Lamentations (mourning and crying)
1[1-5] How the city sits empty, that was full of people! It has become as a widow, who was great among the nations! The one who ruled among the provinces has to work hard for others now! Its people cry bitterly in the night with tears on their cheeks; among all those who loved them, no one will comfort them. All their friends have been unfaithful to them; and have become their enemies. Judah is taken prisoner also because of trouble, and must work very hard for others, too; they live among the unbelieving nations and find no rest. All those who abuse them overtook them in their trouble. The roads to Zion mourn, because no one comes to the sacred assembly; all its gates are deserted, its preachers sigh and its young women are troubled, and they are very bitter. It enemies have taken control and do well; for Yahweh has troubled it for their many sins and their young children are taken prisoner before the enemy.
[6-9] All beauty is gone from the town of Zion. Its rulers are become like deer that find no pasture, running with no strength left before those who chase them. Jerusalem remembers in the days of its trouble and misery all its good things that were from the old days when its people fell into the hand of the enemy, and no one helped it. The enemies saw it, and mocked at its deserted places. The people of Jerusalem have seriously sinned and has made it unfit; all who honored it hate it, because they’ve seen its sinfulness. Yes, the people sigh, and turn backward. They’ve made themselves filthy with their sin and didn’t believe they would suffer for it; so they have amazingly been brought down and have no comforter. See, Yahweh, our trouble; for the enemy has become great!
[10-14] The enemy has taken all our good things and we’ve seen the unbelieving nations come into our Place of Worship, those whom you said should not enter into your assembly. All our people sigh, looking for food; they’ve given all their good things for food to feed themselves. Look, Yahweh, and see how we’re hated. Is it nothing to you, all you who pass by? Look, and see if there’s any sorrow like our sorrow, which is brought on us, with which Yahweh’s great anger has troubled us in the day of our punishment. You’ve sent disease into our bodies from on high, and it overcomes us; You’ve set a trap for us, and have turned us back and made us empty and faint all day long. The hard punishment of our sins is by Your hand; We’re tied in knots by our sin; You’ve made us have no strength. You’ve given us into the hands of those against whom we’re not able to stand.
[15-19] You’ve made our strong ones with us as nothing; You’ve called a sacred assembly against us to crush our young people. You’ve crushed the young people of Judah as grapes in a winepress. For these things we cry and our eyes run down with tears, because the comforter who should refresh our soul is far from us. Our children are deserted, because the enemy has won. Zion raises its hands, but there’s no one to comfort it; Yahweh has said about Israel, that those who are around it would be its enemies. Jerusalem is among them as an unfit thing. Yahweh is good; but we’ve rebelled against God’s Word. People, please listen to us, and see our sorrow. Our young people are taken prisoner. We called for those who loved us, but they lied to us. Our preachers and elders died in the city, while they looked for food to feed themselves.
[20-22] See, Yahweh; for we’re suffering and our heart is troubled; Our hearts are turned within us because we’ve seriously rebelled. Abroad the war kills us, at home we might as well be dead. They’ve heard our sighs and there’s no one to comfort us; All our enemies have heard of our trouble and they’re happy that You’ve done it. But You’ll bring the day that You’ve foretold, and they’ll be like us. So let all their evil ways come before you; Do to them, as You’ve done to us for all our sins. For our sighs are many and our heart is faint.
2[1-4] How has God’s anger covered the town of Zion with a cloud! You’ve thrown the beauty of Israel down from heaven to the earth, and haven’t remembered Your footstool when You were angry. You’ve swallowed up all the homes of Israel, and have not had forgiveness. You’ve thrown down in Your anger the strong places of the town of Judah; You’ve knocked them down to the ground; You’ve ruined the nation and its rulers. You’ve cut off all the strength of Israel in Your great anger; You’ve drawn back Your strong hand from before the enemy You’ve burned up Israel like a flaming fire, which burns everything around it. You’ve drawn Your weapon like an enemy, You’ve stood with Your strong hand as an enemy, and have killed all that were good to see. You’ve poured out Your anger like fire in the Place of Worship of the town of Zion.
[5-9] God, You’ve become like an enemy, You’ve swallowed up Israel; You’ve swallowed up all its royal houses, You’ve destroyed its strong places; You’ve multiplied in the town of Judah mourning and crying. You’ve violently taken away our Place of Worship, as if it were a shed in a garden; You’ve destroyed our place of assembly. Yahweh, You have caused the sacred assembly and Seventh Day to be forgotten in Zion, and have hated the ruler and the priest in rightness of Your anger. You’ve thrown down Your altar, You’ve hated Your own Place of Worship; You’ve given up the walls of its royal houses into the hand of the enemy. They’ve made a great noise in the house of Yahweh, as in the day of a sacred assembly. Yahweh has decided to destroy the wall of the town of Zion; You’ve stretched out the line, You’ve not withdrawn Your hand from destroying it; You’ve made the rampart and wall to mourn and cry; they suffer together. Its gates are sunk into the ground; You’ve destroyed and broken its bars. Its rulers are among the nations and the law is not followed; Yes, even its preachers find no vision from Yahweh.
