New International Reader's Version

Lamentations 2

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.

Without 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.

When 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.

Like 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.

The 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.

The 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.

The 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.

The 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.

Her 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.

10 The 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.

11 I’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.

12 They 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.

13 City 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?

14 The 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.

15 All 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?”

16 All 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.”

17 The 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.

18 People 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.

19 Get 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.

20 Jerusalem 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.”