Judgment on Jerusalem

א Aleph

How the Lord has overshadowed
Daughter Zion with his anger!
He has thrown down Israel’s glory
from heaven to earth.
He did not acknowledge his footstool(A)
in the day of his anger.(B)

ב Beth

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and withdrawn his right hand(G)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 Daleth

He has strung his bow like an enemy;(I)
his right hand is positioned like an adversary.
He has killed everyone who was the delight to the eye,(J)
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.(K)

ו Waw

He has wrecked his temple[a]
as if it were merely a shack in a field,[b]
destroying his place of meeting.(L)
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;(M)
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 Cheth

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

ט Teth

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

י Yod

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

כ Kaph

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

ל Lamed

12 They cry out to their mothers,
“Where is the grain and wine?” (W)
as they faint like the wounded
in the streets of the city,
as their life pours out
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?(X)

נ Nun

14 Your prophets saw visions for you
that were empty and deceptive;[e](Y)
they did not reveal your iniquity
and so restore your fortunes.(Z)
They saw pronouncements for you
that were empty and misleading.

ס Samek

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

פ Pe

16 All your enemies
open their mouths against you.(AF)
They hiss and gnash their teeth,(AG)
saying, “We have swallowed her up.(AH)
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,(AI)
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,(AJ)
let your tears run down like a river
day and night.(AK)
Give yourself no relief
and your[f] eyes no rest.

ק Qoph

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.(AL)
Lift up your hands to him
for the lives of your children
who are fainting from hunger
at the head of every street.(AM)

ר Resh

20 Lord, look and consider
to whom you have done this.
Should women eat their own children,(AN)
the infants they have nurtured?[g]
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 women and young men
have fallen by the sword.
You have killed them in the day of your anger,
slaughtering without compassion.(AO)

ת Taw

22 You summon those who terrorize me[h] on every side,(AP)
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[i] and reared.


  1. 2:6 Lit booth
  2. 2:6 Lit it were a garden
  3. 2:9 Or the law
  4. 2:11 Lit My liver is poured out on the ground
  5. 2:14 Or insipid
  6. 2:18 Lit and the daughter of your
  7. 2:20 Or infants in a healthy condition; Hb obscure
  8. 2:22 Or terrors
  9. 2:22 Or I bore healthy; Hb obscure

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