A Lament over Zion
1Oh that my head were waters
And my eyes a fountain of tears,
That I might weep day and night
For the slain of the daughter of my people!
2Oh that I had in the wilderness
A lodging place (a mere shelter) for wayfaring men,
That I might leave my people
And go away from them!
For they are all adulterers [worshiping idols instead of the Lord],
[They are] an assembly of treacherous men [of weak character, men without integrity].
3“They bend their tongue like their bow;
[Their] lies and not truth prevail and grow strong in the land;
For they proceed from evil to evil,
And they do not know and understand and acknowledge Me,” says the Lord.
4“Let everyone beware of his neighbor
And do not trust any brother.
For every brother is a supplanter [like Jacob, a deceiver, ready to grab his brother’s heel],
And every neighbor goes around as a slanderer.
5Everyone deceives and mocks his neighbor
And does not speak the truth.
They have taught their tongue to speak lies;
They exhaust themselves with sin and cruelty.
6Your dwelling is in the midst of deceit [oppression upon oppression and deceit upon deceit];
Through deceit they refuse to know (understand) Me,” says the Lord.
7Therefore thus says the Lord of hosts,
“Behold, I will refine them [through suffering] and test them;
For how else should I deal with the daughter of My people?
8Their tongue is a murderous arrow;
It speaks deceit;
With his mouth one speaks peace to his neighbor,
But in his heart he lays traps and waits in ambush for him.
9Shall I not punish them for these things?” says the Lord.
“Shall I not avenge Myself
On such a nation as this?
10“I will take up a weeping and wailing for the mountains,
And a [funeral] dirge for the pastures of the wilderness,
Because they are burned up and desolated so that no one passes through [them];
Nor can anyone hear the lowing of cattle.
Both the birds of the air and the beasts have fled; they are gone.
11I will make Jerusalem a heap of ruins,
A haunt and dwelling place of jackals;
And I will make the cities of Judah a desolation, without inhabitant.”
12Who is the wise man who may understand this [without any doubt]? To whom has the mouth of the Lord spoken, so that he may declare it? Why is the land ruined, laid waste like a wilderness, so that no one passes through? 13The Lord said, “Because they have turned away from My law which I set before them, and have not listened to and obeyed My voice nor walked in accordance with it, 14but have walked stubbornly after their [own] heart and after the Baals, as their fathers taught them,” 15therefore thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, “behold, I will feed them, this people, with wormwood and give them bitter and poisonous water to drink. 16I will [also] scatter them among nations that neither they nor their fathers have known, and I will send the sword after them until I have annihilated them.”
17Thus says the Lord of hosts,
“Consider and call for the mourning women to come;
Send for the wailing women to come.
18Let them hurry and take up a wailing for us,
That our eyes may shed tears
And our eyelids flow with water.
19For a sound of wailing is heard [coming] from Zion:
‘How we are ruined!
We are greatly perplexed and utterly shamed,
Because we have left the land,
Because they have torn down our dwellings.’ ”
20Now hear the word of the Lord, O you women,
And let your ear hear the word of His mouth;
Teach your daughters a song of mourning,
And each one [teach] her neighbor a dirge.
21For death has come up through our windows;
It has entered our palaces,
Cutting off the children from the streets
And the young men from the town squares.
22Speak, “Thus says the Lord,
‘The dead bodies of men will fall like dung on the open field,
And like sheaves [of grain] behind the reaper,
And no one will gather them.’ ”
23Thus says the Lord, “Let not the one who is wise and skillful boast in his insight; let not the one who is mighty and powerful boast in his strength; let not the one who is rich boast in his [temporal satisfactions and earthly] abundance; 24but let the one who boasts boast in this, that he understands and knows Me [and acknowledges Me and honors Me as God and recognizes without any doubt], that I am the Lord who practices lovingkindness, justice and righteousness on the earth, for in these things I delight,” says the Lord.
25“Behold, the days are coming,” says the Lord, “when I will punish all who are circumcised [physically] and yet uncircumcised [spiritually]— 26Egypt and Judah, and Edom and the sons of Ammon, and Moab and all those who live in the desert who clip off the hair on their temples; for all these nations are uncircumcised (sinful, impure), and all the house of Israel are uncircumcised in heart.”