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Calvin's Commentaries, Vol. 21: Jeremiah and Lamentations, Part V, tr. by John King, [1847-50], at





1 How sits solitary the city Which abounded in people I How is she become as a widow, Who was great among the nations! She who ruled among provinces Is become tributary!

2 Weeping she has wept in the night And her tears are on her cheeks; She has no comforter All along all her lovers; All her friends have dealt falsely with her, They are become her enemies.

3 Migrated hath Judah because of oppression, And because of much servitude; She dwelleth among the nations, She finds no rest; All who pursued her have taken her between the straits.

4 The ways of Sion mourn, For they come not to the festivals; All her gates are desolate, her priests are sighing; her virgins are afflicted, And she is in bitterness!

5 Her adversaries have become the head, Her enemies have prospered; Because Jehovah hath afflicted her For the greatness of her iniquities: Her little ones have gone into exile Before the adversary;

6 And departed from the daughter of Sion Has all her glory; her princes have become like harts, Who cannot find pasture; And they have gone without strength Before their pursuer.

7 Remember did Jerusalem, In the days of her affliction and want, All her desirable things, Which were from ancient days; When fall did her people into the hand of the enemy, And she had no helper: Seen her have enemies, They laughed at her Sabbath.

8 A sin hath Jerusalem sinned, Therefore she is become a wandered; All who honored her have despised her, Because they have seen her nakedness; She even groaned, And turned backward:

9 Her shame is in her skirts; She remembered not her end; Therefore she came down wonderfully, She hath no comforter: See, Jehovah, my affliction, For magnified himself hath the enemy.

10 His hand did the enemy stretch out To all her desirable things; For she saw the heathens, When they entered her sanctuary, Respecting whom thou hast commanded, They shall not come to thy congregation.

11 All her people are sighing, They are seeking bread; They have given their desirable things For food, to restore life: See, Jehovah, and look, For I am vile.

12 is it nothing to all of you Who pass by the way? Look and see, if there be a sorrow Like the sorrow that is come to me; For afflicted me hath Jehovah, In the day of the indignation of his wrath.

13 From on high hath he sent fire into my bones And it hath prevailed over them: He hath spread his net for my feet, He hath turned me backward; He hath made me desolate, Sorrowing all the day.

14 Tied is the yoke of mine iniquities by his hand, They are twined together: They have come up on my neck, He hath weakened my strength: Given me up hath the Lord, Into the hand of my enemies, From whom I shall not be able to rise.

15 Trodden under foot all my valiant men Hath the Lord in the midst of me: He hath brought on me the fixed time To destroy my young men; The winepress hath the Lord trodden, As to the virgin, the daughter of Judah.

16 For this I weep; mine eye mine eye! Waters flow down; For removed far from me is a comforter Who might revive my soul; My children are become desolate, For prevailed has the enemy.

17 Expand did Sion her hands, She had no comforter; Given a charge had Jehovah as to Jacob, To his adversaries all around him; Become is Jerusalem An abomination among them.

18 Righteous is Jehovah, For his mouth have I provoked, Hear, I pray, all ye people, And behold my sorrow: My virgins and my young men, They are gone into captivity.

19 I called to my friends, They deceived me; My priests and my elders, In the city they expired, While they were seeking food for themselves, To revive their soul.

20 See, Jehovah, for I am distressed, My bowels are troubled; Overwhelmed is my heart within me, For rebelling I have rebelled: Without bereaves the sword, Within it is as death,

21 They have heard that I mourn, That I have no comforter; All mine enemies have heard of my evil; They rejoice that thou hast done it, And brought the day thou hast announced: But they shall be as I am.

22 Let all their wickedness Come into thy presence; And do to them as thou hast done To me for all my sins; For my sighings are many, And my heart is weak.


1 How hath the Lord clouded in his wrath The daughter of Sion! He hath cast down from heaven to the earth The glory of Israel; And hath not remembered his footstool In the day of his wrath!

2 Destroyed hath the Lord, and spared not, All the habitations of Jacob; He hath demolished in his indignation The fortresses of the daughter of Judah; He hath cast them to the ground, he hath profaned Her kingdom and her princes.

