The Sorrows of Zion
1 [a]How solitary and lonely sits the city [Jerusalem]
That was [once] full of people!
How like a widow she has become.
She who was great among the nations!
The princess among the provinces,
Has become a forced laborer!
She weeps bitterly in the night
And her tears are [constantly] on her cheeks;
Among all her lovers (political allies)
She has no one to comfort her.
All her friends have dealt treacherously with her;
They have become her enemies.(A)
Judah has gone into exile under affliction
And under harsh servitude;
She dwells among the [pagan] nations,
But she has found no rest;
All her pursuers have overtaken her
In the midst of [her] distress.
The roads to Zion are in mourning
Because no one comes to the appointed feasts.
All her gates are desolate;
Her priests are groaning,
Her virgins are grieved and suffering,
And she suffers bitterly.
Her adversaries have become her masters,
Her enemies prosper;
For the Lord has caused her grief
Because of the multitude of her transgressions;
Her young children have gone
Into captivity before the enemy.(B)
All her beauty and majesty
Have departed from the Daughter of Zion (Jerusalem).
Her princes have become like deer
That have found no pasture;
They have fled without strength
Before the pursuer.
In the days of her affliction and homelessness
Jerusalem remembers all her precious things
That she had from the days of old,
When her people fell into the hand of the adversary,
And no one helped her,
The enemy saw her,
They mocked at her downfall.
Jerusalem sinned greatly;
Therefore she has become an unclean thing [and has been removed].
All who honored her [now] despise her
Because they have seen her nakedness;
Even she herself groans and turns [her face] away.
Her (ceremonial) uncleanness was on her skirts;
She did not [seriously] consider her future.
Therefore she has come down [from throne to slavery] in an astonishing manner;
She has no comforter.
“O Lord” [cries Jerusalem], “look at my affliction,
For the enemy has magnified himself [in triumph]!”
The adversary has spread out his hand
Over all her precious and desirable things;
For she has seen the [Gentile] nations enter her sanctuary (the Jerusalem temple)—
[b]The ones whom You commanded
That they should not enter into Your congregation [not even in the outer courts].(C)
All her people groan, seeking bread;
They have exchanged their desirable and precious things for food
To restore their lives.
“See, O Lord, and consider
How despised and repulsive I have become!”
“Is it nothing to you, all you who pass this way?
Look and see if there is any pain like my pain
Which was severely dealt out to me,
Which the Lord has inflicted [on me] on the day of His fierce anger.
“From on high He sent fire into my bones,
And it prevailed over them.
He has spread a net for my feet;
He has turned me back.
He has made me desolate and hopelessly miserable,
Faint all the day long.
“The yoke of my transgressions is bound;
By His hand they are knit and woven together.
They have come upon my neck.
He has made my strength fail;
The Lord has put me into the hand
Of those against whom I cannot stand.(D)
“The Lord has rejected all the strong men
In my midst;
He has proclaimed an established time against me
To crush my young men.
The Lord has trampled down as in a wine press
The Virgin Daughter of Judah.
“I weep for these things;
My eyes overflow with tears,
Because a comforter,
One who could restore my soul, is far away from me.
My children are desolate and perishing,
For the enemy has prevailed.”(E)
Zion stretches out her hands,
But there is no comforter for her.
The Lord has commanded concerning Jacob
That his neighbors should be his enemies;
Jerusalem has become a filthy thing [an object of contempt] among them.
“The Lord is righteous and just;
For I have rebelled against His commandment (His word).
Hear now, all you peoples,
And look at my pain;
My virgins and my young men
Have gone into captivity.
“I [Jerusalem] called to my lovers (political allies), but they deceived me.
My priests and my elders perished in the city
While they looked for food to restore their strength.
“See, O Lord, how distressed I am!
My spirit is deeply disturbed;
My heart is overturned within me and cannot rest,
For I have been very rebellious.
In the street the sword kills and bereaves;
In the house there is [famine, disease and] death!
“People have heard that I groan,
That I have no comforter [in You].
All my enemies have heard of my desperation;
They are delighted [O Lord] that You have done it.
Oh, that You would bring the day [of judgment] which You have proclaimed
So that they will become like me.(F)
“Let all their wickedness come before You;
And deal with them as You have dealt with me
Because of all my transgressions;
For my groans are many and my heart is faint.”
God’s Anger over Israel
2 How the Lord has covered the Daughter of Zion (Jerusalem)
With a cloud in His anger!
He has cast down from heaven to the earth
The glory and splendor of Israel
And has not remembered His footstool
In the day of His anger.
The Lord has swallowed up; He has not spared
All the country places of Jacob.
In His wrath He has thrown down
The strongholds of the Daughter of Judah (Jerusalem).
He has brought them down to the ground [in disgrace];
He has debased the kingdom and its princes.
In fierce anger He has cut off and destroyed
Every [c]horn of Israel.
He has withdrawn His right hand
From the presence of the enemy.
And He has burned in Jacob like a flaming fire
Consuming all around.