[10-12] The elders of the town of Zion sit on the ground in silence;
They’ve thrown up dirt on their heads and put on mourning clothes. The young girls of Jerusalem hang their heads down to the ground. Our eyes fail with tears, our heart is troubled; I have no spirit, because of the destruction of the town of our people, because the young children and the babies faint in the streets of the city. They ask their mothers, ‘Where is our food and drink?’ when they faint as the wounded in the streets of the city, and when they pour out their soul at their mothers’ breast.
[13-16] What will I say to you? What will I liken to you, town of Jerusalem? What will I compare to you, that I may comfort you, young town of Zion? For your wound is great like the sea. Who can heal you? Your preachers have seen for you false and stupid visions; They’ve not uncovered your sin to free you from its power, but have seen for you false visions and causes of deportation. All that pass by clap their hands at you; They hiss and shake their head at the town of Jerusalem, saying, ‘Is this the city that people called The perfection of beauty, The joy of the whole earth?’ All your enemies have opened their mouth wide against you; They hiss and grind their teeth, saying, ‘We’ve swallowed it up; Certainly this is the day that we looked for; we have found it, and we have seen it.’
[17-18] Yahweh, You’ve done what You planned; You’ve fulfilled Your word that was foretold in the old days; You’ve thrown down, and have not forgiven. You’ve caused the enemy to celebrate over you; You’ve made your own enemies strong. Our hearts cry to You, the wall of the town of Zion. Let Your tears run down like a river day and night; Give yourself no rest; don’t let the apple of your eye come to an end.
[19-22] Get up, cry out in the night, at the beginning of the night watches; Pour out your heart like water before the face of God. Lift up your hands toward God for the life of your young children that faint for hunger at the end of every street. Look, Yahweh, and see to whom You’ve done this! Will You let the women eat their own children that are held in their hands? Will You let the priests and the preachers be killed in the Place of Worship of God? The young and the old lie on the ground in the streets; My young people are fallen by the war. You’ve killed them in the day of your anger; You’ve slaughtered them, and not forgiven. You’ve called, as in the day of a sacred assembly, our terrors on every side; There was no one that escaped or was left in the day of Yahweh’s anger. Those that I’ve held and brought up our enemy has destroyed.
3[1-4] I’m the one that has seen trouble by Your rod of punishment. You’ve led me to walk in darkness, and not in light. Surely Your hand is against me all day long. My body and my skin You’ve made old; You’ve broken my bones.
[5-9] You’ve been strong against me, and have overtaken me with bitterness and troubles. You’ve made me to live in dark places, as those that have been long dead. You’ve walled me up, so that I can’t move forward; You’ve made my chains heavy. Yes, when I cry, and call for help, You shut out my prayer. You’ve walled up my ways with cut stone; You’ve made my paths crooked.
[10-14] You are to me as a bear waiting to get me, as a lion watching from a hidden place. You’ve turned aside my ways, and pulled me in pieces; You’ve made me empty. You’ve bent Your bow, and aimed the arrow at me. You’ve caused the arrows of Your quiver to enter into my heart. I’m become a mockery to all our people, and their song all day long.
[15-20] You’ve filled me with bitterness, and poison. You’ve made me eat gravel and broken my teeth. You’ve covered me with ashes. You’ve taken peace from my soul and I forgot prosperity. I said, My strength is dead, but my hope is in Yahweh. Remember my trouble and misery, the bitterness and poison.
[20 My soul still remembers them, and is saddened within me. But this I remember; so I have hope: It is because of Yahweh’s forgiveness that we are not destroyed, because God’s compassion doesn’t fail. It’s new every morning; Your faithfulness is great. Yahweh is my share, says my soul; so will I hope in You.
[25-29] Yahweh is good to those who wait for God, to the soul that looks for God. It is good that we should hope and quietly wait for Yahweh to save us. It is good for us to carry the load in our youth. Let us sit alone and keep silent, because You’ve put it on us. Let us shut our mouths, if there’s any hope.
[30-36] Let us give our cheek to those who hit us; and let them get their full punishment. For God will not throw us away forever. For though God causes grief, God, who is great, will still have compassion and forgive us. For God does not trouble willingly, nor grieve us, to crush us, to take away our right before the face of the Most High, or to undermine us in our cause. Yahweh doesn’t approve of any of this.
[37-41] Who is there who says, and it happens, when God doesn’t say it? Doesn’t evil and good come out of the mouth of the Most High? Why does a living soul complain for the punishment of their sins? Let us search and test our ways, and turn again to Yahweh. Let us lift up our heart with our hands to God in the heavens.
[42-47] We’ve sinned and rebelled; You’ve not forgiven. You’ve chased us in Your anger; You’ve killed and not forgiven. You’ve covered yourself with a cloud, so that no prayer can get through. You’ve made us cast-offs and trash in the sight of the peoples. All our enemies have spoken out against us. Fear and Hell are come on us, with devastation and destruction.
