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Jerusalem Cries Over Her Destruction

1 Jerusalem once was a city full of people. But now the city is so deserted! Jerusalem was one of the greatest cities in the world. But now she* has become like a widow. She was once a princess among cities. But now she has been made a slave. 2She cries bitterly in the night. Her tears are on her cheeks. She has no one to comfort her. Many nations were friendly to her. But none of them comforts her now. All of her friends turned their backs on her. Her friends became her enemies. 3Judah suffered very much. And then Judah was taken into captivity. Judah lives among other nations. But she has found no rest. The people that chased her caught her. They caught her in the narrow valleys. 4The roads to Zion* are very sad. They are sad because no person comes to Zion for the holidays anymore. All of Zion’s gates have been destroyed. All of Zion’s priests groan. Zion’s young women have been taken away.* And all of this is a bitter sadness to Zion. 5Jerusalem’s enemies have won. Her enemies have been successful. This happened because the Lord punished her. He punished Jerusalem for her many sins. Her children have gone away. Their enemies captured them and took them away. 6The beauty of the Daughter of Zion* has gone away. Her princes became like deer. They were like deer that can’t find a meadow to feed in. They ran away without strength. They ran away from those people that chased them. 7Jerusalem thinks back. Jerusalem remembers the time when she was hurt and when she lost her home. She remembers all the nice things that she had in the past. She remembers those nice things that she had in the old days. She remembers when her people were captured by the enemy. She remembers when there was no person to help her. When her enemies saw her, they laughed. They laughed because she was destroyed. 8Jerusalem sinned very badly. Because Jerusalem sinned, she became a ruined city that people shake their heads about. In the past people respected her. Now those people hate her. They hate her because they abused her. Jerusalem groans. She turns away. 9Jerusalem’s skirts became dirty. She didn’t think about the things that would happen to her. Her fall was amazing. She had no person to comfort her. She says, “Lord, see how I am hurt! See how my enemy thinks he is so great!” 10The enemy stretched out his hand. He took all of her nice things. In fact, she saw the foreign nations go inside her temple. And Lord, you said those people could not join in our assembly! 11All the people of Jerusalem are groaning. All of her people are looking for food. They are giving away all their nice things for food. They are doing this to keep alive. Jerusalem says, “Look, Lord. Look at me! See how people hate me. 12All you people that pass by on the road, you don’t seem to care. But look at me and see. Is there any pain like my pain? Is there any pain like the pain that has come to me? Is there any pain like the pain that the Lord has punished me with? He has punished me on the day of his great anger. 13The Lord sent fire from above. That fire went down into my bones. He stretched out a net for my feet. He turned me all the way around. He made me into a wasteland. I am sick all day. 14“My sins were tied up like a yoke. My sins were tied up in the Lord’s hands. The Lord’s yoke is on my neck. The Lord has made me weak. The Lord has given me to people that I can’t stand up against. 15“The Lord rejected all my strong soldiers. Those soldiers were inside the city. Then the Lord brought a group of people against me. He brought those people to kill my young soldiers. The Lord has stepped on the grapes in the winepress. That winepress belongs to the virgin daughter of Jerusalem.* 16“I cry about all these things. My eyes, my eyes run down with water. There is no comforter near me. There is no person that can make me feel better. My children are like a wasteland. They are like that because the enemy won.” 17Zion* spread out her hands. There was no person to comfort her. The Lord had given orders to Jacob’s* enemies. The Lord ordered Jacob’s enemies to surround the city. Jerusalem has become something dirty. She is something dirty among those enemies. 18Now Jerusalem says, “I refused to listen to the Lord. So the Lord is right for doing these things. So listen, all you people! Look at my pain! My young women and men have gone into captivity. 19I called out to my lovers. But they tricked me. My priests and my elders have died in the city. They were looking for food for themselves. They wanted to keep themselves alive. 20“Look at me, Lord. I am in distress! My insides are upset! My heart feels like it has turned upside down inside me! My heart feels this way because I have been so stubborn! In the streets, the sword killed my children. Inside the houses, death was there. 21“Listen to me, because I am groaning! I have no person to comfort me. All my enemies have heard of my trouble. They are happy. They are happy that you did this to me. You said there would be a time of punishment. You said you would punish my enemies. Now do what you said. Let my enemies be like I am now. 22“Look at how evil my enemies are. Then you can treat them the same way you treated me because of all my sins. Do this because I am groaning again and again. Do this because my heart is sick.”

she Throughout this poem, the city of Jerusalem is figuratively portrayed as a woman. Zion The southeast part of the mountain Jerusalem is built on. Sometimes it means the people of God living in Jerusalem. have been taken away Following the ancient Greek translation. The Hebrew has “are upset.” Daughter of Zion Another name for Jerusalem. virgin daughter of Jerusalem This is another figurative name for the city of Jerusalem. Zion The southeast part of the mountain Jerusalem is built on. Sometimes it means the people of God living in Jerusalem. Jacob Another name for Israel. See Gen. 32:22–28.

