Lamentations 2
Contemporary English Version

The Lord Was Like an Enemy

The Prophet Speaks:

1The Lord was angry!

So he disgraced+ Zion

though it was Israel's pride

and his own place of rest.

In his anger he threw Zion down

from heaven to earth.

2The Lord had no mercy!

He destroyed the homes

of Jacob's descendants.

In his anger he tore down

every walled city in Judah;

he toppled the nation

together with its leaders,

leaving them in shame.

3The Lord was so furiously angry

that he wiped out

the whole army+ of Israel

by not supporting them

when the enemy attacked.

He was like a raging fire

that swallowed up

the descendants of Jacob.

4He attacked like an enemy

with a bow and arrows,

killing our loved ones.

He has burned to the ground

the homes on Mount Zion.+

5The Lord was like an enemy!

He left Israel in ruins

with its palaces

and fortresses destroyed,

and with everyone in Judah

moaning and weeping.

6He shattered his temple

like a hut in a garden;+

he completely wiped out

his meeting place,

and did away with festivals

and Sabbaths

in the city of Zion.

In his fierce anger he rejected

our king and priests.

7The Lord abandoned his altar

and his temple;

he let Zion's enemies

capture her fortresses.

Noisy shouts were heard

from the temple,

as if it were a time

of celebration.

8The Lord had decided

to tear down the walls of Zion

stone by stone.

So he started destroying

and did not stop

until walls and fortresses

mourned and trembled.

9Zion's gates have fallen

facedown on the ground;

the bars that locked the gates

are smashed to pieces.

Her king and royal family

are prisoners

in foreign lands.

Her priests don't teach,

and her prophets don't have

a message from the Lord.

10Zion's leaders are silent.

They just sit on the ground,

tossing dirt on their heads

and wearing sackcloth.

Her young women can do nothing

but stare at the ground.

11My eyes are red from crying,

my stomach is in knots,

and I feel sick all over.

My people are being wiped out,

and children lie helpless

in the streets of the city.

12A child begs its mother

for food and drink,

then blacks out

like a wounded soldier

lying in the street.

The child slowly dies

in its mother's arms.

13Zion, how can I comfort you?

How great is your pain?+

Lovely city of Jerusalem,

how can I heal your wounds,

gaping as wide as the sea?

14Your prophets deceived you

with false visions

and lying messages—

they should have warned you

to leave your sins

and be saved from disaster.

15Those who pass by

shake their heads and sneer

as they make fun and shout,

“What a lovely city you were,

the happiest on earth,

but look at you now!”

16Zion, your enemies curse you

and snarl like wild animals,

while shouting,

“This is the day

we've waited for!

At last, we've got you!”

17The Lord has done everything

that he had planned

and threatened long ago.

He destroyed you without mercy

and let your enemies boast

about their powerful forces.+

18Zion, deep in your heart

you cried out to the Lord.

Now let your tears overflow

your walls day and night.

Don't ever lose hope

or let your tears stop.

19Get up and pray for help

all through the night.

Pour out your feelings

to the Lord,

as you would pour water

out of a jug.

Beg him to save your people,

who are starving to death

at every street crossing.

Jerusalem Speaks:

20Think about it, Lord!

Have you ever been this cruel

to anyone before?

Is it right for mothers

to eat their children,

or for priests and prophets

to be killed in your temple?

21My people, both young and old,

lie dead in the streets.

Because you were angry,

my young men and women

were brutally slaughtered.

22When you were angry, Lord,

you invited my enemies

like guests for a party.

No one survived that day;

enemies killed my children,

my own little ones.


2.1 disgraced: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
2.3 army: The Hebrew text has “horn,” which refers to the horn of a bull, one of the most powerful animals in ancient Palestine.
2.4 the homes on Mount Zion: Or “the temple on Mount Zion.”
2.6 He … garden: Or “He shattered the temple walls, as if they were the walls of a garden.”
2.13 How great … pain: Or “What are you really like?” or “What can I say about you?”
2.17 powerful forces: The Hebrew text has “horn,” which refers to the horn of a bull, one of the most powerful animals in ancient Palestine.

Contemporary English Version, Second Edition (CEV®)

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