Lamentations 1

Study the Inner Meaning

English: American Standard Version         

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1 How doth the city sit solitary, that was full of people! She is become as a widow, that was great among the nations! She that was a princess among the provinces is become tributary!

2 She weepeth sore in the night, and her tears are on her cheeks; Among all her lovers she hath none to comfort her: All her friends have dealt treacherously with her; they are become her enemies.

3 Judah is gone into captivity because of affliction, and because of great servitude; She dwelleth among the nations, she findeth no rest: All her persecutors overtook her within the straits.

4 The ways of Zion do mourn, because none come to the solemn assembly; All her gates are desolate, her priests do sigh: Her virgins are afflicted, and she herself is in bitterness.

5 Her adversaries are become the head, her enemies prosper; For Jehovah hath afflicted her for the multitude of her transgressions: Her young children are gone into captivity before the adversary.

6 And from the daughter of Zion all her majesty is departed: Her princes are become like harts that find no pasture, And they are gone without strength before the pursuer.

7 Jerusalem remembereth in the days of her affliction and of her miseries all her pleasant things that were from the days of old: When her people fell into the hand of the adversary, and none did help her, The adversaries saw her, they did mock at her desolations.

8 Jerusalem hath grievously sinned; therefore she is become as an unclean thing; All that honored her despise her, because they have seen her nakedness: Yea, she sigheth, and turneth backward.

9 Her filthiness was in her skirts; she remembered not her latter end; Therefore is she come down wonderfully; she hath no comforter: Behold, O Jehovah, my affliction; for the enemy hath magnified himself.

10 The adversary hath spread out his hand upon all her pleasant things: For she hath seen that the nations are entered into her sanctuary, Concerning whom thou didst command that they should not enter into thine assembly.

11 All her people sigh, they seek bread; They have given their pleasant things for food to refresh the soul: See, O Jehovah, and behold; for I am become abject.

12 Is it nothing to you, all ye that pass by? Behold, and see if there be any sorrow like unto my sorrow, which is brought upon me, Wherewith Jehovah hath afflicted [me] in the day of his fierce anger.

13 From on high hath he sent fire into my bones, and it prevaileth against them; He hath spread a net for my feet, he hath turned me back: He hath made me desolate and faint all the day.

14 The yoke of my transgressions is bound by his hand; They are knit together, they are come up upon my neck; he hath made my strength to fail: The Lord hath delivered me into their hands, against whom I am not able to stand.

15 The Lord hath set at nought all my mighty men in the midst of me; He hath called a solemn assembly against me to crush my young men: The Lord hath trodden as in a winepress the virgin daughter of Judah.

16 For these things I weep; mine eye, mine eye runneth down with water; Because the comforter that should refresh my soul is far from me: My children are desolate, because the enemy hath prevailed.

17 Zion spreadeth forth her hands; there is none to comfort her; Jehovah hath commanded concerning Jacob, that they that are round about him should be his adversaries: Jerusalem is among them as an unclean thing.

18 Jehovah is righteous; for I have rebelled against his commandment: Hear, I pray you, all ye peoples, and behold my sorrow: My virgins and my young men are gone into captivity.

19 I called for my lovers, [but] they deceived me: My priests and mine elders gave up the ghost in the city, While they sought them food to refresh their souls.

20 Behold, O Jehovah; for I am in distress; my heart is troubled; My heart is turned within me; for I have grievously rebelled: Abroad the sword bereaveth, at home there is as death.

21 They have heard that I sigh; there is none to comfort me; All mine enemies have heard of my trouble; they are glad that thou hast done it: Thou wilt bring the day that thou hast proclaimed, and they shall be like unto me.

22 Let all their wickedness come before thee; And do unto them, as thou hast done unto me for all my transgressions: For my sighs are many, and my heart is faint.

← Jeremiah 52   Lamentations 2 →
   Study the Inner Meaning
From Swedenborg's Works

Main explanations:

The Inner Meaning of the Prophets and Psalms 119


Other references to this chapter:

Arcana Coelestia 248, 680, 2362, 2606, 2851, 2930, 3081, ...

