New International Version

Lamentations 2:1-22

This chapter is an acrostic poem, the verses of which begin with the successive letters of the Hebrew alphabet. 1How the Lord has covered Daughter Zion

with the cloud of his anger2:1 Or How the Lord in his anger / has treated Daughter Zion with contempt!

He has hurled down the splendor of Israel

from heaven to earth;

he has not remembered his footstool

in the day of his anger.

2Without pity the Lord has swallowed up

all the dwellings of Jacob;

in his wrath he has torn down

the strongholds of Daughter Judah.

He has brought her kingdom and its princes

down to the ground in dishonor.

3In fierce anger he has cut off

every horn2:3 Or off / all the strength; or every king2:3 Horn here symbolizes strength. of Israel.

He has withdrawn his right hand

at the approach of the enemy.

He has burned in Jacob like a flaming fire

that consumes everything around it.

4Like an enemy he has strung his bow;

his right hand is ready.

Like a foe he has slain

all who were pleasing to the eye;

he has poured out his wrath like fire

on the tent of Daughter Zion.

5The Lord is like an enemy;

he has swallowed up Israel.

He has swallowed up all her palaces

and destroyed her strongholds.

He has multiplied mourning and lamentation

for Daughter Judah.

6He has laid waste his dwelling like a garden;

he has destroyed his place of meeting.

The Lord has made Zion forget

her appointed festivals and her Sabbaths;

in his fierce anger he has spurned

both king and priest.

7The Lord has rejected his altar

and abandoned his sanctuary.

He has given the walls of her palaces

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.

8The Lord determined to tear down

the wall around Daughter Zion.

He stretched out a measuring line

and did not withhold his hand from destroying.

He made ramparts and walls lament;

together they wasted away.

9Her gates have sunk into the ground;

their bars he has broken and destroyed.

Her king and her princes are exiled among the nations,

the law is no more,

and her prophets no longer find

visions from the Lord.

10The elders of Daughter Zion

sit on the ground in silence;

they have sprinkled dust on their heads

and put on sackcloth.

The young women of Jerusalem

have bowed their heads to the ground.

11My eyes fail from weeping,

I am in torment within;

my heart is poured out on the ground

because my people are destroyed,

because children and infants faint

in the streets of the city.

12They say to their mothers,

“Where is bread and wine?”

as they faint like the wounded

in the streets of the city,

as their lives ebb away

in their mothers’ arms.

13What can I say for you?

With what can I compare you,

Daughter Jerusalem?

To what can I liken you,

that I may comfort you,

Virgin Daughter Zion?

Your wound is as deep as the sea.

Who can heal you?

14The visions of your prophets

were false and worthless;

they did not expose your sin

to ward off your captivity.

The prophecies they gave you

were false and misleading.

15All who pass your way

clap their hands at you;

they scoff and shake their heads

at Daughter Jerusalem:

“Is this the city that was called

the perfection of beauty,

the joy of the whole earth?”

16All your enemies open their mouths

wide against you;

they scoff and gnash their teeth

and say, “We have swallowed her up.

This is the day we have waited for;

we have lived to see it.”

17The Lord has done what he planned;

he has fulfilled his word,

which he decreed long ago.

He has overthrown you without pity,

he has let the enemy gloat over you,

he has exalted the horn2:17 Horn here symbolizes strength. of your foes.

18The hearts of the people

cry out to the Lord.

You walls of Daughter Zion,

let your tears flow like a river

day and night;

give yourself no relief,

your eyes no rest.

19Arise, cry out in the night,

as the watches of the night begin;

pour out your heart like water

in the presence of the Lord.

Lift up your hands to him

for the lives of your children,

who faint from hunger

at every street corner.

20“Look, Lord, and consider:

Whom have you ever treated like this?

Should women eat their offspring,

the children they have cared for?

Should priest and prophet be killed

in the sanctuary of the Lord?

21“Young and old lie together

in the dust of the streets;

my young men and young women

have fallen by the sword.

You have slain them in the day of your anger;

you have slaughtered them without pity.

22“As you summon to a feast day,

so you summoned against me terrors on every side.

In the day of the Lord’s anger

no one escaped or survived;

those I cared for and reared

my enemy has destroyed.”

New International Reader's Version

Lamentations 2:1-22

1See how the Lord covered the city of Zion

with the cloud of his anger!

