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How does the city sit solitary that was full of people? How has she become as a widow? She that was great among the nations, and princess among the provinces, has become tributary!
2 She weeps mournfully in the night, and her tears are on her cheeks; among all her lovers she has none to comfort her. All her friends have dealt treacherously with her; they have become her enemies.
3 Yehudah has gone into captivity because of affliction, and because of great servitude. She dwells among the heathen; she finds no rest. All her persecutors overtook her in her distress.
4 The ways of Zion mourn, because none come to the solemn feasts; all her gates are desolate; her priests sigh; her virgins are afflicted, and she is in bitterness.
5 Her adversaries are her leaders; her enemies prosper, for YEHOWAH has afflicted her for the multitude of her transgressions; her children are gone into captivity before the enemy.
6 And from the daughter of Zion all her beauty is departed; her princes have become like deer that find no pasture, and they have departed without strength before the pursuer.
7 In the days of her affliction and her miseries, Jerusalem remembered all her pleasant things that she had in the days of old, before her people fell into the hands of the enemy, and nobody helped her. The adversaries saw her, and mocked her Sabbaths.
8 Jerusalem has grievously sinned, therefore she is removed; all that honored her despise her, because they have seen her nakedness; yes, she sighs, and turns backward.
9 Her filthiness is in her skirts; she remembers not her future, therefore she came down wonderfully; she had no comforter. O YEHOWAH, behold my affliction, for the enemy has magnified themselves.
10 The adversary has spread out their hand upon all her pleasant things, for she has seen that the heathen entered into her sanctuary, whom You did command that they should not enter into Your congregation.
11 All her people sigh; they seek bread; they have given their pleasant things for meat to relieve the soul. See, O YEHOWAH, and consider, for I have become despised.
12 Is it nothing to you, all you that pass by? Behold, and see if there be any sorrow like unto my sorrow, which is done unto me, wherewith YEHOWAH has afflicted me in the day of His fierce anger.
13 From above He has sent fire into my bones, and it prevailed against them. He has spread a net for my feet; He has turned me back; He has made me desolate and faint all day long.
14 The yoke of my transgressions is bound by His hand; they are weaved together and come up upon my neck. He has made my strength to fall; the Master has delivered me into their hands, from whom I am unable to rise up.
15 The Master has trodden under foot all my mighty men in the midst of me; He has called an assembly against me to crush my young men; the Master has trodden the virgin, the daughter of Yehudah, as in a winepress.
16 For these things I weep; my eye, my eye runs down with water, because the comforter that should relieve my soul is far from me; my children are desolate, because the enemy has prevailed.
17 Zion spreads forth her hands, and there is none to comfort her. YEHOWAH has commanded concerning Jacob, that his adversaries should be round about him; Jerusalem is as a menstrual woman among them.
18 YEHOWAH is righteous, for I have rebelled against His commandment. Hear I pray you, all people, and behold my sorrow; my virgins and my young men have gone into captivity.
19 I called for my lovers, but they deceived me; my priests and my elders gave up the ghost in the city, while they sought food to revive their souls.
20 Behold, O YEHOWAH, for I am in distress; my bowels are troubled; my heart is turned within me, for I have grievously rebelled; outside the sword destroys, in the home there is as death.
21 They have heard that I sigh; there is none to comfort me; all my enemies have heard of my trouble; they are glad that You have done it; You will bring the day that You have declared, and they will be like me.
22 Let all their wickedness come before You, and do unto them as You have done unto me for all my transgressions; for my sighs are many, and my heart is faint.
How the Master has covered the daughter of Zion with a cloud in His anger, and cast down from heaven to the earth the beauty of Israel, and remembered not His footstool in the day of His anger!
2 The Master has swallowed up all the habitations of Jacob, and has not pitied; He has thrown down in His wrath the strongholds of the daughter of Yehudah; He has brought them down to the ground; He has polluted the kingdom and its princes.
3 He has cut off in His fierce anger all the horns of Israel; He has drawn back His right hand from before the enemy, and He burned against Jacob like a flaming fire, which devoured round about.