Apocalypse Revealed 213, 350, 543, 591, 612, 620, 652, ...

A Brief Exposition of New Church Doctrine 100

The Lord 64

True Christian Religion 782


References from Swedenborg's unpublished works:

Apocalypse Explained 240, 270, 357, 484, 622, 724, 750, ...

Coronis (An Appendix to True Christian Religion) 58

Scriptural Confirmations 4, 9, 59, 78

Other New Christian Commentary

  Stories and their meanings:

Hop to Similar Bible Verses

Exodus 9:27

Leviticus 26:22, 31, 33, 40

Deuteronomy 23:3, 4, 28:41, 43, 44, 48, 65, 32:25

1 Kings 9:6, 7

2 Kings 21:15, 24:2

2 Chronicles 36:18

Nehemiah 9:33

Job 19:6

Psalms 25:18, 69:21, 79:1, 4, 10, 106:42

Proverbs 5:22

Ecclesiastes 4:1

Isaiah 3:26, 47:7, 49:21, 51:19, 54:11, 63:3, 64:10

Jeremiah 4:17, 19, 31, 5:31, 10:19, 13:17, 26, 14:18, 20, 15:5, 27:19, 21, 30:14, 16, 44:2, 6, 50:29, 51:35, 51, 52:6, 28

Lamentations 1:1, 2, 5, 8, 9, 11, 16, 17, 18, 19, 21, 2:1, 3, 4, 6, 9, 11, 12, 13, 16, 17, 18, 21, 3:11, 49, 4:4, 5, 15, 19, 5:1, 5, 14, 16, 17

Ezekiel 7:15, 12:13, 23:29, 25:3, 6, 26:2, 39:23

Daniel 9:12, 14

Hosea 2:13

Habakkuk 3:16

Zechariah 1:6

Revelation 14:20, 19:15

Word/Phrase Explanations

city
Cities of the mountain and cities of the plain (Jer. 33:13) signify doctrines of charity and faith.

Sit
'To sit before Jehovah' is to be with Him, and so, it also means willing and acting from Him. 'To stand before Him,' is to...

Full
'To satiate' relates to the extent of a person's will, for good or evil.

people
The Bible generally uses two different terms for large groups: “people” and “nation.” When it uses the term “nation,” it is talking about a group...

Nations
'Nations' signify people who are in the good of love and charity from the Lord. Two nations in the womb,' as in Genesis 25:23, signify...

night
The sun in the Bible represents the Lord, with its heat representing His love and its light representing His wisdom. “Daytime,” then, represents a state...

tears
'A tear' signifies grief because of a lack of understanding of truth.

friends
In the Bible, there is a careful distinction between the word “brother” and the word “companion” or “friend.” That’s partly because the people of Israel...

enemies
An enemy in the Bible refers to people who are in the love of evil and the false thinking that springs from evil. On a...

judah
City of Judah,' as in Isaiah 40:9, signifies the doctrine of love towards the Lord and love towards our neighbor in its whole extent.

affliction
An affliction "such as was not from the beginning of the world, no nor ever shall be", mentioned in 'Matthew 24:21', means the infestation from...

servitude
'Servitude' relates to the regenerate, or to the external self submissive to the internal. This is not felt as servitude, because it is from submission...

ways
These days we tend to think of "roads" as smooth swaths of pavement, and judge them by how fast we can drive cars on them....

come
Coming (Gen. 41:14) denotes communication by influx.

gates
In Lamentations 2:8-9, 'wall,' 'rampart,' 'gates,' and 'bars' signify doctrines.

