Lamentations 2

The Lord destroys Jerusalem

2:1Jeremiah speaks

1 The Lord was very angry.

He wanted Zion's people to be ashamed.

Zion was the most beautiful city in Israel.

But he has put it down to the ground from its high place.

Zion was like a place where he had rested his feet.

Now that he is angry, he has forgotten about that.

2:1Some people think that the holy house of God in Jerusalem made the city beautiful. See Isaiah 64:11.
2:1‘he rested his feet’. See Isaiah 60:13.

2 The Lord has destroyed all the houses where Jacob's people lived.

He decided that he must punish them.

Because he is angry,

he has destroyed all Judah's strong towns.

Yes, he has destroyed all the buildings.

And he has killed the rulers and all the people.

3 Yes, because he is very angry,

he has destroyed Israel's whole army.

He did not help them when they were fighting the enemy.

He was like a big hot fire

that burned Jacob's people from all sides.

4 He has bent his bow like an enemy ready to kill people.

And, like an enemy,

he has killed all those who once gave him pleasure.

He has shown how angry he was.

He has sent a fire and he burned all Zion's houses.

5 The Lord has become like an enemy.

He has destroyed Israel

and all the beautiful houses there.

He has destroyed all the strong towns that had walls.

He has caused Judah's people to weep.

They are very sad.

6 He has knocked down his own holy house

as easily as someone can knock down a hut in a garden.

He has destroyed this place where people once met him.

The LORD has caused Zion's people to forget

the special events and the Sabbaths in his holy house.

He was very angry.

So he thought that our king and our priests were not important.

He refused to help them.

2:6The ‘holy house’ is the place in Jerusalem where Israel's people went to worship God. The Bible calls it ‘the Temple’. King Solomon built the Temple that Jeremiah is talking about here. See 1 Kings 5:1-5.

7 His holy house and his altar there

no longer give pleasure to the Lord.

He has given Zion's most beautiful houses to the enemy.

They shout in the holy house of the LORD

as people shout on a special holy day.

8 The LORD decided to destroy the strong walls of Zion.

He carefully broke away each stone.

It causes us to weep when we look at those walls.

He destroyed them all.

He destroyed the inside walls and he destroyed the strong outside walls.

9 Zion's gates fell down on the ground.

He destroyed them and he has broken them in pieces.

The enemies have taken away our king

and his sons to a foreign country.

The people have nearly forgotten God's rules.

And the LORD does not send messages to us any longer.

His prophets have nothing to say to us.

2:9Verse 7 Foreign people should not be in the ‘holy house’. See Nehemiah 13:1.
2:9Verse 9 ‘nearly forgotten’. God's rules were still there, but people did not think about them any longer. They did not obey them.

10 Zion's leaders sit on the ground and they are saying nothing.

They have dressed themselves in sackcloth

and they throw dirt on their own heads.

They are showing everyone that they are very sad.

And the young women of Jerusalem can only look down to the ground,

because they are very sad too.

2:10In those times, people sometimes put dirt on their heads and they put on clothes of sackcloth. They did it to show that they were very sad.

11 I have cried so much that my eyes are red now.

Even the parts inside my body hurt,

because my people are dying.

I feel ill because I am so sad.

The children and babies fall in the city's streets

because they are so weak.

12 ‘Where has all the food and drink gone?’

the hungry children ask their mothers.

Then they fall down in pain on the streets of the city.

They die in their mothers' arms.

13 I want to help you people of Jerusalem.

But there is nothing that I can say to you.

I do not know about anything like what has happened to you.

God has destroyed Zion completely!

I do not know anyone who can make you people better.

14 Your prophets have promised you many good things.

Those good things will not happen.

They should have told you that you should not do wrong things.

If they had told you that, none of these troubles would have happened.

The prophets do not tell you true messages from God

and their dreams are false.

2:14God had told the people many times that they must not listen to these false prophets. God also told the people how to recognise good prophets. Only good prophets brought messages from God. See Jeremiah 23:16-22; 28:9.

15 Everyone who goes by laughs.

They are happy because you are sad.

They see how the enemy has destroyed everything in Jerusalem.

‘Surely this cannot be the city that men called most beautiful,’ they say.

‘People have said that this city is the best city on earth.’

16 All your enemies make noises through their teeth

because they are very happy.

‘We have won!’ they say.

‘We have waited for this day.

Now we have beaten you!

Now we have seen it!’

17 The LORD has done what he decided to do.

Yes, he has done what he told you about a long time ago.

He has destroyed your city and he has not felt sorry about it.

He has caused your enemies to be happy.

He has made them strong

so that they could win against you.

2:17See Deuteronomy 28:15, 36, 47-68; 29:22-28; 30:1-5. God gave people clear messages a long time before this time. If they did not obey him, their enemies would beat them. And God would help their enemies.

18 Day and night, cause your tears to run like a river round the walls of Zion.

Cry to the Lord all the time, you people.

Do not rest.

Do not let your eyes stop crying.

19 Stand up and pray for God's help.

Talk to God all night.

Pour out your words and thoughts to the Lord

as you pour out water from a jar.

Lift up your hands to him when you ask him.

And ask him to save the lives of your children.

They fall down to die at the end of every street

because they are so hungry.

2:19Jerusalem's people speak

20 ‘Look at us, LORD’, you should say.

‘You have done all this to your people.

Women eat their own children now!

But they are the children that they looked after.

People have killed your own priests and prophets

in your holy house!

21 Young people and old people lie dead in the streets.

The enemy has killed the young men and women with long knives.

But it was really you who killed them.

You were very angry with us.

So you killed them and you did not feel sorry.

22 You asked our enemies to come round us

as people come to a special party.

They killed our people because you were angry.

Nobody could hide or run away.

They all died.

We saw the enemy kill our own children.’