3 He hath broken in the indignation of his wrath Every horn of Israel; He hath withdrawn his right hand From before the enemy; And he burned like fire in Jacob, The flame devoured all around.

4 Bent hath he his bow as an enemy, Stand did his right hand as an adversary, And he slew all the delights of the eye In the tabernacle of the daughter of Sion He hath poured forth As fire, his wrath.

5 The Lord hath been like an enemy, He hath destroyed Israel; He hath destroyed all his palaces, He hath demolished his fortresses; He hath increased in the daughter of Judah Mourning and lamentation:

6 And he hath removed as a garden His tabernacle; He hath destroyed his testimony; Forgotten hath Jehovah in Sion The assembly and the Sabbath; He hath rejected, in the indignation of his wrath, The king and the priest:

7 Abhorred hath Jehovah his altar, He hath cast off his sanctuary; Given up hath he into the hand of the enemy The walls of her palaces: A noise they made in the house of Jehovah, As on the day of the assembly.

8 Resolve did Jehovah to destroy the wall Of the daughter of Sion; He extended a line, He drew not back his hand from scattering; Therefore mourned hath the rampart and the wall, They have fallen together.

9 Sunk have her gates in the ground; He hath destroyed and broken her bars; Her king and her princes, They are among the heathens; There is no law, her prophets, They find no vision from Jehovah:

10 They sit on the ground, they are silent, The elders of the daughter of Sion; They cast dust on their head, They gird themselves with sackcloth; Bend to the ground their head Do the virgins of Jerusalem.

11 Consume with tears did mine eyes, Troubled were my bowels; Poured forth on the ground was my liver, For the breach of the daughter of my people; When the child and the suckling Vanished away in the streets of the city.

12 To their mothers they say,- “Where is corn and wine“ While they vanish away, as a dying man, In the streets of the city, And while they pour out their souls Into the bosom of their mothers

13 What can I testify to thee? What can I compare to thee, O daughter of Jerusalem? What can I liken to thee, to comfort thee, O virgin, the daughter of Sion? For great as the sea is thy breach, Who can heal thee?

14 Thy prophets have seen for thee Vanity and insipidity. And they disclosed not thine iniquity, That they might reverse thy captivity; And they saw for thee Prophecies of vanity and expulsions.

15 They clapped at thee their hands, All who passed by on the road; They hissed and moved their head At the daughter of Jerusalem, — “Is this the city of which they said, Perfect in beauty, the joy of all the earth?

16 Opened at thee their mouth Have all thine enemies; They hissed and gnashed the teeth, They said, “We shall devour her, Surely the day which we expected We have found, we have seen.”

17 Jehovah hath done what he had purposed; He hath fulfilled his word, Which he had commanded from days of old; He hath overthrown and not spared; And tie hath made to rejoice over thee the enemy, He hath raised up the horn of thine adversaries.

18 Cry out did their heart to the Lord: O wall of the daughter of Sion, Make tears to flow down As a river, day and night; Give thyself no rest, Let not the pupil of thine eye cease.

19 Rise, cry aloud in the night, At the beginning of the watches; Pour out like waters Thy heart before the Lord; Raise lip to him thy hands For the life of thy little ones, Who faint through famine At the head of all the streets.

20 See, Jehovah, and look, To whom thou hast done this: Should women eat their own fruit, Infants while nursed! Should they be slain in the Lord’s sanctuary, The priest and the prophet!

21 Lie on the ground in the streets Did boys and old men; My virgins and my young men, They fell by the sword: Thou hast killed in the day of thy wrath, Thou hast slaughtered and not spared.

22 Thou hast summoned, as on t festive day, My terrors all around; And in the day of the indignation of Jehovah!, There was none surviving or remaining; Whom I nursed and brought up, The enemy consumed them.


