Jeremiah Weeps in the Darkness
An EasyEnglish Bible
Version and Commentary (2800 word vocabulary) on the Book of Lamentations
This commentary has been through Advanced Theological
Words in boxes are from the Bible.
A word list at the end explains words with a *star by them.
We call this book Lamentations because it is a collection of sad
poems. The five poems are about *Jerusalem.
God wanted his people to take care of *Jerusalem and the special
house in it. That house was the *temple. God wanted the *Jews to *worship him
there. The people who lived in *Jerusalem did not obey God. In the end, he
became very angry with them.
God allowed armies from another country to destroy *Jerusalem.
And God let them take the *Jews away.
There was a man who loved God. And he loved his own people. He
was very sad to see *Jerusalem all burnt and broken. He wrote this book of five
poems about 586 years before Jesus was born. The *Jews called this man
*Jeremiah. Some people think that he also wrote the book called Jeremiah.
In the first two poems the writer himself speaks. Then he makes
the city’s people speak as if the city were a woman. In the next two poems,
only the writer speaks. In the last poem, he writes as if the city’s people are
praying to God. The first poem is about the lonely city. The second poem says
that God was like an angry enemy. In the third poem, the writer remembers that
God is good. God wants people to love him. Then the writer begins to be
hopeful. In the fourth poem, the writer describes what the terrible enemies did
to the people in the city. In the last poem, the city’s people realise that
they have been bad. They are sorry and they appeal to God to forgive them.
It is good for us to read this book. In it we see what God thinks
about people’s *sins. God always punishes us for our *sins unless we are really
sorry. Lamentations reminds us about that. It also reminds us that God wants us
to love him. And he wants us to obey him. If we do that, he helps us to do good
things. We may not love him and we may do bad things. Then he will be angry
with us. It is useful to remember what John wrote (1 John 4:19). ‘We love
because he first loved us.’ We should want to please God because he is kind to
Jeremiah is speaking.
v1 How empty is the city! It used to be full of
people. Now it is like a lonely widow. People in other nations used to consider
it a great city. It was like the queen of all the country. Now it is like a
Verse 1 *Sins make people become slaves. *Jerusalem’s people have
not obeyed God. But God made *Jerusalem great in the past. And he knows how to
make it weak. Compare with Isaiah 47:8-11 and Revelation 18:7-8.
v2 *Jerusalem is like a woman. This woman weeps in
the night and there are tears on her cheeks. She has none of her old lovers to
comfort her. All her companions have left her. They are now her enemies.
· Many people used to come to *Jerusalem. They do not
come any more. God wants to make the people sorry. And he wants to make them
turn back to himself. God is able to take our friends away from us if it will
affect us like that.
· Compare this verse to Jeremiah 9:1.
v3 The enemy has taken the people away as prisoners.
They suffer trouble and hard labour. Enemies have forced the *Jews to leave
their own country. In a foreign land, they have no security. And they cannot
Verse 3 The people of the city must now live in a place that is
far away from home. People who do not obey God will never have a quiet mind.
Compare Isaiah 57:1-2 with Isaiah 48:22.
v4 The empty roads to Zion (*Jerusalem) are sad
places. Now nobody comes to God’s *temple on the special days. The city gates
are silent places. People are cruel to the city’s young women and its priests
sigh. Jerusalem’s people are very sad.
Verse 4 ‘The city gates are silent places.’ This refers to the
places just inside the gates. People used to meet and do business there. This
is not happening now. Compare chapter 5:14.
v5 *Judah’s enemies now control the city. Those who
hate them have all that they want. The *Lord has punished the people in
*Jerusalem for their many *sins. Enemies have taken away their children as
· If we allow our *sins to rule us, God is able to
allow other enemies to rule us also.
· Where there are no children, there is no future.
· The *Lord is a judge who always does the right
thing. See Jeremiah 30:14.
v6 The city of Zion (*Jerusalem) has lost its
greatness. Its leaders have become like animals that have no food. They were
too weak to run from their enemies.
