The Lamentation

from by Ben Swithen



The Book of Lamentations is probably the most angry and unhappy book of the Bible, detailing the destruction of the nation, the temple and the capital in somethingty-something BC -- and it all happened again in 70AD, making the book doubly relevant. This is a setting of some of the words. In retrospect, I wish I'd left out the comparison of fallen Jerusalem to menstruation, a simile which carries needless stigma, which shouldn't have made it into a 21st Century recording.


I send you the prophets, wise men and scribes
For some of them ye shall kill and crucify
And some ye shall scourge in your synagogue
Persecute them from city to city
That upon you should come all the righteous blood
That is shed on this earth. O psalm! O psalter!
From the blood of Abel to the blood of Zechariah
Who you slew between temple and the altar

How doth the city sit solitary,
that was full of people!
how is she become as a widow!
how is she become tributary!
that was great among the nations,
and princess among the provinces,
She weepeth sore in the night,
and her tears are on her cheeks.

O Jerusalem! Jerusalem!
Thou that killest the prophets sent for the nations
Verily I say to you
All these things shall come on this generation.
He hath abhorred this sanctuary
With great lamentation

The ways of Zion do mourn,
None come to the solemn feasts:
her priests sigh, her virgins are afflicted.
all her gates are desolate:
The tongue of the sucking child cleaveth
to the roof of his mouth for thirst:
the young children ask bread,
and no man breaketh it unto them.

How is the gold become dim!
how is the most fine gold changed!
the stones of the sanctuary are poured
out in the top of every street.
Our inheritance is turned to strangers,
Our mothers are widows,
we are orphans and fatherless
the daughter of my people is become cruel,
like the ostriches in the wilderness.

Thou hast made us offscouring and refuse
in the midst of the people.
My children are desolate because
The enemy hath prevailed
The lord hath commanded Concerning Jacob
That his enemies should be round about him
There is none to comfort Jerusalem
She is as a menstruous woman among them

Thou hast kindled a fire in Zion,
It hath devoured the foundations
Mine eye trickleth down, and ceaseth not,
without any intermission.
For these things I weep;
mine eye runneth down with water,
the comforter that should relieve my soul
is far from me:

The joy of my heart is ceased
Our dance is turned to mourning
The crown is fallen from our head
Thou art very wroth with us
The Mount of Zion, rejected Foxes walk upon it
The crown is fallen from our head Thou hast utterly rejected us


We have transgressed and have rebelled:
thou hast not pardoned.
Thou hast covered with anger, and persecuted
thou hast slain, thou hast not pitied.
Thou hast covered thyself with a cloud,
that our prayer should not pass through.
Thou hast covered thyself with a cloud,
that our prayer should not pass through.


from Kibrothhattaavah, released April 30, 2011




Ben Swithen Sheffield, UK

Ben Swithen is a person.

Here you can find their music - solo work, and a Doctor-Who- and-Cheese double-concept concept-album by The Potential Bees (who are a two- or three- person band), which forces both concepts into every song).

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