Lamentations 4

Distress of the Siege Described

How dark the gold has become,
How the pure gold has changed!
The sacred stones are spilled out
At the [a]corner of every street.
The precious sons of Zion,
Weighed against pure gold,
How they are regarded as earthenware jars,
The work of a potter’s hands!
Even jackals offer the breast,
They nurse their young;
But the daughter of my people has proved herself cruel,
Like ostriches in the wilderness.
The tongue of the infant clings
To the roof of its mouth because of thirst;
The children ask for bread,
But no one breaks it for them.
Those who used to eat delicacies
Are made to tremble in the streets;
Those who were raised in crimson clothing
Embrace garbage heaps.
For the [b]wrongdoing of the daughter of my people
Is greater than the [c]sin of Sodom,
Which was overthrown as in a moment,
[d]And no hands were turned toward her.
Her [e]consecrated ones were purer than snow,
They shined more than milk;
They were more ruddy in [f]body than pearls of coral,
Their form was like [g]lapis lazuli.
Their appearance is darker than soot,
They are not recognized in the streets;
Their skin is shriveled on their bones,
It is dry, it has become like wood.
Better off are those killed by the sword
Than those killed by hunger;
For they [h]waste away, [i]stricken
By the lack of the produce of the field.
10 The hands of compassionate women
Boiled their own children;
They became food for them
Due to the destruction of the daughter of my people.
11 The Lord has expended His wrath,
He has poured out His fierce anger;
And He has kindled a fire in Zion,
And it has consumed its foundations.
12 The kings of the earth did not believe,
Nor did any of the inhabitants of the world,
That the adversary and the enemy
Would enter the gates of Jerusalem.
13 Because of the sins of her prophets
And the wrongdoings of her priests,
Who have shed in her midst
The blood of the righteous,
14 They wandered, blind, in the streets;
They were defiled with blood,
Such that no one could touch their garments.
15 “Keep away! Unclean!” [j]they cried out of themselves.
“Keep away, keep away, do not touch!”
For they distanced themselves as well as wandered;
People among the nations said,
“They shall not continue to reside with us.”
16 The presence of the Lord has scattered them,
He will not continue to look at them;
They did not [k]honor the priests,
They did not favor the elders.
17 Yet our eyes failed,
Looking for [l]help was useless;
At our observation point we have watched
For a nation that could not save.
18 They hunted our steps
So that we could not walk in our streets;
Our end drew near,
Our days were [m]finished
For our end had come.
19 Our pursuers were swifter
Than the eagles of the sky;
They chased us on the mountains,
They waited in ambush for us in the wilderness.
20 The breath of our nostrils, the Lords anointed,
Was captured in their pits,
Of whom we had said, “[n]In his shadow
We shall live among the nations.”
21 Rejoice and be joyful, daughter of Edom,
Who lives in the land of Uz;
But the cup will pass to you as well,
You will become drunk and expose yourself.
22 The punishment of your wrongdoing has been completed, daughter of Zion;
He will no longer exile you.
But He will punish your wrongdoing, daughter of Edom;
He will expose your sins!


  1. Lamentations 4:1 Lit head
  2. Lamentations 4:6 Or punishment for wrongdoing
  3. Lamentations 4:6 Or punishment for sin
  4. Lamentations 4:6 I.e., without human intervention
  5. Lamentations 4:7 Or Nazirites
  6. Lamentations 4:7 Lit bones
  7. Lamentations 4:7 Heb sappir
  8. Lamentations 4:9 Lit flow away
  9. Lamentations 4:9 Lit pierced through
  10. Lamentations 4:15 Or they (other people) cried to them
  11. Lamentations 4:16 Lit lift up the faces of
  12. Lamentations 4:17 Lit our help
  13. Lamentations 4:18 Lit full
  14. Lamentations 4:20 I.e., under his protection