Jerusalem after Its Fall
4 Our glittering gold has grown dull;
the stones of the Temple lie scattered in the streets.
2 Zion's young people were as precious to us as gold,
but now they are treated like common clay pots.
3 Even a mother wolf will nurse her cubs,
but my people are like ostriches, cruel to their young.
4 They let their babies die of hunger and thirst;
children are begging for food that no one will give them.
5 People who once ate the finest foods die starving in the streets;
those raised in luxury are pawing through garbage for food.
6 (A)My people have been punished even more than the inhabitants of Sodom,
which met a sudden downfall at the hands of God.
7 Our princes[a] were undefiled and pure as snow,
vigorous and strong, glowing with health.
8 Now they lie unknown in the streets, their faces blackened in death;
their skin, dry as wood, has shriveled on their bones.
9 Those who died in the war were better off than those who died later,
who starved slowly to death, with no food to keep them alive.
10 (B)The disaster that came to my people brought horror;
loving mothers boiled their own children for food.
11 The Lord turned loose the full force of his fury;
he lit a fire in Zion that burned it to the ground.
12 No one anywhere, not even rulers of foreign nations,
believed that any invader could enter Jerusalem's gates.
13 But it happened, because her prophets sinned and her priests were guilty
of causing the death of innocent people.
14 Her leaders wandered through the streets as though blind,
so stained with blood that no one would touch them.
15 “Get away!” people shouted. “You're defiled! Don't touch me!”
So they wandered from nation to nation, welcomed by no one.
16 The Lord had no more concern for them; he scattered them himself.
He showed no regard for our priests and leaders.
17 For help that never came, we looked until we could look no longer.
We kept waiting for help from a nation that had none to give.
18 The enemy was watching for us; we could not even walk in the streets.
Our days were over; the end had come.
19 Swifter than eagles swooping from the sky, they chased us down.
They tracked us down in the hills; they took us by surprise in the desert.
20 They captured the source of our life, the king the Lord had chosen,
the one we had trusted to protect us from every invader.
21 Laugh on, people of Edom and Uz; be glad while you can.
Your disaster is coming too; you too will stagger naked in shame.
22 Zion has paid for her sin; the Lord will not keep us in exile any longer.
But Edom, the Lord will punish you; he will expose your guilty acts.
A Prayer for Mercy
5 Remember, O Lord, what has happened to us.
Look at us, and see our disgrace.
2 Our property is in the hands of strangers;
foreigners are living in our homes.
3 Our fathers have been killed by the enemy,
and now our mothers are widows.
4 We must pay for the water we drink;
we must buy the wood we need for fuel.
5 Driven hard like donkeys or camels,
we are tired, but are allowed no rest.
6 To get food enough to stay alive,
we went begging to Egypt and Assyria.
7 Our ancestors sinned, but now they are gone,
and we are suffering for their sins.
8 Our rulers are no better than slaves,
and no one can save us from their power.
9 Murderers roam through the countryside;
we risk our lives when we look for food.
10 Hunger has made us burn with fever
until our skin is as hot as an oven.
11 Our wives have been raped on Mount Zion itself;
in every Judean village our daughters have been forced to submit.
12 Our leaders have been taken and hanged;
our elders are shown no respect.
13 Our young men are forced to grind grain like slaves;
boys go staggering under heavy loads of wood.
14 The old people no longer sit at the city gate,
and the young people no longer make music.
15 Happiness has gone out of our lives;
grief has taken the place of our dances.
16 Nothing is left of all we were proud of.
We sinned, and now we are doomed.
17 We are sick at our very hearts
and can hardly see through our tears,
18 because Mount Zion lies lonely and deserted,
and wild jackals prowl through its ruins.
19 But you, O Lord, are king forever
and will rule to the end of time.
20 Why have you abandoned us so long?
Will you ever remember us again?
21 Bring us back to you, Lord! Bring us back!
Restore our ancient glory.
