[a]How the gold has lost its luster,
    the fine gold become dull!
The sacred gems are scattered
    at every street corner.(A)

How the precious children of Zion,(B)
    once worth their weight in gold,
are now considered as pots of clay,
    the work of a potter’s hands!

Even jackals offer their breasts
    to nurse their young,
but my people have become heartless
    like ostriches in the desert.(C)

Because of thirst(D) the infant’s tongue
    sticks to the roof of its mouth;(E)
the children beg for bread,
    but no one gives it to them.(F)

Those who once ate delicacies
    are destitute in the streets.
Those brought up in royal purple(G)
    now lie on ash heaps.(H)

The punishment of my people
    is greater than that of Sodom,(I)
which was overthrown in a moment
    without a hand turned to help her.

Their princes were brighter than snow
    and whiter than milk,
their bodies more ruddy than rubies,
    their appearance like lapis lazuli.

But now they are blacker(J) than soot;
    they are not recognized in the streets.
Their skin has shriveled on their bones;(K)
    it has become as dry as a stick.

Those killed by the sword are better off
    than those who die of famine;(L)
racked with hunger, they waste away
    for lack of food from the field.(M)

10 With their own hands compassionate women
    have cooked their own children,(N)
who became their food
    when my people were destroyed.

11 The Lord has given full vent to his wrath;(O)
    he has poured out(P) his fierce anger.(Q)
He kindled a fire(R) in Zion
    that consumed her foundations.(S)

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.(T)

13 But it happened because of the sins of her prophets
    and the iniquities of her priests,(U)
who shed within her
    the blood(V) of the righteous.

14 Now they grope through the streets
    as if they were blind.(W)
They are so defiled with blood(X)
    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(Y) about,
    people among the nations say,
    “They can stay here no longer.”(Z)

16 The Lord himself has scattered them;
    he no longer watches over them.(AA)
The priests are shown no honor,
    the elders(AB) no favor.(AC)

17 Moreover, our eyes failed,
    looking in vain(AD) for help;(AE)
from our towers we watched
    for a nation(AF) 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.(AG)

19 Our pursuers were swifter
    than eagles(AH) in the sky;
they chased us(AI) over the mountains
    and lay in wait for us in the desert.(AJ)

20 The Lord’s anointed,(AK) our very life breath,
    was caught in their traps.(AL)
We thought that under his shadow(AM)
    we would live among the nations.

21 Rejoice and be glad, Daughter Edom,
    you who live in the land of Uz.(AN)
But to you also the cup(AO) will be passed;
    you will be drunk and stripped naked.(AP)

22 Your punishment will end, Daughter Zion;(AQ)
    he will not prolong your exile.
But he will punish your sin, Daughter Edom,
    and expose your wickedness.(AR)

Footnotes

  1. Lamentations 4:1 This chapter is an acrostic poem, the verses of which begin with the successive letters of the Hebrew alphabet.

How is the gold become dim! how is the most fine gold changed! the stones of the sanctuary are poured out in the top of every street.

The precious sons of Zion, comparable to fine gold, how are they esteemed as earthen pitchers, the work of the hands of the potter!

Even the sea monsters draw out the breast, they give suck to their young ones: the daughter of my people is become cruel, like the ostriches in the wilderness.

The tongue of the sucking child cleaveth to the roof of his mouth for thirst: the young children ask bread, and no man breaketh it unto them.

They that did feed delicately are desolate in the streets: they that were brought up in scarlet embrace dunghills.

For the punishment of the iniquity of the daughter of my people is greater than the punishment of the sin of Sodom, that was overthrown as in a moment, and no hands stayed on her.

Her Nazarites were purer than snow, they were whiter than milk, they were more ruddy in body than rubies, their polishing was of sapphire:

Their visage is blacker than a coal; they are not known in the streets: their skin cleaveth to their bones; it is withered, it is become like a stick.

They that be slain with the sword are better than they that be slain with hunger: for these pine away, stricken through for want of the fruits of the field.

10 The hands of the pitiful women have sodden their own children: they were their meat in the destruction of the daughter of my people.

11 The Lord hath accomplished his fury; he hath poured out his fierce anger, and hath kindled a fire in Zion, and it hath devoured the foundations thereof.

12 The kings of the earth, and all the inhabitants of the world, would not have believed that the adversary and the enemy should have entered into the gates of Jerusalem.

13 For the sins of her prophets, and the iniquities of her priests, that have shed the blood of the just in the midst of her,

14 They have wandered as blind men in the streets, they have polluted themselves with blood, so that men could not touch their garments.

15 They cried unto them, Depart ye; it is unclean; depart, depart, touch not: when they fled away and wandered, they said among the heathen, They shall no more sojourn there.

16 The anger of the Lord hath divided them; he will no more regard them: they respected not the persons of the priests, they favoured not the elders.

17 As for us, our eyes as yet failed for our vain help: in our watching we have watched for a nation that could not save us.

18 They hunt our steps, that we cannot go in our streets: our end is near, our days are fulfilled; for our end is come.

19 Our persecutors are swifter than the eagles of the heaven: they pursued us upon the mountains, they laid wait for us in the wilderness.

20 The breath of our nostrils, the anointed of the Lord, was taken in their pits, of whom we said, Under his shadow we shall live among the heathen.

21 Rejoice and be glad, O daughter of Edom, that dwellest in the land of Uz; the cup also shall pass through unto thee: thou shalt be drunken, and shalt make thyself naked.

22 The punishment of thine iniquity is accomplished, O daughter of Zion; he will no more carry thee away into captivity: he will visit thine iniquity, O daughter of Edom; he will discover thy sins.

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