Lamentations 4
New American Bible Revised Edition

Miseries of the Besieged City*

1How the gold has lost its luster,

the noble metal changed;

Jewels* lie scattered

at the corner of every street.

2And Zion’s precious children,

worth their weight in gold—

How they are treated like clay jugs,

the work of any potter!a

3Even jackals offer their breasts

to nurse their young;

But the daughter of my people is as cruel

as the ostrich* in the wilderness.b

4The tongue of the infant cleaves

to the roof of its mouth in thirst;

Children beg for bread,

but no one gives them a piece.

5Those who feasted on delicacies

are abandoned in the streets;

Those who reclined on crimson*

now embrace dung heaps.c

6The punishment of the daughter of my people

surpassed the penalty of Sodom,

Which was overthrown in an instant

with no hand laid on it.d

7Her princes were brighter than snow,

whiter than milk,

Their bodies more ruddy than coral,

their beauty like the sapphire.

8Now their appearance is blacker than soot,

they go unrecognized in the streets;

Their skin has shrunk on their bones,

and become dry as wood.e

9Better for those pierced by the sword

than for those pierced by hunger,

Better for those who bleed from wounds

than for those who lack food.

10The hands of compassionate women

have boiled their own children!

They became their food

when the daughter of my people was shattered.f

11The Lord has exhausted his anger,

poured out his blazing wrath;

He has kindled a fire in Zion

that has consumed her foundations.g

12The kings of the earth did not believe,

nor any of the world’s inhabitants,

That foe or enemy could enter

the gates of Jerusalem.

13Except for the sins of her prophets

and the crimes of her priests,

Who poured out in her midst

the blood of the just.h

14They staggered blindly in the streets,

defiled with blood,

So that people could not touch

even their garments:i

15“Go away! Unclean!” they cried to them,

“Away, away, do not touch!”

If they went away and wandered,

it would be said among the nations,

“They can no longer live here!

16The presence of the Lord was their portion,

but he no longer looks upon them.

The priests are shown no regard,

the elders, no mercy.

17Even now our eyes are worn out,

searching in vain for help;

From our watchtower we have watched

for a nation* unable to save.

18They dogged our every step,

we could not walk in our squares;

Our end drew near, our time was up;

yes, our end had come.

19Our pursuers were swifter

than eagles in the sky,

In the mountains they were hot on our trail,

they ambushed us in the wilderness.j

20The Lord’s anointed—our very lifebreath!—*

was caught in their snares,

He in whose shade we thought

to live among the nations.k

21Rejoice and gloat, daughter Edom,

dwelling in the land of Uz,*

The cup will pass to you as well;

you shall become drunk and strip yourself naked!l

22Your punishment is completed, daughter Zion,

the Lord will not prolong your exile;

The Lord will punish your iniquity, daughter Edom,

will lay bare your sins.m

Book Introduction


Scripture texts, prefaces, introductions, footnotes and cross references used in this work are taken from the New American Bible, revised edition © 2010, 1991, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, Inc., Washington, DC All Rights Reserved. No part of this work may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the copyright owner.

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