1 [a] “Look how deserted Jerusalem is! Once the city was crowded with people. Once it was important among the nations. Now it is a widow. Once it was a princess among the provinces. Now it does forced labor. 2 Jerusalem cries bitterly at night with tears running down its cheeks. Out of all those who love the city, no one offers it comfort. All of Jerusalem’s friends have betrayed it and become its enemies.
3 “Judah has been exiled after much suffering and harsh treatment. Its people live among the nations; they find no rest. Those who chased them caught up with them in places where there was no way out.
4 “The roads to Zion are deserted.[b] No one comes to the annual festivals. No one passes through any of its gates.[c] Its priests are groaning. Its young women are made to suffer. Zion is bitter. 5 Its opponents are now in control. Its enemies have no worries. The Lord made Zion suffer for its many rebellious acts. Its children go ahead of their opponents into captivity. 6 All splendor has abandoned the people of Zion. Its influential people were like deer that couldn’t find any pasture. They ran without any strength ahead of the hunters.
7 “Now, during its suffering and oppression, Jerusalem remembers all the treasures it had from ancient times, when its people fell into the power of their enemies with no one to help them. Their opponents looked on, and they laughed at Jerusalem’s downfall. 8 Jerusalem has sinned so much that it has become a filthy thing. Everyone who used to honor it now despises it. They’ve seen it naked. Jerusalem groans and turns away. 9 Jerusalem’s own filth covers its clothes. It gave no thought to its future. Its downfall was shocking. No one offers it comfort. ‘O Lord, look at my suffering, because my enemies have triumphed.’ 10 The enemies laid their hands on all of the city’s treasures. Jerusalem has seen the nations enter the holy place. ‘O Lord, they are the same people you have forbidden to enter your congregation.’ 11 All the people are groaning as they beg for bread. They trade their treasures for food to keep themselves alive. ‘O Lord, look and see how despised I am!’”
Zion Speaks Out: No One Offers Comfort
12 “Doesn’t this affect all of you who pass by? Look and see if there’s any pain like the pain that the Lord has caused me, like the pain that he has made me suffer on the day of his fierce anger. 13 He sent fire from above. He made it go deep into my bones. He spread a net for my feet. He made me turn back. He has left me devastated. He has made me sick all day long. 14 My rebellious acts are a heavy burden for me. They were tied together by God’s own hands. They were tied around my neck. He has weakened me with them. The Lord has handed me over to people I cannot oppose.[d] 15 The Lord has treated all the warriors inside my walls with contempt. He called an army to defeat my young men. The Lord trampled the people of Judah in a winepress. 16 I’m crying because of all these things. My eyes—my eyes flow with tears. No one can give me the comfort I need to keep me alive. Everyone is too far away from me. My children are devastated because my enemies have won.”
17 Zion holds out its hands. No one offers it comfort. The Lord has given this order about Jacob: His own neighbors will become his opponents. Jerusalem has become a filthy thing among them.
18 “The Lord is right in what he did, because I rebelled against his word. Please listen, all you people, and look at my pain. My young women and young men have gone into captivity. 19 I called for those who love me, but they betrayed me. My priests and leaders breathed their last breath in the city, looking for food to keep themselves alive.
20 “O Lord, see the distress I’m in! My stomach is churning. My heart is pounding because I’ve been very bitter. In the streets swords kill my children. Inside the houses it’s like death.
21 “All my enemies have heard that I am groaning. No one offers me comfort. All my enemies have heard about my disaster. They are happy that you did it. You have allowed the day to come, the one that you had announced. Let my enemies be like me now.[e] 22 Recall all of their wickedness. Then deal with them as you have dealt with me because of all my rebellious acts. I groan so much and feel so sick at heart.”
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