Verse 6 *Jerusalem was once very beautiful and happy (Psalm
48:1-3). The ‘leaders’ would include King Zedekiah. The enemy has caught them
as they tried to escape (Jeremiah 39:4).
v7 Now *Jerusalem’s people are miserable. They
remember the good things that they had long ago. But, when their enemies came,
nobody would help them. Their enemies laughed at *Jerusalem because they had
v8 *Jerusalem’s people have *sinned greatly. That is
why their city is disgusting. The people in other nations thought that Jerusalem
was wonderful. Now they think that it is no good. They look at it as if it were
a naked woman. The city’s people turn away and sigh.
Verse 8 People in other nations no longer admired *Jerusalem and
People always watch God’s people (2 Corinthians 3:2; Romans
2:24). When God’s people *sin, other people do not respect them any more.
Jeremiah is still speaking.
v9 *Jerusalem’s people have greatly *sinned. Its
people never thought that its end would be like this. It is hard to believe. I
have nobody to comfort me.
*Lord, see how much we are suffering. See how glad our
v10 Enemies have seized *Jerusalem’s precious things.
Foreigners have burst into God’s holy *temple. But God had said that such
people must never go into it.
v11 All *Jerusalem’s people sigh. They must hunt for
food. They exchange things that they love to buy food to keep themselves alive.
*Jerusalem’s people are speaking as if the city were a woman.
See, *Lord, and think about me, because nobody else does.
Verse 11 The only way to make our worries less is to tell them to
God. Then we should leave it to God to do what he thinks is best for us. See
1 Peter 4:6-7.
v12 Come and see, all you who go by! Look closely at
me! See if anyone could be more miserable than I am. See what the *Lord’s anger
has done to me!
Verse 12 ‘Look closely’ means here to have a very careful look.
v13 God has sent fire down into my bones to hurt
them. He has spread a net in front of my feet, to turn me back. All day he has
made me lonely and weak.
v14 He has made my *sins like a heavy collar to lie
on my neck. And so he has made me weak. He has handed me over to the enemy. I
am too weak to oppose them.
v15 The *Lord laughed at my strongest soldiers. He
sent a great army to kill all my young men. The *Lord has squeezed my young
women like fruit that was too ripe.
Verse 13 This is like a picture in words. God had caused a fire
that even burnt the centre (‘bones’) of the city. The people could not escape.
It was as if God had caught them in a net. Finally, God had left them. That is
why they are like a ‘lonely’ woman.
Verse 15 People walk on the fruit to squeeze the juice out. Then
they make the juice into wine.
v16 I weep because of these things. Tears flow down
my cheeks. Nobody can comfort me. Nobody can encourage me. My children have no
future. The enemy has won.
Jeremiah now speaks.
v17 *Jerusalem’s people reach out their hands for
help. But nobody comforts them. The *Lord has commanded nations in the
neighbourhood of *Jacob (*Israel) to be their enemies. *Jerusalem has become
disgusting to people in other nations.
Verse 17 *Jacob was a man of God. The Bible sometimes uses his
name to mean God’s people, *Israel. God often rescued *Israel from troubles
(Psalm 44:1-8). This time, they must suffer because they have not obeyed God.
*Jerusalem’s people speak as if the city were a woman.
v18 The *Lord is right. I did not obey him. Listen,
all people everywhere, and see how I am suffering. The enemy have taken away my
young women and my young men to be slaves.
Verse 18 When God sends trouble, we must realise that he is
right. We do not understand either him or ourselves if we blame him. See 2
Chronicles 12:5-6 and Proverbs 5:22.
v19 I called to my friends but they did not help. My
priests and my leaders died in the city. They were looking for food to keep
v20 Look, *Lord, I am suffering greatly. And I am
very sad. I have great problems in my mind because I have not obeyed God.
Outside, the enemy are using swords to kill people. In the house, there is only
death because there is no food.
Verses 20-22 are a prayer. It is a comfort when we know that God
sees our troubles. He loves us. He will find a way to cause good results from
v21 My enemies have heard that I sigh. There is
nobody to help. All my enemies know about my trouble. They are glad, God, that
you have done it. But you said that you will bring a time when my enemies will
suffer like me.
v22 Make that time come. Do to them what you have
done to me. You have done it to me because I did not obey you. Do it, because
my sighs are many. And my heart has no strength.
