September 26 (Year Six)
Jerusalem once was a city full of people,
but now the city is so empty.
She was one of the greatest cities in the world,
but now she is like a poor widow.
She was once a princess among cities,
but now she has been made a slave.
She cries bitterly in the night.
Her tears are on her cheeks.
She has no one to comfort her.
Many nations were friendly to her,
but not one of them comforts her now.
All her friends have turned their backs on her
and have become her enemies.
Judah suffered very much,
and then she was taken into captivity.
She lives among other nations
but has found no rest.
The people who chased her caught her
where there was no way out.
The roads to Zion are very sad,
because no one comes to Zion for the festivals anymore.
All of Zion’s gates have been destroyed;
all her priests groan in sorrow.
Zion’s young women have been taken away,
and all this made Zion sad.
Jerusalem’s enemies have won.
Her enemies have been successful.
This happened because the Lord punished her.
He punished Jerusalem for her many sins.
Her children have gone away.
Their enemies captured them and took them away.
The beauty of Daughter Zion has gone away.
Her princes were like deer that cannot find a meadow to feed in.
They walk away without strength from those who chased them.
Jerusalem thinks back.
She remembers the time when she was hurt
and when she lost her home.
She remembers all the nice things that she had in the past.
She remembers those nice things that she had in the old days.
She remembers when her people were captured by the enemy.
She remembers when there was no one to help her.
When her enemies saw her, they laughed,
because she was destroyed.
Jerusalem sinned very badly.
Because Jerusalem sinned,
she became a ruined city that people shake their heads about.
In the past people respected her.
But now they hate her,
because they abused her.
and turned away.
Jerusalem’s skirts were dirty.
She gave no thought to what would become of her.
Her fall was amazing.
She had no one to comfort her.
She says, “Lord, see how I am hurt!
See how my enemy thinks he is so great!”
The enemy stretched out his hand.
He took all her nice things.
In fact, she saw the foreign nations go inside her Temple.
And you said those people could not join in our assembly!
All the people of Jerusalem are groaning.
All of her people are looking for food.
They are giving away all their nice things for food to stay alive.
Jerusalem says, “Look, Lord. Look at me!
See how people hate me.
All you who pass by on the road, you don’t seem to care.
But look at me and see.
Is there any pain like my pain?
Is there any pain like the pain that has come to me?
Is there any pain like the pain that the Lord has punished me with?
He has punished me on the day of his great anger.
The Lord sent fire from above
that went down into my bones.
He stretched out a net for my feet.
He turned me all the way around.
He made me into a wasteland.
I am sick all day.
“My sins were tied up like a yoke.
My sins were tied up in the Lord’s hands.
His yoke is on my neck.
He has made me weak.
He has given me to those
who I cannot stand up against.
“The Lord rejected all my powerful men
who were inside the city.
Then he brought a group of people against me.
He brought them to kill my young soldiers.
The Lord has trampled his dearest city
like grapes in a winepress.
“I cry about all these things.
Tears are flowing down my cheeks.
There is no one near to comfort me.
There is no one who can make me feel better.
My children are like a wasteland,
because the enemy won.”
Zion spread out her hands.
There was no one to comfort her.
The Lord had given orders to Jacob’s enemies.
He ordered them to surround the city.
Jerusalem has become a dirty rag
that her enemies threw away.
Now Jerusalem says, “I refused to listen to the Lord,
so he is right for doing these things.
So listen, all you people!
Look at my pain!
My young women and men
have gone into captivity.
I called out to my lovers,
but they tricked me.
My priests and my elders
have died in the city.
They were looking for food for themselves.
They wanted to keep themselves alive.
“Look at me, Lord. I am in distress!
I am upset, as if my heart turned upside down inside of me.
I feel this way because
I have been so stubborn.
Out in the streets,
I lost my children to the swords.
Inside, it is like death.
“Listen to me, I am groaning.
I have no one to comfort me.
All my enemies have heard of my trouble.
They are happy that you did this to me.
You said there would be a time of punishment.
You said you would punish my enemies.
Now do what you said.
Let my enemies be like I am now.
“Look how evil my enemies are!
Then you can treat them the same way you treated me
because of all my sins.
Do this because I am groaning again and again.
