Lamentation in Zion

“‘Raise the wail and lamentation for the mountains, the dirge for the desert pastures, for they have been burnt: no one passes there, the sound of flocks is heard no more. Birds of the sky and animals, all have fled, all are gone. I mean to make Jerusalem a heap of ruins, a jackal’s lair, and the towns of Judah an uninhabited wasteland.’ Who is wise enough to understand this? Who has been charged by Yahweh’s own mouth to tell why the land lies in ruins, burnt like the desert where no one passes?

“Yahweh has said, ‘This is because they have forsaken My law which I put before them and have not listened to My voice or followed it, but have followed the dictates of their own stubborn hearts, followed the Baals as their ancestors taught them.’ And so this is what Yahweh Sabaoth, the God of Israel says: ‘Now I am going to give this people wormwood for their food and poisoned water to drink. I am going to scatter them throughout nations unknown to their ancestors or to them; and I am going to pursue them with the sword until I have exterminated them.’

“You, there! Call the mourning women! Let them come! Send for those who are best at it! Let them come! Let them lose no time in raising the lament for us! Let our eyes rain tears, our eyelids run with weeping! Yes, the wail is to be heard from Zion, ‘What ruin is ours, what utter shame! For we must leave the land, abandon our homes!’ And you, women, now hear the word of Yahweh, let your ears take in the word His own mouth speaks. Teach your daughters how to wail, teach one another what dirge to sing. Death has climbed in at our windows and made its way into our palaces; it has cut down the children in the street, the youths in the square. Men’s corpses lie like dung in the open field, like sheaves left by the reaper, with no one to gather them” (Jer 9:9-21).