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The Lord Destroyed Jerusalem

Look how the Lord in his anger
    has brought Jerusalem to shame.
He has thrown down the greatness of Israel
    from the sky to the earth;
he did not remember the Temple, his footstool,
    on the day of his anger.

The Lord swallowed up without mercy
    all the houses of the people of Jacob;
in his anger he pulled down
    the strong places of Judah.
He threw her kingdom and its rulers
    down to the ground in dishonor.

In his anger he has removed
    all the strength of Israel;
he took away his power from Israel
    when the enemy came.
He burned against the people of Jacob like a flaming fire
    that burns up everything around it.

Like an enemy, he prepared to shoot his bow,
    and his hand was against us.
Like an enemy, he killed
    all the good-looking people;
he poured out his anger like fire
    on the tents of Jerusalem.

The Lord was like an enemy;
    he swallowed up Israel.
He swallowed up all her palaces
    and destroyed all her strongholds.
He has caused more moaning and groaning
    for Judah.

He cut down his Temple like a garden;
    he destroyed the meeting place.
The Lord has made Jerusalem forget
    the set feasts and Sabbath days.
He has rejected the king and the priest
    in his great anger.

The Lord has rejected his altar
    and abandoned his Temple.
He has handed over to the enemy
    the walls of Jerusalem’s palaces.
Their uproar in the Lord’s Temple
    was like that of a feast day.

The Lord planned to destroy
    the wall around Jerusalem.
He measured the wall
    and did not stop himself from destroying it.
He made the walls and defenses sad;
    together they have fallen.

Jerusalem’s gates have fallen to the ground;
    he destroyed and smashed the bars of the gates.
Her king and her princes are among the nations.
    The teaching of the Lord has stopped,
and the prophets do not have
    visions from the Lord.

10 The elders of Jerusalem
    sit on the ground in silence.
They throw dust on their heads
    and put on rough cloth to show their sadness.
The young women of Jerusalem
    bow their heads to the ground in sorrow.

11 My eyes have no more tears,
    and I am sick to my stomach.
I feel empty inside,
    because my people have been destroyed.
Children and babies are fainting
    in the streets of the city.

12 They ask their mothers,
    “Where is the grain and wine?”
They faint like wounded soldiers
    in the streets of the city
    and die in their mothers’ arms.

13 What can I say about you, Jerusalem?
    What can I compare you to?
What can I say you are like?
    How can I comfort you, Jerusalem?
Your ruin is as deep as the sea.
    No one can heal you.

14 Your prophets saw visions,
    but they were false and worth nothing.
They did not point out your sins
    to keep you from being captured.
They preached what was false
    and led you wrongly.

15 All who pass by on the road
    clap their hands at you;
they make fun of Jerusalem
    and shake their heads.
They ask, “Is this the city that people called
    the most beautiful city,
    the happiest place on earth?”

16 All your enemies open their mouths
    to speak against you.
They make fun and grind their teeth in anger.
    They say, “We have swallowed you up.
This is the day we were waiting for!
    We have finally seen it happen.”

17 The Lord has done what he planned;
    he has kept his word
    that he commanded long ago.
He has destroyed without mercy,
    and he has let your enemies laugh at you.
    He has strengthened your enemies.

18 The people cry out to the Lord.
    Wall of Jerusalem,
let your tears flow
    like a river day and night.
Do not stop
    or let your eyes rest.

19 Get up, cry out in the night,
    even as the night begins.
Pour out your heart like water
    in prayer to the Lord.
Lift up your hands in prayer to him
    for the life of your children
who are fainting with hunger
    on every street corner.

20 Jerusalem says: “Look, Lord, and see
    to whom you have done this.
Women eat their own babies,
    the children they have cared for.
Priests and prophets are killed
    in the Temple of the Lord.

21 “People young and old
    lie outside on the ground.
My young women and young men
    have been killed by the sword.
You killed them on the day of your anger;
    you killed them without mercy.

22 “You invited terrors to come against me on every side,
    as if you were inviting them to a feast.
No one escaped or remained alive
    on the day of the Lord’s anger.
My enemy has killed
    those I cared for and brought up.”

[a]How the Lord has covered Daughter Zion
    with the cloud of his anger[b]!(A)
He has hurled down the splendor of Israel
    from heaven to earth;
he has not remembered his footstool(B)
    in the day of his anger.(C)

Without pity(D) the Lord has swallowed(E) up
    all the dwellings of Jacob;
in his wrath he has torn down
    the strongholds(F) of Daughter Judah.
He has brought her kingdom and its princes
    down to the ground(G) in dishonor.

