Lamentations 4

Chapter 4

God’s Anger Satisfied

How the gold has lost its luster!

Even the finest gold has become dull.

The sacred gemstones

lie scattered in the streets!

See how the precious children of Jerusalem,*

worth their weight in fine gold,

are now treated like pots of clay

made by a common potter.

Even the jackals feed their young,

but not my people Israel.

They ignore their children’s cries,

like ostriches in the desert.

The parched tongues of their little ones

stick to the roofs of their mouths in thirst.

The children cry for bread,

but no one has any to give them.

The people who once ate the richest foods

now beg in the streets for anything they can get.

Those who once wore the finest clothes

now search the garbage dumps for food.

The guilt* of my people

is greater than that of Sodom,

where utter disaster struck in a moment

and no hand offered help.

Our princes once glowed with health—

brighter than snow, whiter than milk.

Their faces were as ruddy as rubies,

their appearance like fine jewels.*

But now their faces are blacker than soot.

No one recognizes them in the streets.

Their skin sticks to their bones;

it is as dry and hard as wood.

Those killed by the sword are better off

than those who die of hunger.

Starving, they waste away

for lack of food from the fields.

10 Tenderhearted women

have cooked their own children.

They have eaten them

to survive the siege.

11 But now the anger of the Lord is satisfied.

His fierce anger has been poured out.

He started a fire in Jerusalem*

that burned the city to its foundations.

12 Not a king in all the earth—

no one in all the world—

would have believed that an enemy

could march through the gates of Jerusalem.

13 Yet it happened because of the sins of her prophets

and the sins of her priests,

who defiled the city

by shedding innocent blood.

14 They wandered blindly

through the streets,

so defiled by blood

that no one dared touch them.

15 “Get away!” the people shouted at them.

“You’re defiled! Don’t touch us!”

So they fled to distant lands

and wandered among foreign nations,

but none would let them stay.

16 The Lord himself has scattered them,

and he no longer helps them.

People show no respect for the priests

and no longer honor the leaders.

17 We looked in vain for our allies

to come and save us,

but we were looking to nations

that could not help us.

18 We couldn’t go into the streets

without danger to our lives.

Our end was near; our days were numbered.

We were doomed!

19 Our enemies were swifter than eagles in flight.

If we fled to the mountains, they found us.

If we hid in the wilderness,

they were waiting for us there.

20 Our king—the Lord’s anointed, the very life of our nation—

was caught in their snares.

We had thought that his shadow

would protect us against any nation on earth!

21 Are you rejoicing in the land of Uz,

O people of Edom?

But you, too, must drink from the cup of the Lord’s anger.

You, too, will be stripped naked in your drunkenness.

22 O beautiful Jerusalem,* your punishment will end;

you will soon return from exile.

But Edom, your punishment is just beginning;

soon your many sins will be exposed.

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