1 I am a man who hath seen affliction Through the rod of his indignation’

2 Me hath he led and made to go Into darkness, and not into light.

3 Surely against me is he turned, He turns his hand daily.

4 To grow old hath he made my flesh and my skin, He hath broken my bones.

5 He hath builded against me, And surrounded me with gall and trouble.

6 In darkness hath he made me to lie As the dead for ever.

7 He hath shut me up, that I cannot go forth He hath made heavy my fetter.

8 Even when I cried, and cried aloud, he shut out my prayer.

9 He hath enclosed my ways with hewn stones, My paths hath he perverted.

10 A bear lying in wait hath he been to me, A lion in his den.

11 My ways hath he perverted, and lie hath torn me, He hath made me a waste.

12 He hath bent his bow, and made me As a mark for the arrow.

13 He hath made to enter into my reins The sons of his quiver.

14 I became a derision to all my people, Their song all the day.

15 He hath satiated me with bitterness, He hath filled me with gall.

16 He hath broken with pebbles my teeth, He hath covered me with dust,

17 And far removed from peace is my soul; I have forgotten good.

18 And I said, “Perished hath my strength And my hope from Jehovah;”

19 When I remember my affliction and my trouble, The poison and the gall:

20 Remembering remember does my soul, And it is humbled within me

21 This will I recall to my mind, Therefore will I hope.

22 The mercies of Jehovah! surely they are not consumed; Surely failed not have his compassion’s;

23 Renewed are they in the morning; Great is thy faithfulness.

24 My portion is Jehovah, said my soul, Therefore will I hope in him.

25 Good is Jehovah to him who waits for him, To the soul that seeks him;

26 Good it is to hope and to be silent, As to the salvation of Jehovah;

27 Good it is for a man To bear the yoke in his youth:

28 He will sit apart, and be silent, For he will raise it on himself;

29 He will put in the dust his mouth, If so be that there is hope;

30 He will give to the smiter his cheek, He will be filled with reproaches.

31 For not cast away for ever Will the Lord;

32 For though he causes grief, he will yet show compassion, According to the multitude of his mercies;

33 :For he does not from his heart afflict, Nor cause grief to the children of men.

34 When one tears under his feet All the bound of the earth, —

35 When he perverts man’s judgment Before the face of the Most High, —

36 When he turns a man aside in his causes — The Lord does not regard.

37 Who is this that says, “It was, And God has not commanded it”

38 From the mouth of the Most High Can not good and evil proceed?

39 Why should he weary himself, a living man, And a man in his sins?

40 Let us examine our ways, and search, And turn to Jehovah;

41 Let us lift up our hearts with our hands To God in the heavens.

42 We have sinned, and have been rebellious, Thou hast not spared;

43 Thou hast covered us over in wrath, and pursued us, Thou hast slain and not spared.

44 Thou hast covered thyself with a cloud, So that prayer cannot pass through.

45 An offscouring and a refuse hast thou made us In the midst of the nations;

46 Opened at us their mouth Have all our enemies;

47 Fear and the pit have come to us, Desolation and a breach.

48 Rivers of waters mine eye brings down, For the breach of the daughter of my people.

49 Mine eye flows down and rests not; There will be no intermissions,

50 Until Jehovah looks down, And beholds from heaven.

51 Mine eye grieves my soul, Because of all the daughters of my city.

52 Hunting they have hunted me as a sparrow, Who are mine enemies without cause;

53 They have made fast in a pit my life, And cast a stone over me;

54 Flowed have waters over my head; I said, I am cut off.

55 I called on thy name, Jehovah, From the deepest pit:

56 My voice hast thou heard; close not thine ear To my groaning, to my cry.

57 Thou didst draw nigh in the day I cried to thee, Thou didst say, “Fear not.”

58 Thou hast, O Lord, pleaded the cause of my soul, Thou hast redeemed my life.

59 Thou hast seen, e Jehovah, my oppression; Defend my cause.

60 Thou hast seen all their vengeance’s, All their counsels against me.

61 Thou hast heard, O Jehovah, their reproaches, All their counsels against me,-

62 The speeches of those who rose against me, And their words against me daily.

63 Look on their sitting down and their rising up; I am their song.

64 Render to them their reward, O Jehovah, According to the work of their hands.

65 Give them blindness of heart; Thy curse be on them.

66 Pursue them in wrath, and destroy them From under the heavens of Jehovah.


1 How obscured is the gold! How changed is the fine gold! Cast forth have been the stones of the sanctuary At the head of all the streets

2 The precious sons of Sion, Clothed in gold, How they are counted as earthen pitchers, The work of the potter’s hands!

3 Even serpents draw out the breast, They suckle their young ones: The daughter of my people was cruel, Like the ostriches in the desert.