Now Jeremiah speaks.
v1 The *Lord’s anger is like a black cloud over Zion
(*Jerusalem). He allowed enemies to destroy the beauty of *Israel. Zion
(Jerusalem) was like the place where he once rested his feet. In his anger, he
did not remember that. He was so angry that he even left his holy *temple.
· The words ‘the beauty of *Israel’ probably refer to
*Jerusalem and its magnificent *temple. See Isaiah 64:11.
· ‘He rested his feet’. See Isaiah 60:13.
v2 The *Lord has destroyed all the homes in *Judah
without pity. He was so angry that he has broken down *Judah’s strong cities.
He has caused shame for the whole country and its leaders.
v3 In his fierce anger, God has broken off the *horn
of *Israel. God has refused to protect us from the enemy. He has burned like a
great fierce fire that destroyed everything in *Judah.
Verse 3 Some animals use their *horn to fight with. So ‘horn’ is
a way to talk about the strength of *Israel.
v4 God has aimed his arrows at us like an enemy. He
has killed all those who once pleased him. His anger was like a great fire that
destroyed all the homes in *Jerusalem.
v5 Like an enemy, God has destroyed *Israel and all
its great houses. He has knocked down its walls of defence. And he has made the
people in *Judah so sad and miserable.
v6 God ruined his holy house as somebody might ruin a
shed in a garden. God has taken away the place where his people once came
together to honour him. He has made Jerusalem’s people forget the special days
of their religion. In his anger, he now has no respect for king or priest.
Verse 6 The ‘holy house’ is the place in *Jerusalem where the
people of *Israel went to pray. The Bible calls it ‘the *Temple’. King Solomon
built the first *temple. See 1 Kings 5:1-5.
v7 God has refused the gifts that the people put on
his *altar. He has gone from his *temple. He has allowed the enemy to knock
down the walls of the *temple. Foreigners shout with joy where once we praised
v8 God decided to destroy the walls of Zion
(*Jerusalem). So he carefully measured their exact extent. He did not hesitate
to destroy the walls completely. He completely ruined both the inner wall and
the outer wall. He threw both walls to the ground. They were like couples whose
partners had died. They had no more strength.
v9 Jerusalem’s city gates have fallen to the ground.
God has broken into pieces the heavy bars that fastened the gates. Foreign
enemies have taken away the king and the royal family. Now priests do not teach
God’s laws. *Prophets have no message from the *Lord.
Verse 7 The enemy should not be in the *temple. See Nehemiah
13:1. But God allowed them to ruin it.
Verse 8 First God decided to destroy *Jerusalem’s walls. He
measured the walls in order to make sure that all of both walls were included.
Finally, he used the enemies to destroy both walls completely.
v10 *Jerusalem’s old people sit on the ground and
they are silent. They have scattered dust on their heads. They have dressed
themselves in *sackcloth. The young women of *Jerusalem look down to the ground
Verse 10 In those times, people put dust on their heads and put
on clothes of *sackcloth. They did this to show that they were very sad.
v11 My eyes are sore from tears. Miserable feelings
have worn me out. My people are suffering so much. Children and babies fall in
the street because they are so weak.
v12 The children ask their mothers, ‘Where has all
the food and drink gone?’ Then they fall down in pain on the street of the city
and die in their mothers’ arms.
v13 People of *Jerusalem, I do not know what I can
say to comfort you. Nobody has suffered as you have. The damage to your city is
complete. I do not know who can repair it.
v14 Your ‘*prophets’ have promised so many foolish
and vain things to you. They have not warned you about your *sins. So that is
why your enemies have made you prisoners. They have only told you lies about
Verse 14 God warned the people many times not to listen to these
false *prophets. God also told the people how to recognise genuine *prophets
who came from him. See Jeremiah 23:16-22; 28:9; Matthew 7:15-23.
v15 All who go by make fun of *Jerusalem. They ask,
“Is this really the city that people called ‘most beautiful’ and ‘the joy of
the whole world’?”
v16 All your enemies *curse you with delight. They
say ‘We have completely destroyed *Jerusalem’s people. We have waited for this
day. Now that day has come! Now we have seen it all happen!’
v17 The *Lord has now done what he warned you about.
He has done what he warned you about so long ago. He has destroyed without
pity. He has caused your enemies to be happy and he has made them strong.
Verse 17 God gave his people clear warning long before this time.