Priests
Priests' represent the Lord regarding His divine good. When they do not acknowledge the Lord, they lose their signification of the Lord.

virgins
'Virgins,' as in Revelation 14:4, signify people who love truths because they are truths, so from a spiritual affection. 'Virgin' signifies the church as a...

adversaries
Foes, or adversaries, denote the falsities of evil. Foes, or adversaries, when predicate of the Lord, signifies to avert falsities derived from evil.

head
The head is the part of us that is highest, which means in a representative sense that it is what is closest to the Lord....

jehovah
The Lord, in the simplest terms, is love itself expressed as wisdom itself. In philosophic terms, love is the Lord's substance and wisdom is His...

Transgressions
'Transgressions' or 'trespasses' denote such evils as are done against the truths of faith.

before
In most cases, the meaning of "before" is pretty straightforward, both as a way of assessing relative time, and in its use meaning "in someone's...

daughter of zion
'Virgin' and 'daughter of Zion' signify the church regarding the affection of good and truth.

harts
'A hart' signifies the natural affection of truth.

find
To not to be found any more, signifies not to rise again.

pasture
Plants in the Bible generally represent facts, knowledge that can be gleaned from the world. Plants that can serve animals as food represent facts that...

jerusalem
Jerusalem first comes to or attention in II Samuel, chapter 5 where King David takes it from the Jebusites and makes it his capital. In...

remembereth
'To remember,' as in Genesis 41:9, signifies conjunction. 'Remembering' denotes conjunction because the remembrance of anyone in the other life joins them together, because as...

Days of old
The days of old (Psalms 77:5) signify states of the most ancient church, and years of ancient times, states of the ancient church.

fell
Like other common verbs, the meaning of "fall" is highly dependent on context in regular language, and is highly dependent on context in a spiritual...

hand
In Genesis 27:22, 'voice' relates to truth, and 'hand,' to good.

saw
The symbolic meaning of "seeing" is "understanding," which is obvious enough that it has become part of common language (think about it; you might see...

seen
To look,' as in Genesis 18:22, signifies thinking, because seeing denotes understanding. Look not back behind thee,' as in Genesis 19:17, means that Lot, who...

nakedness
Clothing in general represents day-to-day knowledge about spiritual things, held in the memory so it can be used for the goodness of life. For someone...

filthiness
Uncleanness and scum, as in Ezekiel 24:11, signifies evil and falsity.

skirts
In Isaiah 6:1, 'the train of the Lord' signifies in general the divine proceeding, and specifically the divine truth which is in the extremities of...

Come down
To come down (Gen. 11:5), is predicated of Jehovah, by reason of his being called the Highest. This is spoken according to appearance.

down
"Down" is used many different ways in natural language, and its spiritual meaning in the Bible is highly dependent on context. Phrases like "bowing down,"...

comforter
When the Bible talks about someone being comforted or consoled, it generally means that they are being offered ideas that will help bring them to...

Spread out
In Genesis 9:27, 'God spreading out Japheth' signifies his enlightenment. In a literal sense 'to spread out' signifies extending the borders, but in a spiritual...

enter
All changes of place in the Bible represent changes in spiritual state. “Entering” – usually used as entering someone’s house or “going in unto” someone...

command
To command is to give an order that something must be done, and is directed to an individual, or a group. It is an imperative,...

assembly
A congregation is a group of people with common loves, interests, and purposes. It often refers to a church group. In the Word it is...

seek
The meaning of "to seek" in the Bible is pretty straightforward, but there is a bit of nuance: Swedenborg tells us that in most cases...

bread
Just as natural food feeds the natural body, so spiritual food feeds the spiritual body. And since our spiritual body is the expression of what...

food
To give food, as in Genesis 41:48, signifies to store up.

pass
'To pass,' as in Genesis 31:52, signifies flowing in. 'To pass the night,' as in Genesis 24:54, signifies having peace. 'To pass through,' as in...

day of
'Day of vengeance' signifies a state of damnation.

day
The expression 'even to this day' or 'today' sometimes appears in the Word, as in Genesis 19:37-38, 22:14, 26:33, 32:32, 35:20, and 47:26. In a...

