2 How the Lord has covered the Daughter of Zion with a cloud in His anger! He has cast down from heaven to the earth the beauty and splendor of Israel and has not [earnestly] remembered His footstool in the day of His anger!
2 The Lord has swallowed up all the country places and habitations of Jacob and has spared not nor pitied; He has demolished in His wrath the strongholds of the Daughter of Judah. He has cast down to the ground the kingdom and its rulers, polluting them and depriving them of their sanctity.
3 He has broken off in His fierce anger every horn (means of defense) of Israel. He has drawn back His right hand from before the enemy. And He has burned amidst Jacob like a flaming fire consuming all around.
4 He has bent His bow like an enemy; He has stood with His right hand set like a foe and has slain all the delights and pride of the eye; on and in the tent of the Daughter of Zion He has poured out His wrath like fire.
5 The Lord has become like an enemy; He has destroyed Israel. He has destroyed all its palaces, has laid in ruins its strongholds, and has multiplied in the Daughter of Judah groaning and moaning and lamentation.
6 And He has violently broken down His temple like a booth or hedge of a garden; He has destroyed the place of His appointed assembly. The Lord has caused the solemn appointed feasts and Sabbaths to be forgotten in Zion and has spurned and rejected in the indignation of His anger the king and the priest.
7 The Lord has scorned, rejected, and cast off His altar; He has abhorred and disowned His sanctuary. He has given into the hand of the enemy the walls of her palaces [and high buildings]; they have raised a clamor in the house of the Lord as on a day of a solemn appointed feast.
8 The Lord purposed to lay in ruins the [city] wall of the Daughter of Zion. He marked it off by measuring line; He restrained not His hand from destroying. He made rampart and wall lament; they languished together.
9 Her gates have sunk into the ground; He has destroyed and broken her bars. Her king and her princes are [exiled] among the nations; the law is no more; her prophets also obtain no vision from the Lord.
10 The elders of the Daughter of Zion sit on the ground keeping silent; they have cast dust on their heads, they have girded themselves with sackcloth. The maidens of Jerusalem have bowed their heads to the ground [says Jeremiah].
11 My eyes fail from weeping, my emotions are deeply disturbed, my heart is poured out upon the ground [in grief] because of the destruction of the daughter of my people, because infants and nurslings faint in the streets of the city.
12 They keep crying to their mothers, Where is corn and wine [food and drink]? as they faint like wounded men in the streets of the city, as their lives ebb away on their mothers’ bosom.
13 What [example of suffering in the past] is sufficient for me to remind you for your [comfort]? To what shall I liken you, O Daughter of Jerusalem? With what shall I compare you, that I may comfort you, O Virgin Daughter of Zion? For your ruin is as measureless as the sea! Who can heal you?(A)
14 Your prophets have predicted for you falsehood and delusion and foolish things; and they have not exposed your iniquity and guilt to avert your captivity [by causing you to repent]. But they have divined and declared to you false and deceptive prophecies, worthless and misleading.
15 All who pass by clap their hands at you; they hiss and wag their heads at the Daughter of Jerusalem, saying, Is this the city which was called the perfection of beauty, the joy of all the earth?
16 All your enemies have opened wide their mouths against you; they scornfully hiss and gnash their teeth. They cry, We have swallowed her up! Certainly this is the day we have looked for; we have it, we see it!
17 The Lord has done what He planned; He has carried out and finished His word which He threatened and decreed [a]in the days of old. He has demolished without pity; He has made the enemy rejoice over you and has exalted the might of your foes.(B)
18 The hearts [of the inhabitants of Jerusalem] cried to the Lord. [Then to the congregation, I, Jeremiah, cried, addressing the wall as its symbol] O wall of the Daughter of Zion, let tears run down like a river day and night; give yourself no rest, let not your eyes stop [shedding tears].
19 Arise [from your bed], cry out in the night, at the beginning of the watches; pour out your heart like water before the face of the Lord. Lift up your hands toward Him for the lives of your young children, who faint from hunger at the head of every street.(C)
20 Behold, O Lord, and consider [carefully] to whom You have done this. Should and shall women eat the fruit of their own bodies, the children whom they have tended and swaddled with their hands? Should and shall priest and prophet be slain in the place set apart [for the worship] of the Lord?
21 The young and the old lie on the ground in the streets; my maidens and my young men have fallen by the sword. You have slain them in the day of Your anger, slaughtering them without pity.
22 You [Lord] called together, as on an appointed feast day of solemn assembly, my terrors (dangers) from every side. And there was not one in the day of God’s wrath who escaped or survived; those I have nursed and brought up, my enemy has destroyed.
- Lamentations 2:17 “This reference to the ancient predictions of judgment against Israel for their sins is of great importance, both because it shows that these prophecies were then extant and well known among the Jews, and because it shows that they were understood by the pious remnant exactly as we now explain them” (Johan P. Lange, A Commentary).
- Lamentations 2:13 : Lam. 1:12; Dan. 9:12.
- Lamentations 2:17 : Lev. 26:14-39; Deut. 28:15-68.
- Lamentations 2:19 : Ps. 62:8.