4 He has bent His bow like an enemy; He stood with His right hand as an adversary, and slew all who were pleasant to the eye in the tabernacle of the daughter of Zion; He poured out His fury like fire.
5 The Master was as an enemy; He has swallowed up Israel; He has swallowed up all her palaces; He has destroyed her strongholds, and has increased in the daughter of Yehudah mourning and lamentation.
6 And He has violently taken away His tabernacle, as if it were a garden; He has destroyed His places of assembly. YEHOWAH has caused the solemn feasts and Sabbaths to be forgotten in Zion, and has despised, in the indignation of His anger, the king and the priests.
7 The Master has cast off His altar; He has abhorred His sanctuary; He has given up into the hand of the enemy the walls of her palaces, and they have made a noise in the house of YEHOWAH, as in the day of a solemn feast.
8 YEHOWAH has purposed to destroy the wall of the daughter of Zion; He has stretched out a line; He has not withdrawn His hand from destroying, therefore He made the rampart and the wall to lament; they languished together.
9 Her gates are sunk into the ground; He has destroyed and broken her bars; her king and her princes are among the Gentiles; the law is no more; her prophets also find no vision from YEHOWAH.
10 The elders of the daughter of Zion sit upon the ground and keep silent; they have cast up dust upon their heads; they have girded themselves with sackcloth; the virgins of Jerusalem hang down their heads to the ground.
11 My eyes fail with tears; my bowels are troubled; my liver is poured upon the earth, for the destruction of the daughter of my people, because the children and the sucklings faint in the streets of the city.
12 When they fainted, as the wounded in the streets of the city; when their soul was poured out into their mothers’ bosom, they said to their mothers, “Where is corn and wine?”
13 What thing shall I take to witness for you? What thing shall I liken to you, O daughter of Jerusalem? What shall I equal to you, that I may comfort you, O virgin daughter of Zion? Your breach is great; like the sea, who can heal you?
14 Your prophets have seen vain and foolish things for you, for they did not expose your iniquity, to turn away thy captivity; but have seen for you false burdens and causes of banishment.
15 All who pass by clap their hands at you; they hiss and wag their head at the daughter of Jerusalem, saying, “Is this the city that mankind called, ‘The perfection of beauty; the joy of the whole earth?’”
16 All your enemies have opened their mouth against you; they hiss and gnash their teeth, and say, “We have swallowed her up; certainly this is the day that we looked for; we have found; we have seen it.”
17 YEHOWAH has done that which He had devised; He has fulfilled His word that He had commanded in the days of old; He has thrown down, and has not pitied, and He has caused your enemy to rejoice over you; He has set up the horn of your adversaries.
18 Their heart cried unto the Master, “O wall of the daughter of Zion, let tears run down like a river day and night; give Yourself no rest; let not the apple of Your eye cease.
19 Arise, cry out in the night; in the beginning of the watches pour out your heart like water before the face of the Master; lift up your hands toward Him for the lives of thy young children that faint for hunger at the head of every street.”
20 Behold, O YEHOWAH, and consider to whom You have done this. Shall the women eat their fruit, the children that they nursed? Shall the priest and the prophet be slain in the sanctuary of the Master?
21 The young and the old lie on the ground in the streets; my virgins and my young men are fallen by the sword; You have slain them in the day of Your anger; You have killed, and not pitied.
22 You have called as in a solemn day my terrors round about, so that in the day of YEHOWAH’S anger none escaped nor remained. Those that I have swaddled and brought up has mine enemy consumed.
I am the man that has seen affliction by the rod of His wrath.
