Lamentations 1:1-6

Lamentations 1:1-6
Ordinary C45


How lonelyA sitsB the cityC
    that once was fullD of people!E

Notes on verse 1a

A “lonely” = badad. 12x in OT. From badad (to divide or be separated; alone, solitary, lonely, isolated, straggler). This is separation, alone, apart, isolation, secluded, desolate, or lonely.
B “sits” = yashab. This is to sit and so to remain and so to dwell. It is sitting for any reason – as a judge, in order to ambush, or just sitting quietly. Causatively, this can mean settling or marrying. This can also mean continue, endure, or establish.
C “city” = iyr. From uwr (to awaken or wake oneself up). This can mean excitement in the sense of wakefulness or city. Properly, this is a place that is guarded. Guards kept schedules according to watches. This sense of the word would include cities as well as encampments or posts that were guarded.
D “full” = rab. From rabab (increasing in any aspect whether quantity, authority, size, quality, greatness, etc.). This is abundance, many, elder, exceedingly, great. It refers to abundance of amount, rank, or status.
E “people” = am. From amam (to darken, hide, associate; creating shadows by huddling together). This is people or nation. It can be used specifically for a tribe, collectively of troops or armies, or figuratively to refer to a flock of animals.

How like a widowF she has become,G
    she that was greatH among the nations!I

Notes on verse 1b

F “widow” = almanah. Related to alman (widowed); from alam (to be silent, bound). This is a widow or a house that is desolate.
G “become” = hayah. This is to be or become, to happen.
H “great” = rab. Same as “full” in v1. See note D above.
I “nations” = goy. From the same root as gevah (the back, person, or body); related to gev (among); related to gaah (to rise up). This is nation or people. Often used to refer to Gentiles or foreign nations. It can also be used figuratively for a group of animals. This is where the Yiddish “goy” comes from.

She that was a princessJ among the provincesK
    has become subjectL to forced labor.M

Notes on verse 1c

J “princess” = sarah. 5x in OT. From sar (chief, official, prince). This is a noblewoman, mistress, princess, or queen. It is the root of Sarah’s name.
K “provinces” = medinah. From din (to judge, defend, dispute, govern, strive). This is an area or province overseen by a judge So, it’s a jurisdiction, region, or province.
L “become subject” = hayah. Same as “become” in v1. See note G above.
M “forced labor” = mas. Perhaps from masas (to melt, discourage, faint; to deteriorate from a sickness or weaken because of sleepiness or an emotional response). This is a burden that creates weariness and or exhaustion. It is forced labor, taskwork, or other levy.

She weeps bitterlyN in the night,O
    with tearsP on her cheeks;Q

Notes on verse 2a

N “weeps bitterly” = bakah + bakah. This is to weep, complain, or lament. The word is repeated twice – the first time as an Infinitive Absolute. The Infinitive Absolute serves to emphasize the sentiment of the word. It is rather like Foghorn Leghorn’s speech pattern, “I said, I said.”
O “night” = layil. Properly, this refers to light twisting away. It is used for night or midnight. Figuratively, this can mean adversity.
P “tears” = dimah. From dema (juice, liquor); from dama (to weep). This is tears from weeping.
Q “cheeks” = lechi. Root may refer to softness. This may be jaw bone or cheek.

among allR her lovers,S
    she has no one to comfortT her;
all her friendsU have dealt treacherouslyV with her;
    they have become her enemies.W

Notes on verse 2b

R “all” = kol. From kalal (to complete). This is all or every.
S “lovers” = aheb. This is to love, beloved, friend. It is to have affection for sexually or otherwise.
T “comfort” = nacham. Properly, this is a strong breath or a sigh. This can be to be sorry, to pity, console. Comfort, or repent. But, one can also comfort oneself with less righteous thoughts, so this can also mean to avenge oneself.
U “friends” = rea. From raah (to associate with). This is the same as neighbor in Leviticus 19:18 “love your neighbor as yourself.” This is friend, companion, fellow, neighbor. It is someone with whom you associate, whether more or less close.
V “dealt treacherously” = bagad. This is to cover or conceal. Figuratively, it is to act in a covert or treacherous way, to transgress or pillage.
W “enemies” = oyeb. From ayab (to hate or be hostile to). This is a foe or enemy as one that you are hostile to.

