Bible: Lam 1-4

The Prophet Speaks:

1:1 א (Alef) 1 


Alas! 3  The city once full of people 4 

now sits all alone! 5 

The prominent 6  lady among the nations

has become a widow! 7 

The princess 8  who once ruled the provinces 9 

has become 10  a forced laborer! 11 

1:2 ב (Bet)

She weeps bitterly at night;

tears stream down her cheeks. 12 

She has no one to comfort her

among all her lovers. 13 

All her friends have betrayed her;

they have become her enemies.

1:3 ג (Gimel)

Judah 14  has departed into exile

under 15  affliction and harsh oppression. 16 

She 17  lives among the nations;

she has found no resting place.

All who pursued her overtook her

in 18  narrow straits. 19 

1:4 ד (Dalet)

The roads to Zion 20  mourn 21 

because no one 22  travels to the festivals. 23 

All her city gates 24  are deserted; 25 

her priests groan. 26 

Her virgins grieve; 27 

she is in bitter anguish! 28 

1:5 ה (He)

Her foes subjugated her; 29 

her enemies are at ease. 30 

For the Lord afflicted her

because of her many acts of rebellion. 31 

Her children went away

captive 32  before the enemy.

1:6 ו (Vav)

All of Daughter Zion’s 33  splendor 34 

has departed. 35 

Her leaders became like deer;

they found no pasture,

so they were too exhausted to escape 36 

from the hunter. 37 

1:7 ז (Zayin)

Jerusalem 38  remembers, 39 

when 40  she became a poor homeless person, 41 

all her treasures

that she owned in days of old. 42 

When her people fell into an enemy’s grip, 43 

none of her allies came to her rescue. 44 

Her enemies 45  gloated over 46  her;

they sneered 47  at her downfall. 48 

1:8 ח (Khet)

Jerusalem committed terrible sin; 49 

therefore she became an object of scorn. 50 

All who admired 51  her have despised her 52 

because they have seen her nakedness. 53 

She groans aloud 54 

and turns away in shame. 55 

1:9 ט (Tet)

Her menstrual flow 56  has soiled 57  her clothing; 58 

she did not consider 59  the consequences of her sin. 60 

Her demise 61  was astonishing, 62 

and there was no one to comfort her.

She cried, “Look, 63  O Lord, on my 64  affliction

because my 65  enemy boasts!”

1:10 י (Yod)

An enemy grabbed 66 

all her valuables. 67 

Indeed she watched in horror 68  as Gentiles 69 

invaded her holy temple 70 

those whom you 71  had commanded:

“They must not enter 72  your assembly place.” 73 

1:11 כ (Kaf)

All her people groaned

as they searched for a morsel of bread. 74 

They exchanged 75  their valuables 76 

for 77  just enough food

to stay alive. 78 

Jerusalem Speaks:

“Look, O Lord! Consider 79 

that I have become worthless!”

1:12 ל (Lamed)

Is it nothing to you, 80  all you who pass by on the road? 81 

Look and see!

Is there any pain like mine?

The Lord 82  has afflicted me, 83 

he 84  has inflicted it on me

when 85  he burned with anger. 86 

1:13 מ (Mem)

He sent down fire 87 

into my bones, and it overcame 88  them.

He spread out a trapper’s net 89  for my feet;

he made me turn back.

He has made me desolate;

I am faint all day long.

1:14 נ (Nun)

My sins are bound around my neck like a yoke; 90 

they are fastened together by his hand.

He has placed his yoke 91  on my neck; 92 

he has sapped my strength. 93 

The Lord 94  has handed me over 95 

to those whom I cannot resist.

1:15 ס (Samek)

He rounded up 96  all my mighty ones; 97 

The Lord 98  did this 99  in 100  my midst.

He summoned an assembly 101  against me

to shatter my young men.

The Lord has stomped like grapes 102 

the virgin daughter, Judah. 103 

1:16 ע (Ayin)

I weep because of these things;

my eyes 104  flow with tears. 105 

For there is no one in sight who can comfort me 106 

or encourage me. 107 

My children 108  are desolated 109 

because an enemy has prevailed.

The Prophet Speaks:

1:17 פ (Pe)

Zion spread out her hands,

but there is no one to comfort her.

The Lord has issued a decree against Jacob;

his neighbors 110  have become his enemies.

