Judgment on Jerusalem

א Alef

How the Lord has overshadowed
Daughter Zion with His anger!
He has thrown down Israel’s glory
from heaven to earth.
He has abandoned His footstool[a](A)
in the day of His anger.(B)

ב Bet

Without compassion(C) the Lord has swallowed up
all the dwellings of Jacob.
In His wrath He has demolished
the fortified cities(D) of Daughter Judah.
He brought them to the ground
and defiled the kingdom and its leaders.(E)

ג Gimel

He has cut off every horn(F) of Israel
in His burning anger
and withdrawn His right hand(G)
in the presence of the enemy.
He has blazed against Jacob like a flaming fire
that consumes everything.(H)

ד Dalet

He has bent His bow like an enemy;(I)
His right hand is positioned like an adversary.
He has killed everyone who was loved,[b]
pouring out His wrath like fire
on the tent of Daughter Zion.

ה He

The Lord is like an enemy;
He has swallowed up Israel.
He swallowed up all its palaces
and destroyed its fortified cities.
He has multiplied mourning and lamentation
within Daughter Judah.(J)

ו Vav

He has done violence to His temple[c]
as if it were a garden booth,
destroying His place of meeting.(K)
The Lord has abolished
appointed festivals and Sabbaths in Zion.
He has despised king and priest
in His fierce anger.

ז Zayin

The Lord has rejected His altar,
repudiated His sanctuary;(L)
He has handed the walls of her palaces
over to the enemy.
They have raised a shout in the house of the Lord
as on the day of an appointed festival.

ח Khet

The Lord determined to destroy
the wall of Daughter Zion.
He stretched out a measuring line(M)
and did not restrain Himself from destroying.
He made the ramparts and walls grieve;
together they waste away.

ט Tet

Zion’s gates have fallen to the ground;(N)
He has destroyed and shattered the bars on her gates.
Her king and her leaders live among the nations,
instruction[d] is no more,
and even her prophets receive
no vision from the Lord.(O)

י Yod

10 The elders of Daughter Zion
sit on the ground in silence.
They have thrown dust on their heads(P)
and put on sackcloth.
The young women of Jerusalem
have bowed their heads to the ground.(Q)

כ Kaf

11 My eyes are worn out from weeping;(R)
I am churning within.
My heart is poured out in grief[e](S)
because of the destruction of my dear people,(T)
because children and infants faint
in the streets of the city.(U)

ל Lamed

12 They cry out to their mothers:
Where is the grain and wine?(V)
as they faint like the wounded
in the streets of the city,
as their lives fade away
in the arms of their mothers.

מ Mem

13 What can I say on your behalf?
What can I compare you to, Daughter Jerusalem?
What can I liken you to,
so that I may console you, Virgin Daughter Zion?
For your ruin is as vast as the sea.
Who can heal you?(W)

נ Nun

14 Your prophets saw visions for you
that were empty and deceptive;(X)
they did not reveal your guilt
and so restore your fortunes.(Y)
They saw oracles for you
that were empty and misleading.

ס Samek

15 All who pass by
scornfully clap their hands(Z) at you.
They mock[f](AA) and shake their heads(AB)
at Daughter Jerusalem:
Is this the city that was called
the perfection of beauty,(AC)
the joy of the whole earth?(AD)

פ Pe

16 All your enemies
open their mouths against you.(AE)
They hiss and gnash their teeth,(AF)
saying, “We have swallowed her up.(AG)
This is the day we have waited for!
We have lived to see it.”

ע Ayin

17 The Lord has done what He planned;
He has accomplished His decree,
which He ordained in days of old.
He has demolished without compassion,(AH)
letting the enemy gloat over you
and exalting the horn of your adversaries.

צ Tsade

18 The hearts of the people cry out to the Lord.
Wall of Daughter Zion,(AI)
let your tears run down like a river
day and night.(AJ)
Give yourself no relief
and your[g] eyes no rest.

ק Qof

19 Arise, cry out in the night
from the first watch of the night.
Pour out your heart like water
before the Lord’s presence.(AK)
Lift up your hands to Him
for the lives of your children
who are fainting from hunger
on the corner of every street.(AL)

ר Resh

20 Lord, look and consider
who You have done this to.
Should women eat their own children,(AM)
the infants they have nurtured?[h]
Should priests and prophets
be killed in the Lord’s sanctuary?

שׁ Shin

21 Both young and old
are lying on the ground in the streets.
My young men and women
have fallen by the sword.
You have killed them in the day of Your anger,
slaughtering without compassion.(AN)

ת Tav

22 You summoned my attackers[i] on every side,(AO)
as if for an appointed festival day;
on the day of the Lord’s anger
no one escaped or survived.
My enemy has destroyed
those I nurtured[j] and reared.


  1. Lamentations 2:1 Either the ark of the covenant or the temple
  2. Lamentations 2:4 Lit killed all the delights of the eye; Ezk 24:16
  3. Lamentations 2:6 Lit booth
  4. Lamentations 2:9 Or the law
  5. Lamentations 2:11 Lit My liver is poured out on the ground
  6. Lamentations 2:15 Lit hiss
  7. Lamentations 2:18 Lit and the daughter of your
  8. Lamentations 2:20 Or infants in a healthy condition; Hb obscure
  9. Lamentations 2:22 Or terrors
  10. Lamentations 2:22 Or I bore healthy; Hb obscure

[a]How the Lord has covered Daughter Zion
    with the cloud of his anger[b]!(A)
He has hurled down the splendor of Israel
    from heaven to earth;
he has not remembered his footstool(B)
    in the day of his anger.(C)

Without pity(D) the Lord has swallowed(E) up
    all the dwellings of Jacob;
in his wrath he has torn down
    the strongholds(F) of Daughter Judah.
He has brought her kingdom and its princes
    down to the ground(G) in dishonor.