Do this because my heart is sick.”
QQQ Look how the Lord has covered daughter Zion
with the cloud of his anger.
He has thrown her, the glory of Israel,
from the sky to the ground.
In his anger he showed no care even for the Temple
where he rests his feet.
The Lord destroyed the houses of Jacob.
He destroyed them without mercy.
In his anger he destroyed the fortresses of Daughter Judah.
He threw the kingdom of Judah and its rulers to the ground.
He ruined the kingdom of Judah.
He was angry, and he destroyed
all the strength of Israel.
He took away his right hand from Israel.
He did this when the enemy came.
He burned like a flaming fire in Jacob.
He was like a fire that burns all around.
He bent his bow like an enemy.
He held his sword in his right hand.
He killed all the good-looking men of Judah.
He killed them as if they were the enemy.
He poured out his anger
like a fire on the tents of Zion.
The Lord has become like an enemy.
He has swallowed up Israel.
He has swallowed up all her palaces
and all her fortresses.
He has made much sadness and crying
for the dead in Daughter Judah.
He pulled up his own tent
as if it were a garden.
He has ruined the place where the people
came together to worship him.
The Lord has made people forget
the special assemblies and special days of rest in Zion.
He rejected the king and the priests.
He was angry and rejected them.
He rejected his altar,
and he left his holy place of worship.
He let the enemy pull down the walls
of the palaces of Jerusalem.
The enemy shouted with joy in the Lord’s Temple.
They made noise as though it were a festival.
The Lord planned to destroy
the wall of Daughter Zion.
He marked the wall with a measuring line.
He didn’t stop himself from destroying it.
He made all the walls cry out in sadness.
Together they wasted away.
Jerusalem’s gates have sunk into the ground.
The bars on her gates are completely destroyed.
Her king and princes have been taken to other nations.
The teaching of the law has stopped.
And her prophets no longer receive
visions from the Lord.
The elders of Zion sit on the ground.
They sit on the ground and are quiet.
They pour dust on their heads.
They put on sackcloth.
The young women of Jerusalem
bow their heads to the ground in sorrow.
My eyes are worn out with tears,
and my insides are upset.
My heart feels like it has been poured on the ground;
I feel this way because of the destruction of my people.
Children and babies are fainting
in the public squares of the city.
They ask their mothers,
“Where is the bread and wine?”
as they pour out their life in their mother’s laps.
My dear Jerusalem, what can I say about you?
What can I compare you to?
What can I say you are like?
How can I comfort you, city of Zion?
You have been hurt much too badly
for anyone to heal.
Your prophets saw visions for you,
but their visions were only worthless lies.
They didn’t speak against your sins.
They didn’t try to make things better.
They spoke messages for you,
but they were false messages that fooled you.
Those who pass by on the road
clap their hands and laugh at you.
They make fun of Jerusalem,
shaking their heads at the sight of her.
They ask, “Is this the city that people called
‘The Most Beautiful City’
and ‘The Joy of all the Earth’?”
All your enemies laugh at you.
They whistle and grind their teeth at you.
They say, “We have swallowed them up!
This is the day we were hoping for.
We have finally seen this happen!”
The Lord did what he planned to do.
He did what he said he would do.
He did what he commanded a long time ago.
He destroyed, and he had no pity.
He made your enemies happy because of what happened to you.
He made your enemies strong.
Cry out with all your heart to the Lord!
Jerusalem, let tears roll down your walls.
Let your tears flow like a stream day and night.
Don’t stop crying
or let your eyes dry.
Get up throughout the night and cry for help.
Let your sorrow pour out before the Lord like water.
Lift up your hands in prayer to him.
Ask him to let your children live.
They are starving to death on every street corner.
Look at us, Lord!
Have you ever treated anyone else so badly?
Is it right for women to eat their own babies,
the children they have cared for?
Should priests and prophets be killed
in the Temple of the Lord?
Young men and old men
lie on the ground in the streets of the city.
My young women and young men
have been killed by the sword.
You killed them on the day of your anger.
You killed them without mercy!
You invited terror to come to me from all around.
You invited terror as though you were inviting it to a festival.
No one escaped on the day of the Lord’s anger.
My enemy killed the people who I raised and brought up.
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