Jerusalem has become

like filthy garbage 111  in their midst. 112 

Jerusalem Speaks:

1:18 צ (Tsade)

The Lord is right to judge me! 113 

Yes, I rebelled against his commands. 114 

Please listen, all you nations, 115 

and look at my suffering!

My young women and men

have gone into exile.

1:19 ק (Qof)

I called for my lovers, 116 

but they had deceived me.

My priests and my elders

perished in the city.

Truly they had 117  searched for food

to 118  keep themselves 119  alive. 120 

1:20 ר (Resh)

Look, O Lord! I am distressed; 121 

my stomach is in knots! 122 

My heart is pounding 123  inside me.

Yes, I was terribly rebellious! 124 

Out in the street the sword bereaves a mother of her children; 125 

Inside the house death is present. 126 

1:21 ש (Sin/Shin)

They have heard 127  that I groan,

yet there is no one to comfort me.

All my enemies have heard of my trouble;

they are glad that you 128  have brought it about. 129 

Bring about 130  the day of judgment 131  that you promised 132 

so that 133  they may end up 134  like me!

1:22 ת (Tav)

Let all their wickedness come before you;

afflict 135  them

just as you have afflicted 136  me 137 

because of all my acts of rebellion. 138 

For my groans are many,

and my heart is sick with sorrow. 139 

The Prophet Speaks:

2:1 א (Alef)

Alas! 140  The Lord 141  has covered

Daughter Zion 142  with his anger. 143 

He has thrown down the splendor of Israel

from heaven to earth;

he did not protect 144  his temple 145 

when he displayed his anger. 146 

2:2 ב (Bet)

The Lord 147  destroyed 148  mercilessly 149 

all the homes of Jacob’s descendants. 150 

In his anger he tore down

the fortified cities 151  of Daughter Judah.

He knocked to the ground and humiliated

the kingdom and its rulers. 152 

2:3 ג (Gimel)

In fierce anger 153  he destroyed 154 

the whole army 155  of Israel.

He withdrew his right hand 156 

as the enemy attacked. 157 

He was like a raging fire in the land of Jacob; 158 

it consumed everything around it. 159 

2:4 ד (Dalet)

He prepared his bow 160  like an enemy;

his right hand was ready to shoot. 161 

Like a foe he killed everyone,

even our strong young men; 162 

he has poured out his anger like fire

on the tent 163  of Daughter Zion.

2:5 ה (He)

The Lord, 164  like an enemy,

destroyed 165  Israel.

He destroyed 166  all her palaces;

he ruined her 167  fortified cities.

He made everyone in Daughter Judah

mourn and lament. 168 

2:6 ו (Vav)

He destroyed his temple 169  as if it were a vineyard; 170 

he destroyed his appointed meeting place.

The Lord has made those in Zion forget

both the festivals and the Sabbaths. 171 

In his fierce anger 172  he has spurned 173 

both king and priest.

2:7 ז (Zayin)

The Lord 174  rejected 175  his altar

and abhorred his temple. 176 

He handed over to the enemy 177 

her palace walls;

the enemy 178  shouted 179  in the Lord’s temple

as if it were a feast day. 180 

2:8 ח (Khet)

The Lord was determined to tear down

Daughter Zion’s wall.

He prepared to knock it down; 181 

he did not withdraw his hand from destroying. 182 

He made the ramparts and fortified walls lament;

together they mourned their ruin. 183 

2:9 ט (Tet)

Her city gates have fallen 184  to the ground;

he smashed to bits 185  the bars that lock her gates. 186 

Her king and princes were taken into exile; 187 

there is no more guidance available. 188 

As for her prophets,

they no longer receive 189  a vision from the Lord.

2:10 י (Yod)

The elders of Daughter Zion

sit 190  on the ground in silence. 191 

They have thrown dirt on their heads;

They have dressed in sackcloth. 192 

Jerusalem’s young women 193  stare down at the ground. 194 

2:11 כ (Kaf)

My eyes are worn out 195  from weeping; 196 

my stomach is in knots. 197 

My heart 198  is poured out on the ground

due to the destruction 199  of my helpless people; 200 

children and infants faint

in the town squares.

