Lamentations 1:1

Hebrew Bible

1 א (Alef) Alas! The city once full of people now sits all alone! The prominent lady among the nations has become a widow! The princess who once ruled the provinces has become a forced laborer! 2 ב (Bet) She weeps bitterly at night; tears stream down her cheeks. She has no one to comfort her among all her lovers. All her friends have betrayed her; they have become her enemies. 3 ג (Gimel) Judah has departed into exile under affliction and harsh oppression. She lives among the nations; she has found no resting place. All who pursued her overtook her in narrow straits.

Isaiah 1:21

Hebrew Bible

19 If you have a willing attitude and obey, then you will again eat the good crops of the land. 20 But if you refuse and rebel, you will be devoured by the sword.”Know for certain that the Lord has spoken. 21 How tragic that the once-faithful city has become a prostitute! She was once a center of justice; fairness resided in her—but now only murderers! 22 Your silver has become scum, your beer is diluted with water. 23 Your officials are rebels, they associate with thieves. All of them love bribery, and look for payoffs. They do not take up the cause of the orphan or defend the rights of the widow.

 Notes and References

"... We are immediately introduced to the city, Zion, the major focus of the book. The Hebrew word for 'city' is feminine, and this encourages the use of female personification - though the language of humiliation (as in verse 8) raises pressing ethical questions for some readers. The city is often presented as the wife of YHWH in the Old Testament, and the motif of the 'widowed city' (verse 1) is found outside Israel too; it is not unreasonable to understand Zion here as bereaved of YHWH himself. 'Daughter Zion' (verse 6) is a key phrase in the book, as also in Isaiah (e.g. 1:8; 52:2). The Hebrew has 'daughter of Zion', but the NRSV's 'daughter Zion' captures well the sense, namely the city personified. The formula is used also of Jerusalem and Judah, sometimes designated as 'virgin' (e.g. 1:15; 2:13). As is commonplace in such dirges (compare Isaiah 1:21-3), verse 1 contains several contrasts between a former positive situation ('full', 'great', 'princess') and the present negative one ('lonely', 'widow', 'vassal'), and in this it sets a pattern for the whole book. The language of grief pervades the work, verses 2 and 16 providing notable examples. That Zion 'has no one to comfort her' (verse 2) is a recurrent theme ..."

Barton, John, and John Muddiman The Oxford Bible Commentary (pp. 529-530) Oxford University Press, 2001

 User Comments

Do you have questions or comments about these texts? Please submit them here.