About this book
We call this book Lamentations because it is a sad book. It has five parts. All five parts are about the city called
God wanted people to
In the first two parts of the book, Jeremiah writes sometimes as if he himself is speaking. Other times he writes as if
The first part is about the lonely city. The second part says that God was like an angry enemy. In the next part, Jeremiah remembers how good God is. If people really love God, they can hope for better things always. After that, Jeremiah talks about the cruel enemies. He remembers what those enemies did to the people in the city. In the last part, the city’s people know that they have done many wrong things. So they ask God to forget those bad things.
Lamentations shows us that God gets angry about
Jeremiah is speaking
The city is like the wife of a dead husband.
Once she was great.
She was like a queen among the other places in the country.
Now she is a slave.
and there are
Not one of her lovers will help her to feel better.
All her friends have left her.
They have gone against her and they are now her enemies.
·Many people had always come to
·See how very sad Jeremiah is: Jeremiah 9:1.
The slaves have only trouble and difficult work.
They now live among strangers.
They have no rest, and they live far away from home.
They cannot go away from those who do cruel things to them.
Jerusalem was the capital city of the country called
Nobody comes to
There is nothing to hear at the city gates.
Strangers are cruel to the young women.
The people in
The leaders always met at the city gate to talk together. See Lamentations 5:14.
because they did so many wrong things.
The enemies took the children away to work as slaves.
Her leaders are like animals without food.
They are too weak to run from their enemies.
So, they remember the good things
that they had a long time ago.
When their enemies came, nobody was there with them.
Nobody helped them.
Their enemies laughed when they destroyed Jerusalem.
That is why this city is not clean any longer.
People thought that this city was the best.
Now they think that it is not important.
They see it as it is.
Jerusalem’s people make sad noises and they want to hide themselves away.
They never thought that the end would be like this.
But their enemies destroyed the city.
They do not have anyone who can help them to feel better.
God did not listen any longer when they asked for his help.
See how happy our enemies are’, the people pray.
Foreign people have walked into God’s
But God had said that people like that must not go in there.
They are not his people.
They are sad as they look for food.
They sell things that they love.
They use them to buy food.
That way, they can keep themselves alive.
The city’s people are speaking like one person
Think about me,
because nobody else does’, the people pray.
All you people who pass me do not show any interest in me.
But you have never seen anything as sad as I am.
So it was the
The city’s people are speaking
He wants us to turn towards him again.
So he has caused things to be very difficult for us.
All day he causes us to feel lonely and weak.
It makes us weak.
He has let the enemy be very strong.
He let them win against us.
So we cannot beat them.
He brought a big army to fight our young men.
And the enemy won that fight.
People walk on
Like that, the
People walk on the fruit called grapes to break them. This makes something to drink come out of them. This means that the
Nobody will help us.
We are the children of this city
and we have nothing now.
The enemy has won.’
Jeremiah is speaking again
but nobody is their friend.
to come from every country near them.
Those other people think about
The city’s people are speaking again
We have not obeyed him.
Listen, all people everywhere, and look at us.
We are in very bad trouble.
The enemy has taken away our young women
and our young men to be slaves.’
When God causes trouble, he causes it for a reason. People should know that he is right. Some people might say that he is wrong. If they say that, they do not understand either him or themselves. See 2 Chronicles 12:5-6.
They had said that they would help us.
But they did not help us.
They were looking for food to keep them alive.
We are very sad.
We are weak deep inside ourselves
because we have done so many bad things.
They are killing our people in the streets.
People are dying in the houses.’
Nobody wants to help us.
All our enemies know about our trouble.
They are happy, God, that you caused that trouble.
Please cause trouble for those enemies too, as you promised.
Now we are ashamed and we are very sad.’
Jeremiah is speaking
But he has put it down to the ground from its high place.
Now that he is angry, he has forgotten about that.
Some people think that the
‘he rested his feet’. See Isaiah 60:13.
He decided that he must
Because he is angry,
he has destroyed all
Yes, he has destroyed all the buildings.
And he has killed the rulers and all the people.
he has destroyed
He did not help them when they were fighting the enemy.
He was like a big hot fire
And, like an enemy,
he has killed all those who once gave him pleasure.
