Lamentations 4
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Distress of the Siege Described

1How dark and dim the gold has become,

How the pure gold has changed!

The sacred stones [of the temple] are poured out and scattered

At the head of every street.

2The [noble and] precious sons of Zion,

[Once] worth their weight in fine gold,

How they are regarded [merely] as earthen jars,

The work of a potter’s hands!

3Even the jackals offer the breast,

They nurse their young;

But the daughter of my people has become cruel

Like ostriches in the wilderness [that desert their young].

4The tongue of the infant clings

To the roof of its mouth because of thirst;

The little ones ask for food,

But no one gives it to them.

5Those who feasted on delicacies

Are perishing in the streets;

Those reared in purple [as nobles]

Embrace ash heaps.

6For the [punishment of the] wickedness of the daughter of my people [Jerusalem]

Is greater than the [punishment for the] sin of Sodom,

Which was overthrown in a moment,

And no hands were turned toward her [to offer help].

7Her princes were purer than snow,

They were whiter than milk [in appearance];

They were more ruddy in body than rubies,

Their polishing was like lapis lazuli (sapphire).

8Their appearance is [now] blacker than soot [because of the prolonged famine];

They are not recognized in the streets;

Their skin clings to their bones;

It is withered, and it has become [dry] like wood.

9Those killed with the sword

Are more fortunate than those killed with hunger;

For the hungry pine and ebb away,

For the lack of the fruits of the field.

10The hands of compassionate women

Boiled their own children;

They became food for them

Because of the destruction of the daughter of my people [Judah].

11The LORD has fulfilled His wrath;

He has poured out His fierce anger

And has kindled a fire in Zion

That has consumed her foundations.

12The kings of the earth did not believe,

Nor did any of the inhabitants of the earth,

That the adversary (oppressor) and enemy

Could enter the gates of Jerusalem.

13Because of the sins of her [counterfeit] prophets

And the wickedness of her [unfaithful] priests,

Who have shed in her midst

The blood of the just and righteous;

14They wandered, blind, in the streets;

They were defiled with blood

So that no one could touch their garments.

15People cried to them, “Go away! Unclean!

Depart! Depart! Do not touch!”

So they fled, then they wandered [as fugitives];

People among the nations said,

“They shall not stay here any longer with us.”

16The presence of the LORD scattered them [among the nations];

He will not continue to look after them.

They did not honor the priests;

They did not favor the elders.

17[And as for us,] yet our eyes failed,

Looking in vain for help.

Watching [from the towers] we watched

For a nation that could not save.

18The enemy hunted our steps,

So that we could not walk in our streets;

Our end drew near,

Our days were finished

For our end had come.

19Our pursuers were swifter

Than the eagles of the sky;

They pursued us on the mountains,

They waited in ambush for us in the wilderness.

20The breath of our nostrils, the anointed of the LORD [our king],

Was captured in their snares,

He of whom we had said, “Under his shadow

We shall live among the nations.”

21Rejoice and be glad, O Daughter of Edom,

Who lives in the land of Uz.

But the cup [of the wine of God’s wrath] will pass to you as well;

You will become drunk and make yourself naked.

22The punishment of your sin has been completed, O Daughter of Zion;

The LORD will no longer send you into exile.

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

He will expose your sins.

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