Lamentations 4 NIV

1 How the gold has lost its luster, the fine gold become dull! The sacred gems are scattered at the head of every street.1

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

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

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4 Because of thirst4 the infant's tongue sticks to the roof of its mouth;5 the children beg for bread, but no one gives it to them.6

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5 Those who once ate delicacies are destitute in the streets. Those nurtured in purple7 now lie on ash heaps.8

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6 The punishment of my people is greater than that of Sodom,9 which was overthrown in a moment without a hand turned to help her.

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7 Their princes were brighter than snow and whiter than milk, their bodies more ruddy than rubies, their appearance like sapphires.a

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    • a 4:7 - Or "lapis lazuli"
      8 But now they are blacker10 than soot; they are not recognized in the streets. Their skin has shriveled on their bones;11 it has become as dry as a stick.

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      9 Those killed by the sword are better off than those who die of famine;12 racked with hunger, they waste away for lack of food from the field.13

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      10 With their own hands compassionate women have cooked their own children,14 who became their food when my people were destroyed.

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      11 The LORD has given full vent to his wrath;15 he has poured out16 his fierce anger.17 He kindled a fire18 in Zion that consumed her foundations.19

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      12 The kings of the earth did not believe, nor did any of the world's people, that enemies and foes could enter the gates of Jerusalem.20

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      13 But it happened because of the sins of her prophets and the iniquities of her priests,21 who shed within her the blood22 of the righteous.

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      14 Now they grope through the streets like men who are blind.23 They are so defiled with blood24 that no one dares to touch their garments.

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      15 "Go away! You are unclean!" men cry to them. "Away! Away! Don't touch us!" When they flee and wander25 about, people among the nations say, "They can stay here no longer."26

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      16 The LORD himself has scattered them; he no longer watches over them.27 The priests are shown no honor, the elders28 no favor.29

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      17 Moreover, our eyes failed, looking in vain30 for help;31 from our towers we watched for a nation32 that could not save us.

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      18 Men 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.33

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      19 Our pursuers were swifter than eagles34 in the sky; they chased us35 over the mountains and lay in wait for us in the desert.36

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      20 The LORD's anointed,37 our very life breath, was caught in their traps.38 We thought that under his shadow39 we would live among the nations.

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      21 Rejoice and be glad, O Daughter of Edom, you who live in the land of Uz.40 But to you also the cup41 will be passed; you will be drunk and stripped naked.42

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      22 O Daughter of Zion, your punishment will end;43 he will not prolong your exile. But, O Daughter of Edom, he will punish your sin and expose your wickedness.44

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