He has shown how angry he was.
He has sent a fire and he burned all
He has destroyed
and all the beautiful houses there.
He has destroyed all the strong towns that had walls.
He has caused
They are very sad.
as easily as someone can knock down a hut in a garden.
He has destroyed this place where people once met him.
He has caused
the special events and the
He was very angry.
So he thought that our king and our
He refused to help them.
no longer give pleasure to the
He has given
They shout in the
as people shout on a special
He carefully broke away each stone.
It causes us to weep when we look at those walls.
He destroyed them all.
He destroyed the inside walls and he destroyed the strong outside walls.
He destroyed them and he has broken them in pieces.
The enemies have taken away our king
and his sons to a foreign country.
The people have nearly forgotten God’s rules.
And God does not send messages to us any longer.
Verse 7 Foreign people should not be in the ‘
Verse 9 ‘nearly forgotten’. God’s rules were still there, but people did not think about them any longer. They did not obey them.
They have dressed themselves in
and they throw dirt on their own heads.
They are showing everyone that they are very sad.
And the young women of
because they are very sad too.
In those times, people sometimes put dirt on their heads and they put on clothes of
Even the parts inside my body hurt,
because my people are dying.
I feel ill because I am so sad.
The children and babies fall in the city’s streets
because they are so weak.
the hungry children ask their mothers.
Then they fall down in pain on the streets of the city.
They die in their mothers’ arms.
But there is nothing that I can say to you.
I do not know about anything like what has happened to you.
God has destroyed
I do not know anyone who can make you people better.
Those good things will not happen.
They should have told you that you should not do wrong things.
If they had told you that, none of these troubles would have happened.
and their dreams are false.
God had told the people many times that they must not listen to these false
They are happy because you are sad.
They see how the enemy has destroyed everything in
“Surely this cannot be the city that men called ‘most beautiful’ ”, they say.
“People have said that this city is the best city on earth.”
because they are very happy.
‘We have won!’ they say.
‘We have waited for this day.
Now we have beaten you!
Now we have seen it!’
Yes, he has done what he told you about a long time ago.
He has destroyed your city and he has not felt sorry about it.
He has caused your enemies to be happy.
He has made them strong
so that they could win against you.
See Deuteronomy 28:15, 36, 47-68; 29:22-28; 30:1-5. God gave people clear messages a long time before this time. If they did not obey him, their enemies would beat them. And God would help their enemies.
Cry to the
Do not rest.
Do not let your eyes stop crying.
Talk to God all night.
Pour out your words and thoughts to God
as you pour out water from a jar.
Lift up your hands to him when you ask him.
And ask him to save the lives of your children.
They fall down to die at the end of every street
because they are so hungry.
Jerusalem’s people speak
‘You have done all this to your people.
Women eat their own children now!
But they are the children that they
People have killed your own
The enemy has killed the young men and women with long knives.
But it was really you who killed them.
You were very angry with us.
So you killed them and you did not feel sorry.
as people come to a special party.
They killed our people because you were angry.
Nobody could hide or run away.
They all died.
We saw the enemy kill our own children.’
In this chapter, Jeremiah is speaking.
There is no light, so I cannot see the right way.
so again and again, he causes me trouble all day long.
He has broken my bones.
God may be angry with his people and he may
He caused much trouble for me,
so that I am very sad.
So I am like a person who has been dead for a long time.
And I cannot go out.
My troubles are very bad.
They are like heavy metal and they hold me down.
But God does not listen.
because he put big rocks in my way.
He hides and he waits for me by the path.
Then it tears the person in pieces.
He has made me very lonely.
He bent the
They even sing silly songs about me all day long.
It is as if he filled a cup with a very
And the stones broke my teeth.
Then he put me on the ground,
and he covered me with ashes.
I have forgotten what good days are like.
There were good days when I had plenty.
And there were good days when I was happy.
But I have forgotten what that was like.
The things that I hoped for from the
Remember that I am very lonely.
And my mouth tastes bad as I think about it.
and I feel small and alone.
and then I hope again:
That is why we are alive at all.
that God’s promises will certainly happen.
‘He is the reason why I can hope again.’
He is kind to everyone who looks for him.
It is good when they quietly wait for God,
because he will save them.
