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Lamentations 1 Contemporary English Version (CEV)

Lonely Jerusalem

The Prophet Speaks:

Jerusalem, once so crowded,
    lies deserted and lonely.
This city that was known
all over the world
    is now like a widow.
This queen of the nations
    has been made a slave.
Each night, bitter tears
    flood her cheeks.
None of her former lovers
    are there to offer comfort;
her friends[a] have betrayed her
    and are now her enemies.

The people of Judah are slaves,
suffering in a foreign land,
    with no rest from sorrow.
Their enemies captured them
    and were terribly cruel.[b]
The roads to Zion mourn
because no one travels there
    to celebrate the festivals.
The city gates are deserted;
    priests are weeping.
Young women are raped;[c]
    Zion is in sorrow!
Enemies now rule the city
    and live as they please.
The Lord has punished Jerusalem
    because of her awful sins;
he has let her people
    be dragged away.

Zion’s glory has disappeared.
Her leaders are like deer
    that cannot find pasture;
they are hunted down
    till their strength is gone.
Her people recall the good life
    that once was theirs;
now they suffer
    and are scattered.
No one was there to protect them
from their enemies
who sneered
    when their city was taken.

Jerusalem’s horrible sins
    have made the city a joke.
Those who once admired her
    now hate her instead—
she has been disgraced;
    she groans and turns away.

Her sins had made her filthy,
but she wasn’t worried
    about what could happen.
And when Jerusalem fell,
    it was so tragic.
No one gave her comfort
    when she cried out,
“Help! I’m in trouble, Lord!
    The enemy has won.”

10 Zion’s treasures were stolen.
Jerusalem saw foreigners
    enter her place of worship,
though the Lord
had forbidden them
    to belong to his people.[d]
11 Everyone in the city groans
    while searching for food;
they trade their valuables
for barely enough scraps
    to stay alive.

Jerusalem Speaks:

Jerusalem shouts to the Lord,
“Please look and see
    how miserable I am!”
12 No passerby even cares.[e]
Why doesn’t someone notice
    my terrible sufferings?
You were fiercely angry, Lord,
and you punished me
    worst of all.
13 From heaven you sent a fire
    that burned in my bones;
you set a trap for my feet
    and made me turn back.
All day long you leave me
    in shock from constant pain.
14 You have tied my sins
    around my neck,[f]
and they weigh so heavily
    that my strength is gone.
You have put me in the power
    of enemies
too strong for me.

15 You, Lord, have turned back
my warriors
and crushed
    my young heroes.
Judah was a woman untouched,
but you let her be trampled
    like grapes in a wine pit.
16 Because of this, I mourn,
    and tears flood my eyes.
No one is here to comfort
    or to encourage me;
we have lost the war—
    my people are suffering.

The Prophet Speaks:

17 Zion reaches out her hands,
    but no one offers comfort.
The Lord has turned
the neighboring nations
    against Jacob’s descendants.
Jerusalem is merely a filthy rag
    to her neighbors.

Jerusalem Speaks:

18 The Lord was right,
    but I refused to obey him.
Now I ask all of you to look
    at my sufferings—
even my young people
    have been dragged away.
19 I called out to my lovers,
    but they betrayed me.
My priests and my leaders died
while searching the city
    for scraps of food.

20 Won’t you look and see
    how upset I am, our Lord?
My stomach is in knots,
and my heart is broken
    because I betrayed you.
In the streets and at home,
    my people are slaughtered.

21 Everyone heard my groaning,
    but no one offered comfort.
My enemies know of the trouble
that you have brought on me,
    and it makes them glad.
Hurry and punish them,
    as you have promised.
22 Don’t let their evil deeds
    escape your sight.
Punish them as much
as you have punished me
    because of my sins.
I never stop groaning—
    I’ve lost all hope!

Footnotes:

  1. 1.2 lovers. . . friends: Israel’s former allies.
  2. 1.3 Their. . . cruel: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
  3. 1.4 raped: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
  4. 1.10 to. . . people: Or “to enter his temple.”
  5. 1.12 No. . . cares: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
  6. 1.14 You. . . neck: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.

