The Message

Lamentations 1

Worthless, Cheap, Abject!

1Oh, oh, oh . . .
How empty the city, once teeming with people.
    A widow, this city, once in the front rank of nations,
    once queen of the ball, she’s now a drudge in the kitchen.

She cries herself to sleep each night, tears soaking her pillow.
    No one’s left among her lovers to sit and hold her hand.
    Her friends have all dumped her.

After years of pain and hard labor, Judah has gone into exile.
    She camps out among the nations, never feels at home.
    Hunted by all, she’s stuck between a rock and a hard place.

Zion’s roads weep, empty of pilgrims headed to the feasts.
    All her city gates are deserted, her priests in despair.
    Her virgins are sad. How bitter her fate.

Her enemies have become her masters. Her foes are living it up
    because God laid her low, punishing her repeated rebellions.
    Her children, prisoners of the enemy, trudge into exile.

All beauty has drained from Daughter Zion’s face.
    Her princes are like deer famished for food,
    chased to exhaustion by hunters.

Jerusalem remembers the day she lost everything,
    when her people fell into enemy hands, and not a soul there to help.
    Enemies looked on and laughed, laughed at her helpless silence.

Jerusalem, who outsinned the whole world, is an outcast.
    All who admired her despise her now that they see beneath the surface.
    Miserable, she groans and turns away in shame.

She played fast and loose with life, she never considered tomorrow,
    and now she’s crashed royally, with no one to hold her hand:
    “Look at my pain, O God! And how the enemy cruelly struts.”

10 The enemy reached out to take all her favorite things. She watched
    as pagans barged into her Sanctuary, those very people for whom
    you posted orders: keep out: this assembly off-limits.

11 All the people groaned, so desperate for food, so desperate to stay alive
    that they bartered their favorite things for a bit of breakfast:
    “O God, look at me! Worthless, cheap, abject!

12 “And you passersby, look at me! Have you ever seen anything like this?
    Ever seen pain like my pain, seen what he did to me,
    what God did to me in his rage?

13 “He struck me with lightning, skewered me from head to foot,
    then he set traps all around so I could hardly move.
    He left me with nothing—left me sick, and sick of living.

14 “He wove my sins into a rope
    and harnessed me to captivity’s yoke.
    I’m goaded by cruel taskmasters.

15 “The Master piled up my best soldiers in a heap,
    then called in thugs to break their fine young necks.
    The Master crushed the life out of fair virgin Judah.

16 “For all this I weep, weep buckets of tears,
    and not a soul within miles around cares for my soul.
    My children are wasted, my enemy got his way.”

17 Zion reached out for help, but no one helped.
    God ordered Jacob’s enemies to surround him,
    and now no one wants anything to do with Jerusalem.

18 God has right on his side. I’m the one who did wrong.
    Listen everybody! Look at what I’m going through!
    My fair young women, my fine young men, all herded into exile!

19 “I called to my friends; they betrayed me.
    My priests and my leaders only looked after themselves,
    trying but failing to save their own skins.

20 “O God, look at the trouble I’m in! My stomach in knots,
    my heart wrecked by a life of rebellion.
    Massacres in the streets, starvation in the houses.

21 “Oh, listen to my groans. No one listens, no one cares.
    When my enemies heard of the trouble you gave me, they cheered.
    Bring on Judgment Day! Let them get what I got!

22 “Take a good look at their evil ways and give it to them!
    Give them what you gave me for my sins.
    Groaning in pain, body and soul, I’ve had all I can take.”

New International Reader's Version

Lamentations 1

1The city of Jerusalem is so empty!
    She used to be full of people.
But now she’s like a woman whose husband has died.
    She used to be great among the nations.
She was like a queen among the kingdoms.
    But now she is a slave.

Jerusalem weeps bitterly at night.
    Tears run down her cheeks.
    None of her friends comforts her.
All those who were going to help her
    have turned against her.
    They have become her enemies.

