God slaughters the Jews
God destroys Jerusalem1Oh no! The Lord loaded his anger
And poured it all over Jerusalem.
Once, a city soaring high in the heavens,
Now a ghost town, dead in the dirt.
God was so angry
He didn’t spare the Temple, his footrest.
2Without mercy, the LORD decimated the land,
As he wiped out homes of Jacob’s descendants.
Livid with anger, he dropped the city walls of Judah.
All that’s left is a kingdom of rocks
Laid low in fields of disgrace.
And leaders left with nothing to lead.
3In explosive anger, he decimated Israel,
Wiping out the entire army.
When the enemy attacked
He didn’t throw a punch to stop them.
He burned Jacob’s descendants like a wildfire
Flaming in from all directions.
4He bent his bow and aimed his arrow
Like an enemy in the heat of a battle.
He killed what he saw and emptied his wrath
Like a firestorm on the City of Zion.
5God became Israel’s enemy,
Destroyer of the nation.
Palaces now lie in rockpile ruins,
City walls in speedbumps of stone.
People of Judah mourn in deep misery
Because of what God has done.
Goodbye Temple6The LORD broke the Temple
Like a farmer breaks dirt
When he plows his field for a garden.
Without a worship center there’s no Sabbath.
And religious festivals cease to exist.
In furious anger, God turned on everyone.
King and priest got no exception.
7The LORD hates the altar where Jews worship.
He wants no part of the Temple.
He surrendered palace walls to invaders,
Who cheered in the sacred Temple of the LORD.
8When the LORD decided to drop the walls of Jerusalem,
He measured them like sizing up a target,
And he didn’t change his mind for a second.
He left the city towers and walls in a heap,
Mourning over their destruction.
9City gates lie in a ditch,
Their locking bars smashed to pieces.
Judah’s king and leaders are gone,
Living as captives in exile.
Religious education doesn’t exist anymore.
And prophets have nothing to say,
For God says nothing to them.
10Exiled leaders of what used to be Jerusalem
Sit silent on the ground, in mourning.
They’ve thrown dust on their heads
And dressed in scratchy feed sack cloth.
Young women hang their heads in shame.
Starving babies11I’ve cried my eyes empty and aching.
My stomach has twisted into knots.
My heart is broken and I’m beside myself.
It’s all because of my people’s tragedy
And the children dying in the streets.
12They cry to their mothers, before they die,
“We’re hungry and thirsty.
Where is our food?”
Then they die in their mothers’ arms.
Has anyone suffered like you?
What can I say to ease your pain
Or to bring you a moment of comfort.
The depth of your disaster would fill the sea.
Who could possibly heal you?
14You’ve had a string of false prophets
Who deluded you with fake visions.
They didn’t bother exposing your sin,
Which could have led you back to prosperity.
But they misled you
With fake fortunetelling, lies, and deceit.
15Everyone who sees you makes fun of you now.
They boo and hiss and roll their eyes
At the sight of Jerusalem today.
They say, “Is this that so-called Perfect City,
The happiest place on earth?”
16Your enemies gloat and insult you.
They boo and hiss and grimace and say,
“We had Jerusalem for breakfast.
We finally own this town.”
God keeps his promise to punish Israel17The LORD promised to do this.
So, he did what he promised,
He carried out the punishment
That he had warned about long ago.
He began the destruction,
By showing no mercy.
And he praised the strength of your enemies.
18Go ahead and cry, Wall of Jerusalem.
Cry a raging river day and night.
Don’t take a break.
Don’t give your eyes a rest.
19Wake up in the wee hours of morning
And pour out your heart
Like water at the feet of the LORD.
Lift your hands high on behalf of your kids,
Dying of starvation in the streets.
Lord, look what you did20LORD, please look at what you’ve done
And to whom you’ve done it.
Is it right for mothers to eat their children?
Should priests and prophets
Be slaughtered in God’s Temple?
21Young folks and seniors lie helpless in the streets,
Young men and women lie dead from the sword.
In your anger you killed them,
Butchering them without mercy.
22You invited my enemies to town
Like they were coming to a religious feast.
We were the feast.
The day you emptied your anger on us
No one escaped. No one survived.
All were hurt in one way or another.
Children I brought into this world—
Children I raised in my home,
Are the young people my enemy chose to slaughter.
God’s “footrest” was a term Bible writers used sometimes to talk about the earth, or the Jerusalem Temple, or Israel’s most sacred relic known as the Ark of the Covenant, located in the most sacred room in the Temple. Jews taught that God’s footrest was the lid on the Ark of the Covenant, a gold-covered chest that held the Ten Commandments (1 Chronicles 28:2). Two winged beings called cherubim rested at each end of the lid. The chest disappeared by the time the Jews returned from exile in the mid-500s BC. It may have been confiscated by invading Assyrians during Isaiah’s day or by Babylonians who destroyed Jerusalem and the Temple in 586 BC. See Isaiah 60:3.
Zion is an endearing nickname for Jerusalem and the hill on which the city was built, Mount Zion.
Many people in ancient times expressed grief and mourning by cutting their beards and head hair, dressing in what many Bible translations call “sackcloth,” and throwing ashes on themselves. Today, we’ll dress in black, wear armbands, or get memorial tattoos. By the way, memorial tattoos aren’t kosher: “Don’t do anything to commemorate the dead if it involves cutting your body or permanently painting yourself with tattoos. I am the LORD” (Leviticus 19:28).
When Moses was still alive, the Hebrew ancestors of the Jewish people renewed and expanded the agreement God had made with Abraham, to give them the land that became Israel. God promised them prosperity and peace if they kept the law he gave them through Moses. But he warned them of the punishment they would suffer if they disobeyed. The punishment was progressive, starting off with comparatively light penalties. But at the end of it all, God vowed to kick them out of the land if they persisted in breaking the law (Deuteronomy 28). That’s what happened.
- Sorry, there are currently no questions for this chapter.