1 Jerusalem once was full of people, but now the city is empty. Jerusalem once was a great city among the nations, but now she[a] is like a widow. She was like a queen of all the other cities, but now she is a slave.
2 She cries loudly at night, and tears are on her cheeks. There is no one to comfort her; all who loved her are gone. All her friends have turned against her and are now her enemies.
3 Judah has gone into captivity where she suffers and works hard. She lives among other nations, but she has found no rest. Those who chased her caught her when she was in trouble.
4 The roads to Jerusalem are sad, because no one comes for the feasts. No one passes through her gates. Her priests groan, her young women are suffering, and Jerusalem suffers terribly.
5 Her foes are now her masters. Her enemies enjoy the wealth they have taken. The Lord is punishing her for her many sins. Her children have gone away as captives of the enemy.
6 The beauty of Jerusalem has gone away. Her rulers are like deer that cannot find food. They are weak and run from the hunters.
7 Jerusalem is suffering and homeless. She remembers all the good things from the past. But her people were defeated by the enemy, and there was no one to help her. When her enemies saw her, they laughed to see her ruined.
8 Jerusalem sinned terribly, so she has become unclean. Those who honored her now hate her, because they have seen her nakedness. She groans and turns away.
9 She made herself dirty by her sins and did not think about what would happen to her. Her defeat was surprising, and no one could comfort her. She says, “Lord, see how I suffer, because the enemy has won.”
10 The enemy reached out and took all her precious things. She even saw foreigners enter her Temple. The Lord had commanded foreigners never to enter the meeting place of his people.
11 All of Jerusalem’s people groan, looking for bread. They are trading their precious things for food so they can stay alive. The city says, “Look, Lord, and see. I am hated.”
12 Jerusalem says, “You who pass by on the road don’t seem to care. Come, look at me and see: Is there any pain like mine? Is there any pain like that he has caused me? The Lord has punished me on the day of his great anger.
13 “He sent fire from above that went down into my bones. He stretched out a net for my feet and turned me back. He made me so sad and lonely that I am weak all day.
14 “He has noticed my sins; they are tied together by his hands; they hang around my neck. He has turned my strength into weakness. The Lord has handed me over to those who are stronger than I.
15 “The Lord has rejected all my mighty men inside my walls. He brought an army against me to destroy my young men. As if in a winepress, the Lord has crushed the capital city of Judah.
16 “I cry about these things; my eyes overflow with tears. There is no one near to comfort me, no one who can give me strength again. My children are left sad and lonely, because the enemy has won.”
17 Jerusalem reaches out her hands, but there is no one to comfort her. The Lord commanded the people of Jacob to be surrounded by their enemies. Jerusalem is now unclean like those around her.
18 Jerusalem says, “The Lord is right, but I refused to obey him. Listen, all you people, and look at my pain. My young women and men have gone into captivity.
19 “I called out to my friends, but they turned against me. My priests and my elders have died in the city while looking for food to stay alive.
20 “Look at me, Lord. I am upset and greatly troubled. My heart is troubled, because I have been so stubborn. Out in the streets, the sword kills; inside the houses, death destroys.
21 “People have heard my groaning, and there is no one to comfort me. All my enemies have heard of my trouble, and they are happy you have done this to me. Now bring that day you have announced so that my enemies will be like me.
22 “Look at all their evil. Do to them what you have done to me because of all my sins. I groan over and over again, and I am afraid.”
1:1she In this poem the city of Jerusalem is described as a woman.
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