Lamentações 4

1 [^1] How the gold has lost its luster, ¶ the fine gold become dull! ¶ The sacred gems are scattered ¶ at every street corner.

2 How the precious children of Zion, ¶ once worth their weight in gold, ¶ are now considered as pots of clay, ¶ the work of a potter's hands!

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

4 Because of thirst the infant's tongue ¶ sticks to the roof of its mouth; ¶ the children beg for bread, ¶ but no one gives it to them.

5 Those who once ate delicacies ¶ are destitute in the streets. ¶ Those brought up in royal purple ¶ now lie on ash heaps.

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

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

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

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

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

11 The LORD has given full vent to his wrath; ¶ he has poured out his fierce anger. ¶ He kindled a fire in Zion ¶ that consumed her foundations.

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.

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

14 Now they grope through the streets ¶ as if they were blind. ¶ They are so defiled with blood ¶ 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 about, ¶ people among the nations say, ¶ "They can stay here no longer."

16 The LORD himself has scattered them; ¶ he no longer watches over them. ¶ The priests are shown no honor, ¶ the elders no favor.

17 Moreover, our eyes failed, ¶ looking in vain for help; ¶ from our towers we watched ¶ for a nation 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.

19 Our pursuers were swifter ¶ than eagles in the sky; ¶ they chased us over the mountains ¶ and lay in wait for us in the desert.

20 The LORD's anointed, our very life breath, ¶ was caught in their traps. ¶ We thought that under his shadow ¶ we would live among the nations.

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

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

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