Lamentations 4:9-22; Lamentations 5; Ezekiel 1:1-15
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.
With their own hands compassionate women have cooked their own children, who became their food when my people were destroyed.
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.
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.
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.
Now they grope through the streets like men who are blind. They are so defiled with blood that no one dares to touch their garments.
"Go away! You are unclean!" men 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."
The LORD himself has scattered them; he no longer watches over them. The priests are shown no honor, the elders no favor.
Moreover, our eyes failed, looking in vain for help; from our towers we watched for a nation that could not save us.
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.
Our pursuers were swifter than eagles in the sky; they chased us over the mountains and lay in wait for us in the desert.
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.
Rejoice and be glad, O Daughter of 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.
O Daughter of Zion, your punishment will end; he will not prolong your exile. But, O Daughter of Edom, he will punish your sin and expose your wickedness.
Remember, O LORD, what has happened to us; look, and see our disgrace.
Our inheritance has been turned over to aliens, our homes to foreigners.
We have become orphans and fatherless, our mothers like widows.
We must buy the water we drink; our wood can be had only at a price.
Those who pursue us are at our heels; we are weary and find no rest.
We submitted to Egypt and Assyria to get enough bread.
Our fathers sinned and are no more, and we bear their punishment.
Slaves rule over us, and there is none to free us from their hands.
We get our bread at the risk of our lives because of the sword in the desert.
Our skin is hot as an oven, feverish from hunger.
Women have been ravished in Zion, and virgins in the towns of Judah.
Princes have been hung up by their hands; elders are shown no respect.
Young men toil at the millstones; boys stagger under loads of wood.
The elders are gone from the city gate; the young men have stopped their music.
Joy is gone from our hearts; our dancing has turned to mourning.
The crown has fallen from our head. Woe to us, for we have sinned!
Because of this our hearts are faint, because of these things our eyes grow dim
for Mount Zion, which lies desolate, with jackals prowling over it.
You, O LORD, reign forever; your throne endures from generation to generation.
Why do you always forget us? Why do you forsake us so long?
Restore us to yourself, O LORD, that we may return; renew our days as of old
unless you have utterly rejected us and are angry with us beyond measure.
In the thirtieth year, in the fourth month on the fifth day, while I was among the exiles by the Kebar River, the heavens were opened and I saw visions of God.
On the fifth of the month--it was the fifth year of the exile of King Jehoiachin--
the word of the LORD came to Ezekiel the priest, the son of Buzi, by the Kebar River in the land of the Babylonians. There the hand of the LORD was upon him.
I looked, and I saw a windstorm coming out of the north--an immense cloud with flashing lightning and surrounded by brilliant light. The center of the fire looked like glowing metal,
and in the fire was what looked like four living creatures. In appearance their form was that of a man,
but each of them had four faces and four wings.
Their legs were straight; their feet were like those of a calf and gleamed like burnished bronze.
Under their wings on their four sides they had the hands of a man. All four of them had faces and wings,
and their wings touched one another. Each one went straight ahead; they did not turn as they moved.
Their faces looked like this: Each of the four had the face of a man, and on the right side each had the face of a lion, and on the left the face of an ox; each also had the face of an eagle.
Such were their faces. Their wings were spread out upward; each had two wings, one touching the wing of another creature on either side, and two wings covering its body.
Each one went straight ahead. Wherever the spirit would go, they would go, without turning as they went.
The appearance of the living creatures was like burning coals of fire or like torches. Fire moved back and forth among the creatures; it was bright, and lightning flashed out of it.
The creatures sped back and forth like flashes of lightning.
As I looked at the living creatures, I saw a wheel on the ground beside each creature with its four faces.