IV. The Wages of Sin (4:1–22)

This fourth lament is a reminder to God's people that they cannot escape from paying the price when they commit sin against God. As a covenant nation, Israel was once beautiful, sacred, and precious to God; now they have become dull, common, worthless, heartless, destitute, ugly, and unclean in the world. The description of the fate of the young children is a vivid reminder of the intense famine within Jerusalem during the Babylonian siege. Even mothers have lost all compassion for their children. This tragic reversal of their status is the consequence of the sins of their prophets and priests who have failed to give them proper direction and leadership. Like the people they have misled, these leaders also have become the object of ridicule and dishonor in the world. The hopes and aspirations of the elect nation are shattered because the Lord no longer watches over them (v. 16).