Lament over Jerusalem

א Alef

How[a] she sits alone,

the city once crowded with people!

She who was great among the nations

has become like a widow.

The princess among the provinces

has been put to forced labor.

ב Bet

She weeps aloud during the night,

with tears on her cheeks.

There is no one to offer her comfort,

not one from all her lovers.[b]

All her friends have betrayed her;

they have become her enemies.

ג Gimel

Judah has gone into exile

following[c] affliction and harsh slavery;

she lives among the nations

but finds no place to rest.

All her pursuers have overtaken her

in narrow places.

ד Dalet

The roads to Zion mourn,

for no one comes to the appointed festivals.

All her gates are deserted;

her priests groan,

her young women grieve,

and she herself is bitter.

ה He

Her adversaries have become her masters;

her enemies are at ease,

for the Lord has made her suffer

because of her many transgressions.

Her children have gone away

as captives before the adversary.

ו Vav

All her splendor has vanished

from Daughter Zion.

Her leaders are like stags

that find no pasture;

they walk away exhausted

before the hunter.

ז Zayin

During the days of her affliction and homelessness

Jerusalem remembers all her precious belongings

that were hers in days of old.

When her people fell into the adversary’s hand,

she had no one to help.

The adversaries looked at her,

laughing over her downfall.

ח Khet

Jerusalem has sinned grievously;

therefore, she has become an object of scorn.[d]

All who honored her now despise her,

for they have seen her nakedness.

She herself groans and turns away.

ט Tet

Her uncleanness stains her skirts.

She never considered her end.

Her downfall was astonishing;

there was no one to comfort her.

Lord, look on my affliction,

for the enemy triumphs!

י Yod

10 The adversary has seized

all her precious belongings.

She has even seen the nations

enter her sanctuary—

those You had forbidden

to enter Your assembly.

כ Kaf

11 All her people groan

while they search for bread.

They have traded their precious belongings for food

in order to stay alive.

Lord, look and see

how I have become despised.

ל Lamed

12 Is this nothing to you, all you who pass by?

Look and see!

Is there any pain like mine,

which was dealt out to me,

which the Lord made me suffer

on the day of His burning anger?

מ Mem

13 He sent fire from heaven into my bones;

He made it descend.[e]

He spread a net for my feet

and turned me back.

He made me desolate,

sick all day long.

נ Nun

14 My transgressions have been formed into a yoke,[f][g]

fastened together by His hand;

they have been placed on my neck,

and the Lord has broken my strength.

He has handed me over

to those I cannot withstand.

ס Samek

15 The Lord has rejected

all the mighty men within me.

He has summoned an army[h] against me

to crush my young warriors.

The Lord has trampled Virgin Daughter Judah

like grapes in a winepress.

ע Ayin

16 I weep because of these things;

my eyes flow[i] with tears.

For there is no one nearby to comfort me,

no one to keep me alive.

My children are desolate

because the enemy has prevailed.

פ Pe

17 Zion stretches out her hands;

there is no one to comfort her.

The Lord has issued a decree against Jacob

that his neighbors should be his adversaries.

Jerusalem has become

something impure among them.

צ Tsade

18 The Lord is just,

for I have rebelled against His command.

Listen, all you people;

look at my pain.

My young men and women

have gone into captivity.

ק Qof

19 I called to my lovers,

but they betrayed me.

My priests and elders

perished in the city

while searching for food

to keep themselves alive.

ר Resh

20 Lord, see how I am in distress.

I am churning within;

my heart is broken,[j]

for I have been very rebellious.

Outside, the sword takes the children;

inside, there is death.

שׁ Shin

21 People have heard me groaning,

but there is no one to comfort me.

All my enemies have heard of my misfortune;

they are glad that You have caused it.

Bring on the day You have announced,

so that they may become like me.

ת Tav

22 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 I am sick at heart.


  1. Lamentations 1:1 The stanzas in Lm 1–4 form an acrostic.
  2. Lamentations 1:2 = Jerusalem’s political allies
  3. Lamentations 1:3 Or because of
  4. Lamentations 1:8 Or become impure
  5. Lamentations 1:13 DSS, LXX; MT reads bones, and it prevailed against them
  6. Lamentations 1:14 Some Hb mss, LXX read He kept watch over my transgressions
  7. Lamentations 1:14 Or The yoke of my transgressions is bound; Hb obscure
  8. Lamentations 1:15 Or has announced an appointed time
  9. Lamentations 1:16 Lit my eye, my eye flows
  10. Lamentations 1:20 Lit is turned within me