Lamentations 1 New International Version (NIV)

[a]How deserted lies the city,
    once so full of people!
How like a widow is she,
    who once was great among the nations!
She who was queen among the provinces
    has now become a slave.

Bitterly she weeps at night,
    tears are on her cheeks.
Among all her lovers
    there is no one to comfort her.
All her friends have betrayed her;
    they have become her enemies.

After affliction and harsh labor,
    Judah has gone into exile.
She dwells among the nations;
    she finds no resting place.
All who pursue her have overtaken her
    in the midst of her distress.

The roads to Zion mourn,
    for no one comes to her appointed festivals.
All her gateways are desolate,
    her priests groan,
her young women grieve,
    and she is in bitter anguish.

Her foes have become her masters;
    her enemies are at ease.
The Lord has brought her grief
    because of her many sins.
Her children have gone into exile,
    captive before the foe.

All the splendor has departed
    from Daughter Zion.
Her princes are like deer
    that find no pasture;
in weakness they have fled
    before the pursuer.

In the days of her affliction and wandering
    Jerusalem remembers all the treasures
    that were hers in days of old.
When her people fell into enemy hands,
    there was no one to help her.
Her enemies looked at her
    and laughed at her destruction.

Jerusalem has sinned greatly
    and so has become unclean.
All who honored her despise her,
    for they have all seen her naked;
she herself groans
    and turns away.

Her filthiness clung to her skirts;
    she did not consider her future.
Her fall was astounding;
    there was none to comfort her.
“Look, Lord, on my affliction,
    for the enemy has triumphed.”

10 The enemy laid hands
    on all her treasures;
she saw pagan nations
    enter her sanctuary
those you had forbidden
    to enter your assembly.

11 All her people groan
    as they search for bread;
they barter their treasures for food
    to keep themselves alive.
“Look, Lord, and consider,
    for I am despised.”

12 “Is it nothing to you, all you who pass by?
    Look around and see.
Is any suffering like my suffering
    that was inflicted on me,
that the Lord brought on me
    in the day of his fierce anger?

13 “From on high he sent fire,
    sent it down into my bones.
He spread a net for my feet
    and turned me back.
He made me desolate,
    faint all the day long.

14 “My sins have been bound into a yoke[b];
    by his hands they were woven together.
They have been hung on my neck,
    and the Lord has sapped my strength.
He has given me into the hands
    of those I cannot withstand.

15 “The Lord has rejected
    all the warriors in my midst;
he has summoned an army against me
    to[c] crush my young men.
In his winepress the Lord has trampled
    Virgin Daughter Judah.

16 “This is why I weep
    and my eyes overflow with tears.
No one is near to comfort me,
    no one to restore my spirit.
My children are destitute
    because the enemy has prevailed.”

17 Zion stretches out her hands,
    but there is no one to comfort her.
The Lord has decreed for Jacob
    that his neighbors become his foes;
Jerusalem has become
    an unclean thing among them.

18 “The Lord is righteous,
    yet I rebelled against his command.
Listen, all you peoples;
    look on my suffering.
My young men and young women
    have gone into exile.

19 “I called to my allies
    but they betrayed me.
My priests and my elders
    perished in the city
while they searched for food
    to keep themselves alive.

20 “See, Lord, how distressed I am!
    I am in torment within,
and in my heart I am disturbed,
    for I have been most rebellious.
Outside, the sword bereaves;
    inside, there is only death.

21 “People have heard my groaning,
    but there is no one to comfort me.
All my enemies have heard of my distress;
    they rejoice at what you have done.
May you bring the day you have announced
    so they may become like me.

22 “Let all their wickedness come before you;
    deal with them
as you have dealt with me
    because of all my sins.
My groans are many
    and my heart is faint.”

Footnotes:

  1. Lamentations 1:1 This chapter is an acrostic poem, the verses of which begin with the successive letters of the Hebrew alphabet.
  2. Lamentations 1:14 Most Hebrew manuscripts; many Hebrew manuscripts and Septuagint He kept watch over my sins
  3. Lamentations 1:15 Or has set a time for me / when he will
New International Version (NIV)

Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

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