4 Cleave did the tongue of the suckling To the roof of his mouth for thirst; The little ones asked bread, No one divided to them.

5 They who fed on delicacies Perished in the streets; They who had been brought up in scarlet Embraced the dunghills:

6 And the punishment of the daughter of my people Has been greater than the punishment of Sodom, Which was overthrown as in a moment, And no strokes remained on her.

7 Purer were her Nazarites than snow, Whiter than milk; They were ruddy in their body, Above precious stones; Sapphire was their polish:

8 Darker than darkness became their form, They were not known in the streets; Cleave did their skin to their bones, It became dry as wood.

9 Better were the slain with the sword Than the slain with famine: They pined away, having been pierced through By the knits of the field.

10 The hands of compassionate mothers Boiled their own offspring; They became food for them, At the destruction of the daughter of my people.

11 Fulfilled has Jehovah his wrath; He poured forth the indignation of his wrath; And he kindled a fire in Sion, Which devoured her foundations.

12 They could not have believed, the kings of the earth, Nor all the inhabitants of the world, That enter would the adversary and the enemy Into the gates of Jerusalem.

13 For the sin of her prophets, The iniquities of her priests, Who shed in the midst of her The blood of the righteous, —

14 They wandered blind in the streets, They were polluted with blood; Because they could not But touch their garments.

15 Depart ye, “Unclean,” they cried to them, Depart, depart, come not near: Because they fled, and also wandered, They said among the Gentiles, “They shall not return to dwell;

16 The face of Jehovah hath divided them, He will no more regard them.” The face of the priests they respected not, And to the elders they shewed no mercy.

17 While we were yet standing, our eyes failed, As to our vain help; In our looking out we looked out To a nation that could not save us.

18 They hunted our steps, So that we could not walk in our streets; Draw near did our end, fulfilled were our days, Surely come did our end.

19 Swifter were our pursuers Than the eagles of heaven; On the mountains they followed us, They lay in wait for us in the desert.

20 The spirit of our nostrils, the anointer of Jehovah, Was taken in their snares; Of whom we said, “Under his shadow We shall live among the nations.”

21 Rejoice and be glad, thou daughter of Edom, Who dwellest in the land of Uz. To thee also shall the cup pass over, Thou shalt be inebriated and made naked.

22 Completed is thy punishment, O daughter of Sion, He will no more deliver thee into exile; He will visit thine iniquity, O daughter of Edom, And will uncover thy sin.


1 Remember, O Jehovah, what has come to us; Look, and see our reproach:

2 Our heritage is turned over to foreigners, Our houses to aliens.

3 Orphans are we become, without a father; Our mothers are as widows.

4 Our own water, for money we drink; Our own wood, for a price it comes to us.

5 On our necks have we suffered persecution; We have labored, and had no rest.

6 To the Egyptians we extended the hand, To the Assyrians, to be satisfied with bread.

7 Our fathers sinned, and are not; And we their iniquities have borne.

8 Servants have ruled over us; None delivered from their hands.

9 With our life have we procured our bread, Because of the drought of the desert.

10 Our skins are like an oven black, Because of the burnings of famine.

11 Women in Sion have been ravished, Virgins in the cities of Judah.

12 Princes by their own hand were hung, The faces of elders were not honored.

13 Young men they took to grind, And boys under the wood fell.

14 Eiders ceased from the gate, Young men from their music.

15 Ceased has the joy of our heart, Turned into mourning has our dance.

16 Fallen has the crown of our head; Woe now to us, for we have sinned!

17 Therefore faint is our heart; For this darkener! are our eyes,

18 Even for mount Sion, which is desolate; Foxes pass through it.

19 Thou Jehovah for ever sittest, Thy throne is through all ages.

20 Why shouldest thou perpetually forget us, And forsake us for ever.

21 Turn us, Jehovah, to thee, and we shall be turned; Renew our days as of old;

22 Except thou hast wholly rejected us, And hast become very angry with us.


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