Lamentations 4 (English Standard Version)

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The Holy Stones Lie Scattered

1 1How the gold has grown dim, how the pure gold is changed! The holy stones lie scattered 2at the head of every street. 2 The precious sons of Zion, worth their weight in 3fine gold, how they are regarded as 4earthen pots, the work of a potter's hands! 3 Even jackals offer the breast; they nurse their young, but the daughter of my people has become cruel, like the ostriches in the wilderness. 4 The tongue of the nursing infant 5sticks to the roof of its mouth for thirst; 6the children beg for food, but no one gives to them. 5 Those who once feasted on delicacies perish in the streets; 7those who were brought up in purple embrace ash heaps. 6 8For the chastisementa of the daughter of my people has been greater than the punishmentb of Sodom, 9which was overthrown in a moment, and no hands were wrung for her.c 7 Her princes were purer than snow, whiter than milk; their bodies were more ruddy than coral, the beauty of their formd was like sapphire.e 8 10Now their face is blacker than soot; they are not recognized in the streets; their skin has shriveled on their bones; it has become as dry as wood. 9 Happier were the victims of the sword than the victims of hunger, who wasted away, pierced by lack of the fruits of the field. 10 11The hands of 12compassionate women 13have boiled their own children; 14they became their food during the destruction of the daughter of my people. 11 15The LORD gave full vent to his wrath; he poured out his hot anger, and 16he kindled a fire in Zion that consumed its foundations. 12 17The kings of the earth did not believe, nor any of the inhabitants of the world, that foe or enemy could enter the gates of Jerusalem. 13 This was for 18the sins of her prophets and 19the iniquities of her priests, who shed in the midst of her the blood of the righteous. 14 20They wandered, blind, through the streets; they were so defiled with blood 21that no one was able to touch their garments. 15 "Away! 22Unclean!" people cried at them. "Away! Away! Do not touch!" So they became fugitives and wanderers; people said among the nations, "They shall stay with us no longer." 16 23The LORD himselff has scattered them; he will regard them no more; 24no honor was shown to the priests, 25no favor to the elders. 17 26Our eyes failed, ever watching 27vainly for help; in our watching we watched for 28a nation which could not save. 18 29They dogged our steps so that we could not walk in our streets; 30our end drew near; our days were numbered, for our end had come. 19 Our pursuers were 31swifter than the eagles in the heavens; they chased us on the mountains; they lay in wait for us in the wilderness. 20 32The breath of our nostrils, 33the LORD's anointed, was captured 34in their pits, of whom we said, 35"Under his shadow we shall live among the nations." 21 36Rejoice and be glad, O daughter of Edom, you who dwell in 37the land of Uz; but to you also 38the cup shall pass; you shall become drunk and strip yourself bare. 22 39The punishment of your iniquity, O daughter of Zion, is accomplished; he will keep you in exile no longer;g but 40your iniquity, O daughter of Edom, he will punish; he will uncover your sins.
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