Lamentations 1
Contemporary English Version

Lonely Jerusalem

The Prophet Speaks:

1 Jerusalem, once so crowded,

lies deserted and lonely.

This city that was known

all over the world

is now like a widow.

This queen of the nations

has been made a slave.

2Each night, bitter tears

flood her cheeks.

None of her former lovers

are there to offer comfort;

her friends+ have betrayed her

and are now her enemies.

3The people of Judah are slaves,

suffering in a foreign land,

with no rest from sorrow.

Their enemies captured them

and were terribly cruel.+

4The roads to Zion mourn

because no one travels there

to celebrate the festivals.

The city gates are deserted;

priests are weeping.

Young women are raped;+

Zion is in sorrow!

5Enemies now rule the city

and live as they please.

The Lord has punished Jerusalem

because of her awful sins;

he has let her people

be dragged away.

6Zion's glory has disappeared.

Her leaders are like deer

that cannot find pasture;

they are hunted down

till their strength is gone.

7Her people recall the good life

that once was theirs;

now they suffer

and are scattered.

No one was there to protect them

from their enemies who sneered

when their city was taken.

8Jerusalem's horrible sins

have made the city a joke.

Those who once admired her

now hate her instead—

she has been disgraced;

she groans and turns away.

9Her sins had made her filthy,

but she wasn't worried

about what could happen.

And when Jerusalem fell,

it was so tragic.

No one gave her comfort

when she cried out,

“Help! I'm in trouble, Lord!

The enemy has won.”

10Zion's treasures were stolen.

Jerusalem saw foreigners

enter her place of worship,

though the Lord

had forbidden them

to belong to his people.+

11Everyone in the city groans

while searching for food;

they trade their valuables

for barely enough scraps

to stay alive.

Jerusalem Speaks:

Jerusalem shouts to the Lord,

“Please look and see

how miserable I am!”

12No passerby even cares.+

Why doesn't someone notice

my terrible sufferings?

You were fiercely angry, Lord,

and you punished me

worst of all.

13From heaven you sent a fire

that burned in my bones;

you set a trap for my feet

and made me turn back.

All day long you leave me

in shock from constant pain.

14You have tied my sins

around my neck,+

and they weigh so heavily

that my strength is gone.

You have put me in the power

of enemies too strong for me.

15You, Lord, have turned back

my warriors and crushed

my young heroes.

Judah was a woman untouched,

but you let her be trampled

like grapes in a wine pit.

16Because of this, I mourn,

and tears flood my eyes.

No one is here to comfort

or to encourage me;

we have lost the war—

my people are suffering.

The Prophet Speaks:

17Zion reaches out her hands,

but no one offers comfort.

The Lord has turned

the neighboring nations

against Jacob's descendants.

Jerusalem is merely a filthy rag

to her neighbors.

Jerusalem Speaks:

18The Lord was right,

but I refused to obey him.

Now I ask all of you to look

at my sufferings—

even my young people

have been dragged away.

19I called out to my lovers,

but they betrayed me.

My priests and my leaders died

while searching the city

for scraps of food.

20Won't you look and see

how upset I am, our Lord?

My stomach is in knots,

and my heart is broken

because I betrayed you.

In the streets and at home,

my people are slaughtered.

21Everyone heard my groaning,

but no one offered comfort.

My enemies know of the trouble

that you have brought on me,

and it makes them glad.

Hurry and punish them,

as you have promised.

22Don't let their evil deeds

escape your sight.

Punish them as much

as you have punished me

because of my sins.

I never stop groaning—

I've lost all hope!


1.2 lovers … friends: Israel's former allies.
1.3 Their … cruel: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
1.4 raped: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
1.10 to … people: Or “to enter his temple.”
1.12 No … cares: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
1.14 You … neck: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.

Contemporary English Version, Second Edition (CEV®)

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