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Lamentations 4-5 New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

Chapter 4

Miseries of the Besieged City[a]

How the gold has lost its luster,
    the noble metal changed;
Jewels[b] lie scattered
    at the corner of every street.

And Zion’s precious children,
    worth their weight in gold—
How they are treated like clay jugs,
    the work of any potter!

Even jackals offer their breasts
    to nurse their young;
But the daughter of my people is as cruel
    as the ostrich[c] in the wilderness.

The tongue of the infant cleaves
    to the roof of its mouth in thirst;
Children beg for bread,
    but no one gives them a piece.

Those who feasted on delicacies
    are abandoned in the streets;
Those who reclined on crimson[d]
    now embrace dung heaps.

The punishment of the daughter of my people
    surpassed the penalty of Sodom,
Which was overthrown in an instant
    with no hand laid on it.

Her princes were brighter than snow,
    whiter than milk,
Their bodies more ruddy than coral,
    their beauty like the sapphire.

Now their appearance is blacker than soot,
    they go unrecognized in the streets;
Their skin has shrunk on their bones,
    and become dry as wood.

Better for those pierced by the sword
    than for those pierced by hunger,
Better for those who bleed from wounds
    than for those who lack food.

10 The hands of compassionate women
    have boiled their own children!
They became their food
    when the daughter of my people was shattered.

11 The Lord has exhausted his anger,
    poured out his blazing wrath;
He has kindled a fire in Zion
    that has consumed her foundations.

12 The kings of the earth did not believe,
    nor any of the world’s inhabitants,
That foe or enemy could enter
    the gates of Jerusalem.

13 Except for the sins of her prophets
    and the crimes of her priests,
Who poured out in her midst
    the blood of the just.

14 They staggered blindly in the streets,
    defiled with blood,
So that people could not touch
    even their garments:

15 “Go away! Unclean!” they cried to them,
    “Away, away, do not touch!”
If they went away and wandered,
    it would be said among the nations,
    “They can no longer live here!

16 The presence of the Lord was their portion,
    but he no longer looks upon them.
The priests are shown no regard,
    the elders, no mercy.

17 Even now our eyes are worn out,
    searching in vain for help;
From our watchtower we have watched
    for a nation[e] unable to save.

18 They dogged our every step,
    we could not walk in our squares;
Our end drew near, our time was up;
    yes, our end had come.

19 Our pursuers were swifter
    than eagles in the sky,
In the mountains they were hot on our trail,
    they ambushed us in the wilderness.

20 The Lord’s anointed—our very lifebreath!—[f]
    was caught in their snares,
He in whose shade we thought
    to live among the nations.

21 Rejoice and gloat, daughter Edom,
    dwelling in the land of Uz,[g]
The cup will pass to you as well;
    you shall become drunk and strip yourself naked!

22 Your punishment is completed, daughter Zion,
    the Lord will not prolong your exile;
The Lord will punish your iniquity, daughter Edom,
    will lay bare your sins.

Chapter 5

The Community’s Lament to the Lord

Remember, Lord, what has happened to us,
    pay attention, and see our disgrace:
Our heritage is turned over to strangers,
    our homes, to foreigners.
We have become orphans, without fathers;
    our mothers are like widows.
We pay money to drink our own water,
    our own wood comes at a price.
With a yoke on our necks, we are driven;
    we are worn out, but allowed no rest.

We extended a hand to Egypt and Assyria,
    to satisfy our need of bread.[h]
Our ancestors, who sinned, are no more;
    but now we bear their guilt.
Servants[i] rule over us,
    with no one to tear us from their hands.
We risk our lives just to get bread,
    exposed to the desert heat;
10 Our skin heats up like an oven,
    from the searing blasts of famine.

11 Women are raped in Zion,
    young women in the cities of Judah;
12 Princes have been hanged by them,
    elders shown no respect.
13 Young men carry millstones,
    boys stagger under loads of wood;
14 The elders have abandoned the gate,[j]
    the young men their music.

15 The joy of our hearts has ceased,
    dancing has turned into mourning;
16 The crown has fallen from our head:
    woe to us that we sinned!
17 Because of this our hearts grow sick,
    at this our eyes grow dim:
18 Because of Mount Zion, lying desolate,
    and the jackals roaming there!

19 But you, Lord, are enthroned forever;
    your throne stands from age to age.
20 [k]Why have you utterly forgotten us,
    forsaken us for so long?
21 Bring us back to you, Lord, that we may return:
    renew our days as of old.
22 For now you have indeed rejected us
    and utterly turned your wrath against us.

