The Distress of Zion
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!
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.
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,
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