22 Or have you rejected us forever?
Is there no limit to your anger?
- Lamentations 4:7 princes; or Nazirites.
The Great Salvation
2 That is why we must hold on all the more firmly to the truths we have heard, so that we will not be carried away. 2 The message given to our ancestors by the angels was shown to be true, and those who did not follow it or obey it received the punishment they deserved. 3 How, then, shall we escape if we pay no attention to such a great salvation? The Lord himself first announced this salvation, and those who heard him proved to us that it is true. 4 At the same time God added his witness to theirs by performing all kinds of miracles and wonders and by distributing the gifts of the Holy Spirit according to his will.
The One Who Leads Us to Salvation
5 God has not placed the angels as rulers over the new world to come—the world of which we speak. 6 (A)Instead, as it is said somewhere in the Scriptures:
“What are human beings, O God, that you should think of them;
mere human beings, that you should care for them?
7 You made them for a little while lower than the angels;
you crowned them with glory and honor,[a]
8 and made them rulers over all things.”
It says that God made them “rulers over all things”; this clearly includes everything. We do not, however, see human beings ruling over all things now. 9 But we do see Jesus, who for a little while was made lower than the angels, so that through God's grace he should die for everyone. We see him now crowned with glory and honor because of the death he suffered. 10 It was only right that God, who creates and preserves all things, should make Jesus perfect through suffering, in order to bring many children to share his glory. For Jesus is the one who leads them to salvation.
11 He purifies people from their sins, and both he and those who are made pure all have the same Father. That is why Jesus is not ashamed to call them his family. 12 (B)He says to God,
“I will tell my people what you have done;
I will praise you in their meeting.”
13 (C)He also says, “I will put my trust in God.” And he also says, “Here I am with the children that God has given me.”
14 Since the children, as he calls them, are people of flesh and blood, Jesus himself became like them and shared their human nature. He did this so that through his death he might destroy the Devil, who has the power over death, 15 and in this way set free those who were slaves all their lives because of their fear of death. 16 (D)For it is clear that it is not the angels that he helps. Instead, he helps the descendants of Abraham. 17 This means that he had to become like his people in every way, in order to be their faithful and merciful High Priest in his service to God, so that the people's sins would be forgiven. 18 And now he can help those who are tempted, because he himself was tempted and suffered.
The Love of God[a]
103 Praise the Lord, my soul!
All my being, praise his holy name!
2 Praise the Lord, my soul,
and do not forget how kind he is.
3 He forgives all my sins
and heals all my diseases.
4 He keeps me from the grave
and blesses me with love and mercy.
5 He fills my life[b] with good things,
so that I stay young and strong like an eagle.
6 The Lord judges in favor of the oppressed
and gives them their rights.
7 He revealed his plans to Moses
and let the people of Israel see his mighty deeds.
8 (A)The Lord is merciful and loving,
slow to become angry and full of constant love.
9 He does not keep on rebuking;
he is not angry forever.
10 He does not punish us as we deserve
or repay us according to our sins and wrongs.
11 As high as the sky is above the earth,
so great is his love for those who honor him.
12 As far as the east is from the west,
so far does he remove our sins from us.
13 As a father is kind to his children,
so the Lord is kind to those who honor him.
14 He knows what we are made of;
he remembers that we are dust.
15 As for us, our life is like grass.
We grow and flourish like a wild flower;
16 then the wind blows on it, and it is gone—
no one sees it again.
17 But for those who honor the Lord, his love lasts forever,
and his goodness endures for all generations
18 of those who are true to his covenant
and who faithfully obey his commands.
19 The Lord placed his throne in heaven;
he is king over all.
20 Praise the Lord, you strong and mighty angels,
who obey his commands,
who listen to what he says.
21 Praise the Lord, all you heavenly powers,
you servants of his, who do his will!
22 Praise the Lord, all his creatures
in all the places he rules.
Praise the Lord, my soul!