He has bent His bow like an enemy;
He has set His right hand like an adversary
And slain all that were delightful and pleasing to the eye;
In the tent of the Daughter of Zion
He has poured out His wrath like fire.
The Lord has become like an enemy;
He has swallowed up Israel.
He has swallowed up all its palaces;
He has destroyed its strongholds
And multiplied in the Daughter of Judah
Mourning and lamentation (expressions of grief).
And He has violently broken down His temple like a [fragile] garden hedge;
He has destroyed His appointed meeting place.
The Lord has caused the appointed feast and Sabbath
To be forgotten in Zion
And has despised and rejected the king and the priest
In the indignation of His anger.
The Lord has rejected His altar;
He has abandoned His sanctuary.
He has given into the hand of the enemy
The walls of her palaces;
They have made a noise in the house of the Lord
As on a day of an appointed feast.
The Lord determined to lay in ruins
The [city] wall of the Daughter of Zion.
He has stretched out a line,
He has not stopped His hand from destroying.
He has caused the rampart and the wall to lament (mourn in grief);
They have languished together.
Her gates have sunk into the ground;
He has destroyed and broken her bars.
Her king and her princes are [exiled] among the nations;
The law is no more.
Also, her prophets no longer find
Vision from the Lord.
The elders of the Daughter of Zion
Sit on the ground keeping silent;
They have thrown dust on their heads,
They have covered themselves with sackcloth.
The virgins of Jerusalem
Have bowed their heads to the ground.
My eyes fail because of tears [mourns Jeremiah],
My spirit is deeply disturbed;
My heart is poured out on the earth [in grief]
Because of the destruction of the daughter of my people [Jerusalem],
When little ones and infants faint
In the streets of the city.
They cry to their mothers,
“Where is grain and wine?”
As they faint like a wounded man
In the streets of the city,
As their life [slips away and] is poured out
In their mothers’ arms.
How shall I console you?
To what shall I compare you,
O Daughter of Jerusalem?
With what shall I compare you, so that I may comfort you,
O Virgin Daughter of Zion?
For your ruin is as vast as the sea;
Who can heal you?(G)
Your prophets have seen (imagined) for you
False and foolish visions;
And they have not exposed your wickedness
To restore you from captivity [by teaching you to repent],
But they have seen (imagined) and declared to you false and misleading oracles.
All who pass along the way
Clap their hands in derision at you;
They scoff and shake their heads
At the Daughter of Jerusalem, saying,
“Is this the city that was called
‘The perfection of beauty,
The joy of all the earth’?”
All your enemies
Have opened their mouths wide against you;
They [scornfully] hiss and gnash their teeth.
They say, “We have swallowed her up!
Certainly this is the day for which we waited;
We have reached it, we have seen it!”
The Lord has done what He planned;
He has accomplished His word
Which He commanded [d]from days of old.
He has demolished without sparing,
And He has caused the enemy to rejoice over you;
He has exalted the power of your enemies.(H)
Their hearts cried out to the Lord.
“O wall of the Daughter of Zion,
Let your tears run down like a river day and night;
Give yourself no relief,
Let your eyes have no rest.
“Arise, cry aloud in the night,
At the beginning of the night watches;
Pour out your heart like water
Before the presence of the Lord;
Lift up your hands to Him
For the life of your little ones
Who are faint from hunger
At the head of every street.”(I)
See, O Lord, and look!
With whom have You dealt this way?
Should women eat their offspring,
The little ones who were born healthy and beautiful?
Should priest and prophet be killed
In the sanctuary of the Lord?
The young and the old
Lie on the ground in the streets;
My virgins and my young men
Have fallen by the sword.
You have killed them in the day of Your anger,
You have slaughtered, not sparing.
You [Lord] called as in the day of an appointed feast
My terrors (dangers) on every side;
And there was no one who escaped or survived
In the day of the Lord’s anger.
Those I have cared for and brought up with tenderness,
My enemy annihilated them.
- Lamentations 1:1 The writings of the prophets are not only valuable contributions to Old Testament history, but the reader is also enriched by familiarity with the forecasts of events which have been fulfilled, thus revealing the divine inspiration of the books and the wisdom and power of the God who prompted their writings.
- Lamentations 1:10 The Ammonites and Moabites, descendants of Lot and related to Israel, were forbidden to enter the congregation of the Lord, “even to their tenth generation,” because they refused to assist the sons of Israel when they were escaping from Egypt, and because they hired Balaam to curse Israel (Deut 23:3, 4). The Israelites never assembled any closer to the sanctuary of the temple than in the court outside its door. No Jew, not even David was authorized to enter the sanctuary proper except for certain Levites to whom such service was assigned. But now, Jeremiah says, the forbidden pagan nations enter the Holy of Holies to vandalize.
- Lamentations 2:3 The horn is symbolic of strength and power.
- Lamentations 2:17 The Jews were well aware of the ancient predictions of the coming judgment against Israel because of their sin.