After Judah’s people had suffered greatly,
    they were taken away as prisoners.
Now they live among the nations.
    They can’t find any place to rest.
All those who were chasing them have caught up with them.
    And they can’t get away.

The roads to Zion are empty.
    No one travels to her appointed feasts.
All the public places near her gates are deserted.
    Her priests groan.
Her young women are sad.
    And Zion herself weeps bitterly.

Her enemies have become her masters.
    They have an easy life.
The Lord has brought suffering to Jerusalem
    because her people have committed so many sins.
Her children have been taken away as prisoners.
    Her enemies have forced her people to leave their homes.

The city of Zion used to be full of glory.
    But now her glory has faded away.
Her princes are like deer.
    They can’t find anything to eat.
They are almost too weak to get away
    from those who hunt them down.

Jerusalem’s people are suffering and wandering.
    They remember all the treasures
    they used to have.
But they fell into the hands of their enemies.
    And no one was there to help them.
Their enemies looked at them.
    They laughed because Jerusalem had been destroyed.

Her people have committed many sins.
    They have become impure.
All those who honored Jerusalem now look down on her.
    They all look at her as if she were a naked woman.
    The city groans and turns away in shame.

Her skirts are dirty.
    She didn’t think about how things might turn out.
Her fall from power amazed everyone.
    And no one was there to comfort her.
She said, “Lord, please pay attention to how much I’m suffering.
    My enemies have won the battle over me.”

10 Jerusalem’s enemies took away
    all her treasures.
Her people saw outsiders
    enter her temple.
The Lord had commanded them
    not to do that.

11 All Jerusalem’s people groan
    as they search for bread.
They trade their treasures for food
    just to stay alive.
Jerusalem says, “Lord, look at me.
    Think about my condition.
    Everyone looks down on me.”

12 Jerusalem also says, “All you who are passing by,
    don’t you care about what has happened to me?
    Just look at my condition.
Has anyone suffered the way I have?
    The Lord has brought all this on me.
He has made me suffer.
    His anger has burned against me.

13 “He sent down fire from heaven.
    It went deep down into my bones.
He spread a net to catch me by the feet.
    He stopped me right where I was.
He made me empty.
    I am sick all the time.

14 “My sins have been made into a heavy yoke.
    They were woven together by his hands.
They have been placed on my neck.
    The Lord has taken away my strength.
He has handed me over to my enemies.
    I can’t win the battle over them.

15 “The Lord has refused to accept
    any of my soldiers.
He has sent for an army
    to crush my young men.
I am like grapes in the Lord’s winepress.
    He has stomped on me,
    even though I am his very own.

16 “That’s why I am weeping.
    Tears are flowing from my eyes.
No one is near to comfort me.
    No one can heal my spirit.
My children don’t have anything.
    My enemies are much too strong for me.”

17 Zion reaches out her hands.
    But no one is there to comfort her people.
The Lord has ordered that
    the neighbors of Jacob’s people would become their enemies.
    Jerusalem has become impure among them.

18 Jerusalem says, “The Lord always does what is right.
    But I refused to obey his commands.
Listen, all you nations.
    Pay attention to how much I’m suffering.
My young men and women
    have been taken away as prisoners.

19 “I called out to those who were going to help me.
    But they turned against me.
My priests and elders
    died in the city.
They were searching for food
    just to stay alive.

20 Lord, see how upset I am!
    I am suffering deep down inside.
My heart is troubled.
    Again and again I have refused to obey you.
Outside the city, people are being killed by swords.
    Inside, there is nothing but death.

21 “People have heard me groan.
    But no one is here to comfort me.
My enemies have heard about all my troubles.
    What you have done makes them happy.
So please judge them, just as you said you would.
    Let them become like me.

22 “Please pay attention to all their sinful ways.
    Punish them as you have punished me.
    You judged me because I had committed so many sins.
I groan all the time.
    And my heart is weak.”