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.