JudahX has gone into exileY with sufferingZ
    and hardAA servitude;BB

Notes on verse 3a

X “Judah” = Yehudah. Probably from yadah (to throw one’s hands into the air in a gesture of praise); from yad (hand). This is Judah, meaning “praised.”
Y “gone into exile” = galah. This is to remove, bring, carry, lead, appear, advertise. It can mean to strip someone or something bare in a negative sense. Captives were typically stripped before they were sent into exile. Used figuratively, in a positive sense, this word means reveal, disclose, discover.
Z “suffering” = oniy. From anah (to be bowed down; humility or being browbeaten, oppressed, afflicted, or depressed; literal or figurative – depressed in mood or circumstance). This is misery, poverty, or affliction.
AA “hard” = rob. Related to “full” in v1. From rabab (see note D above). This is any kind of abundance.
BB “servitude” = abodah. From abad (to work, serve, compel; any kind of work; used causatively, can mean to enslave or keep in bondage). This is labor, service, bondage, job, servitude, worker. It can refer to any kind of work.

she livesCC now among the nations;
    she findsDD no resting place;EE

Notes on verse 3b

CC “lives” = yashab. Same as “sits” in v1. See note B above.
DD “finds” = matsa. This is to find, catch or acquire. It can also mean to come forth or appear. Figuratively, this can mean to meet or be together with.
EE “resting place” = manoach. 6x in OT. From nuach (to rest, calm, camp, free, place, remain, satisfy, settle, station, or wait; implies settling down in a literal or figurative sense). This is resting place, a restful state, quiet, a home.

her pursuersFF have all overtakenGG her
    in the midstHH of her distress.II

Notes on verse 3c

FF “pursuers” = radaph. This is to chase after, pursue, hunt, or persecute. It is running after someone or something, generally with hostile motives.
GG “overtaken” = nasag. This is to reach in a literal or figurative sense. It is to overtake, catch, or be able to.
HH “midst” = bayin. From bin (to discern, consider, attend to; distinguishing things in one’s mind or, more generally, to understand). This is among, between, interval.
II “distress” = metsar. 3x in OT– 2x in the Psalms & 1x in Lamentations. From tsarar (to bind, restrict, narrow, be cramped, an adversary). This is something tight. Figuratively, it is used for distress, pain, or trouble.

The roadsJJ to ZionKK mourn,LL
    for no oneMM comesNN to the festivals;OO

Notes on verse 4a

JJ “roads” = derek. From darak (to tread, march, to walk. Can also mean affixing a string to a box since one needs to step on it to bend it in the process; so also an archer). This is a road as a thing that is walked on. Can be used figuratively for the path that one’s life takes or how one chooses to live one’s life.
KK “Zion” = Tsiyyon. Related to tsyiyyun (signpost, monument); from tsavah (to charge someone, to command, order); from the same as tsiyyah (dryness drought); from a root meaning parched as desert, dry land. Zion can refer to a mountain in Jerusalem as well as another name for Jerusalem itself or the people.
LL “mourn” = abel. 8x in OT. From abal (to mourn, bewail). This is mourning or a mourner.
MM “no one” = beli. From balah (to grow old, wear out, waste away, consume, spend). This is properly a failure. So, it could mean without, not yet, unawares, lacking, something that wears out, or because not.
NN “comes” = bo. This is to enter, come in, advance, fulfill, bring offerings, enter to worship, attack. It can also have a sexual connotation.
OO “festivals” = moed. From yaad (to appoint, assemble or gather selves, agree). This is a meeting, assembly, fixed time. It can be used for a festival or feast. It can also refer to a meeting place.

all her gatesPP are desolate;QQ
    her priestsRR groan;SS
her young girlsTT grieve,UU
    and her lot is bitter.VV

Notes on verse 4b

PP “gates” = shaar. May be related to sha’ar (to calculate or reckon; may come from a root that means to open up or split). This is a gate, door, or other opening like a port.
QQ “are desolate” = shamem. This is to amaze or be astonished. It can also mean devastate, stun, become numb, or be appalled.
RR “priests” = kohen. This is literally the one who officiates i.e. the priest. This is where the Jewish last name “Cohen” (and its variants) comes from.
SS “groan” = anach. 12x in OT. This is sighing, groaning, or moaning. It can be as a sign of grief, physical distress, or it could refer to sounds that cattle make.
TT “young girls” = betulah. This is virgin, maiden, or bride. Can also be used figuratively for a place.
UU “grieve” = yagah. 8x in OT. This is to suffer, grieve, afflict.
VV “bitter” = mar. From marar (to be bitter, embittered, weep, troubled). This is bitterness literal or figurative. It could be fierce, angry, or discontented.

