The Sorrows of Jerusalem
1 (A)How lonely lies Jerusalem, once so full of people!
Once honored by the world, she is now like a widow;
The noblest of cities has fallen into slavery.
2 All night long she cries; tears run down her cheeks.
Of all her former friends, not one is left to comfort her.
Her allies have betrayed her and are all against her now.
3 Judah's people are helpless slaves, forced away from home.[a]
They live in other lands, with no place to call their own—
Surrounded by enemies, with no way to escape.
4 No one comes to the Temple now to worship on the holy days.
The young women who sang there suffer, and the priests can only groan.
The city gates stand empty, and Zion is in agony.
5 Her enemies succeeded; they hold her in their power.
The Lord has made her suffer for all her many sins;
Her children have been captured and taken away.
6 The splendor of Jerusalem is a thing of the past.
Her leaders are like deer that are weak from hunger,
Whose strength is almost gone as they flee from the hunters.
7 A lonely ruin now, Jerusalem recalls her ancient splendor.
When she fell to the enemy, there was no one to help her;
Her conquerors laughed at her downfall.
8 Her honor is gone; she is naked and held in contempt.
She groans and hides her face in shame.
Jerusalem made herself filthy with terrible sin.
9 Her uncleanness was easily seen, but she showed no concern for her fate.
Her downfall was terrible; no one can comfort her.
Her enemies have won, and she cries to the Lord for mercy.
10 The enemies robbed her of all her treasures.
She saw them enter the Temple itself,
Where the Lord had forbidden Gentiles to go.
11 Her people groan as they look for something to eat;
They exchange their treasures for food to keep themselves alive.
“Look at me, Lord,” the city cries; “see me in my misery.”
12 “Look at me!” she cries to everyone who passes by.[b]
“No one has ever had pain like mine,
Pain that the Lord brought on me in the time of his anger.
13 “He sent fire from above, a fire that burned inside me.
He set a trap for me and brought me to the ground.
Then he abandoned me and left me in constant pain.
14 “He took note of all my sins and tied them all together;
He hung them around my neck, and I grew weak beneath the weight.
The Lord gave me to my foes, and I was helpless against them.
15 “The Lord laughed at all my strongest soldiers;
He sent an army to destroy my young men.
He crushed my people like grapes in a wine press.
16 “That is why my eyes are overflowing with tears.
No one can comfort me; no one can give me courage.
The enemy has conquered me; my people have nothing left.
17 “I stretch out my hands, but no one will help me.
The Lord has called enemies against me from every side;
They treat me like some filthy thing.
18 “But the Lord is just, for I have disobeyed him.
Listen to me, people everywhere; look at me in my pain.
My young men and women have been taken away captive.
19 “I called to my allies, but they refused to help me.
The priests and the leaders died in the city streets,
Looking for food to keep themselves alive.
20 “Look, O Lord, at my agony, at the anguish of my soul!
My heart is broken in sorrow for my sins.
There is murder in the streets; even indoors there is death.
22 “Condemn them for all their wickedness;
Punish them as you punished me for my sins.
I groan in misery, and I am sick at heart.”
The Lord's Punishment of Jerusalem
2 The Lord in his anger has covered Zion with darkness.
Its heavenly splendor he has turned into ruins.
On the day of his anger he abandoned even his Temple.
2 The Lord destroyed without mercy every village in Judah
And tore down the forts that defended the land.
He brought disgrace on the kingdom and its rulers.
3 In his fury he shattered the strength of Israel;
He refused to help us when the enemy came.
He raged against us like fire, destroying everything.
4 He aimed his arrows at us like an enemy;
He killed all those who were our joy and delight.
Here in Jerusalem we felt his burning anger.
5 Like an enemy, the Lord has destroyed Israel;
He has left her forts and palaces in ruins.
He has brought on the people of Judah unending sorrow.
6 He smashed to pieces the Temple where we worshiped him;
He has put an end to holy days and Sabbaths.
King and priest alike have felt the force of his anger.
7 The Lord rejected his altar and deserted his holy Temple;
He allowed the enemy to tear down its walls.
They shouted in victory where once we had worshiped in joy.
8 The Lord was determined that the walls of Zion should fall;
He measured them off to make sure of total destruction.
The towers and walls now lie in ruins together.
9 The gates lie buried in rubble, their bars smashed to pieces.
The king and the noblemen now are in exile.
The Law is no longer taught, and the prophets have no visions from the Lord.
10 Jerusalem's old men sit on the ground in silence,
With dust on their heads and sackcloth on their bodies.
Young women bow their heads to the ground.
11 My eyes are worn out with weeping; my soul is in anguish.
I am exhausted with grief at the destruction of my people.
Children and babies are fainting in the streets of the city.
12 Hungry and thirsty, they cry to their mothers;
They fall in the streets as though they were wounded,
And slowly die in their mothers' arms.
13 O Jerusalem, beloved Jerusalem, what can I say?
How can I comfort you? No one has ever suffered like this.