Verse 21 Jeremiah begins to hope again. God’s people think that God has forgotten to be kind.
Verse 22 Now Jeremiah is telling them true things about God. It is always good to believe God. We must remember what he has promised. And we should believe him even more when bad things happen to us.
They should work well for him.
when God causes them to be in trouble.
Then they can hope again.
And those people will want to say cruel things to them.
They should let them do it and they should not fight them.
Verse 28 God does not speak to us when we are talking all the time.
Verse 29 When people felt small or ashamed in front of God, they often lay down on the ground.
Verse 30 Jesus spoke about this too in Matthew 5:39.
but he is sorry for us.
He is also very kind to us,
because he loves us very much.
He does not enjoy causing trouble for them.
God only wants people to learn from him. Then they can be happy.
But God does not like to see that.
But God does not like to see that.
And God is the greatest of all.
Nobody can cause things to happen without him.
He causes good things and bad things when he speaks.
We are still alive, so we should not be angry with God.
And we should turn back to the
We should offer ourselves completely to him.
Heaven is the name of God’s home.
and we have gone against you.
And you have not
You have followed us so that you could kill us.
You were not sorry about it.
So you do not listen to us when we talk to you.
They think that we have no value.
We are like things that nobody can use any longer.
They have caught us like animals.
They have killed us.
And they have destroyed all the things that we had.’
Jeremiah has suggested an honest way for the people to speak to God.
It is because the enemy has killed my people.
And they will not stop,
He will see us and he will help us.
I see what has happened to all the people here.
And so I am very sad.
But they caught me as they would catch a bird.
and they threw stones down on me.
Then I said, ‘I shall die.’
when I was in the well.
‘Help me! Save me!’ I shouted,
and you heard me.
‘Do not be afraid’, you said.
You have paid the price to keep me alive.
So please agree with me that they were not fair!
And you know about all the bad things that they want to do to me.
Yes, you know about all the bad things that they want to do to me.
They attack me with cruel words every hour of the day.
They sing when they are sitting.
And they sing when they are standing.
Cause bad things to happen to them.
Kill them all because you are angry with them.
Let nobody on earth remember them any longer.
In this chapter, Jeremiah continues to speak.
Look how the best gold has changed!
The valuable stones from the
Now they lie in the streets, because God has broken them.
They are like common pots that a
People did not think that common pots were valuable.
They are like
And the young children ask for food, but nobody gives them anything to eat.
They ate the best foods, but now they are hungry.
Now they lie in the streets with nothing to eat.
They wore the best clothes, but now they sit in the ashes.
God destroyed that city in a moment,
and no human person helped him.
They seemed to be more white than milk.
Their bodies had very good health,
and they seemed to shine like valuable stones.
People see them in the streets, but do not recognise them.
Their skin hangs on their bones.
Their skin is as dry as wood for a fire.
A long time ago, these leaders had been extra careful to be clean. They wanted to do what God wanted them to do. People thought that these leaders were very special. But now, they are the same as everybody else in the streets.
It is better for those dead people
than for the people who have no food.
They are very hungry.
And they die slowly because they have nothing to eat.
have boiled their own children.
Their children became their food,
when the enemies were destroying the city.
These people had done some very bad things in the bad times when they were very sad and hungry. But God wants them to learn his ways again.
So he sent fire to burn
It destroyed the whole city, even the strongest houses.
None of the people on earth could believe it.
They thought that no enemy could go through
These other people had seen or they knew about
God did not like the things that their
They had caused good people to die.
There was blood on their clothes and everybody was afraid to touch them.
‘Do not touch us!
You are too dirty to be among God’s people!’
So they went away to other countries, but the people there did not want them.
‘They cannot stay here with us!’ those people said.
He will not be kind to them any longer.
Nobody likes bad
Some people were as bad as their leaders, the
God does not think well of people who do bad things again and again. Good people may be sorry for bad
We were looking for help, but it did not come.
The people from other countries could not save us.
We knew that we would die soon.
We could not live like this any longer.
They followed us so that they could catch us out on the mountains.
They hid and they waited for us in the wild places.
We thought that he would save us.
‘Under his shadow we will live among the other countries’, we had always said.
