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Lamentations 4English Standard Version Anglicised (ESVUK)

The Holy Stones Lie Scattered

How the gold has grown dim,
    how the pure gold is changed!
The holy stones lie scattered
    at the head of every street.
The precious sons of Zion,
    worth their weight in fine gold,
how they are regarded as earthen pots,
    the work of a potter's hands!
Even jackals offer the breast;
    they nurse their young,
but the daughter of my people has become cruel,
    like the ostriches in the wilderness.
The 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.
Those who once feasted on delicacies
    perish in the streets;
those who were brought up in purple
    embrace ash heaps.
For the chastisement[a] of the daughter of my people has been greater
    than the punishment[b] of Sodom,
which was overthrown in a moment,
    and no hands were wrung for her.[c]
Her princes were purer than snow,
    whiter than milk;
their bodies were more ruddy than coral,
    the beauty of their form[d] was like sapphire.[e]
Now their face is blacker than soot;
    they are not recognized in the streets;
their skin has shrivelled on their bones;
    it has become as dry as wood.
Happier were the victims of the sword
    than the victims of hunger,
who wasted away, pierced
    by lack of the fruits of the field.
10 The hands of compassionate women
    have boiled their own children;
they became their food
    during the destruction of the daughter of my people.
11 The Lord gave full vent to his wrath;
    he poured out his hot anger,
and he kindled a fire in Zion
    that consumed its foundations.
12 The 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.
13 This 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.
14 They 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.”
16 The Lord himself[f] has scattered them;
    he will regard them no more;
no honour was shown to the priests,
    no favour to the elders.
17 Our eyes failed, ever watching
    vainly for help;
in our watching we watched
    for a nation which could not save.
18 They 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.
19 Our pursuers were swifter
    than the eagles in the heavens;
they chased us on the mountains;
    they lay in wait for us in the wilderness.
20 The 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.”
21 Rejoice 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.
22 The punishment of your iniquity, O daughter of Zion, is accomplished;
    he will keep you in exile no longer;[g]
but your iniquity, O daughter of Edom, he will punish;
    he will uncover your sins.


  1. Lamentations 4:6 Or iniquity
  2. Lamentations 4:6 Or sin
  3. Lamentations 4:6 The meaning of the Hebrew is uncertain
  4. Lamentations 4:7 The meaning of the Hebrew is uncertain
  5. Lamentations 4:7 Hebrew lapis lazuli
  6. Lamentations 4:16 Hebrew The face of the Lord
  7. Lamentations 4:22 Or he will not exile you again
English Standard Version Anglicised (ESVUK)

The Holy Bible, English Standard Version Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers.


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