Lamentations 4 (The Message)

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1 Oh, oh, oh . . . How gold is treated like dirt, the finest gold thrown out with the garbage, Priceless jewels scattered all over, jewels loose in the gutters. 2 And the people of Zion, once prized, far surpassing their weight in gold, Are now treated like cheap pottery, like everyday pots and bowls mass-produced by a potter. 3 Even wild jackals nurture their babies, give them their breasts to suckle. But my people have turned cruel to their babies, like an ostrich in the wilderness. 4 Babies have nothing to drink. Their tongues stick to the roofs of their mouths. Little children ask for bread but no one gives them so much as a crust. 5 People used to the finest cuisine forage for food in the streets. People used to the latest in fashions pick through the trash for something to wear. 6 The evil guilt of my dear people was worse than the sin of Sodom - The city was destroyed in a flash, and no one around to help. 7 The splendid and sacred nobles once glowed with health. Their bodies were robust and ruddy, their beards like carved stone. 8 But now they are smeared with soot, unrecognizable in the street, Their bones sticking out, their skin dried out like old leather. 9 Better to have been killed in battle than killed by starvation. Better to have died of battle wounds than to slowly starve to death. 10 Nice and kindly women boiled their own children for supper. This was the only food in town when my dear people were broken. 11 God let all his anger loose, held nothing back. He poured out his raging wrath. He set a fire in Zion that burned it to the ground. 12 The kings of the earth couldn't believe it. World rulers were in shock, Watching old enemies march in big as you please, right through Jerusalem's gates. 13 Because of the sins of her prophets and the evil of her priests, Who exploited good and trusting people, robbing them of their lives, 14 These prophets and priests blindly grope their way through the streets, grimy and stained from their dirty lives, Wasted by their wasted lives, shuffling from fatigue, dressed in rags. 15 People yell at them, "Get out of here, dirty old men! Get lost, don't touch us, don't infect us!" They have to leave town. They wander off. Nobody wants them to stay here. Everyone knows, wherever they wander, that they've been kicked out of their own hometown. 16 God himself scattered them. No longer does he look out for them. He has nothing to do with the priests; he cares nothing for the elders. 17 We watched and watched, wore our eyes out looking for help. And nothing. We mounted our lookouts and looked for the help that never showed up. 18 They tracked us down, those hunters. It wasn't safe to go out in the street. Our end was near, our days numbered. We were doomed. 19 They came after us faster than eagles in flight, pressed us hard in the mountains, ambushed us in the desert. 20 Our king, our life's breath, the anointed of God, was caught in their traps - Our king under whose protection we always said we'd live. 21 Celebrate while you can, O Edom! Live it up in Uz! For it won't be long before you drink this cup, too. You'll find out what it's like to drink God's wrath, Get drunk on God's wrath and wake up with nothing, stripped naked. 22 And that's it for you, Zion. The punishment's complete. You won't have to go through this exile again. But Edom, your time is coming: He'll punish your evil life, put all your sins on display.
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