2:12 ל (Lamed)

Children 201  say to their mothers, 202 

“Where are food and drink?” 203 

They faint 204  like a wounded warrior

in the city squares.

They die slowly 205 

in their mothers’ arms. 206 

2:13 מ (Mem)

With what can I equate 207  you?

To what can I compare you, O Daughter Jerusalem?

To what can I liken you 208 

so that 209  I might comfort you, O Virgin Daughter Zion?

Your wound is as deep 210  as the sea. 211 

Who can heal you? 212 

2:14 נ (Nun)

Your prophets saw visions for you

that were worthless lies. 213 

They failed to expose your sin

so as to restore your fortunes. 214 

They saw oracles for you

that were worthless 215  lies.

2:15 ס (Samek)

All who passed by on the road

clapped their hands to mock you. 216 

They sneered and shook their heads

at Daughter Jerusalem.

“Ha! Is this the city they called 217 

‘The perfection of beauty, 218 

the source of joy of the whole earth!’?” 219 

2:16 פ (Pe)

All your enemies

gloated over you. 220 

They sneered and gnashed their teeth;

they said, “We have destroyed 221  her!

Ha! We have waited a long time for this day.

We have lived to see it!” 222 

2:17 ע (Ayin)

The Lord has done what he planned;

he has fulfilled 223  his promise 224 

that he threatened 225  long ago: 226 

He has overthrown you without mercy 227 

and has enabled the enemy to gloat over you;

he has exalted your adversaries’ power. 228 

2:18 צ (Tsade)

Cry out 229  from your heart 230  to the Lord, 231 

O wall of Daughter Zion! 232 

Make your tears flow like a river

all day and all night long! 233 

Do not rest;

do not let your tears 234  stop!

2:19 ק (Qof)

Get up! Cry out in the night 235 

when the night watches start! 236 

Pour out your heart 237  like water

before the face of the Lord! 238 

Lift up your hands 239  to him

for your children’s lives; 240 

they are fainting 241 

at every street corner. 242 

Jerusalem Speaks:

2:20 ר (Resh)

Look, O Lord! Consider! 243 

Whom have you ever afflicted 244  like this?

Should women eat their offspring, 245 

their healthy infants? 246 

Should priest and prophet

be killed in the Lord’s 247  sanctuary?

2:21 ש (Sin/Shin)

The young boys and old men

lie dead on the ground in the streets.

My young women 248  and my young men

have fallen by the sword.

You killed them when you were angry; 249 

you slaughtered them without mercy. 250 

2:22 ת (Tav)

As if it were a feast day, you call 251 

enemies 252  to terrify me 253  on every side. 254 

On the day of the Lord’s anger

no one escaped or survived.

My enemy has finished off

those healthy infants whom I bore 255  and raised. 256 

The Prophet Speaks:

3:1 א (Alef) 257 

I am the man 258  who has experienced 259  affliction

from the rod 260  of his wrath.

3:2 He drove me into captivity 261  and made me walk 262 

in darkness and not light.

3:3 He repeatedly 263  attacks me,

he turns his hand 264  against me all day long. 265 

3:4 ב (Bet)

He has made my mortal skin 266  waste away;

he has broken my bones.

3:5 He has besieged 267  and surrounded 268  me

with bitter hardship. 269 

3:6 He has made me reside in deepest darkness 270 

like those who died long ago.

3:7 ג (Gimel)

He has walled me in 271  so that I cannot get out;

he has weighted me down with heavy prison chains. 272 

3:8 Also, when I cry out desperately 273  for help, 274 

he has shut out my prayer. 275 

3:9 He has blocked 276  every road I take 277  with a wall of hewn stones;

he has made every path impassable. 278 

3:10 ד (Dalet)

To me he is like a bear lying in ambush, 279 

like a hidden lion 280  stalking its prey. 281 

3:11 He has obstructed my paths 282  and torn me to pieces; 283 

he has made me desolate.

3:12 He drew 284  his bow and made me 285 

the target for his arrow.

3:13 ה (He)

He shot 286  his arrows 287 

into my heart. 288 

3:14 I have become the laughingstock of all people, 289 

their mocking song 290  all day long. 291 

3:15 He has given me my fill of bitter herbs

and made me drunk with bitterness. 292 

3:16 ו (Vav)

He ground 293  my teeth in gravel;

he trampled 294  me in the dust.