2 He has led me, and brought me into darkness, but not into light.
3 Surely against me has He turned; He turns his hand against me all the day.
4 My flesh and my skin has He made old; He has broken my bones.
5 He has built against me, and encompassed me with gall and distress.
6 He has set me in dark places, as those who have been long dead.
7 He has hedged me about, so that I cannot get out; He has made my chain heavy.
8 Also when I cry and shout, He shuts out my prayer.
9 He has enclosed my ways with hewn stone, and He has made my paths crooked.
10 He was unto me as a bear lying in wait, and as a lion in secret places.
11 He has turned aside my ways, and pulled me in pieces; He has made me desolate.
12 He has bent his bow, and set me as a mark for the arrow.
13 He has caused the arrows of His quiver to enter into my inner parts.
14 I was a source of laughter to all my people, and their song all the day.
15 He has filled me with bitterness; He has made me drunk with wormwood.
16 He has also broken my teeth with gravel stones, and He has covered me with ashes.
17 And you have removed my soul far off from peace; I have forgotten prosperity.
18 And I said, “My strength and my hope is perished from YEHOWAH.”
19 Remembering my affliction and my misery, the wormwood and the gall,
20 my soul has them still in remembrance, and is humbled within me.
21 Yet this I recall to my mind, therefore have I hope:
22 It is of YEHOWAH’S mercies that we are not consumed, because His compassions never fail;
23 they are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness.
24 YEHOWAH is my portion, says my soul, therefore will I hope in Him.
25 YEHOWAH is good unto those that wait for Him; to the souls that seek Him.
26 It is good that a person should both hope and quietly wait for the salvation of YEHOWAH.
27 It is good for a person to bear the yoke in their youth.
28 They should sit alone and keep silent, because He has borne it upon them.
29 He puts their mouth in the dust, so that there may be hope.
30 He gives their cheek to those that smite them; that they may be filled full with reproach.
31 For the Master will not cast off forever,
32 for even though He causes grief, He will yet have compassion according to the multitude of His mercies.
33 For He does not afflict willingly, nor grieve the children of men
34 in order to crush under His feet all the prisoners of the earth;
35 nor to turn aside the judgment of a person in the face of the most High;
36 nor to subvert a person in their cause. Of these, the Master does not approve.
37 Who is there that says, and it cometh to pass, when the Master commands it not?
38 Does not both evil and good proceed from the mouth of the most High?
39 Why then does any living person complain; anyone for the punishment of their sins?
40 Let us search and try our ways, and turn again unto YEHOWAH.
41 Let us lift up our heart with our hands unto El in heaven.
42 We have transgressed and have rebelled; You have not pardoned.
43 You have covered with anger, and persecuted us; You have slain, and You have not pitied.
44 You have covered Yourself with a cloud, so that our prayer cannot not pass through.
45 You have made us as the off scouring and refuse in the midst of the people.
46 All our enemies have opened their mouths against us.
47 Fear and a snare have come upon us; desolation and destruction.
48 My eyes run down with rivers of water for the destruction of the daughter of my people;
49 my eyes trickle down, and cease not; without any intermission,
50 till YEHOWAH looks down, and beholds from heaven.
51 My eyes affect my heart, because of all the daughters of my city.
52 My enemies chase after me like a bird, without cause.
53 They have cut off my life in the dungeon, and cast a stone upon me.
54 Waters flowed over my head; then I said, “I am cut off.”
55 I called upon Your Name, O YEHOWAH, out of the lowest dungeon.
56 You hear my voice! Do not hide Your ear from my breathing, or from my cry.
57 You drew near in the day that I called upon You; You said, “Fear not”.
58 O Master, You have pleaded the causes of my soul; You have redeemed my life.
59 O YEHOWAH, You have seen my oppression; judge You my cause.
60 You have seen all their vengeance, and all their plots against me.
61 You have heard their reproach, O YEHOWAH, and all their plotting against me;
62 the lips of those that rose up against me, and their device against me all the day.
63 Behold their sitting down, and their rising up; I am their mocking song.
64 Render unto them reward, O YEHOWAH, according to the work of their hands.
65 Give them sorrow of heart; Your curse unto them.
66 Persecute and destroy them in anger from under the heavens of YEHOWAH.
How the gold has become dim! How the finest gold has changed! The stones of the sanctuary are poured out at the head of every street.
2 The precious children of Zion, comparable to fine gold, are now regarded as earthen pitchers; the work of the hands of the potter!
