2 [a] “Look how the Lord has covered the people of Zion with the cloud of his anger! He has thrown down Israel’s beauty from heaven to earth. He didn’t even remember his footstool on the day of his anger. 2 The Lord swallowed up all of Jacob’s pastures without any pity. He tore down the fortified cities of Judah in his fury. He brought the kingdom of Judah and its leaders down to the ground in dishonor. 3 In his burning anger he cut off all of Israel’s strength. He withdrew his right hand when they faced their enemy. He burned like a raging fire in the land of Jacob, destroying everything around him. 4 Like an enemy he bent his bow. Like an opponent his right hand held the arrow steady. He killed all the beautiful people. He poured out his fury like fire on the tent of Zion’s people. 5 The Lord became an enemy. He swallowed up Israel. He swallowed up all of its palaces. He destroyed its strongholds. He made the people of Judah mourn and moan. 6 He stripped his own booth as if it were a garden and destroyed his own festivals. The Lord wiped out the memory of festivals and days of rest—holy days in Zion. He expelled kings and priests because of his fierce anger. 7 The Lord rejected his altar and disowned his holy place. He handed the walls of Zion’s palaces over to its enemies. The enemies made noise in the Lord’s temple as though it were a festival day. 8 The Lord planned to destroy the wall of Zion’s people. He marked it off with a line. He didn’t take his hand away until he had swallowed it up. He made the towers and walls mourn. They are completely dejected.
The Prophet Describes Jerusalem’s Destruction
9 “Zion’s gates have sunk into the ground. The Lord destroyed and shattered the bars across its gates. Its king and influential people are scattered among the nations. There is no longer any instruction from Moses’ Teachings. Its prophets can find no visions from the Lord. 10 The respected leaders of Zion’s people sit silently on the ground. They throw dirt on their heads and put on sackcloth. The young women of Jerusalem bow their heads to the ground. 11 My eyes are worn out with tears. My stomach is churning. My heart is poured out on the ground because of the destruction of my people. Little children and infants faint in the city streets. 12 They’re asking their mothers for some bread and wine as they faint like wounded people in the city streets. Their lives dwindle away in their mothers’ arms.
The Prophet Speaks Out: The Lord Destroyed You
13 “What example can I give you? What parallel can I show you, people of Jerusalem? What comparison can I make that will comfort you, beloved people of Zion? Your wounds are as deep as the sea. Who can heal you? 14 Your prophets saw misleading visions about you. They painted a good picture of you. They didn’t expose your guilt in order to make things better again. They gave you false prophecies that misled you. 15 Everyone who walks along the road shakes a fist at you. They hiss and shake their heads at Jerusalem’s people: ‘Is this the city they used to call absolutely beautiful, the joy of the whole world?’ 16 All your enemies gawk at you. They hiss and grit their teeth. They say, ‘We’ve swallowed it up. Yes, this is the day we’ve been waiting for. At last we have seen it!’ 17 The Lord has accomplished what he had planned to do. He carried out the threat he announced long ago. He tore you down without any pity, Jerusalem. He made your enemies gloat over you. He raised the weapons of your opponents. 18 The hearts of Jerusalem’s people cried out to the Lord, the wall of Zion’s people. Let your tears run down like a river day and night. Don’t let them stop. Don’t let your eyes rest. 19 Get up! Cry out at night, every hour on the hour. Pour your heart out like water in the presence of the Lord. Lift up your hands to him in prayer for the life of your little children who faint from hunger at every street corner.”
Zion Speaks Out: The Lord Destroyed Me
20 “O Lord, look and consider: Have you ever treated anyone like this? Should women eat their own children, the children they have nursed? Should priests and prophets be killed in the Lord’s holy place? 21 Young and old lie on the ground in the streets. My young women and men are cut down by swords. You killed them on the day of your anger. You slaughtered them without any pity. 22 You have invited those who terrorize me on every side, as though they were invited to a festival. No one escaped or survived on the day of the Lord’s anger. My enemy has murdered the children I nursed and raised.”
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