See Deuteronomy 30:1-5.
v18 People in *Jerusalem, cry to the *Lord! Wear
yourselves out with lots of tears! Let your tears flow like a river round
v19 Get up and cry out frequently. As night comes,
tell God how miserable you are. Lift up your hands and pray to him. Pray that your
young children will not die. These children are falling down in every street.
They are weak because of their hunger.
*Jerusalem’s people speak as if the city were a woman.
v20 Look, *Lord. Think whom you have done this to.
Must women eat their little children? Should the priests and the *prophets have
to die in your holy house?
v21 Both young people and old people lie dead in the
streets. Enemies have killed the young men and women with their swords. It was
really you who killed them in your anger. You killed them and you did not pity
v22 You invited my enemies to come to me as if to a
party. Because you were so angry, nobody escaped or remained alive. My enemies
have murdered my children whom I looked after. They have killed those whom I
Verse 20 ‘Think whom you have done this to.’ The writer is
reminding God that they are his own people.
Verse 21 Without young men and young women, there would be no
people in the future.
In this chapter, the writer speaks on behalf of all God’s people.
Much of what he says is true also of the troubles that the *Lord Jesus suffered
for us. Psalms 22 and 69 are other examples of this.
v1 I am a man who has known punishment from the heavy
stick of an angry God.
v2 He has chased me into deep darkness where there is
v3 He is against me. He punishes me again and again
all day long.
Verse 1 God does not use the sword to kill all his people. But he
does use his heavy stick to punish and to train them. See Hebrews 12:7-11.
Verse 2 God is in light. And if we walk in the light, all is
well. See 1 John 1:7. We may walk in darkness. If so, it is because we have not
agreed with God. See Amos 3:3.
Verse 3 Sometimes God punishes us. Then we must not think that he
has also stopped loving us. God is not against us but he is against our *sins.
v4 God has worn out my skin and my body. He has
broken my bones.
v5 He has made walls to surround me and has given me
worry and trouble.
v6 He has made me live in darkness like those who
have been dead for a long time.
Verse 4 God’s people are no longer strong like young people. They
are weak like old people. That is what verse 4 is saying.
Verse 5 Compare this verse with verse 19, also with Psalm 69:21
and Matthew 27:34.
Verse 6 ‘darkness’ The writer means the place where dead people
v7 God has built a wall round me so that I cannot get
out. It is as if he has bound me with heavy chains.
v8 Yes, and when I shout for help, he refuses to
v9 He has kept me in with smooth walls and my paths
just go nowhere.
Verse 7 See verse 9 and Hosea 2:6. The writer does not mean a
real wall and chains. These are words that are like a picture.
Verse 8 See Psalm 80:4-6 and Psalm 66:18.
Verse 9 God loves his people. He will not allow them to avoid the
lesson that he wants them to learn. See also verse 31.
v10 Like a bear or a lion that hides, God has waited
v11 He has dragged me away from the road. He has torn
me to pieces. And there is nobody to help me.
v12 He used his bow and aimed his arrows at me.
Verse 10 Compare with Hosea 5:14.
v13 Then God shot me. His arrows went deep into my
v14 All my people laughed at me. They even sang songs
about me all the day.
v15 He has caused me to suffer greatly. He has filled
my cup with bitter drink.
v16 He has broken my teeth with small stones and
covered me with ashes.
v17 He has caused me to have many troubles in my
mind. I forget what it is like to be happy.
v18 My strength has gone. What the *Lord allowed me
to hope for has gone too.
v19 Remember well my trouble. Remember how sad I am.
It is like the taste of a bitter liquid.
v20 I think about it all the time and I feel so
v21 But I remember something else. And so I can hope
v22 It is because of God’s goodness that we are still
alive. He will not fail to love his people.
v23 Hope comes again with each new day. God keeps his
promises to his people.
v24 ‘The *Lord is mine’, I say to myself, ‘that is
why I will hope in him.’
Verse 20 We all *sin sometimes. Then we should remember how great
God is. And we should remember how small we are. That is the start of the way
back to God.
Verses 21-22 The writer begins to hope again because God has not
put an end to *Israel. See verse 2.
In chapter 2 verses 17 and 21, God’s people feel that God has
forgotten to be kind. Now they have started to think. They are saying right
things about God. We may lose things that we loved. But, if we are his, we
shall not lose him.
