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Lamentations 4

The Holy Stones Lie Scattered

1How the gold has grown dim,

how the pure gold is changed!

The holy stones lie scattered

at the head of every street.

2The precious sons of Zion,

worth their weight in fine gold,

how they are regarded as earthen pots,

the work of a potter's hands!

3Even jackals offer the breast;

they nurse their young,

but the daughter of my people has become cruel,

like the ostriches in the wilderness.

4The tongue of the nursing infant sticks

to the roof of its mouth for thirst;

the children beg for food,

but no one gives to them.

5Those who once feasted on delicacies

perish in the streets;

those who were brought up in purple

embrace ash heaps.

6For the chastisement1 of the daughter of my people has been greater

than the punishment2 of Sodom,

which was overthrown in a moment,

and no hands were wrung for her.3

7Her princes were purer than snow,

whiter than milk;

their bodies were more ruddy than coral,

the beauty of their form4 was like sapphire.5

8Now their face is blacker than soot;

they are not recognized in the streets;

their skin has shriveled on their bones;

it has become as dry as wood.

9Happier were the victims of the sword

than the victims of hunger,

who wasted away, pierced

by lack of the fruits of the field.

10The hands of compassionate women

have boiled their own children;

they became their food

during the destruction of the daughter of my people.

11The Lord gave full vent to his wrath;

he poured out his hot anger,

and he kindled a fire in Zion

that consumed its foundations.

12The kings of the earth did not believe,

nor any of the inhabitants of the world,

that foe or enemy could enter

the gates of Jerusalem.

13This was for the sins of her prophets

and the iniquities of her priests,

who shed in the midst of her

the blood of the righteous.

14They wandered, blind, through the streets;

they were so defiled with blood

that no one was able to touch

their garments.

15“Away! Unclean!” people cried at them.

“Away! Away! Do not touch!”

So they became fugitives and wanderers;

people said among the nations,

“They shall stay with us no longer.”

16The Lord himself6 has scattered them;

he will regard them no more;

no honor was shown to the priests,

no favor to the elders.

17Our eyes failed, ever watching

vainly for help;

in our watching we watched

for a nation which could not save.

18They dogged our steps

so that we could not walk in our streets;

our end drew near; our days were numbered,

for our end had come.

19Our pursuers were swifter

than the eagles in the heavens;

they chased us on the mountains;

they lay in wait for us in the wilderness.

20The breath of our nostrils, the Lord's anointed,

was captured in their pits,

of whom we said, “Under his shadow

we shall live among the nations.”

21Rejoice and be glad, O daughter of Edom,

you who dwell in the land of Uz;

but to you also the cup shall pass;

you shall become drunk and strip yourself bare.

22The punishment of your iniquity, O daughter of Zion, is accomplished;

he will keep you in exile no longer;7

but your iniquity, O daughter of Edom, he will punish;

he will uncover your sins.

Footnotes

  • 1 4:6 Or iniquity
  • 2 4:6 Or sin
  • 3 4:6 The meaning of the Hebrew is uncertain
  • 4 4:7 The meaning of the Hebrew is uncertain
  • 5 4:7 Hebrew lapis lazuli
  • 6 4:16 Hebrew The face of the Lord
  • 7 4:22 Or he will not exile you again