Footnotes:

  1. 4:1–22 This chapter returns to the focus of chaps. 1 and 2, namely the horrors of a siege. Unlike chaps. 1 and 2, however, the character of personified Zion never interrupts the voice of the poet to protest her abject state. As a result, the emotion of the poem is less intense, while at the same time seeming more grim on account of its lack of petition to the Lord.
  2. 4:1–2 Jewels: lit., “holy stones.” These precious things designate the children who are abandoned, starving, and killed in the siege of Jerusalem (cf. Zec 9:16). Another explanation is that these are the stones of the destroyed Temple.
  3. 4:3 Cruel as the ostrich: see note on Jb 39:14–16. Jerusalem, in her distress, has abandoned her children.
  4. 4:5 Crimson: a sign of luxury. Tyrian purple, a red-purple or blue-purple dye produced from shellfish, was very expensive and the only colorfast dye in the ancient Near East. Thus purple or crimson cloth was available only to the wealthy.
  5. 4:17 A nation: probably Egypt, which failed to give effective aid against Babylon.
  6. 4:20 Our very lifebreath: lit., “the breath of our nostrils,” that is, the king. This expression occurs in Egyptian texts of the late second millennium B.C., and may have survived as a royal epithet in the Jerusalem court. After the disaster of 598 B.C. (2 Kgs 24:1–17), Jerusalem could have hoped to live in peace amidst her neighbors; but they (vv. 21–22) as well as Babylon turned against her to ensure her total devastation in 587 B.C.
  7. 4:21 Rejoice: the address is sarcastic, since Edom (where Uz may have been located) ravaged the land after the fall of Jerusalem (cf. Ps 137).
  8. 5:6 Extended a hand: that is, made an alliance. In its state of abjection, Judah was forced to depend on the major powers to the west and the east for subsistence.
  9. 5:8 Servants: the Hebrew word for “servant” is also the word used for an official of relatively high status (servant of the ruler; cf. 2 Kgs 25:24, where the term is used to refer to Babylonian rulers over occupied Jerusalem); the author doubtless intends the double meaning here.
  10. 5:14 The gate: a place of assembly, where city decisions were made and judgment given by the elders and other community leaders; see note on Ru 4:1.
  11. 5:20–22 Unlike most of the laments found in the Book of Psalms, the Book of Lamentations never moves from lament to thanksgiving. It ends with this question still unanswered by God: “Why have you utterly forgotten us?”
New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

Scripture texts, prefaces, introductions, footnotes and cross references used in this work are taken from the New American Bible, revised edition © 2010, 1991, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, Inc., Washington, DC All Rights Reserved. No part of this work may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the copyright owner.

Ben Sira 25:1-11 New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

Chapter 25

Those Who Are Worthy of Praise

[a]With three things I am delighted,
    for they are pleasing to the Lord and to human beings:
Harmony among relatives, friendship among neighbors,
    and a wife and a husband living happily together.
Three kinds of people I hate,
    and I loathe their manner of life:
A proud pauper, a rich liar,
    and a lecherous old fool.

In your youth you did not gather.
    How will you find anything in your old age?
How appropriate is sound judgment in the gray-haired,
    and good counsel in the elderly!
How appropriate is wisdom in the aged,
    understanding and counsel in the venerable!
The crown of the elderly, wide experience;
    their glory, the fear of the Lord.

There are nine who come to mind as blessed,
    a tenth whom my tongue proclaims:[b]
The man who finds joy in his children,
    and the one who lives to see the downfall of his enemies.
Happy the man who lives with a sensible woman,
    and the one who does not plow with an ox and a donkey combined.[c]
Happy the one who does not sin with the tongue,
    who does not serve an inferior.
Happy the one who finds a friend,
    who speaks to attentive ears.
10 How great is the one who finds wisdom,
    but none is greater than the one who fears the Lord.
11 Fear of the Lord surpasses all else.
    To whom can we compare the one who has it?[d]

Footnotes:

  1. 25:1–2 A numerical saying in threes.
  2. 25:7–11 A numerical proverb (9 + 1), in which the tenth element, “the one who fears the Lord,” is the most important.
  3. 25:8 An ox and a donkey combined: the reference is to a man married to two incompatible women (cf. 37:11a); the imagery derives from Dt 22:10.
  4. 25:11

    Other ancient texts read as v. 12:

    Fear of the Lord is the beginning of loving him,

    and fidelity is the beginning of clinging to him.

New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

Scripture texts, prefaces, introductions, footnotes and cross references used in this work are taken from the New American Bible, revised edition © 2010, 1991, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, Inc., Washington, DC All Rights Reserved. No part of this work may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the copyright owner.

