1 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. 2 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.
3 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] 4 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! 5 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.
6 Zion’s glory has disappeared. Her leaders are like deer that cannot find pasture; they are hunted down till their strength is gone. 7 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.
8 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.
9 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 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.
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!
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