Your disaster is boundless as the ocean; there is no possible hope.
14 Your prophets had nothing to tell you but lies;
Their preaching deceived you by never exposing your sin.
They made you think you did not need to repent.
15 People passing by the city look at you in scorn.
They shake their heads and laugh at Jerusalem's ruins:
“Is this that lovely city? Is this the pride of the world?”
16 All your enemies mock you and glare at you with hate.
They curl their lips and sneer, “We have destroyed it!
This is the day we have waited for!”
17 The Lord has finally done what he threatened to do:
He has destroyed us without mercy, as he warned us long ago.
He gave our enemies victory, gave them joy at our downfall.
18 O Jerusalem, let your very walls cry out to the Lord![e]
Let your tears flow like rivers night and day;
Wear yourself out with weeping and grief
19 All through the night get up again and again to cry out to the Lord;
Pour out your heart and beg him for mercy on your children—
Children starving to death on every street corner!
20 Look, O Lord! Why are you punishing us like this?
Women are eating the bodies of the children they loved!
Priests and prophets are being killed in the Temple itself
21 Young and old alike lie dead in the streets,
Young men and women, killed by enemy swords.
You slaughtered them without mercy on the day of your anger.
22 You invited my enemies to hold a carnival of terror all around me,
And no one could escape on that day of your anger.
They murdered my children, whom I had raised and loved.
- Lamentations 1:3 are helpless … home; or fled from home, from the misery of slavery.
- Lamentations 1:12 Look … by; or May this not happen to you that pass by; or Does this mean nothing to you that pass by?
- Lamentations 1:21 One ancient translation Listen; Hebrew They listened.
- Lamentations 1:21 One ancient translation Bring; Hebrew You brought.
- Lamentations 2:18 Probable text O Jerusalem … Lord; Hebrew Their hearts cried out to the Lord, O wall of Jerusalem.
1 From Paul, a prisoner for the sake of Christ Jesus, and from our brother Timothy—
To our friend and fellow worker Philemon, 2 (A)and the church that meets in your house, and our sister Apphia, and our fellow soldier Archippus:
3 May God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ give you grace and peace.
Philemon's Love and Faith
4 Brother Philemon, every time I pray, I mention you and give thanks to my God. 5 For I hear of your love for all of God's people and the faith you have in the Lord Jesus. 6 My prayer is that our fellowship with you as believers will bring about a deeper understanding of every blessing which we have in our life in union with Christ. 7 Your love, dear brother, has brought me great joy and much encouragement! You have cheered the hearts of all of God's people.
A Request for Onesimus
8 For this reason I could be bold enough, as your brother in Christ, to order you to do what should be done. 9 But because I love you, I make a request instead. I do this even though I am Paul, the ambassador of Christ Jesus, and at present also a prisoner for his sake.[a] 10 (B)So I make a request to you on behalf of Onesimus, who is my own son in Christ; for while in prison I have become his spiritual father. 11 At one time he was of no use to you, but now he is useful[b] both to you and to me.
12 I am sending him back to you now, and with him goes my heart. 13 I would like to keep him here with me, while I am in prison for the gospel's sake, so that he could help me in your place. 14 However, I do not want to force you to help me; rather, I would like for you to do it of your own free will. So I will not do anything unless you agree.
15 It may be that Onesimus was away from you for a short time so that you might have him back for all time. 16 And now he is not just a slave, but much more than a slave: he is a dear brother in Christ. How much he means to me! And how much more he will mean to you, both as a slave and as a brother in the Lord!
17 So, if you think of me as your partner, welcome him back just as you would welcome me. 18 If he has done you any wrong or owes you anything, charge it to my account. 19 Here, I will write this with my own hand: I, Paul, will pay you back (I should not have to remind you, of course, that you owe your very self to me.) 20 So, my brother, please do me this favor for the Lord's sake; as a brother in Christ, cheer me up!
21 I am sure, as I write this, that you will do what I ask—in fact I know that you will do even more. 22 At the same time, get a room ready for me, because I hope that God will answer the prayers of all of you and give me back to you.
25 May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with you all.
A King's Promise[a]
101 My song is about loyalty and justice,
and I sing it to you, O Lord.
2 My conduct will be faultless.
When will you come to me?
I will live a pure life in my house
3 and will never tolerate evil.
I hate the actions of those who turn away from God;
I will have nothing to do with them.
4 I will not be dishonest[b]
and will have no dealings with evil.[c]
5 I will get rid of anyone
who whispers evil things about someone else;
I will not tolerate anyone
who is proud and arrogant.
6 I will approve of those who are faithful to God
and will let them live in my palace.
Those who are completely honest
will be allowed to serve me.
7 No liar will live in my palace;
no hypocrite will remain in my presence.
8 Day after day I will destroy
the wicked in our land;
I will expel all who are evil
from the city of the Lord.
20 Without wood, a fire goes out; without gossip, quarreling stops.