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The Condition of Israel

How the Lord in his wrath
    shamed[a] cherished[b] Zion!
He cast down from heaven to earth
    the glory of Israel,
He did not remember his footstool[c]
    in the time of his anger.

The Lord swallowed up without pity
    all of Jacob’s habitations.
In his wrath he tore down
    the strongholds of fair Judah.[d]
He cast to the ground in dishonor
    both her kingdom and its rulers.

In his fierce wrath he cut off
    all the strength[e] of Israel.
He withdrew his protection[f]
    as the enemy approached.[g]
He burned Jacob like a blazing fire
    consumes everything around it.

He bent his bow against us[h] as would an enemy,
    his right hand cocked as would an adversary.
He has killed everyone in whom we took pride;
    in the tent of cherished[i] Zion he poured out
        his anger like fire.

The Lord has become like an enemy—
    he has devoured Israel.
He has devoured all of her palaces,
    destroying her fortresses.
He filled cherished Judah[j]
    with mourning and lament.

He plowed under his Temple[k] like a garden,
    spoiling his tent.
The Lord abolished in Zion
    both festivals and Sabbaths.
In his fierce wrath he despised
    both king and priest.

The Lord rejected his altar,
    disavowing his sanctuary.
He gave up her palace walls
    to the control of the enemy.
They shouted in the Lord’s Temple,
    as though they were attending a day of celebration.

The Lord planned to destroy
    the walls of cherished[l] Zion.
He measured them with his line.
    He did not withhold his hand from destruction.
He made both ramparts and defensive walls mourn;
    they languish together.

Jerusalem’s[m] gates collapsed to the ground;
    he destroyed and broke the bars of her gates.[n]
Both king and prince have gone into captivity.[o]
    There is no instruction,[p]
and the prophets receive
    no vision from the Lord.

10 The leaders of cherished[q] Zion
    sit silently on the ground;
they throw dust on their heads
    and dress in mourning clothes.
The young women of Jerusalem
    bow their heads in sorrow.[r]

11 My eyes are worn out from crying,
    my insides are churning,
My emotions pour out in grief[s]
    because my people are destroyed—
Children and infants faint
    in the streets of the city.

12 They ask their mothers,
    “Is there anything to eat or drink?”[t]
They faint in the streets of the city
    like wounded men.
Their life ebbs away
    while they lie on their mother’s bosom.

13 What can be said about you?
    To what should you be compared, fair[u] Jerusalem?
To what may I liken you,
    so I may comfort you, fair one[v] of Zion?
Indeed, your wound is as deep as the sea—
    who can heal you?

14 Your prophets look on your behalf;
    they see false and deceptive visions.
They did not expose your sins
    in order to restore what had been captured.[w]
Instead, they crafted oracles for you
    that are false and misleading.

15 Everyone who passes by on the road
    shake their fists[x] at you.
They hiss and shake their heads
    at cherished[y] Jerusalem:
“Is this the city men used to call ‘The Perfection of Beauty,’
    and ‘The Joy of the Entire Earth’”?

16 All of your enemies
    insult you with gaping mouths.
They hiss and grind their teeth while saying,
    “We have devoured her completely.
Yes, this is the day that we anticipated!
    We found it at last;[z] we have seen it!”

17 The Lord did what he planned.
    He carried out his threat.
Just as he commanded long ago,
    he has torn down without pity;
He let the enemy boast about you
    and has exalted the power[aa] of your enemies.

18 Cry out from your heart to the Lord,
    wall of fair[ab] Zion!
Let your tears run down like a river
    day and night.
Allow yourself no rest,
    and don’t stop crying.

19 Get up and cry aloud in the night,
    at the beginning of every hour.[ac]
Pour out your heart like water
    in the presence of the Lord!
Lift up your hands toward him
    for the lives of your children,
who are fainting away
    at every street corner.

20 Look, Lord, and take note:
    To whom have you done this?
Should women eat their offspring,
    the children they have cuddled?
Should priests and prophets be slain
    in the sanctuary of the Lord?

21 Young men and the aged
    lie on the ground in the streets;
my young women and young men
    have fallen by the sword.
You killed them in your anger,
    slaughtering them without pity.

22 You have invited those who terrorize me to come around,
    as if today were a festival.
No one has escaped or survived
    the time of the Lord’s anger.
My enemy has finished off
    those whom I cuddled and raised.


  1. Lamentations 2:1 Or enveloped
  2. Lamentations 2:1 Lit. the daughter of
  3. Lamentations 2:1 I.e. the Temple
  4. Lamentations 2:2 Lit. of the daughter of Judah
  5. Lamentations 2:3 Lit. every horn
  6. Lamentations 2:3 Lit. his right hand
  7. Lamentations 2:3 Lit. in front of the enemy
  8. Lamentations 2:4 The Heb. lacks against us
  9. Lamentations 2:4 Lit. of the daughter of
  10. Lamentations 2:5 Lit. the daughters of Judah
  11. Lamentations 2:6 Lit. tent
  12. Lamentations 2:8 Lit. of the daughter of
  13. Lamentations 2:9 Lit. Her
  14. Lamentations 2:9 The Heb. lacks gates
  15. Lamentations 2:9 Lit. into the nations
  16. Lamentations 2:9 Or Law; or The priests do not give their guidance
  17. Lamentations 2:10 Lit. of the daughter of
  18. Lamentations 2:10 Lit. heads to the ground
  19. Lamentations 2:11 Lit. my liver empties upon the ground
  20. Lamentations 2:12 Lit. any grain and wine
  21. Lamentations 2:13 Lit. daughter of
  22. Lamentations 2:13 Lit. virgin daughter
  23. Lamentations 2:14 Lit. restore your captivity
  24. Lamentations 2:15 Or road clap their hands
  25. Lamentations 2:15 Lit. at the daughter
  26. Lamentations 2:16 The Heb. lacks at last
  27. Lamentations 2:17 Lit. horn
  28. Lamentations 2:18 Lit. of the daughter of
  29. Lamentations 2:19 Lit. of the night watches