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.
2 Each 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.

3 The people of Judah are slaves,
suffering in a foreign land,
with no rest from sorrow.
Their enemies captured them
and were terribly cruel.
4 The 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!
5 Enemies 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.

6 Zion's glory has disappeared.
Her leaders are like deer
that cannot find pasture;
they are hunted down
till their strength is gone.
7 Her 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.

8 Jerusalem'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.

9 Her 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.”

10 Zion's treasures were stolen.
Jerusalem saw foreigners
enter her place of worship,
though the Lord
had forbidden them
to belong to his people.
11 Everyone 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!”
12 No passerby even cares.
Why doesn't someone notice
my terrible sufferings?
You were fiercely angry, Lord,
and you punished me
worst of all.
13 From 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.
14 You 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.

15 You, 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.
16 Because 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:
17 Zion 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:
18 The 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.
19 I called out to my lovers,
but they betrayed me.
My priests and my leaders died
while searching the city
for scraps of food.

20 Won'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.

21 Everyone 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.
22 Don'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!