Her foesWW have become the masters;XX
    her enemies prosperYY

Notes on verse 5a

WW “foes” = tsar. Related to “distress” in v3. From tsarar (see note II above). Properly, this is a narrow or constricted place. Figuratively, it can be trouble, a pebble, an enemy, anguish, or distress.
XX “masters” = rosh. This may come a word that means to shake. It is the head, captain, or chief. It can also be excellent or the forefront. It can be first in position or in statue or in time (i.e. the beginning).
YY “prosper” = shalah. 5x in OT. This is to be quiet, safe, tranquil. It can imply success or happiness; could also mean to deceive or be negligent.

because the LordZZ has made her sufferAAA
    for the multitudeBBB of her transgressions;CCC

Notes on verse 5b

ZZ “Lord” = YHVH. Related to “become” in v1. From havah (to be, become) or hayah (see note G above). This is the name of the God of Israel, the self-existent and eternal one, the tetragrammaton. This pronunciation has been lost to time so “Lord” is generally used in its place.
AAA “made…suffer” = yagah. Same as “grieve” in v4. See note UU above.
BBB “multitude” = rob. Same as “hard” in v3. See note AA above.
CCC “transgressions” = pesha. From pasha (to rebel, offend, quarrel; making a break from proper authority so can also refer to an apostate). This is transgression, rebellion, or sin. It could be a revolt on a national scale or an individual moral one.

her childrenDDD have goneEEE away,
    captivesFFF beforeGGG the foe.

Notes on verse 5c

DDD “children” = olel. Perhaps from uwl (to nurse, suckle; can also be used of a suckling lamb). This is a child or infant.
EEE “gone” = halak. This is go, come, walk. It is walk literally and figuratively and includes people and animals. It can be used figuratively for one’s moral life – how we walk according to God’s way or against it. It can also refer to the walk of life as in the course one’s life takes, the choices we make, etc.
FFF “captives” = shbiy. From shebo (valuable stone, maybe agate) OR from shabah (to take captive, keep, a captor). This is prisoner, exiled, captivity, booty.
GGG “before” = paneh. From panah (to turn, face, appear). This is face in a literal or figurative sense. It could be face, presence, anger, respect. It can also be used of God to indicate divine favor or presence.

From daughterHHH Zion has departedIII
    all her majesty.JJJ

Notes on verse 6a

HHH “daughter” = bat. From ben (son literal or figurative; also, grandson, subject, nation); from banah (to build or obtain children). This is daughter in a literal or figurative sense.
III “departed” = yatsa. This is to go or come out, bring forth, appear. It is to go out in a literal or figurative sense.
JJJ “majesty” = hadar. From hadar (to honor or adorn; majestic, respected, glorious; to favor or honor; to be proud). This is ornament, splendor, beauty, dignity, majesty, magnificence, and glory.

Her princesKKK have become like stagsLLL
    that find no pasture;MMM

Notes on verse 6b

KKK “princes” = sar. Related to “princess” in v1. See note J above.
LLL “stags” = ayyal. 11x in OT. From the same as ulam (porch, hall); from the same as ul (mighty, strength, body, belly; root may mean to twist and that implies strength and power); from alam (to bind or tie fast; to be silent or speechless, whether voluntary or involuntary) or from ayil (strength; things that are strong or powerful: political chiefs, rams, posts, trees, oaks). This is deer, hart. It can symbolize leaping, looking for pasture or sustenance. It can also be used to refer to princes.
MMM “pasture” = mireh. 13x in OT. From raah (to graze, tend a flock, keep company with; to pasture in a literal or figurative sense). This is a pasture or the act of taking animals to feed at a pasture. It can also be the den or other dwelling place for wild animals.

they fledNNN without strengthOOO
    beforePPP the pursuer.

Notes on verse 6c

NNN “fled” = halak. Same as “gone” in v5. See note EEE above.
OOO “strength” = koach. Root may mean to be firm. This is power, strength, force. It can be literal or figurative, positive or negative. It can also mean capacity or means – what something produces. Additionally, it could refer to some kind of small reptile.
PPP “before” = paneh. Same as “before” in v5. See note GGG above.

Image credit: “Destruction” by Gerry Lauzon, 2014.

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