The Lord's Punishment of Jerusalem
Its heavenly splendor he has turned into ruins.
On the day of his anger he abandoned even his Temple.
And tore down the forts that defended the land.
He brought disgrace on the kingdom and its rulers.
He refused to help us when the enemy came.
He raged against us like fire, destroying everything.
He killed all those who were our joy and delight.
Here in Jerusalem we felt his burning anger.
He has left her forts and palaces in ruins.
He has brought on the people of Judah unending sorrow.
He has put an end to holy days and Sabbaths.
King and priest alike have felt the force of his anger.
He allowed the enemy to tear down its walls.
They shouted in victory where once we had worshiped in joy.
He measured them off to make sure of total destruction.
The towers and walls now lie in ruins together.
The king and the noblemen now are in exile.
The Law is no longer taught, and the prophets have no visions from the Lord.
With dust on their heads and sackcloth on their bodies.
Young women bow their heads to the ground.
I am exhausted with grief at the destruction of my people.
Children and babies are fainting in the streets of the city.
They fall in the streets as though they were wounded,
And slowly die in their mothers’ arms.
How can I comfort you? No one has ever suffered like this.
Your disaster is boundless as the ocean; there is no possible hope.
Their preaching deceived you by never exposing your sin.
They made you think you did not need to repent.
They shake their heads and laugh at Jerusalem’s ruins:
“Is this that lovely city? Is this the pride of the world?”
They curl their lips and sneer, “We have destroyed it!
This is the day we have waited for!”
He has destroyed us without mercy, as he warned us long ago.
He gave our enemies victory, gave them joy at our downfall.
Let your tears flow like rivers night and day;
Wear yourself out with weeping and grief
Pour out your heart and beg him for mercy on your children—
Children starving to death on every street corner!
Women are eating the bodies of the children they loved!
Priests and prophets are being killed in the Temple itself
Young men and women, killed by enemy swords.
You slaughtered them without mercy on the day of your anger.
And no one could escape on that day of your anger.
They murdered my children, whom I had raised and loved.
- Lamentations 2:18 Probable text O Jerusalem … Lord; Hebrew Their hearts cried out to the Lord, O wall of Jerusalem.