Worthless, Cheap, Abject!
1 Oh, oh, oh . . .
How empty the city, once teeming with people.
A widow, this city, once in the front rank of nations,
once queen of the ball, she’s now a drudge in the kitchen.
2 She cries herself to sleep each night, tears soaking her pillow.
No one’s left among her lovers to sit and hold her hand.
Her friends have all dumped her.
3 After years of pain and hard labor, Judah has gone into exile.
She camps out among the nations, never feels at home.
Hunted by all, she’s stuck between a rock and a hard place.
4 Zion’s roads weep, empty of pilgrims headed to the feasts.
All her city gates are deserted, her priests in despair.
Her virgins are sad. How bitter her fate.
5 Her enemies have become her masters. Her foes are living it up
because God laid her low, punishing her repeated rebellions.
Her children, prisoners of the enemy, trudge into exile.
6 All beauty has drained from Daughter Zion’s face.
Her princes are like deer famished for food,
chased to exhaustion by hunters.
7 Jerusalem remembers the day she lost everything,
when her people fell into enemy hands, and not a soul there to help.
Enemies looked on and laughed, laughed at her helpless silence.
8 Jerusalem, who outsinned the whole world, is an outcast.
All who admired her despise her now that they see beneath the surface.
Miserable, she groans and turns away in shame.
Give Us a Fresh Start
5 1-22 “Remember, God, all we’ve been through.
Study our plight, the black mark we’ve made in history.
Our precious land has been given to outsiders,
our homes to strangers.
Orphans we are, not a father in sight,
and our mothers no better than widows.
We have to pay to drink our own water.
Even our firewood comes at a price.
We’re nothing but slaves, bullied and bowed,
worn out and without any rest.
We sold ourselves to Assyria and Egypt
just to get something to eat.
Our parents sinned and are no more,
and now we’re paying for the wrongs they did.
Slaves rule over us;
there’s no escape from their grip.
We risk our lives to gather food
in the bandit-infested desert.
Our skin has turned black as an oven,
dried out like old leather from the famine.
Our wives were raped in the streets in Zion,
and our virgins in the cities of Judah.
They hanged our princes by their hands,
dishonored our elders.
Strapping young men were put to women’s work,
mere boys forced to do men’s work.
The city gate is empty of wise elders.
Music from the young is heard no more.
All the joy is gone from our hearts.
Our dances have turned into dirges.
The crown of glory has toppled from our head.
Woe! Woe! Would that we’d never sinned!
Because of all this we’re heartsick;
we can’t see through the tears.
On Mount Zion, wrecked and ruined,
jackals pace and prowl.
And yet, God, you’re sovereign still,
your throne intact and eternal.
So why do you keep forgetting us?
Why dump us and leave us like this?
Bring us back to you, God—we’re ready to come back.
Give us a fresh start.
As it is, you’ve cruelly disowned us.
You’ve been so very angry with us.”