruin of my poor people and is weeping.
49 Mine eye trickleth down, and ceaseth not,
without any intermission,
50 Till the LORD look down,
and behold from heaven.
He going to keep on crying until God looks down from heaven and takes notice.
51 Mine eye affecteth mine heart
because of all the daughters of my city.
His eyes because of the weeping have brought Him grief concerning all the maidens of his city.
52 Mine enemies chased me sore, like a bird,
His enemies pursued him and caught him like a bird, and they had no justification for doing so.
53 They have cut off my life in the dungeon,
and cast a stone upon me.
The Servant's life is ended in a Pit. Which in Isaiah is where the wicked are cast off. His enemies threw stones at Him.
54 Waters flowed over mine head;
then I said, I am cut off.
The Pit he is in is filled with water and as they flow over His head he says, I am lost!
55 I called upon thy name, O LORD,
out of the low dungeon.
He calls on the name of the Lord from inside the Pit.
56 Thou hast heard my voice:
hide not thine ear
at my breathing, at my cry.
He asks God to hear his plea and not to shut His ears from his groan and cry.
57 Thou drewest near in the day that I called upon thee:
thou saidst, Fear not.
The Lord in the past was always with Him or drew near when he called out. God told him, do not fear!
58 O Lord, thou hast pleaded the causes of my soul;
thou hast redeemed my life.
God then champions his cause and redeems his life. As this happens to the Servant so God will help his people. What happens to the one happens to the other.
59 O LORD, thou hast seen my wrong:
judge thou my cause.
He states that God has seen the wrong done to Him and asks for his right to be vindicated.
60 Thou hast seen all their vengeance
and all their imaginations against me.
God has seen all their malice and their designs against the Servant.
61 Thou hast heard their reproach, O LORD,
and all their imaginations against me;
God has heard their taunts and all their designs against the Servant.
In the JPS Tanakh or masoretic text verse 50 and 51 and quoted here with a slight alteration.
"Until the Lord looks down from heaven and beholds
The Lord has brought me grief."
62 The lips of those that rose up against me,
and their device against me all the day.
The Servant's enemies mouth off against Him all day long or constantly. Lips is a metaphor of the King of Assyria.
63 Behold their sitting down, and their rising up;
I am their musick.
Wherever they are at ease or at work He is the butt of their jokes. Implies a sub culture.
64 Render unto them a recompence, O LORD,
according to the work of their hands.
He asks God to give them their deserts or reward according to their deeds.
65 Give them sorrow of heart,
thy curse unto them.
To give them anguish of heart and curse them.
66 Persecute and destroy them in anger
from under the heavens of the LORD.
To pursue them in wrath alluding to the King of Assyria and to destroy them from under the heavens or off the face of the earth. So what has been done to the Servant he now asks be done to all his enemies and the King of Assyria.
is the gold become dim!
how is the most fine gold changed!
the stones of the sanctuary are poured out
in the top of every street.
A lament using metaphors for gold and stones to represent God's people and how they have gone from an exalted state to one of desolation. The people have been killed or left destitute on the street corners.
2 The precious sons of Zion,
comparable to fine gold,
how are they esteemed as earthen pitchers,
the work of the hands of the potter!
It's the sons of Zion that represent the fine gold but now they are accounted as earthen pots. The work of the potters hands refers to the Lord's design in humbling his own people using the King of Assyria and the Lord's Servant.
3 Even the sea monsters draw out the breast,
they give suck to their young ones:
the daughter of my people is become cruel,
like the ostriches in the wilderness.
The people's situation is so bad they are compared to ostriches in the wilderness. The jackals giving suck to their young ones implies that they can't or don't do this because they have become cruel in a way, it's pure survival mode.
4 The tongue of the sucking child cleaveth
to the roof of his mouth for thirst:
the young children ask bread,
and no man breaketh it unto them.
They are under famine and their children are not given water or food.
5 They that did feed delicately
are desolate in the streets:
they that were brought up in scarlet
The theme of humiliation after exaltation. God's people at one time had an abundance so much so that they feasted on dainties but now they lie famished in the streets. Those who grew up in purple or fine clothing are forced to embrace refuse heaps.
6 For the punishment of the iniquity of the daughter of my people
is greater than the punishment of the sin of Sodom,
that was overthrown as in a moment,
and no hands stayed on her.