But the enemy caught him.
Nobody could help them if God was against them. The king was Zedekiah. He was the last King of
But at a future time, God will hurt you also.
The enemy will take away everything that you have.
So you will become like drunks.
He will let them return to their homes soon.
He will discover everything that you have done wrong.
In this chapter,
Look at us, because we are ashamed.
Foreign people live in our homes.
Our mothers no longer have husbands.
We must buy wood for our fires.
But the work is too difficult
and they will not let us rest.
so that we could get food to eat.
Now we have the troubles that you caused because of them.
This does not mean that these people had not
And there is nobody to save us from their power.
Enemies are everywhere and they want to kill us.
We are so hungry that we are ill.
They had no food if they could not plant in their fields.
They are cruel to the young women in
And they are cruel to our old men also.
Those young men make flour for them.
And our boys carry wood.
They fall down under big bags of wood.
The old men cannot say what is right or fair for us.
And the young men have stopped their music.
Old men always sat together at the city gate to talk about things. When someone did something wrong, people brought them to these older men. They would decide what was fair
Instead, we are very sad,
so we do not dance any longer.
Our eyes are very tired and we cannot hope for good things any longer.
Wild animals walk on them now.
You will always rule us.
Tell us why you have left us for so long.
We really want to make a new start with you.
We were great before our enemies beat us.
We pray that you will make us as great as that again.
That could happen unless you will continue to be very angry with us.
Not only has their king gone, but also these people will not have another king. Their beautiful city has gone, and all their beautiful things have gone with it. But Jeremiah wants the people to turn back to God. He wants God to
- special table for people to burn animals or other gifts which they offer to God.
- a country near to Jeremiah’s country. The people there did not like God’s people.
- a person from
- opposite of sweet.
- a thing that people make out of wood; it can shoot pointed sticks.
- a country near
Israel, also called Seir. This country began as Esau’s country. The people there did not like God’s people.
- the country where
Israel’s people had been slaves a long time ago.
- a person from
- when someone stops being angry with another person who has done bad things.
- a fruit. People can use grapes to make a drink that has alcohol in it.
- not to like a person at all; not to love someone.
- the home of God.
- all good with nothing bad in it; completely clean for God to use in a special way.
- God’s people; the name of the country that God gave to Jacob and to the
- Isaac’s son and Esau’s brother. Some time after that, God changed Jacob’s name to Israel.
Israel’s capital city where God told King Solomon that he should build the holyhouse of God a long time ago.
Israel’s people are called Jews; a Jew is a person who is born from Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and their children.
- a part of the country that God gave to
- look after
- be good to; keep safe.
- a special name for God that his people use. He will do what he has promised them. And he does not change. That is what this name means.
- a big bird. It does not fly, but it runs. It lives in hot places and it makes its home in the sand.
- when we have no trouble in our minds.
- a person who makes pots.
- a man who gave gifts and offered animals to God on behalf of the
Jews; the priest put the animals on the altarand he burned them there.
- someone who speaks on behalf of God; someone who tells other people what God wants; or someone who tells other people what God will do.
- to hurt someone for the wrong things that they have done. For example, a person who has killed another person must go to prison.
- the bad things that God or people do to a person who does wrong things.
- the Sabbath was the seventh day of the week, which was special to the
Jews. It was a day when the people had to rest from work (Exodus 20:8-11).
- what people usually wore to show that they were very sad about something; sackcloth is a material. It is a dark colour and people made it out of goats’ hair.
- when we do wrong things against God or against other people.
- a place where the people were very bad. God destroyed Sodom a long time ago.
- water that comes from our eyes when we cry.
- when someone needs a drink.
- a country. The people there did not like God’s people.
- to give thanks to God; to show God that we love him very much. To tell someone that they are very great and that you love them.
- another name for
The Century Bible ~ Minor Prophets
Matthew Poole ~ Commentary on the Holy Bible
Jamieson, Faussett and Brown ~ Bible Commentary
Matthew Henry ~ Bible Commentary
Bibles ~ New King James, Young’s Literal, Bible in 26 Translations, Contemporary English Version
© Wycliffe Associates (UK), 1999-2009
This version published May 2009
The translated Bible text has been through Advanced Checking.