Lamentations 1:3 (ESV)

3 Judah has gone into exile because of affliction and hard servitude; she dwells now among the nations, but finds no resting place; her pursuers have all overtaken her in the midst of her distress.

Judah’s troubles did not start in 586 BC, when Nebuchadnezzar destroyed the city of Jerusalem and its temple and took its inhabitants into exile. As this verse says, this final event only came “because of affliction and hard servitude.” Judah’s troubles in the years before the final exile are described in 2 Kings 23:29 – 25:2.

Now Judah has finally lost the resting place that the Lord had given her. She no longer lives separately from the heathen nations, but in their midst. We cannot imagine what this must have been like for a God-fearing Israelite. The Promised Land had been a gift of God to them, so that they could serve him there! The fact that God now took them away, was clearly part of his covenant curse (see Deuteronomy 28:65).

Furthermore, as this verse shows, enemies could now take their chance to plunder the Israelites on their long journey to Babel. In Babel itself they were also defenceless against their mocking enemies (see Psalm 137:1–9).