Verses 23-24 It is always good to trust God but especially when
bad things happen to us.
v25 The *Lord is good to people who wait for him. He
is good to everyone who looks for him.
v26 It is good for a person to go on hoping and to be
quiet. And it is good if he waits patiently for God to rescue him.
v27 It is also good for a man to obey God while he is
Verse 27 A person may not obey God’s rules while he is young.
Then he will have to learn to obey God later. See Ecclesiastes 12:1.
v28 A young man should sit by himself and be quiet.
Because that is what God wants for him.
v29 He should get so low in front of God that his
face is touching the ground. If he does, there is hope for him.
v30 When someone slaps him, he should not try to hurt
him back. He should accept it when people are cruel to him.
Verse 28 God does not speak to us when we are doing all the
talking. Nor when we are too busy to listen to him.
Verse 29 When people felt small in front of God, they often lay
down on the ground. See Genesis 17:3; Joshua 5:14; Ezekiel 1:28.
Verse 30 Jesus spoke about this in Matthew 5:39. And he set us an
example to follow (Isaiah 50:6).
v31 The *Lord does not give up for ever with his
v32 Sometimes God has to punish people. That makes
them sad. But he will also show them kindness out of his great store of love.
v33 He does not enjoy it when he causes people to
Verse 31 God waits until we have learnt our lesson. (See also
verse 9.) When we are sorry, we go back to God. Then he is there for us. See
James 4:8; Hosea 6:1; Luke 15:11-24.
v34-36 God is not pleased when you are too cruel to
He is not pleased when you cheat anyone.
He is not pleased when there is an unfair decision in the
He sees all of these things.
v37 Nobody can order anything to happen unless the
*Lord has ordered it.
v38 It is the great God who orders both good things
and bad things to happen.
v39 No man should complain when God punishes him for
Verse 37 See Proverbs 16:9 and Jeremiah 10:23.
v40 Instead, we should think carefully about how we
behave. And we should turn again to the *Lord.
v41 We should raise our hands and pray to God in
v42 We have done bad things. We have not obeyed you,
*Lord. You are not happy about that.
Verse 40 That is what another man did. See Psalm 119:59. See also
Verse 41 Our hearts (minds) must agree with the words of our
prayers. We must mean what we say.
v43 Our God, you have hidden yourself from us because
you are angry. You have chased us. You have killed us. And you have not pitied
v44 You have hidden yourself from us in a thick cloud
so that our prayer does not get to you.
v45 You have made us like rubbish, like things that
are no more use to anyone.
Verses 42-44 See what another man said in Psalm 66:18.
v46 All our enemies say bad things against us.
v47 Fear and traps are all round us.
v48 My eyes are sore with all the tears because the
enemy has destroyed my people,
Verse 47 Compare with Isaiah 24:17 and Jeremiah 48:43.
v49 So, streams of tears come from my eyes. They do
not stop or even rest.
v50 They will not stop until the *Lord looks down. I
will cry until he sees from heaven.
v51 What my eye sees upsets my heart (mind). I am
upset because of what happened to all the women in my city.
Verse 51 The writer is talking about the bad things that the
enemy has done to the women in *Jerusalem.
If we love God’s people as we should, their troubles will make us
really sad. See Romans 12:15.
v52 My enemies hunted me like a bird, for no reason.
v53 They threw me alive into the well. Then they
closed the well over me with a stone.
v54 The water closed over my head. Then I said, ‘My
end has come.’
Verse 53 Something like this happened to *Jeremiah himself. See
Verse 54 Some people have great troubles. Then they often think
that God has forgotten them. See Psalm 31:12 and Jonah 2:4. But God has made a
great promise to his people. See Hebrews 13:5-6.
v55 I called to you by name, *Lord, from the bottom of
v56 You have heard my cry. Do not close your ear to
v57 You came near to me as soon as I called to you.
You told me not to be afraid.
Verse 55 ‘Call by name’ means when a person calls to God. And he
is thinking about all the good that is in God. Sometimes we pray our best
prayer when we are in great trouble. See Psalm 130:1.
Verse 56 The writer says that God has answered some of his prayer
(done some things that he asked him to do). He now asks God to answer the rest
of his prayer.