The Lord Destroyed Jerusalem

2 Look how the Lord has set the Daughter of Zion* under a cloud. He has thrown the glory of Israel from the sky to the ground. The Lord didn’t keep in mind that Israel was his footstool, on the day of his anger. 2The Lord destroyed the houses of Jacob.* He destroyed them without mercy. He destroyed in his anger the fortresses of the Daughter of Judah.* The Lord threw the kingdom of Judah and its rulers to the ground. He ruined the kingdom of Judah. 3The Lord was angry and he destroyed all the strength of Israel. He took away his right hand from Israel. He did this when the enemy came. He burned like a flaming fire in Jacob.* He was like a fire that burns all around. 4The Lord bent his bow like an enemy. He held his sword in his right hand. He killed all the good looking men of Judah. The Lord killed them as if he were the enemy. The Lord poured out his anger. He poured it out on the tents of Zion. 5The Lord has become like an enemy. He has swallowed up Israel. He has swallowed up all her palaces. He has swallowed up all her fortresses. He has made much sadness and crying for the dead in the Daughter of Judah.* 6The Lord pulled up his own tent* as if it were a garden. He has ruined the place where the people went to meet to worship him. The Lord has made people forget the special assemblies and special days of rest* in Zion. The Lord rejected the king and the priests. He was angry and rejected them. 7The Lord rejected his altar. He rejected his Holy Place of worship. He let the enemy pull down the walls of the palaces of Jerusalem. The enemy shouted with joy in the Lord’s temple. They made noise, as if it were a holiday. 8The Lord planned to destroy the wall of the Daughter of Zion.* He marked the wall with a measuring line {to show where the wall should be torn down}. He didn’t stop himself from destroying. So he made all the walls cry out in sadness. Together they wasted away. 9Jerusalem’s gates have sunk into the ground. He destroyed and smashed the bars of the gates. Her king and princes are in other nations. There is no more teaching for them. Also Jerusalem’s prophets have not found any visions from the Lord. 10The elders of Zion* sit on the ground. They sit on the ground and are quiet. They pour dust on their heads. They put on sackcloth.* The young women of Jerusalem bow their heads to the ground in sorrow. 11My eyes are worn out with tears! My insides are upset! My heart feels like it has been poured on the ground! I feel this way because of the destruction of my people. Children and babies are fainting. They are fainting in the public squares of the city. 12Those children say to their mothers, “Where is bread and wine?” They ask this question as they die. They die on their mother’s laps. 13Daughter of Zion,* what can I compare you to? What can I compare you to, Virgin Daughter of Zion*? How can I comfort you? Your destruction is as big as the sea! I don’t think anyone can heal you. 14Your prophets saw visions for you. But their visions were only worthless lies. They didn’t preach against your sins. They didn’t try to make things better. They preached messages for you, but they were false messages that fooled you. 15The people that pass by on the road clap their hands at you in shock. They whistle and shake their heads at the Daughter of Jerusalem. They ask, “Is this the city that people called, ‘The Perfectly Beautiful City’ and ‘The Joy of all the Earth’?” 16All your enemies laugh at you. They whistle and grind their teeth at you. They say, “We have swallowed them up! This is truly the day we were hoping for. We have finally seen this happen.” 17The Lord did what he planned to do. He has done what he said he would do. He has done what he commanded from times of long ago. He destroyed, and he had no pity. He made your enemies happy because of what happened to you. He made your enemies strong. 18Cry out* with your hearts to the Lord! Wall of the Daughter of Zion,* let tears roll down like a stream! let your tears roll down day and night. Don’t stop! Don’t let your eyes be still! 19Get up! Cry out in the night! Cry out at the beginning of each of the parts of the night! Pour out your heart as if it were water! Pour out your heart before the Lord! Lift up your hands in prayer to the Lord. Ask him to let your children live. Ask him to let your children live that are fainting with starvation. They are fainting with starvation in all the streets of the city. 20Look at me, Lord! See who it is that you have treated this way! Let me ask this question: Should women eat the children they have given birth to? Should women eat the children that they have cared for? Should priest and prophet be killed in the temple of the Lord? 21Young men and old men lie on the ground in the streets of the city. My young women and young men have been killed by the sword. You, Lord, killed them on the day of your anger! You killed them without mercy! 22You invited terror to come to me from all around. You invited terror like you were inviting it to a holiday. No person escaped on the day of the Lord’s anger. My enemy has killed those that I raised and brought up.

Daughter of Zion This is a figurative name for the city of Jerusalem. Jacob Another name for Israel. See Gen. 32:22–28. Daughter of Judah This is a figurative name for the nation of Judah. his own tent This is a reference to the Lord’s temple in Jerusalem. special days of rest Or, “Sabbaths.” This might mean Saturday, or it might mean all of the special days when the people were not supposed to work. Zion The southeast part of the mountain Jerusalem is built on. Sometimes it means the people of God living in Jerusalem. sackcloth A kind of cloth that people wore to show they were sad or crying for dead people. Cry out The Hebrew says, “Their hearts cried out.”

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