Lamentations 4 New King James Version (NKJV)
The Degradation of Zion
4 How the gold has become dim!
How changed the fine gold!
The stones of the sanctuary are scattered
At the head of every street.
2 The precious sons of Zion,
Valuable as fine gold,
How they are regarded as clay pots,
The work of the hands of the potter!
3 Even the jackals present their breasts
To nurse their young;
But the daughter of my people is cruel,
Like ostriches in the wilderness.
4 The tongue of the infant clings
To the roof of its mouth for thirst;
The young children ask for bread,
But no one breaks it for them.
5 Those who ate delicacies
Are desolate in the streets;
Those who were brought up in scarlet
Embrace ash heaps.
6 The punishment of the iniquity of the daughter of my people
Is greater than the punishment of the sin of Sodom,
Which was overthrown in a moment,
With no hand to help her!
7 Her Nazirites were brighter than snow
And whiter than milk;
They were more ruddy in body than rubies,
Like sapphire in their appearance.
8 Now their appearance is blacker than soot;
They go unrecognized in the streets;
Their skin clings to their bones,
It has become as dry as wood.
9 Those slain by the sword are better off
Than those who die of hunger;
For these pine away,
Stricken for lack of the fruits of the field.
10 The hands of the compassionate women
Have cooked their own children;
They became food for them
In the destruction of the daughter of my people.
11 The Lord has fulfilled His fury,
He has poured out His fierce anger.
He kindled a fire in Zion,
And it has devoured its foundations.
12 The kings of the earth,
And all inhabitants of the world,
Would not have believed
That the adversary and the enemy
Could enter the gates of Jerusalem—
13 Because of the sins of her prophets
And the iniquities of her priests,
Who shed in her midst
The blood of the just.
14 They wandered blind in the streets;
They have defiled themselves with blood,
So that no one would touch their garments.
15 They cried out to them,
“Go away, unclean!
Go away, go away,
Do not touch us!”
When they fled and wandered,
Those among the nations said,
“They shall no longer dwell here.”
16 The face of the Lord scattered them;
He no longer regards them.
The people do not respect the priests
Nor show favor to the elders.
17 Still our eyes failed us,
Watching vainly for our help;
In our watching we watched
For a nation that could not save us.
18 They tracked our steps
So that we could not walk in our streets.
Our end was near;
Our days were over,
For our end had come.
19 Our pursuers were swifter
Than the eagles of the heavens.
They pursued us on the mountains
And lay in wait for us in the wilderness.
20 The breath of our nostrils, the anointed of the Lord,
Was caught in their pits,
Of whom we said, “Under his shadow
We shall live among the nations.”
21 Rejoice and be glad, O daughter of Edom,
You who dwell in the land of Uz!
The cup shall also pass over to you
And you shall become drunk and make yourself naked.
22 The punishment of your iniquity is accomplished,
O daughter of Zion;
He will no longer send you into captivity.
He will punish your iniquity,
O daughter of Edom;
He will uncover your sins!
New King James Version (NKJV)
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
Lamentations 4 New International Version (NIV)
4 How the gold has lost its luster,
the fine gold become dull!
The sacred gems are scattered
at every street corner.
2 How the precious children of Zion,
once worth their weight in gold,
are now considered as pots of clay,
the work of a potter’s hands!
3 Even jackals offer their breasts
to nurse their young,
but my people have become heartless
like ostriches in the desert.
4 Because of thirst the infant’s tongue
sticks to the roof of its mouth;
the children beg for bread,
but no one gives it to them.
5 Those who once ate delicacies
are destitute in the streets.
Those brought up in royal purple
now lie on ash heaps.
6 The punishment of my people
is greater than that of Sodom,
which was overthrown in a moment
without a hand turned to help her.
7 Their princes were brighter than snow
and whiter than milk,
their bodies more ruddy than rubies,
their appearance like lapis lazuli.
8 But now they are blacker than soot;
they are not recognized in the streets.
Their skin has shriveled on their bones;
it has become as dry as a stick.
9 Those killed by the sword are better off
than those who die of famine;
racked with hunger, they waste away
for lack of food from the field.
10 With their own hands compassionate women
have cooked their own children,
who became their food
when my people were destroyed.
11 The Lord has given full vent to his wrath;
he has poured out his fierce anger.
He kindled a fire in Zion
that consumed her foundations.
12 The kings of the earth did not believe,
nor did any of the peoples of the world,
that enemies and foes could enter
the gates of Jerusalem.
13 But it happened because of the sins of her prophets
and the iniquities of her priests,
who shed within her
the blood of the righteous.
14 Now they grope through the streets
as if they were blind.
They are so defiled with blood
that no one dares to touch their garments.
15 “Go away! You are unclean!” people cry to them.
“Away! Away! Don’t touch us!”
When they flee and wander about,
people among the nations say,
“They can stay here no longer.”
16 The Lord himself has scattered them;
he no longer watches over them.
The priests are shown no honor,
the elders no favor.
17 Moreover, our eyes failed,
looking in vain for help;
from our towers we watched
for a nation that could not save us.
18 People stalked us at every step,
so we could not walk in our streets.
Our end was near, our days were numbered,
for our end had come.
19 Our pursuers were swifter
than eagles in the sky;
they chased us over the mountains
and lay in wait for us in the desert.
20 The Lord’s anointed, our very life breath,
was caught in their traps.
We thought that under his shadow
we would live among the nations.
21 Rejoice and be glad, Daughter Edom,
you who live in the land of Uz.
But to you also the cup will be passed;
you will be drunk and stripped naked.
22 Your punishment will end, Daughter Zion;
he will not prolong your exile.
But he will punish your sin, Daughter Edom,
and expose your wickedness.