She has become like a widow (1,1) but not really a widow; rather, like a woman whose husband went abroad and intends to return to her.
she was not mindful of her end (1,9) When they would sin, they were not mindful of what their end would be. Therefore, “she fell astonishingly.” Her descent was astonishing, bringing about much bewilderment, for everyone was bewildered that this happened to her, something that did not happen to any other city.
and its princes (2,2) There is a Midrash Aggadah (Lam. Rabbah 2:5) [that states that] these are the heavenly princes [whose assignments] He changed. The one appointed over fire He appointed over water, and He changed all the appointees because there were among the wicked of Israel those who knew the Ineffable Name, and they relied [upon the fact] that they could adjure the heavenly princes to save them from fire, from water and from the sword. Now, when he would adjure the prince of fire by his name, he would reply, “This dominion is not in my hands,” and similarly, all of them.
sit on the ground, etc. (2,10) [This is to be understood] according to its apparent meaning. But the Midrash Aggadah (Lam. Rabbah) states: Nebuchadnezzar caused them to sit on the ground when Zedekiah rebelled against him and transgressed his oath. He came and stationed himself in Daphne of Antioch, and sent for the Sanhedrin, and they came toward him. He recognized that they were men of imposing appearance and sat them down in golden chairs. He said to them, “Recite your Torah for me chapter by chapter and translate it for me.” As soon as they reached the chapter dealing with vows, he said to them, “What if he wishes to retract, can he retract?” They said to him, “Let him go to a sage, and he will absolve him of it.” He said to them, “If so, you absolved Zedekiah of his oath.” He gave the order, and they pushed them off [their seats] and sat them on the ground. They then tied the hair of their heads to the tails of horses and dragged them.
Will priest and prophet be slain in the Sanctuary of the Lord (2,20) The holy spirit answers them, “Now was it proper for you that you slew Zechariah the son of Jehoiada?” as is written in (II) Chronicles (24:22), that he reproved them when they came and prostrated themselves to Joash, and deified him. (ibid. verse 20): “And the spirit of God enveloped Zechariah the son of Jehoiada.” He was a priest and a prophet, and they slew him in the forecourt.
By the command of the Most High, neither good nor evil come (3,38) Said Rabbi Johanan: Since the day that the Holy One, blessed be He, said, [Deut. 30:15]: “See, I have set before you today life and good, etc.,” neither evil nor good has come from His command, but the evil comes by itself to the one who commits evil and the good to the one who does good. [Lam. Rabbah].) Therefore, what should a man complain about, if not about his sins?
Our eyes still strained for our futile help (4,17) When the evil befell us, our eyes were still looking forward to Pharaoh’s army, concerning whom it is said (Isa. 30:7): “And the Egyptians help in vain and to no purpose,” for they would promise us aid but they would not come, as it is stated concerning them (Jer. 37:7): “Behold, Pharaoh’s army, which has come out to aid you, is returning to its land, Egypt.” We find in Midrash Kinoth that they were coming in ships. The Holy One, blessed be He, signaled to the sea and caused inflated flasks like human intestines to float before them, moving around in the water. They said to each other, “These flasks are our forefathers, the men of Egypt who drowned in the sea because of these Jews, and we are going out to aid them?” They stopped and turned around.
Our water we have drunk for payment (5,4) We were afraid to draw water from the river because of the enemies; we therefore bought [it] from them with money.
For this our heart has become faint, etc. (5,17) because of that which is delineated in the following verse: “For Mount Zion, which lies desolate, and foxes prowl over it.”