3:17 I 295  am deprived 296  of peace; 297 

I have forgotten what happiness 298  is.

3:18 So I said, “My endurance has expired;

I have lost all hope of deliverance 299  from the Lord.”

3:19 ז (Zayin)

Remember 300  my impoverished and homeless condition, 301 

which is a bitter poison. 302 

3:20 I 303  continually think about 304  this,

and I 305  am depressed. 306 

3:21 But this I call 307  to mind; 308 

therefore I have hope:

3:22 ח (Khet)

The Lord’s loyal kindness 309  never ceases; 310 

his compassions 311  never end.

3:23 They are fresh 312  every morning;

your faithfulness is abundant! 313 

3:24My portion is the Lord,” I have said to myself, 314 

so I will put my hope in him.

3:25 ט (Tet)

The Lord is good to those who trust 315  in him,

to the one 316  who seeks him.

3:26 It is good to wait patiently 317 

for deliverance from the Lord. 318 

3:27 It is good for a man 319 

to bear 320  the yoke 321  while he is young. 322 

3:28 י (Yod)

Let a person 323  sit alone in silence,

when the Lord 324  is disciplining him. 325 

3:29 Let him bury his face in the dust; 326 

perhaps there is hope.

3:30 Let him offer his cheek to the one who hits him; 327 

let him have his fill of insults.

3:31 כ (Kaf)

For the Lord 328  will not

reject us forever. 329 

3:32 Though he causes us 330  grief, he then has compassion on us 331 

according to the abundance of his loyal kindness. 332 

3:33 For he is not predisposed to afflict 333 

or to grieve people. 334 

3:34 ל (Lamed)

To crush underfoot

all the earth’s prisoners, 335 

3:35 to deprive a person 336  of his rights 337 

in the presence of the Most High,

3:36 to defraud a person in a lawsuit

the Lord 338  does not approve 339  of such things!

3:37 מ (Mem)

Whose command was ever fulfilled 340 

unless the Lord 341  decreed it?

3:38 Is it not from the mouth of the Most High that everything comes –

both calamity and blessing? 342 

3:39 Why should any living person 343  complain

when punished for his sins? 344 

3:40 נ (Nun)

Let us carefully examine our ways, 345 

and let us return to the Lord.

3:41 Let us lift up our hearts 346  and our hands

to God in heaven:

3:42We 347  have blatantly rebelled; 348 

you 349  have not forgiven.”

3:43 ס (Samek)

You shrouded yourself 350  with anger and then pursued us;

you killed without mercy.

3:44 You shrouded yourself with a cloud

so that no prayer can get through.

3:45 You make us like filthy scum 351 

in the estimation 352  of the nations.

3:46 פ (Pe)

All our enemies have gloated over us; 353 

3:47 Panic and pitfall 354  have come upon us,

devastation and destruction. 355 

3:48 Streams 356  of tears flow from my eyes 357 

because my people 358  are destroyed. 359 

3:49 ע (Ayin)

Tears flow from my eyes 360  and will not stop;

there will be no break 361 

3:50 until the Lord looks down from heaven

and sees what has happened. 362 

3:51 What my eyes see 363  grieves me 364 

all the suffering of the daughters in my city. 365 

3:52 צ (Tsade)

For no good reason 366  my enemies

hunted me down 367  like a bird.

3:53 They shut me 368  up in a pit

and threw stones at me.

3:54 The waters closed over my head;

I thought 369  I was about to die. 370 

3:55 ק (Qof)

I have called on your name, O Lord,

from the deepest pit. 371 

3:56 You heard 372  my plea: 373 

“Do not close your ears to my cry for relief! 374 

3:57 You came near 375  on the day I called to you;

you said, 376 Do not fear!

3:58 ר (Resh)

O Lord, 377  you championed 378  my cause, 379 

you redeemed my life.

3:59 You have seen the wrong done to me, O Lord;

pronounce judgment on my behalf! 380 

3:60 You have seen all their vengeance,

all their plots against me. 381 

3:61 ש (Sin/Shin)

You have heard 382  their taunts, O Lord,

all their plots against me.

3:62 My assailants revile and conspire 383 

against me all day long.

3:63 Watch them from morning to evening; 384 

I am the object of their mocking songs.