3 Even the jackals draw out the breast; they nurse their young ones; the daughter of My people has become cruel, like the ostriches in the wilderness.
4 The tongue of a sucking child cleaves to the roof of its mouth for thirst; the young children ask bread, and nobody breaks it for them.
5 Those who did eat delicacies are desolate in the streets; those who were brought up in scarlet embrace rubbish heaps,
6 for the punishment of the iniquity of the daughter of My people is greater than the punishment of the sin of Sodom, which was overthrown in a moment, without human hands upon her.
7 Her Nazarites were purer than snow; they were whiter than milk; they were ruddier in body than rubies; their polishing was of sapphire;
8 their appearance is blacker than coal; they are not known in the streets; their skin cleaves to their bones; it is withered; it is become like a stick.
9 Those who are slain with the sword are better than those who are slain with hunger, for these pine away, stricken through for want of the fruits of the field.
10 The hands of pitiful women have boiled their own children; they were their meat in the destruction of the daughters of my people.
11 YEHOWAH has accomplished His fury; He has poured out His fierce anger, and has kindled a fire in Zion, and it has devoured its foundations.
12 The kings of the earth, and all the inhabitants of the world, would not have believed that the adversary and the enemy could have entered into the gates of Jerusalem,
13 but it is for the sins of her prophets, and the iniquities of her priests who have shed the blood of the just in the midst of her,
14 that they wander as if blind in the streets. They have polluted themselves with blood, so that nobody could touch their garments.
15 They cried unto them, “Depart, it is unclean! Depart, depart, do not touch!” And they fled and wandered among the nations, and said, “They shall sojourn here no more.”
16 The anger of YEHOWAH has divided them; He will regard them no more; they respected not the persons of the priests, nor did they favor the elders.
17 As for us, our eyes still failed for our vain help; in our watching we have watched for a nation that could not save us.
18 They hunt our steps so that we cannot go out in our streets; our end is near, our days are fulfilled, for our end has come.
19 Our persecutors are swifter than the eagles of the sky; they pursued us upon the mountains; they laid wait for us in the wilderness.
20 The breath of our nostrils, the anointed of YEHOWAH, was taken in their pits, of whom we said, “Under His shadow we shall live among the nations.”
21 Rejoice and be glad, O daughter of Edom, who dwells in the land of Uz; the cup also shall pass through unto you; you shall be drunken, and shall make yourself naked.
22 The punishment of your iniquity is accomplished, O daughter of Zion; He will carry you away into captivity no more. He will visit your iniquity, O daughter of Edom; He will uncover your sins.
Remember, O YEHOWAH, what has come upon us; consider, and behold our reproach.
2 Our inheritance is turned to strangers; our houses to foreigners.
3 We are orphans and fatherless; our mothers are as widows.
4 We drink our water for money; our wood is sold back to us.
5 Our necks are under persecution; we labor, and have no rest.
6 We have shaken hands with the Egyptians and with the Assyrians, to be satisfied with bread.
7 Our fathers have sinned, and are not, and we have borne their iniquities.
8 Servants rule over us, and there is no one that delivers us out of their hand.
9 We get our bread at the peril of our lives, because of the sword of the wilderness.
10 Our skin is black like an oven, because of the terrible famine.
11 They ravished the women in Zion, and the maids in the cities of Yehudah.
12 Princes are hanged up by their hands; the faces of elders were not honored.
13 They took the young men to grind, and the children fell under the wood.
14 The elders have ceased from the gate; the young men from their music.
15 The joy of our heart is ceased; our dance is turned into mourning.
16 The crown has fallen from our head. Woe unto us, for we have sinned!
17 For this our heart is faint; for these things our eyes are dim.
18 Because of the mountain of Zion, which is desolate, the foxes walk upon it.
19 You, O YEHOWAH, remain forever. Your throne is from generation to generation.
20 Why do You forget us forever, and forsake us for such a long time?
21 You turn us back to You, O YEHOWAH, that we will be turned; renew our days as of old.
22 But You have utterly rejected us; You are very angry with us.
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Lawrence T. Vosen, PhD.