In fierce anger he has cut off
    every horn[c][d](H) of Israel.
He has withdrawn his right hand(I)
    at the approach of the enemy.
He has burned in Jacob like a flaming fire
    that consumes everything around it.(J)

Like an enemy he has strung his bow;(K)
    his right hand is ready.
Like a foe he has slain
    all who were pleasing to the eye;(L)
he has poured out his wrath(M) like fire(N)
    on the tent(O) of Daughter Zion.

The Lord is like an enemy;(P)
    he has swallowed up Israel.
He has swallowed up all her palaces
    and destroyed her strongholds.(Q)
He has multiplied mourning and lamentation(R)
    for Daughter Judah.(S)

He has laid waste his dwelling like a garden;
    he has destroyed(T) his place of meeting.(U)
The Lord has made Zion forget
    her appointed festivals and her Sabbaths;(V)
in his fierce anger he has spurned
    both king and priest.(W)

The Lord has rejected his altar
    and abandoned his sanctuary.(X)
He has given the walls of her palaces(Y)
    into the hands of the enemy;
they have raised a shout in the house of the Lord
    as on the day of an appointed festival.(Z)

The Lord determined to tear down
    the wall around Daughter Zion.(AA)
He stretched out a measuring line(AB)
    and did not withhold his hand from destroying.
He made ramparts(AC) and walls lament;
    together they wasted away.(AD)

Her gates(AE) have sunk into the ground;
    their bars(AF) he has broken and destroyed.
Her king and her princes are exiled(AG) among the nations,
    the law(AH) is no more,
and her prophets(AI) no longer find
    visions(AJ) from the Lord.

10 The elders of Daughter Zion
    sit on the ground in silence;(AK)
they have sprinkled dust(AL) on their heads(AM)
    and put on sackcloth.(AN)
The young women of Jerusalem
    have bowed their heads to the ground.(AO)

11 My eyes fail from weeping,(AP)
    I am in torment within(AQ);
my heart(AR) is poured out(AS) on the ground
    because my people are destroyed,(AT)
because children and infants faint(AU)
    in the streets of the city.

12 They say to their mothers,
    “Where is bread and wine?”(AV)
as they faint like the wounded
    in the streets of the city,
as their lives ebb away(AW)
    in their mothers’ arms.(AX)

13 What can I say for you?(AY)
    With what can I compare you,
    Daughter(AZ) Jerusalem?
To what can I liken you,
    that I may comfort you,
    Virgin Daughter Zion?(BA)
Your wound is as deep as the sea.(BB)
    Who can heal you?

14 The visions of your prophets
    were false(BC) and worthless;
they did not expose your sin
    to ward off your captivity.(BD)
The prophecies they gave you
    were false and misleading.(BE)

15 All who pass your way
    clap their hands at you;(BF)
they scoff(BG) and shake their heads(BH)
    at Daughter Jerusalem:(BI)
“Is this the city that was called
    the perfection of beauty,(BJ)
    the joy of the whole earth?”(BK)

16 All your enemies open their mouths
    wide against you;(BL)
they scoff and gnash their teeth(BM)
    and say, “We have swallowed her up.(BN)
This is the day we have waited for;
    we have lived to see it.”(BO)

17 The Lord has done what he planned;
    he has fulfilled(BP) his word,
    which he decreed long ago.(BQ)
He has overthrown you without pity,(BR)
    he has let the enemy gloat over you,(BS)
    he has exalted the horn[e] of your foes.(BT)

18 The hearts of the people
    cry out to the Lord.(BU)
You walls of Daughter Zion,(BV)
    let your tears(BW) flow like a river
    day and night;(BX)
give yourself no relief,
    your eyes no rest.(BY)

19 Arise, cry out in the night,
    as the watches of the night begin;
pour out your heart(BZ) like water
    in the presence of the Lord.(CA)
Lift up your hands(CB) to him
    for the lives of your children,
who faint(CC) from hunger
    at every street corner.

20 “Look, Lord, and consider:
    Whom have you ever treated like this?
Should women eat their offspring,(CD)
    the children they have cared for?(CE)
Should priest and prophet be killed(CF)
    in the sanctuary of the Lord?(CG)

21 “Young and old lie together
    in the dust of the streets;
my young men and young women
    have fallen by the sword.(CH)
You have slain them in the day of your anger;
    you have slaughtered them without pity.(CI)

22 “As you summon to a feast day,
    so you summoned against me terrors(CJ) on every side.
In the day of the Lord’s anger
    no one escaped(CK) or survived;
those I cared for and reared(CL)
    my enemy has destroyed.”


  1. Lamentations 2:1 This chapter is an acrostic poem, the verses of which begin with the successive letters of the Hebrew alphabet.
  2. Lamentations 2:1 Or How the Lord in his anger / has treated Daughter Zion with contempt
  3. Lamentations 2:3 Or off / all the strength; or every king
  4. Lamentations 2:3 Horn here symbolizes strength.
  5. Lamentations 2:17 Horn here symbolizes strength.