Add parallel Print Page Options

Zion Is Punished

How the gold has grown dim,
the pure gold has changed.
The stones of holiness are scattered
    at the head of every street.
The precious sons of Zion
    weighed against fine gold,
how they are thought of as earthen vessels of clay,
    the work of the potter’s hands.
Even the jackal bears the beast
    and nurses their cubs;
but the daughter of my people has become ruthless,
    like ostriches in the wilderness.
The tongue of the nursling cleaves
    to its palate in thirst.
Children beg for food,
    no one lays it out before them.[a]
The ones who eat delicacies,
    they are ruined in the streets;
the ones nurtured in purple
    lie on piles of trash.
The iniquity of the daughter of my people is greater
    than the sin of Sodom;
it was overthrown in a moment
    and no hands were laid on her.
Her princes were purer than snow,
    they were whiter than milk;
their bodies were more ruddy than rubies,
    sapphire their appearance.
Now their appearance is blacker than soot,
    they are not recognized in the streets;
their skin has shriveled on their bones,
    it has become dry like wood.
Happier were the victims of the sword
    than the victims of famine;
they have pined away, very hungry
    for the crops of my field.
10 The hands of compassionate women,
    have cooked their children;
they became as something to eat
    in the destruction of the daughter of my people.
11 Yahweh has completed his anger,
    he has poured out his fierce anger;[b]
he has kindled a fire in Zion,
    it consumed her[c] foundations.
12 The kings of the earth did not believe,
    and all the inhabitants of the world,
that a foe and an enemy could enter
    into the gates of Jerusalem.
13 Because of the sins of her prophets,
    the guilt of her priests,
who shed blood in her midst,
    of righteous people.
14 They wander blindly in the streets;
    they were defiled with the blood,
their clothes
    could not be touched.
15 “Go away! Defiled!” they shout to them.
    “Go away! Go away! Do not touch!”
so they left, they left; it was said among the nations,
    They will no longer dwell with us.”[d]
16 The presence of Yahweh has scattered them,
    he will no longer watch over them;
they did not honor the priests,[e]
    they did not show mercy to elders.
17 Still our eyes failed,
    looking for our help in vain;
in our watchtower, we kept watch
    for a nation that could not save.
18 They hunted our steps,
    from walking in our streets;
our end has come near, our days are finished,[f]
    our end has come.
19 Our pursuers were swifter
    than the eagles of the heavens;
they chased us on the mountains,
    they have set an ambush for us in the desert.
20 The breath of our nostrils, the anointed one of Yahweh,
    was captured in their pits;
of whom we said, “In his shadow
    we will live among the nations.”
21 Rejoice and be glad, O daughter of Edom,
    you who dwell in the land of Uz;
but to you also the cup will pass,
    you will become drunk and strip yourself bare.
22 The punishment of your iniquity is completed, O daughter of Zion,
    your exile will not continue;
but he will punish your iniquity, O daughter of Edom,
    he will reveal your sins.


  1. Lamentations 4:4 Literally “nothing spreads to them”
  2. Lamentations 4:11 Literally “the fierce anger of his nose”
  3. Lamentations 4:11 Or “its”
  4. Lamentations 4:15 Literally “They will no longer be here as aliens”
  5. Lamentations 4:16 Literally “they did not lift up the faces of the priests”
  6. Lamentations 4:18 Literally “our days are filled”