"Remember, God, all we've been through. Study our plight, the black mark we've made in history.
Our precious land has been given to outsiders, our homes to strangers.
Orphans we are, not a father in sight, and our mothers no better than widows.
We have to pay to drink our own water. Even our firewood comes at a price.
We're nothing but slaves, bullied and bowed, worn out and without any rest.
We sold ourselves to Assyria and Egypt just to get something to eat.
Our parents sinned and are no more, and now we're paying for the wrongs they did.
Slaves rule over us; there's no escape from their grip.
We risk our lives to gather food in the bandit-infested desert.
Our skin has turned black as an oven, dried out like old leather from the famine.
Our wives were raped in the streets in Zion, and our virgins in the cities of Judah.
They hanged our princes by their hands, dishonored our elders.
Strapping young men were put to women's work, mere boys forced to do men's work.
The city gate is empty of wise elders. Music from the young is heard no more.
All the joy is gone from our hearts. Our dances have turned into dirges.
The crown of glory has toppled from our head. Woe! Woe! Would that we'd never sinned!
Because of all this we're heartsick; we can't see through the tears.
On Mount Zion, wrecked and ruined, jackals pace and prowl.
And yet, God, you're sovereign still, your throne intact and eternal.
So why do you keep forgetting us? Why dump us and leave us like this?
Bring us back to you, God - we're ready to come back. Give us a fresh start.
As it is, you've cruelly disowned us. You've been so very angry with us."
Published by permission. Originally published by NavPress in English as THE MESSAGE: The Bible in Contemporary Language copyright 2002 by Eugene Peterson. All rights reserved. (The Message Bible Online)