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17 They will devour your harvest and your bread,
    devour your sons and your daughters,
Devour your sheep and cattle,
    devour your vines and fig trees;
With their swords they will beat down
    the fortified cities in which you trust.(A)

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Chapter 5

The Community’s Lament to the Lord

Remember, Lord, what has happened to us,
    pay attention, and see our disgrace:
Our heritage is turned over to strangers,
    our homes, to foreigners.(A)
We have become orphans, without fathers;
    our mothers are like widows.
We pay money to drink our own water,
    our own wood comes at a price.
With a yoke on our necks, we are driven;
    we are worn out, but allowed no rest.

We extended a hand to Egypt and Assyria,
    to satisfy our need of bread.[a]
Our ancestors, who sinned, are no more;
    but now we bear their guilt.
Servants[b] rule over us,
    with no one to tear us from their hands.
We risk our lives just to get bread,
    exposed to the desert heat;(B)
10 Our skin heats up like an oven,
    from the searing blasts of famine.(C)

11 Women are raped in Zion,
    young women in the cities of Judah;(D)
12 Princes have been hanged by them,
    elders shown no respect.(E)
13 Young men carry millstones,
    boys stagger under loads of wood;
14 The elders have abandoned the gate,[c]
    the young men their music.

15 The joy of our hearts has ceased,
    dancing has turned into mourning;(F)
16 The crown has fallen from our head:
    woe to us that we sinned!
17 Because of this our hearts grow sick,
    at this our eyes grow dim:
18 Because of Mount Zion, lying desolate,
    and the jackals roaming there!

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  1. 5:6 Extended a hand: that is, made an alliance. In its state of abjection, Judah was forced to depend on the major powers to the west and the east for subsistence.
  2. 5:8 Servants: the Hebrew word for “servant” is also the word used for an official of relatively high status (servant of the ruler; cf. 2 Kgs 25:24, where the term is used to refer to Babylonian rulers over occupied Jerusalem); the author doubtless intends the double meaning here.
  3. 5:14 The gate: a place of assembly, where city decisions were made and judgment given by the elders and other community leaders; see note on Ru 4:1.

17 Therefore thus says the Lord:
Your wife shall become a prostitute in the city,
    and your sons and daughters shall fall by the sword.
Your land shall be parcelled out by measuring line,
    and you yourself shall die in an unclean land;
    and Israel shall be exiled from its land.”

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