3:64 ת (Tav)

Pay them back 385  what they deserve, 386  O Lord,

according to what they 387  have done. 388 

3:65 Give them a distraught heart; 389 

may your curse be on them!

3:66 Pursue them 390  in anger and eradicate them

from under the Lord’s heaven.

The Prophet Speaks:

4:1 א (Alef)


Alas! 392  Gold has lost its luster; 393 

pure gold loses value. 394 

Jewels 395  are scattered

on every street corner. 396 

4:2 ב (Bet)

The precious sons of Zion

were worth their weight in gold –

Alas! – but now they are treated like 397  broken clay pots,

made by a potter. 398 

4:3 ג (Gimel)

Even the jackals 399  nurse their young

at their breast, 400 

but my people 401  are cruel,

like ostriches 402  in the desert.

4:4 ד (Dalet)

The infant’s tongue sticks

to the roof of its mouth due to thirst;

little children beg for bread, 403 

but no one gives them even a morsel. 404 

4:5 ה (He)

Those who once feasted on delicacies 405 

are now starving to death 406  in the streets.

Those who grew up 407  wearing expensive clothes 408 

are now dying 409  amid garbage. 410 

4:6 ו (Vav)

The punishment 411  of my people 412 

exceeded that of 413  of Sodom,

which was overthrown in a moment

with no one to help her. 414 

4:7 ז (Zayin)

Her consecrated ones 415  were brighter than snow,

whiter than milk;

their bodies more ruddy than corals,

their hair 416  like lapis lazuli. 417 

4:8 ח (Khet)

Now their appearance 418  is darker than soot;

they are not recognized in the streets.

Their skin has shriveled on their bones;

it is dried up, like tree bark.

4:9 ט (Tet)

Those who died by the sword 419  are better off

than those who die of hunger, 420 

those who 421  waste away, 422 

struck down 423  from lack of 424  food. 425 

4:10 י (Yod)

The hands of tenderhearted women 426 

cooked their own children,

who became their food, 427 

when my people 428  were destroyed. 429 

4:11 כ (Kaf)

The Lord fully vented 430  his wrath;

he poured out his fierce anger. 431 

He started a fire in Zion;

it consumed her foundations. 432 

4:12 ל (Lamed)

Neither the kings of the earth

nor the people of the lands 433  ever thought 434 

that enemy or foe would enter

the gates 435  of Jerusalem. 436 

4:13 מ (Mem)

But it happened 437  due to the sins of her prophets 438 

and the iniquities of her priests,

who poured out in her midst

the blood of the righteous.

4:14 נ (Nun)

They 439  wander blindly 440  through the streets,

defiled by the blood they shed, 441 

while no one dares 442 

to touch their garments.

4:15 ס (Samek)

People cry to them, “Turn away! You are unclean!

Turn away! Turn away! Don’t touch us!”

So they have fled and wander about;

but the nations say, 443  “They may not stay here any longer.”

4:16 פ (Pe)

The Lord himself 444  has scattered them;

he no longer watches over them.

They did not honor the priests; 445 

they did not show favor to the elders. 446 

The People of Jerusalem Lament:

4:17 ע (Ayin)

Our eyes continually failed us

as we looked in vain for help. 447 

From our watchtowers we watched

for a nation that could not rescue us.

4:18 צ (Tsade)

Our enemies 448  hunted us down at every step 449 

so that we could not walk about in our streets.

Our end drew near, our days were numbered, 450 

for our end had come!

4:19 ק (Qof)

Those who pursued us were swifter

than eagles 451  in the sky. 452 

They chased us over the mountains;

they ambushed us in the wilderness.

4:20 ר (Resh)

Our very life breath – the Lord’s anointed king 453 

was caught in their traps, 454 

of whom we thought, 455 

“Under his protection 456  we will survive among the nations.”

The Prophet Speaks:

4:21 ש (Sin/Shin)

Rejoice and be glad for now, 457  O people of Edom, 458 

who reside in the land of Uz.

But the cup of judgment 459  will pass 460  to you also;

you will get drunk and take off your clothes.

4:22 ת (Tav)

O people of Zion, 461  your punishment 462  will come to an end; 463 

he will not prolong your exile. 464 

But, O people of Edom, 465  he will punish 466  your sin 467 

and reveal 468  your offenses!

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