Lamentations 1

1Jerusalem once was a city full of people. But now the city is so deserted! Jerusalem was one of the greatest cities in the world. But now she has become like a widow. She was once a princess among cities. But now she has been made a slave. 2She cries bitterly in the night. Her tears are on her cheeks. She has no one to comfort her. Many nations were friendly to her. But none of them comforts her now. All of her friends turned their backs on her. Her friends became her enemies. 3Judah suffered very much. And then Judah was taken into captivity. Judah lives among other nations. But she has found no rest. The people that chased her caught her. They caught her in the narrow valleys. 4The roads to Zion are very sad. They are sad because no person comes to Zion for the holidays anymore. All of Zion’s gates have been destroyed. All of Zion’s priests groan. Zion’s young women have been taken away. And all of this is a bitter sadness to Zion. 5Jerusalem’s enemies have won. Her enemies have been successful. This happened because the Lord punished her. He punished Jerusalem for her many sins. Her children have gone away. Their enemies captured them and took them away. 6The beauty of the Daughter of Zion has gone away. Her princes became like deer. They were like deer that can’t find a meadow to feed in. They ran away without strength. They ran away from those people that chased them. 7Jerusalem thinks back. Jerusalem remembers the time when she was hurt and when she lost her home. She remembers all the nice things that she had in the past. She remembers those nice things that she had in the old days. She remembers when her people were captured by the enemy. She remembers when there was no person to help her. When her enemies saw her, they laughed. They laughed because she was destroyed. 8Jerusalem sinned very badly. Because Jerusalem sinned, she became a ruined city that people shake their heads about. In the past people respected her. Now those people hate her. They hate her because they abused her. Jerusalem groans. She turns away. 9Jerusalem’s skirts became dirty. She didn’t think about the things that would happen to her. Her fall was amazing. She had no person to comfort her. She says, ”Lord, see how I am hurt! See how my enemy thinks he is so great!” 10The enemy stretched out his hand. He took all of her nice things. In fact, she saw the foreign nations go inside her temple. And Lord, you said those people could not join in our assembly! 11All the people of Jerusalem are groaning. All of her people are looking for food. They are giving away all their nice things for food. They are doing this to keep alive. Jerusalem says, “Look, Lord. Look at me! See how people hate me. 12All you people that pass by on the road, you don’t seem to care. But look at me and see. Is there any pain like my pain? Is there any pain like the pain that has come to me? Is there any pain like the pain that the Lord has punished me with? He has punished me on the day of his great anger. 13The Lord sent fire from above. That fire went down into my bones. He stretched out a net for my feet. He turned me all the way around. He made me into a wasteland. I am sick all day. 14“My sins were tied up like a yoke. My sins were tied up in the Lord’s hands. The Lord’s yoke is on my neck. The Lord has made me weak. The Lord has given me to people that I can’t stand up against. 15“The Lord rejected all my strong soldiers. Those soldiers were inside the city. Then the Lord brought a group of people against me. He brought those people to kill my young soldiers. The Lord has stepped on the grapes in the winepress. That winepress belongs to the virgin daughter of Jerusalem. 16“I cry about all these things. My eyes, my eyes run down with water. There is no comforter near me. There is no person that can make me feel better. My children are like a wasteland. They are like that because the enemy won.” 17Zion spread out her hands. There was no person to comfort her. The Lord had given orders to Jacob’s enemies. The Lord ordered Jacob’s enemies to surround the city. Jerusalem has become something dirty. She is something dirty among those enemies. 18Now Jerusalem says, “I refused to listen to the Lord. So the Lord is right for doing these things. So listen, all you people! Look at my pain! My young women and men have gone into captivity. 19I called out to my lovers. But they tricked me. My priests and my elders have died in the city. They were looking for food for themselves. They wanted to keep themselves alive. 20“Look at me, Lord. I am in distress! My insides are upset! My heart feels like it has turned upside down inside me! My heart feels this way because I have been so stubborn! In the streets, the sword killed my children. Inside the houses, death was there. 21“Listen to me, because I am groaning! I have no person to comfort me. All my enemies have heard of my trouble. They are happy. They are happy that you did this to me. You said there would be a time of punishment. You said you would punish my enemies. Now do what you said. Let my enemies be like I am now. 22“Look at how evil my enemies are. Then you can treat them the same way you treated me because of all my sins. Do this because I am groaning again and again. Do this because my heart is sick.”

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