12 Who is wise(A) enough to understand this? Who has been instructed by the Lord and can explain it? Why has the land been ruined and laid waste like a desert that no one can cross?

13 The Lord said, “It is because they have forsaken my law, which I set before them; they have not obeyed me or followed my law.(B) 14 Instead, they have followed(C) the stubbornness of their hearts;(D) they have followed the Baals, as their ancestors taught them.” 15 Therefore this is what the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, says: “See, I will make this people eat bitter food(E) and drink poisoned water.(F) 16 I will scatter them among nations(G) that neither they nor their ancestors have known,(H) and I will pursue them with the sword(I) until I have made an end of them.”(J)

17 This is what the Lord Almighty says:

“Consider now! Call for the wailing women(K) to come;
    send for the most skillful of them.
18 Let them come quickly
    and wail over us
till our eyes overflow with tears
    and water streams from our eyelids.(L)
19 The sound of wailing is heard from Zion:
    ‘How ruined(M) we are!
    How great is our shame!
We must leave our land
    because our houses are in ruins.’”

20 Now, you women, hear the word of the Lord;
    open your ears to the words of his mouth.(N)
Teach your daughters how to wail;
    teach one another a lament.(O)
21 Death has climbed in through our windows(P)
    and has entered our fortresses;
it has removed the children from the streets
    and the young men(Q) from the public squares.

22 Say, “This is what the Lord declares:

“‘Dead bodies will lie
    like dung(R) on the open field,
like cut grain behind the reaper,
    with no one to gather them.’”

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