Lamentations 1:1--2:22

The Prophet Speaks:

א (Alef)

1:1 Alas! The city once full of people

now sits all alone!

The prominent lady among the nations

has become a widow!

The princess who once ruled the provinces

has become a forced laborer!

ב (Bet)

1:2 She weeps bitterly at night;

tears stream down her cheeks.

She has no one to comfort her

among all her lovers.

All her friends have betrayed her;

they have become her enemies.

ג (Gimel)

1:3 Judah has departed into exile

under affliction and harsh oppression.

She lives among the nations;

she has found no resting place.

All who pursued her overtook her

in narrow straits.

ד (Dalet)

1:4 The roads to Zion mourn

because no one travels to the festivals.

All her city gates are deserted;

her priests groan.

Her virgins grieve;

she is in bitter anguish!

ה (He)

1:5 Her foes subjugated her;

her enemies are at ease.

For the Lord afflicted her

because of her many acts of rebellion.

Her children went away

captive before the enemy.

ו (Vav)

1:6 All of Daughter Zion’s splendor

has departed.

Her leaders became like deer;

they found no pasture,

so they were too exhausted to escape

from the hunter.

ז (Zayin)

1:7 Jerusalem remembers,

when she became a poor homeless person,

all her treasures

that she owned in days of old.

When her people fell into an enemy’s grip,

none of her allies came to her rescue.

Her enemies gloated over her;

they sneered at her downfall.

ח (Khet)

1:8 Jerusalem committed terrible sin;

therefore she became an object of scorn.

All who admired her have despised her

because they have seen her nakedness.

She groans aloud

and turns away in shame.

ט (Tet)

1:9 Her menstrual flow has soiled her clothing;

she did not consider the consequences of her sin.

Her demise was astonishing,

and there was no one to comfort her.

She cried, “Look, O Lord, on my affliction

because my enemy boasts!”

י (Yod)

1:10 An enemy grabbed

all her valuables.

Indeed she watched in horror as Gentiles

invaded her holy temple –

those whom you had commanded:

“They must not enter your assembly place.”

כ (Kaf)

1:11 All her people groaned

as they searched for a morsel of bread.

They exchanged their valuables

for just enough food

to stay alive.

Jerusalem Speaks:

“Look, O Lord! Consider

that I have become worthless!”

ל (Lamed)

1:12 Is it nothing to you, all you who pass by on the road?

Look and see!

Is there any pain like mine?

The Lord has afflicted me,

he has inflicted it on me

when he burned with anger.

מ (Mem)

1:13 He sent down fire

into my bones, and it overcame them.

He spread out a trapper’s net for my feet;

he made me turn back.

He has made me desolate;

I am faint all day long.

נ (Nun)

1:14 My sins are bound around my neck like a yoke;

they are fastened together by his hand.

He has placed his yoke on my neck;

he has sapped my strength.

The Lord has handed me over

to those whom I cannot resist.

ס (Samek)

1:15 He rounded up all my mighty ones;

The Lord did this in my midst.

He summoned an assembly against me

to shatter my young men.

The Lord has stomped like grapes

the virgin daughter, Judah.

ע (Ayin)

1:16 I weep because of these things;

my eyes flow with tears.

For there is no one in sight who can comfort me

or encourage me.

My children are desolated

because an enemy has prevailed.

The Prophet Speaks:

פ (Pe)

1:17 Zion spread out her hands,

but there is no one to comfort her.

The Lord has issued a decree against Jacob;

his neighbors have become his enemies.

Jerusalem has become

like filthy garbage in their midst.

Jerusalem Speaks:

צ (Tsade)

1:18 The Lord is right to judge me!

Yes, I rebelled against his commands.

Please listen, all you nations,

and look at my suffering!

My young women and men

have gone into exile.

ק (Qof)

1:19 I called for my lovers,

but they had deceived me.

My priests and my elders

perished in the city.

Truly they had searched for food

to keep themselves alive.

ר (Resh)

1:20 Look, O Lord! I am distressed;

my stomach is in knots!

My heart is pounding inside me.

Yes, I was terribly rebellious!

Out in the street the sword bereaves a mother of her children;

Inside the house death is present.

ש (Sin/Shin)

1:21 They have heard that I groan,

yet there is no one to comfort me.

All my enemies have heard of my trouble;

they are glad that you have brought it about.

Bring about the day of judgment that you promised

so that they may end up like me!

ת (Tav)

1:22 Let all their wickedness come before you;

afflict them

just as you have afflicted me

because of all my acts of rebellion.

For my groans are many,

and my heart is sick with sorrow.

The Prophet Speaks:

א (Alef)

2:1 Alas! The Lord has covered

Daughter Zion with his anger.