Fierce anger
'Fierce anger,' as in Genesis 49:7, signifies grievous aversion from good.

anger
'Wrath,' as in Genesis 49:7, signifies aversion from truth. 'Great wrath,' as in Revelation 12:12, signifies hatred against the new church.

high
'Height' signifies what is inward, and also heaven.

Sent
'Being sent' everywhere signifies, in an internal sense, going forth, as in John 17:8. In similar manner, it is said of the holy of the...

fire
Just as natural fire can be both comforting in keeping you warm or scary in burning down your house, so fire in the spiritual sense...

bones
Bones are strong and supportive, providing a framework for our bodies and making motion and action possible. They are also the least "alive" part of...

net
To cast the net on the right side,' as in John 21:6, signifies teaching the good of life.

feet
Our feet are the lowest and most utilitarian parts of our bodies, and in the Bible they represent the lowest and most utilitarian part of...

turned
Swedenborg says that the Lord is the sun of heaven, and like the natural sun of our world shines on everyone, good or evil. What...

back
Everyone knows the phrase "the natural order of things." It means that everything is in its proper place, occupying the niche it is meant to...

neck
'The neck' signifies influx and the communication of interior and exterior levels and the following conjunction. The inmost or third heaven has reference to the...

hands
Scientists believe that one of the most crucial developments in the evolution of humans was bipedalism – walking on two legs. That left our hands...

mighty
'Might' denotes the forces or power of truth.

Mighty men
'Mighty men,' as in Lamentations 1:15, denotes people who are in the good of love.

called
'To proclaim' signifies exploration from influx of the Lord.

virgin
It is because of a celestial and angelic proprium, or selfhood, that the church is called 'a woman,' 'a wife,' 'a bride,' 'a virgin,' and...

weep
'Weeping with a loud voice' signifies the ultimate of grief.

eye
It’s common to say “I see” when we understand something. And indeed, “seeing” in the Bible represents grasping and understanding spiritual things. So it makes...

water
'Waters' signify truths in the natural self, and in the opposite sense, falsities. 'Waters' signify particularly the spiritual parts of a person, or the intellectual...

children
A child is a young boy or girl in the care of parents, older than a suckling or an infant, but not yet an adolescent....

Zion
Zion, in 1 Kings 8:1 and Revelation 14:1 signifies heaven and the church where the Lord alone is worshipped. (Apocalypse Revealed 612). Zion, in the...

Jacob
Jacob is told twice that his name will now be Israel. The first time is when he wrestles with an angel on his journey to...

Round about
'Round about' denotes the things most distant from the middle, or from good and truth.

Unclean thing
In Revelation 21:20, 'an unclean thing' signifies spiritual whoring, which is the adulteration of good, and falsification of truth of the Word. This is uncleanness...

righteous
He is said to be 'just' in a spiritual sense, who lives according to divine laws. They on the right hand being called 'just,' as...

hear
'To hearken to father and mother,' as mentioned in Genesis 28:7, signifies obedience from affection. 'To hearken,' as mentioned in Genesis 30:22, signifies providence. See...

Elders
Elders are mentioned in the Bible mainly in two ways: First the elders of Israel: and second the 24 elders seated about the throne of...

souls
The nature of the soul is a deep and complicated topic, but it can be summarized as "spiritual life," who we are in terms of...

heart
The heart means love. A good heart means love to the Lord and to the neighbor while a hard or stony heart means the love...

Sword
A 'sword,' in the Word, signifies the truth of faith combating and the vastation of truth. In an opposite sense, it signifies falsity combating and...

heard
Thanks to modern science, we now understand that hearing actually happens in the brain, not the ears. The ears collect vibrations in the air and...

bring
As with common verbs in general, the meaning of “bring” is highly dependent on context, but in general it represents an introduction to a new...

Wickedness
'Wickedness' signifies evil, and 'iniquity' signifies falsities.

many
Intellectual things – ideas, knowledge, facts, even insight and understanding – are more separate and free-standing than emotional things, and it’s easier to imagine numbering...


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