[48-51] My eye flows with streams of tears, for the destruction of the town of our people. My eyes pour down, and won’t stop. I’ll have no break, until Yahweh looks down, and sees from heaven. What I see affects my soul, because of all the people of our city.
[52-54] They’ve chased me bitterly like a bird, those who are my enemies without cause. They’ve cut off my life in the prison, and have left me to die. Tears flowed over my head and I said, ‘I’m dead.’
[55-58] I called on your name, Yahweh, out of the lowest prison cell. You heard my voice; and didn’t hide your ear at the breath of my cry. You came near in the day that I called on you; you said, Don’t be afraid. God, You’ve pleaded the causes of my soul; You’ve bought back my life.
[59-66] Yahweh, You’ve seen my wrong; judge my cause. You’ve seen all their vengeance and all that they’ve done against me. You’ve heard their punishment, Yahweh, and all that they’ve done against me, the words of those that rose up against me, and what they’ve done against me all day long. You see their sitting down, and their getting up; I’m their song. You’ll pay them back, Yahweh, for what they’ve done. You’ll give them hardness of heart, your punishment on them. You’ll chase them in anger, and destroy them from under the heavens of Yahweh.
4[1-3] How is the gold become dim! How is the most pure gold changed! The stones of the Place of Worship are poured out at the head of every street. And the precious people of Zion, comparable to fine gold, How are they valued as earthen pitchers, the work of the hands of the potter! Even the wild animals draw out the breast and nurse their babies, but the town of our people is become cruel, like the ostriches in the countryside.
[4-8] The tongue of the nursing child cgos to the roof of its mouth for thirst. The young children ask for food, and no one gives it to them. Those who ate well are deserted in the streets. Those who were brought up in rich clothes hug garbage dumps. For the sin of the town of our people is greater than the sin of Sodom, which was overthrown in a moment, and no human hands were ever laid on it. Its leaders were purer than snow, they were whiter than milk; They were more ruddy in body than rubies, their polishing was as of sapphire. But now they look blacker than a coal and they’re not known in the streets. Their skin sticks to their bones; it is withered, and has become hard as a stick.
[9-12] Those who are killed with the war are better than those who are killed with hunger; For these slowly suffer, dying, for want of food. Women, who were once compassionate, have boiled their own children, which were their food, when the city was being destroyed. Yahweh, You have carried out Your anger, You’ve poured out Your great anger; You’ve lit a fire in Zion, which has burned it to the ground. The rulers of the earth didn’t believe it, nor all the people of the world, that our enemies would enter into the gates of Jerusalem.
[13-15] It is because of the sins of it preachers, and the sins of it priests, that have shed the blood of the innocent in it. They wander as blind men in the streets, they’re polluted with blood, so that no one can touch their clothes. Go, they cried to them, Unfit! go, go, don’t touch! When they ran away and wandered around, people said among the nations, ‘They won’t stay here any more.’
[16-20] The anger of Yahweh has scattered them out; God won’t help them any more. They showed no respect for the preachers, nor for the elders. Our eyes still fail in looking for help from our friends. We’ve watched for a nation that could not save us. They hunt our steps, so that we can’t go in our streets. Our end is near, our days are up; for our end is come. Those who chase us were faster than the eagles of the sky. They chased us on the mountains, and set traps to kill us in the countryside. Our very life-breath, the chosen one of Yahweh, was taken in their traps; Of whom we said, ‘Under the rulers protection we will live among the unbelieving nations.’
[21-22] Celebrate and be happy, town of Edom that’s in the land of Uz. The punishment will pass through to you also; you’ll be drunken with sin, and will make yourself naked. The punishment of your sin is over, town of Zion; God won’t send you away to be taken prisoner anymore. But God will visit your sin, town of Edom; God will uncover your sins.
5[1-5] Remember, Yahweh, what has come on us. Look, and see our punishment. Our land is given to strangers and our houses to foreigners. we’re orphans and fatherless. Our single mothers are as survivors. We have to pay for our drinking water with money. Our wood is sold to us. Those who chase us are on our necks; we’re so tired, and have no rest.
[6-9] We’ve made agreements with the Egyptians, and the Assyrians, to have food. Our ancestors sinned, and are gone; We’ve been shamed by their sins. Our workers now rule over us and there’s no one to free us out of their hand. We risk our lives to get our food, because of the war in the countryside.
[10-17] Our skin is dark like an oven, because of the burning heat of famine. They raped the women in Zion, and the young girls who had not had sex in the cities of Judah. Rulers were hung up by their hands; and the faces of elders were not honored. The young men work hard in the mill;
The children stumbled carrying the wood. The elders have stopped coming to the gate, and the young men have stopped playing their music. The joy of our heart is stopped and our dance is turned into mourning. The crown is fallen from our head and sorrow has come to us, for we have sinned! Because of this our heart is faint and our eyes are blinded!
[18-22] The wild animals walk on the mountain of Zion, which is deserted. But You, Yahweh, live forever; Your throne is from generation to generation. Why do you forget us forever, and leave us so long? Turn us back to you, Yahweh, and we will be turned; Renew our days as of old. But You’ve completely rejected us and You’re very angry at us.