Lamentations 4
International Standard Version Par ▾ 

Zion’s Punishment

1How tarnished the gold has become,

the finest gold debased!

Sacred stonesa have been scattered

at every street corner.

2Though the precious people of Zion

were like fine gold,

how they are valued like clay vessels,

the handiwork of a potter!

3Even wild animals nurse,

suckling their young;

but the women of my people are cruel,

like ostriches in the wilderness.

4The nursing child’s tongue

cleaves to its palate from thirst.

Young children beg for bread,

but no one gives them any.

5Those who enjoyed delicacies

lie desolate in the streets.

Those who were reared wearing purple

scavenge in piles of trash.

6The guilt of my cherished people surpasses the sin of Sodom,

which was overthrown in a moment,

without a hand to help her.

7Her princesb were purer than snow,

whiter than milk.

Their bodies were more ruddyc than rubies,

their beards like the color of precious stones.

8Now their faces are blacker than coal;

they are unrecognized in the streets.

Their skin clings to their bones;

it has become dry like a stick.

9Those who die by the sword are better off

than those who die from starvation,

who slowly waste away like those pierced through

for lack of food from the fields.

10With their own hands, compassionate women

boil their own children—

they become their food—

when my beloved people wered destroyed.

11The LORD has exhausted his wrath,

pouring out his fierce anger.

He kindled a fire in Zion,

consuming its foundations.

12None of the kings of the earth would have believed,

nor the world’s inhabitants,

that the adversary and the enemy

could have breached the gates of Jerusalem.

13Due to the sins committed by her prophets,

and the iniquities of her priests

who shed in her midst,

the blood of the righteous,

14people stagger around in the streets like the blind,

defiled by blood

unclean so that no one is able

to touch their clothing.

15“Go away! Unclean!”

they shouted at them.

“Go away! Go away! Don’t touch!”

When they fled away and wandered,

those among the nations decreed,

“They cannot live here!”

16The LORD himself separated them;

he will do nothing more for them.

They did not respect their own priests;

they did not honor their elders.

17Our eyes failed,

searching in vain for hope;

we kept watching and looking

for a nation that would not help.

18Our steps were closely stalked,

so we couldn’t travel on our own streets.

Our end is near,

our days are over;

indeed, our end has come.

19Our pursuers were swifter

than soaring eagles;e

they pursued us over the mountains,

lying in wait for us in the wilderness.

20The LORD’s anointed,

the breath of our life,

was captured in their pits.

About him we had said,

“Under his protection we will survive

among the nations.”

21Celebrate and rejoice, you womenf of Edom,

who live in the land of Uz.

But to you the cup also will pass—

you will become drunk and stripped naked.

22The punishment for your sin is complete, you womeng of Zion,

and Godh will no longer exile you.

He will punish your iniquity, you womeni of Edom,

and he will expose your sins.

a 4:1 Or gems
b 4:7 Or Nazirites
c 4:7 i.e. reddish brown skin color
d 4:10 Lit. when the daughter of my people was
e 4:19 Lit. than eagles of the heavens
f 4:21 Lit. daughter
g 4:22 Lit. daughter
h 4:22 Lit. he
i 4:22 Lit. daughter

The Holy Bible: International Standard Version® Release 2.1
Copyright © 1996-2012 The ISV Foundation

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