He has thrown down the splendor of Israel

from heaven to earth;

he did not protect his temple

when he displayed his anger.

ב (Bet)

2:2 The Lord destroyed mercilessly

all the homes of Jacob’s descendants.

In his anger he tore down

the fortified cities of Daughter Judah.

He knocked to the ground and humiliated

the kingdom and its rulers.

ג (Gimel)

2:3 In fierce anger he destroyed

the whole army of Israel.

He withdrew his right hand

as the enemy attacked.

He was like a raging fire in the land of Jacob;

it consumed everything around it.

ד (Dalet)

2:4 He prepared his bow like an enemy;

his right hand was ready to shoot.

Like a foe he killed everyone,

even our strong young men;

he has poured out his anger like fire

on the tent of Daughter Zion.

ה (He)

2:5 The Lord, like an enemy,

destroyed Israel.

He destroyed all her palaces;

he ruined her fortified cities.

He made everyone in Daughter Judah

mourn and lament.

ו (Vav)

2:6 He destroyed his temple as if it were a vineyard;

he destroyed his appointed meeting place.

The Lord has made those in Zion forget

both the festivals and the Sabbaths.

In his fierce anger he has spurned

both king and priest.

ז (Zayin)

2:7 The Lord rejected his altar

and abhorred his temple.

He handed over to the enemy

her palace walls;

the enemy shouted in the Lord’s temple

as if it were a feast day.

ח (Khet)

2:8 The Lord was determined to tear down

Daughter Zion’s wall.

He prepared to knock it down;

he did not withdraw his hand from destroying.

He made the ramparts and fortified walls lament;

together they mourned their ruin.

ט (Tet)

2:9 Her city gates have fallen to the ground;

he smashed to bits the bars that lock her gates.

Her king and princes were taken into exile;

there is no more guidance available.

As for her prophets,

they no longer receive a vision from the Lord.

י (Yod)

2:10 The elders of Daughter Zion

sit on the ground in silence.

They have thrown dirt on their heads;

They have dressed in sackcloth.

Jerusalem’s young women stare down at the ground.

כ (Kaf)

2:11 My eyes are worn out from weeping;

my stomach is in knots.

My heart is poured out on the ground

due to the destruction of my helpless people;

children and infants faint

in the town squares.

ל (Lamed)

2:12 Children say to their mothers,

“Where are food and drink?”

They faint like a wounded warrior

in the city squares.

They die slowly

in their mothers’ arms.

מ (Mem)

2:13 With what can I equate you?

To what can I compare you, O Daughter Jerusalem?

To what can I liken you

so that I might comfort you, O Virgin Daughter Zion?

Your wound is as deep as the sea.

Who can heal you?

נ (Nun)

2:14 Your prophets saw visions for you

that were worthless lies.

They failed to expose your sin

so as to restore your fortunes.

They saw oracles for you

that were worthless lies.

ס (Samek)

2:15 All who passed by on the road

clapped their hands to mock you.

They sneered and shook their heads

at Daughter Jerusalem.

“Ha! Is this the city they called

‘The perfection of beauty,

the source of joy of the whole earth!’?”

פ (Pe)

2:16 All your enemies

gloated over you.

They sneered and gnashed their teeth;

they said, “We have destroyed her!

Ha! We have waited a long time for this day.

We have lived to see it!”

ע (Ayin)

2:17 The Lord has done what he planned;

he has fulfilled his promise

that he threatened long ago:

He has overthrown you without mercy

and has enabled the enemy to gloat over you;

he has exalted your adversaries’ power.

צ (Tsade)

2:18 Cry out from your heart to the Lord,

O wall of Daughter Zion!

Make your tears flow like a river

all day and all night long!

Do not rest;

do not let your tears stop!

ק (Qof)

2:19 Get up! Cry out in the night

when the night watches start!

Pour out your heart like water

before the face of the Lord!

Lift up your hands to him

for your children’s lives;

they are fainting

at every street corner.

Jerusalem Speaks:

ר (Resh)

2:20 Look, O Lord! Consider!

Whom have you ever afflicted like this?

Should women eat their offspring,

their healthy infants?

Should priest and prophet

be killed in the Lord’s sanctuary?

ש (Sin/Shin)

2:21 The young boys and old men

lie dead on the ground in the streets.

My young women and my young men

have fallen by the sword.

You killed them when you were angry;

you slaughtered them without mercy.

ת (Tav)

2:22 As if it were a feast day, you call

enemies to terrify me on every side.

On the day of the Lord’s anger

no one escaped or survived.

My enemy has finished off

those healthy infants whom I bore and raised.