Verse 57 We notice that the writer’s thoughts change from fear to
hope and back again. He complains. He feels better. He complains again. Psalm
42 is also like that. The important thing is how the writer speaks in the end.
v58 *Lord, you have rescued me. You have saved my
v59 The things that they did to me were not fair. You
saw that, so please be my judge.
v60 You have seen all the bad things that they did to
me. And you know all their bad plans for me.
Verses 58-60 It is a great comfort to know that God loves us. And
he knows all about our troubles. He loves us and he will make all things work
together for our good. See Romans 8:28.
v61 You have heard their insults against me, *Lord.
And you know all their plots against me.
v62 These people attack me all the day, with words
v63 They sing about me, when they are sitting. And
they sing about me when they are standing. Whatever they are doing, they sing
v64 Punish them for what they have done to me, *Lord.
v65 Do bad things to them and cause them to have
v66 Chase them in your anger! Completely remove them
from the earth!
Verses 61-66 It is good that the writers in the Bible are real
people with real feelings like us. In that way, we see that God can use us too.
But Jesus tells us what to do about our enemies. See Matthew 5:41-45.
Jeremiah continues to speak.
v1 Look! The gold has stopped shining! Look how the
best gold has changed! The stones of the *temple are in a pile at the corner of
v2 People thought that the young men of *Jerusalem
were like best gold. Now they are more like ordinary pots of *clay which a
Some people think that the ‘young men’ were the priests of the
The fine gold of God’s house (see 1 Kings 6:22) and its special
stone was dirty. It was dirty with smoke after the fire. Now the enemy has
scattered the materials that the builders used.
v3 Even the wild dogs give milk to their young ones.
But the young women in my country have become cruel. They behave like
*ostriches in the desert.
Verse 3 *Ostriches in the desert lay their eggs in the sand and
leave them. (See Job 39:14-15.) They do not look after their eggs.
v4 The tongue of the baby at the breast sticks in its
mouth because the breast has gone dry. The young children ask for food but
nobody gives them anything to eat.
v5 People who once ate the best of food are now in
the streets with nothing to eat. The people that wore the best of clothes now
search piles of rubbish to find food.
v6 That is the punishment for the *sins of my people.
It is greater punishment than the punishment of *Sodom, which God, not man,
destroyed in a moment.
Verse 6 The people in *Sodom were very wicked and they did not
care about God. They all died quickly (Genesis 19:25). The people in *Jerusalem
knew a lot about God. But they too were wicked. They were dying slowly. See
also verse 9. In Matthew 11:23-24, Jesus was speaking about *Sodom. He was
telling some of the *Jews what would happen to them. They listened to him but
they would not change their behaviour.
v7 The leaders in *Jerusalem were cleaner than snow.
They were whiter than milk. Their bodies were redder than *rubies. Their shapes
were like smooth precious stones.
v8 Now their faces are black like coal. People see
them but they do not recognise them. Their skin hangs on their bones. Their
skin is dry like a stick.
Verses 7-8 These people had been healthy and strong. Also, they
were extra careful to be clean. They did not have bad habits.
People considered that their leaders were very special. Now they
look the same as everybody else in the streets.
v9 The sword has killed some people. They are happier
than the ones who die from hunger. The hungry ones die slowly because there is
nothing for them to eat.
v10 The women who once were kind-hearted have now
boiled their own children. The children were food for them in the bad times of
Verse 10 ‘Boiled children’. See also Deuteronomy 28:56-57; 2
Kings 6:29; Jeremiah 19:9. See also chapter 2 verse 20. See what awful things
people do when God is punishing them for their *sins.
v11 The *Lord has now satisfied his anger. The *Lord
was so angry that he sent his fire on *Jerusalem. He has burnt even the strong
base of the houses.
v12 No foreign rulers or their people believed that
an enemy could ever enter through the gates of *Jerusalem.
Verse 12 These people had seen or had heard about the strong
walls of *Jerusalem. They also knew that *Jerusalem was special to God. So, the
fate of the city greatly surprised them.
v13 It was the *sins of *Jerusalem’s *prophets and
its priests that caused the city’s ruin. It is because of them that good people
Verse 13 The wicked people were just as bad as the priests and
*prophets were. (See Jeremiah 5:31.) It was sad that good people died too
because of the *sins of *Jerusalem’s people. See 2 Kings 24:3-4 and James
v14 Those leaders wandered in the streets like blind
men. There is blood on their clothes and nobody wants to touch them.
