God’s Anger over Israel

How the Lord has covered the Daughter of Zion (Jerusalem)
With a cloud in His anger!
He has cast down from heaven to the earth
The glory and splendor of Israel
And has not remembered His footstool
In the day of His anger.

The Lord has swallowed up; He has not spared
All the country places of Jacob.
In His wrath He has thrown down
The strongholds of the Daughter of Judah (Jerusalem).
He has brought them down to the ground [in disgrace];
He has debased the kingdom and its princes.

In fierce anger He has cut off and destroyed
Every (a)horn of Israel.
He has withdrawn His right hand
From the presence of the enemy.
And He has burned in Jacob like a flaming fire
Consuming all around.

He has bent His bow like an enemy;
He has set His right hand like an adversary
And slain all that were delightful and pleasing to the eye;
In the tent of the Daughter of Zion
He has poured out His wrath like fire.

The Lord has become like an enemy;
He has swallowed up Israel.
He has swallowed up all its palaces;
He has destroyed its strongholds
And multiplied in the Daughter of Judah
Mourning and lamentation (expressions of grief).

And He has violently broken down His temple like a [fragile] garden hedge;
He has destroyed His appointed meeting place.
The Lord has caused the appointed feast and Sabbath
To be forgotten in Zion
And has despised and rejected the king and the priest
In the indignation of His anger.

The Lord has rejected His altar;
He has abandoned His sanctuary.
He has given into the hand of the enemy
The walls of her palaces;
They have made a noise in the house of the Lord
As on a day of an appointed feast.

The Lord determined to lay in ruins
The [city] wall of the Daughter of Zion.
He has stretched out a line,
He has not stopped His hand from destroying.
He has caused the rampart and the wall to lament (mourn in grief);
They have languished together.

Her gates have sunk into the ground;
He has destroyed and broken her bars.
Her king and her princes are [exiled] among the nations;
The law is no more.
Also, her prophets no longer find
Vision from the Lord.

The elders of the Daughter of Zion
Sit on the ground keeping silent;
They have thrown dust on their heads,
They have covered themselves with sackcloth.
The virgins of Jerusalem
Have bowed their heads to the ground.

My eyes fail because of tears [mourns Jeremiah],
My spirit is deeply disturbed;
My heart is poured out on the earth [in grief]
Because of the destruction of the daughter of my people [Jerusalem],
When little ones and infants faint
In the streets of the city.

They cry to their mothers,
“Where is grain and wine?”
As they faint like a wounded man
In the streets of the city,
As their life [slips away and] is poured out
In their mothers’ arms.

How shall I console you?
To what shall I compare you,
O Daughter of Jerusalem?
With what shall I compare you, so that I may comfort you,
O Virgin Daughter of Zion?
For your ruin is as vast as the sea;
Who can heal you?(A)

Your prophets have seen (imagined) for you
False and foolish visions;
And they have not exposed your wickedness
To restore you from captivity [by teaching you to repent],
But they have seen (imagined) and declared to you false and misleading oracles.

All who pass along the way
Clap their hands in derision at you;
They scoff and shake their heads
At the Daughter of Jerusalem, saying,
“Is this the city that was called
‘The perfection of beauty,
The joy of all the earth’?”

All your enemies
Have opened their mouths wide against you;
They [scornfully] hiss and gnash their teeth.
They say, “We have swallowed her up!
Certainly this is the day for which we waited;
We have reached it, we have seen it!”

The Lord has done what He planned;
He has accomplished His word
Which He commanded (b)from days of old.
He has demolished without sparing,
And He has caused the enemy to rejoice over you;
He has exalted the power of your enemies.(B)

Their hearts cried out to the Lord.
“O wall of the Daughter of Zion,
Let your tears run down like a river day and night;
Give yourself no relief,
Let your eyes have no rest.

“Arise, cry aloud in the night,
At the beginning of the night watches;
Pour out your heart like water
Before the presence of the Lord;
Lift up your hands to Him
For the life of your little ones
Who are faint from hunger
At the head of every street.”(C)

See, O Lord, and look!
With whom have You dealt this way?
Should women eat their offspring,
The little ones who were born healthy and beautiful?
Should priest and prophet be killed
In the sanctuary of the Lord?

The young and the old
Lie on the ground in the streets;
My virgins and my young men
Have fallen by the sword.
You have killed them in the day of Your anger,
You have slaughtered, not sparing.

You [Lord] called as in the day of an appointed feast
My terrors (dangers) on every side;
And there was no one who escaped or survived
In the day of the Lord’s anger.
Those I have cared for and brought up with tenderness,
My enemy annihilated them.


a. Lamentations 2:3: The horn is symbolic of strength and power.
b. Lamentations 2:17: The Jews were well aware of the ancient predictions of the coming judgment against Israel because of their sin.