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Chapter 12

There was weeping and wailing within the synagogue. All the Jews, young and old, men and women, youths and maidens, children and babes in arms, burst into tears on hearing these cruel words. They rent heaven with their cries. They fell to the ground, they tore their hair, they wrung their hands, and with anguish in their hearts they cried aloud:- (Translator’s note: what follows is composed almost entirely of phrases from the Bible, especially from the Book of Lamentations. I have thought it best to render the whole as translated in the Authorised Version.)

“Hear, all people, and behold! See if there be any sorrow like unto our sorrow. Behold, all ye that pass by, what the Lord hath done to us. He hath afflicted us in the day of his fierce anger. Our adversaries are supreme; our enemies prosper; and they mock at our Sabbath. They spread out their hands upon all our pleasant things; for we have seen the heathen enter our sanctuary, into the place where the Lord hath commanded that they should not enter in among the congregation. From above hath he sent fire into our bones, and it prevaileth over them. He hath made us desolate and faint all day; he had bent his bow like an enemy; he stood with his right hand as an adversary, and poured out his fury like fire. He hath cast down the beauty of Israel from the heavens unto the earth, and remembered not his foot-stool in his fierce anger; he hath cut off all the horn of Israel. He hath swallowed up his palace, and abhorred his sanctuary.

“What thing shall be likened to us? What shall be equal to us that we may comfort ourselves? For our breach is great as the sea. Who can heal us?

“All the passers-by clap their hands at us; they hiss and wag their heads at our breach, saying ‘Is that the temple, the perfection of beauty, the joy of all the earth?’

“All our enemies have opened their mouths against us. They hiss and gnash their teeth; they say ‘We have swallowed them up. Surely this is the day we have looked for; we have found, we have seen it.’

“O Lord, thou hast seen their vengeance; thou hast heard their reproach, and all their imaginations against us. Render unto them a recompense according to the work of their hands. Remember, O Lord, what is to come upon us. Consider and behold our reproach. Remember them, O Lord, who said ‘Raze it, raze it even to the foundation thereof.’

“For these things we weep our eyes, our eyes run with water, because the comforter that should relieve our souls is far from us.

“Thou hast done, O Lord, that which thou hast devised. Thou has thrown down thy holy habitation and hast not pitied; thou hast caused our enemies to rejoice over us. Thou has set up the horn of our adversaries.

Let all their wickedness come before thee and do unto them as thou has done unto us, for our sighs are many and our hearts are faint. Persecute and destroy them in thy fierce anger, for they hate Jacob and have destroyed his habitation.

The crown is fallen from our head; woe unto us, for our sanctuary is destroyed. Woe, what is to come upon us!

And thou, O Lord, remainest for ever, thy throne from generation to generation. Wherefore dost thou forget us and forsake us for so long? Turn us unto thee, O Lord, and we shall be turned. Renew our days as of old.”

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