Bible Society of South Africa

Bible Reading Plan – Day 215

Bible text(s)

The Sorrows of Jerusalem

1How lonely lies Jerusalem, once so full of people!

Once honoured by the world, she is now like a widow;

The noblest of cities has fallen into slavery.

2All night long she cries; tears run down her cheeks.

Of all her former friends, not one is left to comfort her.

Her allies have betrayed her and all are now against her.

3Judah's people are helpless slaves, forced away from home.

They live in other lands, with no place to call their own —

Surrounded by enemies, with no way to escape.

4No one comes to the Temple now to worship on the holy days.

The young women who sang there suffer, and the priests can only groan.

The city gates stand empty, and Zion is in agony.

5Her enemies succeeded; they hold her in their power.

The LORD has made her suffer for all her many sins;

Her children have been captured and taken away.

6The splendour of Jerusalem is a thing of the past.

Her leaders are like deer that are weak from hunger,

Whose strength is almost gone as they flee from the hunters.

7A lonely ruin now, Jerusalem recalls her ancient splendour.

When she fell to the enemy, there was no one to help her;

Her conquerors laughed at her downfall.

8Her honour is gone; she is naked and held in contempt.

She groans and hides her face in shame.

Jerusalem made herself filthy with terrible sin.

9Her uncleanness was easily seen, but she showed no concern for her fate.

Her downfall was terrible; no one can comfort her.

Her enemies have won, and she cries to the LORD for mercy.

10Her enemies robbed her of all her treasures.

She saw them enter the Temple itself,

Where the LORD had forbidden Gentiles to go.

11Her people groan as they look for something to eat;

They exchange their treasures for food to keep themselves alive.

“Look at me, LORD,” the city cries; “see me in my misery.”

12“Look at me!” she cries to everyone who passes by.

“No one has ever had pain like mine,

Pain that the LORD brought on me in the time of his anger.

13“He sent fire from above, a fire that burnt inside me.

He set a trap for me and brought me to the ground.

Then he abandoned me and left me in constant pain.

14“He took note of all my sins and tied them all together;

He hung them round my neck, and I grew weak beneath the weight.

The Lord gave me to my foes, and I was helpless against them.

15“The Lord jeered at all my strongest soldiers;

He sent an army to destroy my young men.

He crushed my people like grapes in a winepress.

16“That is why my eyes are overflowing with tears.

No one can comfort me; no one can give me courage.

The enemy has conquered me; my people have nothing left.

17“I stretch out my hands, but no one will help me.

The LORD has called enemies against me from every side;

They treat me like some filthy thing.

18“But the LORD is just, for I have disobeyed him.

Listen to me, people everywhere; look at me in my pain.

My young men and women have been taken away captive.

19“I called to my allies, but they refused to help me.

The priests and the leaders died in the city streets,

Looking for food to keep themselves alive.

20“Look, O LORD, at my agony, at the anguish of my soul!

My heart is broken in sorrow for my sins.

There is murder in the streets; even indoors there is death.

21“Listen to my groans; there is no one to comfort me.

My enemies are glad that you brought disaster on me.

Bring the day you promised; make my enemies suffer as I do.

22“Condemn them for all their wickedness;

Punish them as you punished me for my sins.

I groan in misery, and I am sick at heart.”

The LORD's Punishment of Jerusalem

1The Lord in his anger has covered Zion with darkness.

Its heavenly splendour he has turned into ruins.

On the day of his anger he abandoned even his Temple.

2The Lord destroyed without mercy every village in Judah

And tore down the forts that defended the land.

He brought disgrace on the kingdom and its rulers.

3In his fury he shattered the strength of Israel;

He refused to help us when the enemy came.

He raged against us like fire, destroying everything.

4He aimed his arrows at us like an enemy;

He killed all those who were our joy and delight.

Here in Jerusalem we felt his burning anger.

5Like an enemy, the Lord has destroyed Israel;

He has left her forts and palaces in ruins.

He has brought on the people of Judah unending sorrow.

6He smashed to pieces the Temple where we worshipped him;

He has put an end to holy days and Sabbaths.

King and priest alike have felt the force of his anger.

7The Lord rejected his altar and deserted his holy Temple;

He allowed the enemy to tear down its walls.

They shouted in victory where once we had worshipped in joy.

8The LORD was determined that the walls of Zion should fall;

He measured them off to make sure of total destruction.

The towers and walls now lie in ruins together.

9The gates lie buried in rubble, their bars smashed to pieces.

The king and the noblemen now are in exile.

The Law is no longer taught, and the prophets have no visions from the LORD.

10Jerusalem's old men sit on the ground in silence,

With dust on their heads and sackcloth on their bodies.

Young women bow their heads to the ground.

11My eyes are worn out with weeping; my soul is in anguish.

I am exhausted with grief at the destruction of my people.

Children and babies are fainting in the streets of the city.

12Hungry and thirsty, they cry to their mothers;

They fall in the streets as though they were wounded,

And slowly die in their mothers' arms.

13O Jerusalem, beloved Jerusalem, what can I say?

How can I comfort you? No one has ever suffered like this.

Your disaster is boundless as the ocean; there is no possible hope.

14Your prophets had nothing to tell you but lies;

Their preaching deceived you by never exposing your sin.

They made you think you did not need to repent.

15People passing by the city look at you in scorn.

They shake their heads and laugh at the ruins of Jerusalem.

“Is this that lovely city? Is this the pride of the world?”

16All your enemies mock you and glare at you with hate.

They curl their lips and sneer, “We have destroyed it!

This is the day we have waited for!”

17The LORD has finally done what he threatened to do:

He has destroyed us without mercy, as he warned us long ago.

He gave our enemies victory, gave them joy at our downfall.

18O Jerusalem, let your very walls cry out to the Lord!

Let your tears flow like rivers night and day;

Wear yourself out with weeping and grief!

19All through the night get up again and again to cry out to the Lord;

Pour out your heart and beg him for mercy on your children —

Children starving to death on every street corner!

20Look, O LORD! Why are you punishing us like this?

Women are eating the bodies of the children they loved!

Priests and prophets are being killed in the Temple itself!

21Young and old alike lie dead in the streets,

Young men and women, killed by enemy swords.

You slaughtered them without mercy on the day of your anger.

22You invited my enemies to hold a carnival of terror all round me,

And no one could escape on that day of your anger.

They murdered my children, whom I had reared and loved.

Lamentations 1:1-2:22GNBOpen in Bible reader
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