In fierce anger he has cut off
    every horn[c][d](H) of Israel.
He has withdrawn his right hand(I)
    at the approach of the enemy.
He has burned in Jacob like a flaming fire
    that consumes everything around it.(J)

Like an enemy he has strung his bow;(K)
    his right hand is ready.
Like a foe he has slain
    all who were pleasing to the eye;(L)
he has poured out his wrath(M) like fire(N)
    on the tent(O) of Daughter Zion.

The Lord is like an enemy;(P)
    he has swallowed up Israel.
He has swallowed up all her palaces
    and destroyed her strongholds.(Q)
He has multiplied mourning and lamentation(R)
    for Daughter Judah.(S)

He has laid waste his dwelling like a garden;
    he has destroyed(T) his place of meeting.(U)
The Lord has made Zion forget
    her appointed festivals and her Sabbaths;(V)
in his fierce anger he has spurned
    both king and priest.(W)

The Lord has rejected his altar
    and abandoned his sanctuary.(X)
He has given the walls of her palaces(Y)
    into the hands of the enemy;
they have raised a shout in the house of the Lord
    as on the day of an appointed festival.(Z)

The Lord determined to tear down
    the wall around Daughter Zion.(AA)
He stretched out a measuring line(AB)
    and did not withhold his hand from destroying.
He made ramparts(AC) and walls lament;
    together they wasted away.(AD)

Her gates(AE) have sunk into the ground;
    their bars(AF) he has broken and destroyed.
Her king and her princes are exiled(AG) among the nations,
    the law(AH) is no more,
and her prophets(AI) no longer find
    visions(AJ) from the Lord.

10 The elders of Daughter Zion
    sit on the ground in silence;(AK)
they have sprinkled dust(AL) on their heads(AM)
    and put on sackcloth.(AN)
The young women of Jerusalem
    have bowed their heads to the ground.(AO)

11 My eyes fail from weeping,(AP)
    I am in torment within(AQ);
my heart(AR) is poured out(AS) on the ground
    because my people are destroyed,(AT)
because children and infants faint(AU)
    in the streets of the city.

12 They say to their mothers,
    “Where is bread and wine?”(AV)
as they faint like the wounded
    in the streets of the city,
as their lives ebb away(AW)
    in their mothers’ arms.(AX)

13 What can I say for you?(AY)
    With what can I compare you,
    Daughter(AZ) Jerusalem?
To what can I liken you,
    that I may comfort you,
    Virgin Daughter Zion?(BA)
Your wound is as deep as the sea.(BB)
    Who can heal you?

14 The visions of your prophets
    were false(BC) and worthless;
they did not expose your sin
    to ward off your captivity.(BD)
The prophecies they gave you
    were false and misleading.(BE)

15 All who pass your way
    clap their hands at you;(BF)
they scoff(BG) and shake their heads(BH)
    at Daughter Jerusalem:(BI)
“Is this the city that was called
    the perfection of beauty,(BJ)
    the joy of the whole earth?”(BK)

16 All your enemies open their mouths
    wide against you;(BL)
they scoff and gnash their teeth(BM)
    and say, “We have swallowed her up.(BN)
This is the day we have waited for;
    we have lived to see it.”(BO)

17 The Lord has done what he planned;
    he has fulfilled(BP) his word,
    which he decreed long ago.(BQ)
He has overthrown you without pity,(BR)
    he has let the enemy gloat over you,(BS)
    he has exalted the horn[e] of your foes.(BT)

18 The hearts of the people
    cry out to the Lord.(BU)
You walls of Daughter Zion,(BV)
    let your tears(BW) flow like a river
    day and night;(BX)
give yourself no relief,
    your eyes no rest.(BY)

19 Arise, cry out in the night,
    as the watches of the night begin;
pour out your heart(BZ) like water
    in the presence of the Lord.(CA)
Lift up your hands(CB) to him
    for the lives of your children,
who faint(CC) from hunger
    at every street corner.

20 “Look, Lord, and consider:
    Whom have you ever treated like this?
Should women eat their offspring,(CD)
    the children they have cared for?(CE)
Should priest and prophet be killed(CF)
    in the sanctuary of the Lord?(CG)

21 “Young and old lie together
    in the dust of the streets;
my young men and young women
    have fallen by the sword.(CH)
You have slain them in the day of your anger;
    you have slaughtered them without pity.(CI)

22 “As you summon to a feast day,
    so you summoned against me terrors(CJ) on every side.
In the day of the Lord’s anger
    no one escaped(CK) or survived;
those I cared for and reared(CL)
    my enemy has destroyed.”

Footnotes

  1. Lamentations 2:1 This chapter is an acrostic poem, the verses of which begin with the successive letters of the Hebrew alphabet.
  2. Lamentations 2:1 Or How the Lord in his anger / has treated Daughter Zion with contempt
  3. Lamentations 2:3 Or off / all the strength; or every king
  4. Lamentations 2:3 Horn here symbolizes strength.
  5. Lamentations 2:17 Horn here symbolizes strength.

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