Lamentations – Chapter 2

The Bible – Old Testament



Chapter 2


1 How the Lord in his wrath has detested daughter Zion! He has cast down from heaven to earth the glory of Israel, Unmindful of his footstool on the day of his wrath.


The Lord has consumed without pity all the dwellings of Jacob; He has torn down in his anger the fortresses of daughter Judah; He has brought to the ground in dishonor her king and her princes.


2 He broke off, in fiery wrath, the horn that was Israel’s whole strength; He withheld the support of his right hand when the enemy approached; He blazed up in Jacob like a flaming fire devouring all about it.


Like an enemy he made taut his bow; with his arrows in his right hand He took his stand as a foe, and slew all on whom the eye doted; Over the tent of daughter Zion he poured out his wrath like fire.


The Lord has become an enemy, he has consumed Israel: Consumed all her castles and destroyed her fortresses; For daughter Judah he has multiplied moaning and groaning.


He has demolished his shelter like a garden booth, he has destroyed his dwelling; In Zion the LORD has made feast and sabbath to be forgotten; He has scorned in fierce wrath both king and priest.


The Lord has disowned his altar, rejected his sanctuary; The walls of her towers he has handed over to the enemy, Who shout in the house of the LORD as on a feast day.


3 The LORD marked for destruction the wall of daughter Zion: He stretched out the measuring line; his hand brought ruin, yet he did not relent –  He brought grief on wall and rampart till both succumbed.


Sunk into the ground are her gates; he has removed and broken her bars. Her king and her princes are among the pagans; priestly instruction is wanting, And her prophets have not received any vision from the LORD.


4 On the ground in silence sit the old men of daughter Zion; They strew dust on their heads and gird themselves with sackcloth; The maidens of Jerusalem bow their heads to the ground.


5 Worn out from weeping are my eyes, within me all is in ferment; My gall is poured out on the ground because of the downfall of the daughter of my people, As child and infant faint away in the open spaces of the town.


They ask their mothers, «Where is the cereal?» – in vain, As they faint away like the wounded in the streets of the city, And breathe their last in their mothers’ arms.


To what can I liken or compare you, O daughter Jerusalem? What example can I show you for your comfort, virgin daughter Zion? For great as the sea is your downfall; who can heal you?


Your prophets had for you false and specious visions; They did not lay bare your guilt, to avert your fate; They beheld for you in vision false and misleading portents.


All who pass by clap their hands at you; They hiss and wag their heads over daughter Jerusalem: «Is this the all-beautiful city, the joy of the whole earth?»


All your enemies open their mouths against you; They hiss and gnash their teeth. They say, «We have devoured her. This at last is the day we hoped for; we have lived to see it!»


The LORD has done as he decreed: he has fulfilled the threat He set forth from days of old; he has destroyed and had no pity, Letting the enemy gloat over you and exalting the horn of your foes.


Cry out to the Lord; moan, O daughter Zion! Let your tears flow like a torrent day and night; Let there be no respite for you, no repose for your eyes.


Rise up, shrill in the night, at the beginning of every watch; Pour out your heart like water in the presence of the Lord; Lift up your hands to him for the lives of your little ones (Who faint from hunger at the corner of every street).


6 «Look, O LORD, and consider: whom have you ever treated thus? Must women eat their offspring, their well-formed children? Are priest and prophet to be slain in the sanctuary of the LORD?


«Dead in the dust of the streets lie young and old; My maidens and young men have fallen by the sword; You have slain on the day of your wrath, slaughtered without pity.


«You summoned as for a feast day terrors against me from all sides; There was not, on the day of your wrath, either fugitive or survivor; Those whom I bore and reared my enemy has utterly destroyed.»


1 [1] The glory of Israel: the temple. His footstool: the ark of the covenant (⇒ 1 Chron 28:2; ⇒ Psalm 99:5; ⇒ 132:7); or again, the temple (⇒ Ezekiel 43:7).
2 [3] Horn: symbol of power and strength; cf ⇒ Lam 2:17; ⇒ 1 Sam 2:10; ⇒ Luke 1:69; etc.
3 [8] The measuring line: used not only in building, but in deciding what must be destroyed; cf ⇒ Isaiah 34:11; ⇒ 2 Kings 21:13.
4 [10] They strew dust: as a sign of penance; cf ⇒ Job 2:12.
5 [11] My gall is poured out on the ground: I am afflicted with bitter sorrow; cf ⇒ Job 16:13.
6 [20] Must women eat their offspring: extreme famine in a besieged city sometimes led to this form of cannibalism; cf ⇒ Lam 4:10; ⇒ 2 Kings 6:28-29; ⇒ Baruch 2:3; ⇒ Ezekiel 5:10.