The Lord Was Like an Enemy
The Prophet Speaks:
1The Lord was angry!
So he disgraced#2.1 disgraced: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text. 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#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. 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.#2.4 the homes on Mount Zion: Or “the temple 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;#2.6 He … garden: Or “He shattered the temple walls, as if they were the walls of 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?#2.13 How great … pain: Or “What are you really like?” or “What can I say about you?”
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.#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.
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.