John 14 New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

Chapter 14

Last Supper Discourses. [a]“Do not let your hearts be troubled. You have faith[b] in God; have faith also in me. In my Father’s house there are many dwelling places. If there were not, would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you? [c]And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back again and take you to myself, so that where I am you also may be. Where [I] am going you know the way.”[d] Thomas said to him, “Master, we do not know where you are going; how can we know the way?” Jesus said to him, “I am the way and the truth[e] and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you know me, then you will also know my Father.[f] From now on you do know him and have seen him.” Philip said to him, “Master, show us the Father,[g] and that will be enough for us.” Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you for so long a time and you still do not know me, Philip? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? 10 Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words that I speak to you I do not speak on my own. The Father who dwells in me is doing his works. 11 Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me, or else, believe because of the works themselves. 12 Amen, amen, I say to you, whoever believes in me will do the works that I do, and will do greater ones than these, because I am going to the Father. 13 And whatever you ask in my name, I will do, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 If you ask anything of me in my name, I will do it.

The Advocate. 15 “If you love me, you will keep my commandments. 16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate[h] to be with you always, 17 the Spirit of truth,[i] which the world cannot accept, because it neither sees nor knows it. But you know it, because it remains with you, and will be in you. 18 I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you.[j] 19 In a little while the world will no longer see me, but you will see me, because I live and you will live. 20 On that day you will realize that I am in my Father and you are in me and I in you. 21 Whoever has my commandments and observes them is the one who loves me. And whoever loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and reveal myself to him.” 22 Judas, not the Iscariot,[k] said to him, “Master, [then] what happened that you will reveal yourself to us and not to the world?” 23 Jesus answered and said to him, “Whoever loves me will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our dwelling with him. 24 Whoever does not love me does not keep my words; yet the word you hear is not mine but that of the Father who sent me.

25 “I have told you this while I am with you. 26 The Advocate, the holy Spirit that the Father will send in my name—he will teach you everything and remind you of all that [I] told you. 27 Peace[l] I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give it to you. Do not let your hearts be troubled or afraid. 28 [m]You heard me tell you, ‘I am going away and I will come back to you.’ If you loved me, you would rejoice that I am going to the Father; for the Father is greater than I. 29 And now I have told you this before it happens, so that when it happens you may believe. 30 I will no longer speak much with you, for the ruler of the world[n] is coming. He has no power over me, 31 but the world must know that I love the Father and that I do just as the Father has commanded me. Get up, let us go.

Footnotes:

  1. 14:1–31 Jesus’ departure and return. This section is a dialogue marked off by a literary inclusion in Jn 14:1, 27: “Do not let your hearts be troubled.”
  2. 14:1 You have faith: could also be imperative: “Have faith.”
  3. 14:3 Come back again: a rare Johannine reference to the parousia; cf. 1 Jn 2:28.
  4. 14:4 The way: here, of Jesus himself; also a designation of Christianity in Acts 9:2; 19:9, 23; 22:4; 24:14, 22.
  5. 14:6 The truth: in John, the divinely revealed reality of the Father manifested in the person and works of Jesus. The possession of truth confers knowledge and liberation from sin (Jn 8:32).
  6. 14:7 An alternative reading, “If you knew me, then you would have known my Father also,” would be a rebuke, as in Jn 8:19.
  7. 14:8 Show us the Father: Philip is pictured asking for a theophany like Ex 24:9–10; 33:18.
  8. 14:16 Another Advocate: Jesus is the first advocate (paraclete); see 1 Jn 2:1, where Jesus is an advocate in the sense of intercessor in heaven. The Greek term derives from legal terminology for an advocate or defense attorney, and can mean spokesman, mediator, intercessor, comforter, consoler, although no one of these terms encompasses the meaning in John. The Paraclete in John is a teacher, a witness to Jesus, and a prosecutor of the world, who represents the continued presence on earth of the Jesus who has returned to the Father.
  9. 14:17 The Spirit of truth: this term is also used at Qumran, where it is a moral force put into a person by God, as opposed to the spirit of perversity. It is more personal in John; it will teach the realities of the new order (Jn 14:26), and testify to the truth (Jn 14:6). While it has been customary to use masculine personal pronouns in English for the Advocate, the Greek word for “spirit” is neuter, and the Greek text and manuscript variants fluctuate between masculine and neuter pronouns.
  10. 14:18 I will come to you: indwelling, not parousia.
  11. 14:22 Judas, not the Iscariot: probably not the brother of Jesus in Mk 6:3 // Mt 13:55 or the apostle named Jude in Lk 6:16, but Thomas (see note on Jn 11:16), although other readings have “Judas the Cananean.”
  12. 14:27 Peace: the traditional Hebrew salutation šālôm; but Jesus’ “Shalom” is a gift of salvation, connoting the bounty of messianic blessing.
  13. 14:28 The Father is greater than I: because he sent, gave, etc., and Jesus is “a man who has told you the truth that I heard from God” (Jn 8:40).
  14. 14:30 The ruler of the world: Satan; cf. Jn 12:31; 16:11.
New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

Scripture texts, prefaces, introductions, footnotes and cross references used in this work are taken from the New American Bible, revised edition © 2010, 1991, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, Inc., Washington, DC All Rights Reserved. No part of this work may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the copyright owner.

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