The guilt of God's poor people exceeded iniquity of Sodom, but unlike Sodom who had no hand strike it as it overthrown in a moment with fire and brimstone, God's people had the hand of the King of Assyria strike it as well as the right hand, the Lord's Servant becomes an enemy to them.
7 Her Nazarites were purer than snow,
they were whiter than milk,
they were more ruddy in body than rubies,
their polishing was of sapphire:
The elect used to be purer than snow and whiter than milk which implies they were in very good standing with God. They are compared to fine stones, rubies, and sapphires, showing that they were very valuable. Or their limbs ruddier than coral and their bodies like sapphire which demonstrates their personal worth and healthiness.
8 Their visage is blacker than a coal;
they are not known in the streets:
their skin cleaveth to their bones; it is withered,
it is become like a stick.
Now, their faces are dirty and they are not recognized in the streets. They are extremely skinny. The effects of the famine.
9 They that be slain with the sword are better
than they that be slain with hunger:
for these pine away, stricken through
for want of the fruits of the field.
The ones that died by the sword of the Assyrians are better off than the ones who pine away with hunger and lack the fruits of the field.
10 The hands of the pitiful women
have sodden their own children:
they were their meat in the destruction
of the daughter of my people.
The situation is so appallingly bad that tenderhearted women have cooked their own children and eaten them during the destruction of God's poor people. The hands refer to God's work through the King of Assyria and the Lord's Servant.
11 The LORD hath accomplished his fury;
he hath poured out his fierce anger,
and hath kindled a fire in Zion,
and it hath devoured the foundations thereof.
God vented out his fury, a metaphor for the King of Assyria, anger and fire are also metaphors for him. Showing that through him the destruction came on God's people. Even to devouring or consuming the foundations of Zion.
12 The kings of the earth,
and all the inhabitants of the world,
would not have believed that
the adversary and the enemy should have entered into
the gates of Jerusalem.
The reason the kings and people would not have believed that the enemy or King of Assyria could enter into the gates of Jerusalem is because the Lord's servant was preventing his entry with the aide of the Lord.
13 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,
The religious leaders have blood on their hands, the blood of the just, and for this reason the King of Assyria was able to enter Jerusalem and destroy it.
14 They have wandered as blind men in the streets,
they have polluted themselves with blood,
so that men could not
touch their garments.
There are literal meanings here as well as symbolic or spiritual ones. After the invading armies come in the city is in such a state of chaos that the religious leaders wander like the blind in the streets and are covered in blood so no one will touch them, this is literal. On the spiritual side they could not see spiritually and defiled themselves with blood so that no one was able to gain guidance.
15 They cried unto them, Depart ye; it is unclean;
depart, depart, touch not:
when they fled away and wandered,
they said among the heathen,
They shall no more sojourn there.
People shout at them Away, unclean! Away! Away! Touch not! So the religious leaders become wanderers because the nations resolve to not let them stay in their country any longer.
16 The anger of the LORD hath divided them;
he will no more regard them:
they respected not the persons of the priests,
they favoured not the elders.
The countenance of the Lord or His anger, the King of Assyria, will not look on them anymore. They have no regard for priests and show no favor to the elders.
17 As for us, our eyes as yet failed
for our vain help:
in our watching we have watched
for a nation that could not save us.
As for the people their crying eyes have been in vain seeking help. They looked for a nation for anyone to help them or deliver them and they still wait. This could also refer to the nation Zion being unable to help them as in verse 20 they believe they can trust in the shadow of Zion and the anointed as long as he's with them.
18 They hunt our steps,
that we cannot go in our streets:
our end is near, our days are fulfilled;
for our end is come.
They are hunted down and can't go out in public. It's a lament of doom. That it is near. Or has come.
19 Our persecutors are swifter
than the eagles of the heaven:
they pursued us upon the mountains,
they laid wait for us in the wilderness.
The people are forced out into the mountains and wilderness where they are pursued and caught.
20 The breath of our nostrils, the anointed of the LORD,
was taken in their pits,
of whom we said, Under his shadow
we shall live among the heathen.
The anointed of the Lord, is the right hand, the Lord's Servant who was taken in the enemies pits. The Pit from chapter 3. The people thought as long as He was around they would be protected and could live among the nations, but now that he's gone, they are left defenseless.
