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Lamentations 4

The Distress of Zion

1 How a the gold has become tarnished,

the pure gold has become dull!

The gems of the temple lie scattered

on every street corner.

2 How the precious sons of Zion,

once worth their weight in pure gold,

are now esteemed as jars of clay,

the work of a potter’s hands!

3 Even jackals b offer their breasts

to nurse their young,

but the daughter of my people has become cruel,

like an ostrich in the wilderness.

4 The nursing infant’s tongue

clings in thirst to the roof of his mouth.

Little children beg for bread,

but no one gives them any.

5 Those who once ate delicacies

are destitute in the streets;

those brought up in crimson

huddle in ash heaps.

6 The punishment c of the daughter of my people

is greater than that of Sodom,

which was overthrown in an instant

without a hand turned to help her.

7 Her dignitaries were brighter than snow,

whiter than milk;

their bodies were more ruddy than rubies,

their appearance d like sapphires. e 

8 But now their appearance is blacker than soot;

they are not recognized in the streets.

Their skin has shriveled on their bones;

it has become as dry as a stick.

9 Those slain by the sword are better off

than those who die of hunger,

who waste away, pierced with pain

because the fields lack produce.

10 The hands of compassionate women

have cooked their own children,

who became their food

in the destruction of the daughter of my people.

11 The LORD has exhausted His wrath;

He has poured out His fierce anger;

He has kindled a fire in Zion,

and it has consumed her foundations.

12 The kings of the earth did not believe,

nor any people of the world,

that an enemy or a foe

could enter the gates of Jerusalem.

13 But this was for the sins of her prophets

and the guilt of her priests,

who shed the blood of the righteous

in her midst.

14 They wandered blind in the streets,

defiled by this blood,

so that no one dared

to touch their garments.

15 “Go away! Unclean!”

men shouted at them.

“Away, away! Do not touch us!”

So they fled and wandered.

Among the nations it was said,

“They can stay here no longer.”

16 The presence of the LORD has scattered them;

He regards them no more.

The priests are shown no honor;

the elders find no favor.

17 All the while our eyes were failing

as we looked in vain for help.

We watched from our towers

for a nation that could not save us.

18 They stalked our every step,

so that we could not walk in our streets.

Our end drew near, our time ran out,

for our end had come!

19 Those who chased us were swifter

than the eagles in the sky;

they pursued us over the mountains

and ambushed us in the wilderness.

20 The LORD’s anointed, the breath of our life,

was captured in their pits.

We had said of him,

“Under his shadow we will live among the nations.”

21 So rejoice and be glad, O Daughter of Edom,

you who dwell in the land of Uz.

Yet the cup will pass to you as well;

you will get drunk and expose yourself.

22 O Daughter of Zion, your punishment is complete;

He will not prolong your exile. f 

But He will punish your iniquity, O Daughter of Edom;

He will expose your sins.



1 a This chapter is an acrostic poem, each verse beginning with the successive letters of the Hebrew alphabet.
3 b Or serpents or dragons
6 c Or iniquity
7 d Or their polishing or their hair
7 e Hebrew lapis lazuli
22 f Or He will not exile you again

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