He threw Israel’s glory down

from heaven to earth.

When he was angry, he turned his back

on his own city.

2Without pity the Lord swallowed up

all the homes of Jacob’s people.

When he was angry, he tore down

the forts of the people of Judah.

He brought down their kingdom and princes

to the ground in dishonor.

3When he was very angry,

he took away Israel’s power.

He pulled back his powerful right hand

as the enemy approached.

His burning anger blazed out in Jacob’s land.

It burned up everything near it.

4Like an enemy the Lord got his bow ready to use.

He had a sword in his right hand.

Like an enemy he destroyed

everything that used to be pleasing to him.

His anger blazed out like fire.

It burned up the homes in the city of Zion.

5The Lord was like an enemy.

He swallowed up Israel.

He swallowed up all of its palaces.

He destroyed its forts.

He filled the people of Judah

with sorrow and sadness.

6The Lord’s temple was like a garden.

But he completely destroyed it.

He destroyed the place

where he used to meet with his people.

He made Zion’s people forget

their appointed feasts and Sabbath days.

When he was very angry, he turned his back on

king and priest alike.

7The Lord deserted his altar.

He left his temple.

He gave the walls of Jerusalem’s palaces

into the hands of her enemies.

They shouted loudly in the house of the Lord.

You would have thought it was the day

of an appointed feast.

8The Lord decided to tear down

the walls around the city of Zion.

He measured out what he wanted to destroy.

Then he destroyed Jerusalem by his power.

He made even her towers and walls sing songs of sadness.

All of them fell down.

9Her gates sank down into the ground.

He broke the metal bars that locked her gates, and he destroyed them.

Her king and princes were taken away to other nations.

There is no law anymore.

Jerusalem’s prophets no longer receive

visions from the Lord.

10The elders of the city of Zion

sit silently on the ground.

They have sprinkled dust on their heads.

They’ve put on the clothes of sadness.

The young women of Jerusalem

have bowed their heads toward the ground.

11I’ve cried so much I can’t see very well.

I’m suffering deep down inside.

My heart is broken

because my people are destroyed.

Children and babies are fainting

in the streets of the city.

12They say to their mothers,

“Where can we find something to eat and drink?”

They faint like wounded soldiers

in the streets of the city.

Their lives are slipping away

in their mothers’ arms.

13City of Jerusalem, what can I say about you?

What can I compare you to?

People of Zion, what are you like?

I want to comfort you.

Your wound is as deep as the ocean.

Who can heal you?

14The visions of your prophets were lies.

They weren’t worth anything.

They didn’t show you the sins you had committed.

So that’s why you were captured.

The messages they gave you were lies.

They led you astray.

15All those who pass by

clap their hands and make fun of you.

They laugh at you and shake their heads

at the city of Jerusalem.

They say, “Could that be the city

that was called perfect and beautiful?

Is that the city that brought joy to everyone on earth?”

16All your enemies open their mouths

wide against you.

They laugh at you and grind their teeth.

They say, “We have swallowed up Jerusalem’s people.

This is the day we’ve waited for.

And we’ve lived to see it.”

17The Lord has done what he planned to do.

He has made what he said come true.

He gave the command long ago.

He has destroyed you without pity.

He has let your enemies laugh at you.

He has made them stronger than you are.

18People in the city of Zion,

cry out from your heart to the Lord.

Let your tears flow like a river

day and night.

Don’t stop at all.

Don’t give your eyes any rest.

19Get up. Cry out as the night begins.

Tell the Lord all your troubles.

Lift up your hands to him.

Pray that the lives of your children will be spared.

At every street corner they faint

because they are so hungry.

20Jerusalem says, “Lord, look at me.

Think about my condition.

Have you ever treated anyone else like this?

Should women have to eat their babies?

Should they eat the children they’ve taken care of?

Should priests and prophets be killed

in your own temple?

21“Young people and old people alike

lie dead in the dust of my streets.

My young men and women

have been killed by swords.

You killed them when you were angry.

You put them to death without pity.

22“You sent for terrors to come against me on every side.

It was as if you were inviting people to enjoy a feast day.

Because you were angry, no one escaped.

No one was left alive.

I took good care of my children and brought them up.

But my enemies have destroyed them.”