1The city of Jerusalem is so empty! It used to be full of people. But now it's like a woman whose husband has died. She used to be great among the nations. She was like a queen among the kingdoms. But now she is a slave.2Jerusalem sobs bitterly at night. Tears run down her cheeks. None of her friends comforts her. All those who were going to help her have turned against her. They have become her enemies.3After Judah's people had suffered greatly, they were taken away as prisoners. Now they live among the nations. They can't find any place to rest. All those who were chasing them have caught up with them. And they can't get away.4The roads to Zion are empty. No one travels to its appointed feasts. All of the public places near its gates are deserted. Its priests groan. Its young women are sad. And Zion itself sobs bitterly.5Its enemies have become its masters. They have an easy life. The LORD has brought suffering to Jerusalem because its people have committed so many sins. Its children have been taken away as prisoners. Their enemies have forced them to leave their homes.6The city of Zion used to be full of glory. But now its glory has faded away. Its princes are like deer. They can't find anything to eat. They are almost too weak to get away from those who hunt them down.7Jerusalem's people are suffering and wandering. They remember all of the treasures they used to have. But they fell into the hands of their enemies. And no one was there to help them. Their enemies looked at them. They laughed because Jerusalem had been destroyed.8Its people have committed many sins. They have become polluted. All those who honored Jerusalem now look down on it. They look at it as if it were a naked woman. The city groans and turns away in shame.9Her skirts are dirty. She didn't think about how things might turn out. Her fall from power amazed everyone. And no one was there to comfort her. She said, "Lord, please pay attention to how much I'm suffering. My enemies have won the battle over me."10Jerusalem's enemies took away all of its treasures. Its people saw strangers enter its temple. The LORD had commanded them not to do that.11All of Jerusalem's people groan as they search for bread. They trade their treasures for food just to stay alive. They say, "Lord, look at us. Think about our condition. Everyone looks down on us."12They also say, "All of you who are passing by, don't you care about what has happened to us? Just look at our condition. Has anyone suffered the way we have? The LORD has brought all of this on us. He has made us suffer. His anger has burned against us.13"He sent fire down from heaven. It went deep down into our very bones. He spread a net to catch us by the feet. He stopped us right where we were. He made our city empty. We are sick all the time.14"We must carry the heavy load of our sins. He tied it on us with his hands. Our sins are heavy on our necks. The Lord has taken away our strength. He has handed us over to our enemies. We can't win the battle over them.15"The Lord has refused to accept any of our soldiers. He has sent for an army to crush our young men. We are like grapes in the Lord's winepress. He has stomped on us, even though we are his very own people.16"That's why we are sobbing. Tears are flowing from our eyes. No one is near to comfort us. No one can heal our spirits. Our children don't have anything. Our enemies are much too strong for us."17Zion reaches out its hands. But no one is there to comfort its people. The LORD has ordered that the neighbors of Jacob's people would become their enemies. Jerusalem has become polluted among them.18Its people say, "The LORD always does what is right. But we refused to obey his commands. Listen, all of you nations. Pay attention to how much we're suffering. Our young women and young men have been taken away as prisoners.19"We called out to those who were going to help us. But they turned against us. Our priests and elders died in the city. They were searching for food just to stay alive.20"Lord, see how upset we are! We are suffering deep down inside. Our hearts are troubled. Again and again we have refused to obey you. Outside the city, people are being killed with swords. Inside, there is nothing but death.21"People have heard us groan. But no one is here to comfort us. Our enemies have heard about all of our troubles. What you have done makes them happy. So please judge them, just as you said you would. Let them become like us.22"Please pay attention to all of their sinful ways. Punish them as you have punished us. You judged us because we had committed so many sins. We groan all the time. And our hearts are weak."
1See how the Lord covered the city of Zion with the cloud of his anger! He threw Israel's glory down from heaven to earth. When he was angry, he turned his back on his own city.2Without pity the Lord swallowed up all of the homes of Jacob's people. When he was angry, he tore down the forts of the people of Judah. He brought their kingdom and its princes down to the ground in dishonor.3When he burned with anger, he took away Israel's power. He pulled back his powerful right hand as the enemy approached. His burning anger blazed out in Jacob's land. It burned up everything that was near it.4Like an enemy the Lord got his bow ready to use. He had a sword in his right hand. Like an enemy he destroyed everything that used to be pleasing to him. His anger blazed out like fire. It burned up the homes in the city of Zion.5The Lord was like an enemy. He swallowed up Israel. He swallowed up all of its palaces. He destroyed its forts. He filled the people of Judah with sorrow and sadness.6The LORD's temple was like a garden. But he completely destroyed it. He destroyed the place where he used to meet with his people. He made Zion's people forget their appointed feasts and Sabbath days. When he was very angry, he turned his back on king and priest alike.7The Lord deserted his altar. He left his temple. He handed the walls of Jerusalem's palaces over to its enemies. They shouted loudly in the house of the Lord. You would have thought it was the day of an appointed feast.8The LORD decided to tear down the walls around the city of Zion. He measured out what he wanted to destroy. Then he destroyed it with his powerful hand. He made even its towers and walls sing songs of sadness. All of them fell down.9Its gates sank down into the ground. He broke their metal bars and destroyed them. Its king and princes were taken away to other nations. There is no law anymore. Jerusalem's prophets no longer receive visions from the Lord.10The elders of the city of Zion sit silently on the ground. They have sprinkled dust on their heads. They've put on black clothes to show how sad they are. The young women of Jerusalem have bowed their heads toward the ground.11I've cried so much I can't see very well. I'm suffering deep down inside. My heart is broken because my people are destroyed. Children and babies are fainting in the streets of the city.12They say to their mothers, "Where can we find something to eat and drink?" They faint like wounded soldiers in the streets of the city. Their lives are slipping away in their mothers' arms.13City of Jerusalem, what can I say about you? What can I compare you to? People of Zion, what are you like? I want to comfort you. Your wound is as deep as the ocean. Who can heal you?14The visions of your prophets were lies. They weren't worth anything. They didn't show you the sins you had committed. So that's why you were captured. The messages they gave you were lies. They led you down the wrong path.15All those who pass by clap their hands and make fun of you. They laugh at you and shake their heads at the city of Jerusalem. They say, "Could that be the city that was called perfect and beautiful? Is that the city that brought joy to everyone on earth?"16All of your enemies open their mouths wide against you. They laugh at you and grind their teeth. They say, "We have swallowed Jerusalem's people up. This is the day we've waited for. And we've lived to see it."17The LORD has done what he planned to do. He has made what he said come true. He gave the command long ago. He has destroyed you without pity. He has let your enemies laugh at you. He has made them stronger than you are.18People in the city of Zion, cry out from your heart to the Lord. Let your tears flow like a river day and night. Don't stop at all. Don't give your eyes any rest.19Get up. Cry out as the night begins. Tell the Lord all of your troubles. Lift up your hands to him. Pray that the lives of your children will be spared. At every street corner they faint because they are so hungry.20Jerusalem says, "Lord, look at me. Think about my condition. Have you ever treated anyone else like this? Should women have to eat their babies? Should they eat the children they've taken care of? Should priests and prophets be killed in your own temple?21"Young people and old people alike lie dead in the dust of my streets. My young women and young men have been killed with swords. You killed them when you were angry. You put them to death without pity.22"You sent for terrors to come against me on every side. It was as if you were inviting people to enjoy a feast day. Because you were angry, no one escaped. No one was left alive. I took good care of my children and brought them up. But my enemies have destroyed them."