Verse 14 ‘Blood’ See Numbers 19:16. But there was not actual
blood on the leaders’ clothes. It means that they caused many people to die by
v15 ‘Go away! You are unclean!’ people shouted at
their leaders. ‘Do not touch us!’ They hurried away. And they wandered among
the nations. They could not find any place to rest.
v16 The anger of the *Lord has scattered them. He
does not look on them in a favourable way any more. The ordinary people now
have no respect for bad priests, or for bad leaders.
Verse 16 God will not look with kindness on people who practise
*sin. See Psalm 66:18. Good people may be sorry for bad priests. But they do
not listen to them or respect them.
v17 We wore out our eyes as we looked in vain for
help. But help did not come. We looked in vain for help from a nation that
could not save us.
Verse 17 The help that the *Jews hoped to receive was from *Egypt
(Jeremiah 37:7). But nobody can help us if God is against us. See Psalm 60:11.
But God is for us against our *sins, if we love and follow him.
v18 Enemies hunted us where we walked. So we could
not go into the streets. Our end was near. We could not live now. The end had
v19 Our enemies went after us. They were quicker than
*eagles that dive out of the sky. Our enemies hunted us among the mountains.
They hid and waited for us in the wild places.
v20 Our great hope had been in the king that God gave
us. But the enemies caught him as men catch an animal in a pit (a hole in the
ground). We had said about him, ‘Under his shadow we shall live in safety among
Verse 20 The king was Zedekiah. He was the last king of *Judah.
See Jeremiah 39:1-14 and 2 Kings 25:1-7.
The *Jews thought that their kings were very special. That was
because God had caused them to rule over his people.
v21 Be happy and glad while you may, you people of
*Edom and *Uz. But the cup will come to you also. You will become like drunks.
You will be naked, too.
Verse 21 ‘The cup’ means the experience of trouble which God will
send to *Edom. God will punish *Edom’s people because they have been cruel to
his people. See Numbers 20:18-20; Ezekiel 35:1-7; 1 Samuel 14:47; 2 Chronicles
20:10 and Psalm 137:7.
v22 The punishment for your *sins has come to its
end, you people of *Jerusalem. God will no more let enemies take you away as
prisoners. But you, you people of *Edom, he will punish you for your *sins. He
will uncover them.
Verse 22 God also talked about the punishment of *Edom in Isaiah
34:5-15. The people of *Edom did scatter. It is not a nation now.
Jeremiah is praying.
v1 Remember, *Lord, the suffering that has come upon
us. Look down and see our shame.
· In any kind of trouble, it is always right to pray.
See James 5:13.
· There is a right way to receive what God sends. See
· God loves us even when we have *sinned. So, when we
suffer, God suffers with us. It is good to know that. See Isaiah 63:9.
v2 Strangers now occupy the land that our fathers
handed on to us. Foreigners are living in our homes.
Verse 2 The writer is talking about Canaan, the country that the
*Lord promised to his people (Deuteronomy 26:1).
v3 We have become like *orphans. Our fathers have
gone and our mothers are like widows.
v4 We must pay money for the water that we drink. We
have to buy our own wood for fuel.
v5 Our enemies make us work like animals. But the
work is too heavy and we have no rest.
v6 We held out our hand to the *Egyptians and to the
*Assyrians for food.
Verse 4 *Israel’s people used to have more than enough water.
They also used to have enough wood. But they have not obeyed God. So that has
Verse 6 The people find that their friends in *Egypt and *Assyria
v7 Our fathers *sinned. They are dead. But we have
had the punishment that they deserved.
Verse 7 This does not mean that the present people had not
*sinned against God. See verse 16.
v8 The men who rule us now are not better than
slaves. But there is nobody to free us from their power.
v9 To bring home our bread, we risk our lives because
our enemies are all round us.
Verse 9 In the Bible, ‘bread’ often means any kind of food.
