The Prophet Speaks:
1 א (Alef)
Alas!1 The Lord2 has covered Daughter Zion3 with his anger.4
He has thrown down the splendor of Israel
from heaven to earth;
he did not protect5 his temple6 when he displayed his anger.7
2 ב (Bet)
The Lord8 destroyed9 mercilessly10 all the homes of Jacob’s descendants.11
In his anger he tore down
the fortified cities12 of Daughter Judah.
He knocked to the ground and humiliated
the kingdom and its rulers.13
3 ג (Gimel)
In fierce anger14 he destroyed15 the whole army16 of Israel. He withdrew his right hand17 He was like a raging fire in the land of Jacob;19 it consumed everything around it.20
4 ד (Dalet)
He prepared his bow21 like an enemy; his right hand was ready to shoot.22
Like a foe he killed everyone,
even our strong young men;23
he has poured out his anger like fire
on the tent24 of Daughter Zion.
5 ה (He)
The Lord,25 like an enemy, He destroyed27 all her palaces; he ruined her28 fortified cities.
He made everyone in Daughter Judah
6 ו (Vav)
He destroyed his temple30 as if it were a vineyard;31
he destroyed his appointed meeting place.
The Lord has made those in Zion forget
both the festivals and the Sabbaths.32 In his fierce anger33 he has spurned34
both king and priest.
7 ז (Zayin)
The Lord35 rejected36 his altar and abhorred his temple.37 He handed over to the enemy38
her palace walls;
the enemy39 shouted40 in the Lord’s temple as if it were a feast day.41
8 ח (Khet)
The Lord was determined to tear down
Daughter Zion’s wall.
He prepared to knock it down;42 he did not withdraw his hand from destroying.43
He made the ramparts and fortified walls lament;
together they mourned their ruin.44
9 ט (Tet)
Her city gates have fallen45 to the ground; he smashed to bits46 the bars that lock her gates.47 Her king and princes were taken into exile;48 there is no more guidance available.49
As for her prophets,
they no longer receive50 a vision from the Lord.
10 י (Yod)
The elders of Daughter Zion
sit51 on the ground in silence.52
They have thrown dirt on their heads;
They have dressed in sackcloth.53 Jerusalem’s young women54 stare down at the ground.55
11 כ (Kaf)
My eyes are worn out56 from weeping;57 my stomach is in knots.58 My heart59 is poured out on the ground due to the destruction60 of my helpless people;61
children and infants faint
in the town squares.
12 ל (Lamed)
Children62 say to their mothers,63 “Where are food and drink?”64 They faint65 like a wounded warrior
in the city squares.
in their mothers’ arms.67
13 מ (Mem)
With what can I equate68 you?
To what can I compare you, O Daughter Jerusalem?
To what can I liken you69 so that70 I might comfort you, O Virgin Daughter Zion? Your wound is as deep71 as the sea.72
14 נ (Nun)
Your prophets saw visions for you
that were worthless lies.74
They failed to expose your sin
so as to restore your fortunes.75
They saw oracles for you
that were worthless76 lies.
15 ס (Samek)
All who passed by on the road
clapped their hands to mock you.77
They sneered and shook their heads
at Daughter Jerusalem.
“Ha! Is this the city they called78 ‘The perfection of beauty,79 the source of joy of the whole earth!’?”80
16 פ (Pe)
All your enemies
They sneered and gnashed their teeth;
they said, “We have destroyed82 her!
Ha! We have waited a long time for this day.
We have lived to see it!”83
17 ע (Ayin)
The Lord has done what he planned;
he has fulfilled84 his promise85 that he threatened86 long ago:87 He has overthrown you without mercy88
and has enabled the enemy to gloat over you;
he has exalted your adversaries’ power.89
18 צ (Tsade)
Cry out90 from your heart91 to the Lord,92 O wall of Daughter Zion!93
Make your tears flow like a river
all day and all night long!94
Do not rest;
do not let your tears95 stop!
19 ק (Qof)
Get up! Cry out in the night96 when the night watches start!97 Pour out your heart98 like water before the face of the Lord!99 Lift up your hands100 to him for your children’s lives;101 at every street corner.103
20 ר (Resh)
Look, O Lord! Consider!104 Whom have you ever afflicted105 like this? Should women eat their offspring,106 their healthy infants?107
Should priest and prophet
be killed in the Lord’s108 sanctuary?
21 ש (Sin/Shin)
The young boys and old men
lie dead on the ground in the streets.
My young women109 and my young men
have fallen by the sword.
You killed them when you were angry;110 you slaughtered them without mercy.111
22 ת (Tav)
As if it were a feast day, you call112 enemies113 to terrify me114 on every side.115
On the day of the Lord’s anger
no one escaped or survived.
My enemy has finished off
those healthy infants whom I bore116 and raised.117