21 Rejoice and be glad, O daughter of Edom,
that dwellest in the land of Uz;
the cup also shall pass through unto thee:
thou shalt be drunken, and shalt make thyself naked.
Edom which was the people of Esau are told to rejoice now while they can because the cup shall pass to them to, God's judgement, they will be drunk and expose themselves. The Day of Judgement affects everyone, but it begins with God's own people and then all of their enemies are also judged.
22 The punishment of thine iniquity is accomplished,
O daughter of Zion; he will no more carry thee away into captivity:
he will visit thine iniquity, O daughter of Edom;
he will discover thy sins.
Now, there will be a reversal of circumstances. Fair Zion's iniquity has been expiated and she will no longer be exiled. Now, Fair Edom will be noted and her sins uncovered.
1 Remember, O LORD, what is come upon us:
consider, and behold our reproach.
God's people aks the Lord to look at what has happened to them and to see their disgrace.
2 Our inheritance is turned to strangers,
our houses to aliens.
Their heritage is given to aliens, and their homes to strangers. They are dispossessed.
3 We are orphans and fatherless,
our mothers are as widows.
An extreme example of what has happened to them. The men have been killed.
4 We have drunken our water for money;
our wood is sold unto us.
In their destitution they must pay money for water and wood to stay warm.
5 Our necks are under persecution:
we labour, and have no rest.
They are hotly pursued. Exhausted, and cannot rest.
6 We have given the hand to the Egyptians,
and to the Assyrians, to be satisfied with bread.
They hold out a hand to the Egyptians and Assyrians who are in power over them for food. One reason they may be going to Egypt is because that's where they are, at least some of them. And Egypt is a code word for a modern day superpower that is conquered by the Assyrians in Isaiah.
7 Our fathers have sinned, and are not;
and we have borne their iniquities.
The men who died had sinned and are now gone. Their children have to bear their guilt.
8 Servants have ruled over us:
there is none that doth deliver us out of their hand.
Slaves rule over them with no one the rescue them.
9 We gat our bread with the peril of our lives
because of the sword of the wilderness.
They have to risk their lives to get food because of the sword, the King of Assyria, or his armies that pursue them in the wilderness.
10 Our skin was black like an oven
because of the terrible famine.
The famine was so bad that their skin glowed like it was in an oven.
11 They ravished the women in Zion,
and the maids in the cities of Judah.
In Zion and in the towns of Judah the some of the women were raped.
12 Princes are hanged up by their hand:
the faces of elders were not honoured.
The princes, those in leadership have been hanged, and the elderly were not shown any respect.
13 They took the young men to grind,
and the children fell under the wood.
The people are put into oppression work regimens. The young men carry millstones and the youths stagger under loads of wood.
14 The elders have ceased from the gate,
the young men from their musick.
The things the people were passionate about have gone away.
15 The joy of our heart is ceased;
our dance is turned into mourning.
The joy and dances that once pervaded Zion have now turned into mourning and stopped.
16 The crown is fallen from our head:
woe unto us, that we have sinned!
They used to wear a crown but it has fallen off of their heads. Again this shows God's people going from an exalted state and falling from grace or glory. They do recognize though that it is because of their own sins.
17 For this our heart is faint;
for these things our eyes are dim.
Because of their sins and the punishment their hearts are sick. Their eyes dim so they cannot see very well.
18 Because of the mountain of Zion, which is desolate,
the foxes walk upon it.
The nation of Zion has become a desolation and jackals walk upon it.
19 Thou, O LORD, remainest for ever;
thy throne from generation to generation.
But the Lord is enthroned forever. His throne endures through the ages.
20 Wherefore dost thou forget us for ever,
and forsake us so long time?
Although the people recognize their sins they wonder why God has forgotten and forsaken them. Which he has not. So they are still living in a little delusion, which is understandable given their circumstances.
21 Turn thou us unto thee, O LORD,
and we shall be turned;
renew our days as of old.
They ask the Lord to turn back to them and let them come back to Him to renew their days like they used to be back when things were good.
22 But thou hast utterly rejected us;
thou art very wroth against us.
The JPS Tanakh text says,
For truly, You have rejected us,
Bitterly raged against us.
Take us back, O Lord, to Yourself,
And let us come back;
Renew our days as of old!
Again they plead with the Lord to take them back. Knowing that he did reject them they still hope that he will take them back.