New International Version

Lamentations 1

1[a]How deserted lies the city,
    once so full of people!
How like a widow is she,
    who once was great among the nations!
She who was queen among the provinces
    has now become a slave.

Bitterly she weeps at night,
    tears are on her cheeks.
Among all her lovers
    there is no one to comfort her.
All her friends have betrayed her;
    they have become her enemies.

After affliction and harsh labor,
    Judah has gone into exile.
She dwells among the nations;
    she finds no resting place.
All who pursue her have overtaken her
    in the midst of her distress.

The roads to Zion mourn,
    for no one comes to her appointed festivals.
All her gateways are desolate,
    her priests groan,
her young women grieve,
    and she is in bitter anguish.

Her foes have become her masters;
    her enemies are at ease.
The Lord has brought her grief
    because of her many sins.
Her children have gone into exile,
    captive before the foe.

All the splendor has departed
    from Daughter Zion.
Her princes are like deer
    that find no pasture;
in weakness they have fled
    before the pursuer.

In the days of her affliction and wandering
    Jerusalem remembers all the treasures
    that were hers in days of old.
When her people fell into enemy hands,
    there was no one to help her.
Her enemies looked at her
    and laughed at her destruction.

Jerusalem has sinned greatly
    and so has become unclean.
All who honored her despise her,
    for they have all seen her naked;
she herself groans
    and turns away.

Her filthiness clung to her skirts;
    she did not consider her future.
Her fall was astounding;
    there was none to comfort her.
“Look, Lord, on my affliction,
    for the enemy has triumphed.”

10 The enemy laid hands
    on all her treasures;
she saw pagan nations
    enter her sanctuary—
those you had forbidden
    to enter your assembly.

11 All her people groan
    as they search for bread;
they barter their treasures for food
    to keep themselves alive.
“Look, Lord, and consider,
    for I am despised.”

12 “Is it nothing to you, all you who pass by?
    Look around and see.
Is any suffering like my suffering
    that was inflicted on me,
that the Lord brought on me
    in the day of his fierce anger?

13 “From on high he sent fire,
    sent it down into my bones.
He spread a net for my feet
    and turned me back.
He made me desolate,
    faint all the day long.

14 “My sins have been bound into a yoke[b];
    by his hands they were woven together.
They have been hung on my neck,
    and the Lord has sapped my strength.
He has given me into the hands
    of those I cannot withstand.

15 “The Lord has rejected
    all the warriors in my midst;
he has summoned an army against me
    to[c] crush my young men.
In his winepress the Lord has trampled
    Virgin Daughter Judah.

16 “This is why I weep
    and my eyes overflow with tears.
No one is near to comfort me,
    no one to restore my spirit.
My children are destitute
    because the enemy has prevailed.”

17 Zion stretches out her hands,
    but there is no one to comfort her.
The Lord has decreed for Jacob
    that his neighbors become his foes;
Jerusalem has become
    an unclean thing among them.

18 “The Lord is righteous,
    yet I rebelled against his command.
Listen, all you peoples;
    look on my suffering.
My young men and young women
    have gone into exile.

19 “I called to my allies
    but they betrayed me.
My priests and my elders
    perished in the city
while they searched for food
    to keep themselves alive.

20 “See, Lord, how distressed I am!
    I am in torment within,
and in my heart I am disturbed,
    for I have been most rebellious.
Outside, the sword bereaves;
    inside, there is only death.

21 “People have heard my groaning,
    but there is no one to comfort me.
All my enemies have heard of my distress;
    they rejoice at what you have done.
May you bring the day you have announced
    so they may become like me.

22 “Let all their wickedness come before you;
    deal with them
as you have dealt with me
    because of all my sins.
My groans are many
    and my heart is faint.”

Footnotes

  1. Lamentations 1:1 This chapter is an acrostic poem, the verses of which begin with the successive letters of the Hebrew alphabet.
  2. Lamentations 1:14 Most Hebrew manuscripts; many Hebrew manuscripts and Septuagint He kept watch over my sins
  3. Lamentations 1:15 Or has set a time for me / when he will

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.”