‘Bread’ here probably includes any kind of food that the people could find
v10 We are so ill from hunger that our skin is as hot
as an oven.
v11 Enemies forced the women and *virgins to have sex
with them. This happened in *Jerusalem and in all the other cities in *Judah.
v12 They have hanged our leaders. They do not respect
the old men.
v13 They took the young men to make flour out of the
corn. The children fell under heavy loads of wood that they could not carry.
Verse 13 The young men felt foolish because the work at the mill
was women’s work. Children also had to do the work of slaves.
v14 The old men have stopped sitting at the city’s
gate. The young men have stopped their music.
Verse 14 Old men used to meet together at the city’s gate to
talk. It was the custom. See Genesis 34:20; Deuteronomy 21:19-20; Ruth 4:1.
v15 We are not happy any longer. We do not dance now.
We are too sad.
v16 We do not have a crown any more. We *sinned
against God. So now we have a hopeless future.
Verse 16 Not only have their king and his crown gone. These
people will have no more kings.
v17 Because of this, our hearts (minds) are sick. We
can hardly see because of our tears.
v18 Enemies have knocked down the walls of *Zion. Now
foxes walk over the stones.
v19 But you, *Lord, are king for ever. You will
always rule your people.
Verse 19 The writer now begins to praise the *Lord.
The people of God have bad times like everybody else in the
world. But God loves his people. He has promised that everything will work
together for our good. See Romans 8:28; Hebrews 13:5.
v20 Why have you left us, God? Will you ever remember
Verse 20 The writer again remembers the present sad situation. He
cannot understand why God continues to let the people suffer.
v21 Bring us back to you, *Lord. We want to make a
new start with you.
v22 You seem to have left us for ever. You have been
very angry with us. We do not know whether your anger will ever end.
altar ~ a holy table on which to put gifts for God.
Assyria ~ a country, east of *Judah. The people there
(Assyrians) did not like God’s people.
Assyrian ~ a person from *Assyria.
clay ~ earth, heavy and firm when dry, stiff and soft when
curse ~ to wish bad things for.
eagle ~ a very large bird that hunts other birds for food.
Edom ~ a country. The people there did not like God’s
Egypt ~ a country in Africa, south of *Judah. The people
there sometimes liked God’s people and sometimes they did not.
Egyptian ~ a person from *Egypt.
horn ~ a hard thing with a point which grows on the head
of some animals.
Israel ~ Israel is the group of people that God chose to
be his people.
Jacob ~ Jacob was a son of Isaac and a brother of Esau.
God later changed Jacob’s name to Israel. Sometimes the Bible calls *Israel’s
Jeremiah ~ Jeremiah was a man who loved God. And he loved
his own people. He may have written the book of Lamentations.
Jerusalem ~ the *Jews’ capital city; God told King Solomon
to build God’s sacred *temple there.
Jew ~ a person who is born from Abraham, Isaac and Jacob
and their children.
Judah ~ a part of the country that God gave to his people.
Lord ~ a special name for God that his people use. He will
do what he has promised them. That is what this name means.
orphan ~ a person who has no mother or father.
ostrich ~ a big bird. It does not fly, but runs. It lives
in hot desert places.
potter ~ a person who makes pots from *clay.
prophet ~ a person who hears God’s words, and tells them
to other people; a person who spoke God’s words. Some prophets wrote books in
ruby ~ a red precious stone.
sackcloth ~ rough cloth. People used to wear it when they
were very sad about something.
sin ~ to do things against God and other people; an bad
action that we do against God and other people.
Sodom ~ a town where the people were very wicked. God
temple ~ the sacred house in *Jerusalem where *Israel’s
people went to pray.
Uz ~ a country, east of *Edom. The people there did not
like God’s people.
virgin ~ a woman who has never had sex with a man.
worship ~ to show honour to God and to say that we love
him very much.
Zion ~ the holy hill in *Jerusalem where God’s *temple
Minor Prophets ~ The Century Bible
Matthew Poole ~ Commentary on the Holy Bible
Jamieson, Faussett and Brown ~ Bible Commentary
Matthew Henry ~ Bible Commentary
Bibles ~ NKJV, CEV, Young’s Literal, Bible in 26 Translations
© 1997-2004, Wycliffe Associates (UK)
This publication is written in EasyEnglish Level B (2800 words).