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Lamentations 4,5

The Punishment of Zion

4How the gold has grown dim,
   how the pure gold is changed!
The sacred stones lie scattered
   at the head of every street.

2 The precious children of Zion,
   worth their weight in fine gold—
how they are reckoned as earthen pots,
   the work of a potter’s hands!

3 Even the jackals offer the breast
   and nurse their young,
but my people has become cruel,
   like the ostriches in the wilderness.

4 The tongue of the infant sticks
   to the roof of its mouth for thirst;
the children beg for food,
   but no one gives them anything.

5 Those who feasted on delicacies
   perish in the streets;
those who were brought up in purple
   cling to ash heaps.

6 For the chastisement* of my people has been greater
   than the punishment* of Sodom,
which was overthrown in a moment,
   though no hand was laid on it.*

7 Her princes were purer than snow,
   whiter than milk;
their bodies were more ruddy than coral,
   their hair* like sapphire.*

8 Now their visage 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.

9 Happier were those pierced by the sword
   than those pierced by hunger,
whose life drains away, deprived
   of the produce of the field.

10 The hands of compassionate women
   have boiled their own children;
they became their food
   in the destruction of my people.

11 The Lord gave full vent to his wrath;
   he poured out his hot anger,
and kindled a fire in Zion
   that consumed its foundations.

12 The kings of the earth did not believe,
   nor did any of the inhabitants of the world,
that foe or enemy could enter
   the gates of Jerusalem.

13 It was for the sins of her prophets
   and the iniquities of her priests,
who shed the blood of the righteous
   in the midst of her.

14 Blindly they wandered through the streets,
   so defiled with blood
that no one was able
   to touch their garments.

15 ‘Away! Unclean!’ people shouted at them;
   ‘Away! Away! Do not touch!’
So they became fugitives and wanderers;
   it was said among the nations,
   ‘They shall stay here no longer.’

16 The Lord himself 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;
we were watching eagerly
   for a nation that 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 Lord’s anointed, the breath of our life,
   was taken in their pits—
the one of whom we said, ‘Under his shadow
   we shall live among the nations.’

21 Rejoice and be glad, O daughter Edom,
   you that live 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 Zion, is accomplished,
   he will keep you in exile no longer;
but your iniquity, O daughter Edom, he will punish,
   he will uncover your sins.

A Plea for Mercy

5Remember, O Lord, what has befallen us;
   look, and see our disgrace!
2 Our inheritance has been turned over to strangers,
   our homes to aliens.
3 We have become orphans, fatherless;
   our mothers are like widows.
4 We must pay for the water we drink;
   the wood we get must be bought.
5 With a yoke* on our necks we are hard driven;
   we are weary, we are given no rest.
6 We have made a pact with* Egypt and Assyria,
   to get enough bread.
7 Our ancestors sinned; they are no more,
   and we bear their iniquities.
8 Slaves rule over us;
   there is no one to deliver us from their hand.
9 We get our bread at the peril of our lives,
   because of the sword in the wilderness.
10 Our skin is black as an oven
   from the scorching heat of famine.
11 Women are raped in Zion,
   virgins in the towns of Judah.
12 Princes are hung up by their hands;
   no respect is shown to the elders.
13 Young men are compelled to grind,
   and boys stagger under loads of wood.
14 The old men have left the city gate,
   the young men their music.
15 The joy of our hearts has ceased;
   our dancing has been turned to mourning.
16 The crown has fallen from our head;
   woe to us, for we have sinned!
17 Because of this our hearts are sick,
   because of these things our eyes have grown dim:
18 because of Mount Zion, which lies desolate;
   jackals prowl over it.

19 But you, O Lord, reign for ever;
   your throne endures to all generations.
20 Why have you forgotten us completely?
   Why have you forsaken us these many days?
21 Restore us to yourself, O Lord, that we may be restored;
   renew our days as of old—
22 unless you have utterly rejected us,
   and are angry with us beyond measure.


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From the oremus Bible Browser v2.9.2 30 June 2021.