- Lamentations 1:2 : Jer 3:1; 4:30
- Lamentations 1:5 : Jer 30:14, 15; 52:28; Dan 9:7-14
- Lamentations 1:10 : Deut 23:3; Jer 51:51; Ezek 44:7, 9
- Lamentations 1:14 : Deut 28:48
- Lamentations 1:16 : Lam 1:21
- Lamentations 1:21 : Is 14:5, 6; Jer 30:16
- Lamentations 2:13 : Lam 1:12; Dan 9:12
- Lamentations 2:17 : Lev 26:14-39; Deut 28:15-68
- Lamentations 2:19 : Ps 62:8
1 Paul, a prisoner [for the sake] of Christ Jesus (the Messiah, the Anointed), and our brother Timothy,
To Philemon our dearly beloved friend and fellow worker, 2 and to [your wife] Apphia our sister, and to [a]Archippus our fellow soldier [in ministry], and to the [b]church that meets in your [c]house: 3 Grace to you and peace [inner calm and spiritual well-being] from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
Philemon’s Love and Faith
4 I thank my God always, making mention of you in my prayers, 5 because I hear of your love and of your faith which you have toward the Lord Jesus and toward all the [d]saints (God’s people). 6 I pray that the sharing of your faith may become effective and powerful because of your accurate knowledge of every good thing which is ours in Christ. 7 For I have had great joy and comfort and encouragement from your love, because the hearts of the saints (God’s people) have been refreshed through you, my brother.
8 Therefore [on the basis of these facts], though I have enough confidence in Christ to order you to do what is appropriate, 9 yet for love’s sake I prefer to appeal to you—since I am such a person as Paul, an old man, and now also a prisoner [for the sake] of Christ Jesus—
A Plea for Onesimus to be Freed
10 I appeal to you for my [own spiritual] child Onesimus, whom I have fathered [in the faith] while a captive in these chains. 11 Once he was useless to you, but now he is indeed [e]useful to you as well as to me. 12 I have sent him back to you in person, that is, like sending my very heart. 13 I would have chosen to keep him with me, so that he might minister to me on your behalf during my imprisonment for the gospel; 14 but I did not want to do anything without first getting your consent, so that your goodness would not be, in effect, by compulsion but of your own free will. 15 Perhaps it was for this reason that he was separated from you for a while, so that you would have him back forever, 16 no longer as a slave, but [as someone] more than a slave, as a brother [in Christ], especially dear to me, but how much more to you, both in the flesh [as a servant] and in the Lord [as a fellow believer].(A)
17 So if you consider me a partner, welcome and accept him as you would me. 18 But if he has wronged you in any way or owes you anything, charge that to my account; 19 I, Paul, write this with my [f]own hand, I will repay it in full (not to mention to you that you [g]owe to me even your own self as well). 20 Yes, brother, let me have some benefit and joy from you in the Lord; refresh my heart in Christ.
21 I write to you [perfectly] confident of your obedient compliance, [h]since I know that you will do even more than I ask.
22 At the same time also prepare a guest room for me [in expectation of a visit], for I hope that through your prayers I will be [granted the gracious privilege of] coming to you [at Colossae].
23 Greetings to you from Epaphras, my fellow prisoner here in [the cause of] Christ Jesus, 24 and from Mark, Aristarchus, Demas, and Luke, my fellow workers.
25 The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit.
- Philemon 1:2 Perhaps the son of Philemon and Apphia.
- Philemon 1:2 Philemon was responsible to see that this letter was shared with his fellow Colossian believers.
- Philemon 1:2 Prior to the third century a.d. churches customarily met in private homes.
- Philemon 1:5 All born-again believers (saints) have been reborn from above—spiritually transformed, renewed, made holy and set apart for God’s purpose.
- Philemon 1:11 Paul makes a play on words here because Onesimus means “useful” or “profitable.”
- Philemon 1:19 By writing this with his own hand, Paul accepted legal liability.
- Philemon 1:19 Philemon evidently was saved through Paul’s ministry and therefore owed Paul a debt that could not be repaid.
- Philemon 1:21 This was probably a subtle suggestion by Paul to emancipate Onesimus.
The Psalmist’s Profession of Uprightness.
A Psalm of David.
101 I will sing of [steadfast] lovingkindness and justice;
To You, O Lord, I will sing praises.
I will behave wisely and follow the way of integrity.
When will You come to me?
I will walk in my house in integrity and with a blameless heart.
I will set no worthless or wicked thing before my eyes.
I hate the practice of those who fall away [from the right path];
It will not grasp hold of me.
A perverse heart shall depart from me;
I will not tolerate evil.
Whoever secretly slanders his neighbor, him I will silence;
The one who has a haughty look and a proud (arrogant) heart I will not tolerate.
My eyes will be on the faithful (honorable) of the land, that they may dwell with me;
He who walks blamelessly is the one who will minister to and serve me.
He who practices deceit will not dwell in my house;
He who tells lies and half-truths will not continue [to remain] in my presence.
Morning after morning I will destroy all the wicked in the land,
That I may cut off from the city of the Lord all those who do evil.
For lack of wood the fire goes out,
And where there is no whisperer [who gossips], contention quiets down.