Bible: Lam 4

The Prophet Speaks:

4:1 א (Alef)

1 

Alas! 2  Gold has lost its luster; 3 

pure gold loses value. 4 

Jewels 5  are scattered

on every street corner. 6 

4:2 ב (Bet)

The precious sons of Zion

were worth their weight in gold –

Alas! – but now they are treated like 7  broken clay pots,

made by a potter. 8 

4:3 ג (Gimel)

Even the jackals 9  nurse their young

at their breast, 10 

but my people 11  are cruel,

like ostriches 12  in the desert.

4:4 ד (Dalet)

The infant’s tongue sticks

to the roof of its mouth due to thirst;

little children beg for bread, 13 

but no one gives them even a morsel. 14 

4:5 ה (He)

Those who once feasted on delicacies 15 

are now starving to death 16  in the streets.

Those who grew up 17  wearing expensive clothes 18 

are now dying 19  amid garbage. 20 

4:6 ו (Vav)

The punishment 21  of my people 22 

exceeded that of 23  of Sodom,

which was overthrown in a moment

with no one to help her. 24 

4:7 ז (Zayin)

Her consecrated ones 25  were brighter than snow,

whiter than milk;

their bodies more ruddy than corals,

their hair 26  like lapis lazuli. 27 

4:8 ח (Khet)

Now their appearance 28  is darker than soot;

they are not recognized in the streets.

Their skin has shriveled on their bones;

it is dried up, like tree bark.

4:9 ט (Tet)

Those who died by the sword 29  are better off

than those who die of hunger, 30 

those who 31  waste away, 32 

struck down 33  from lack of 34  food. 35 

4:10 י (Yod)

The hands of tenderhearted women 36 

cooked their own children,

who became their food, 37 

when my people 38  were destroyed. 39 

4:11 כ (Kaf)

The Lord fully vented 40  his wrath;

he poured out his fierce anger. 41 

He started a fire in Zion;

it consumed her foundations. 42 

4:12 ל (Lamed)

Neither the kings of the earth

nor the people of the lands 43  ever thought 44 

that enemy or foe would enter

the gates 45  of Jerusalem. 46 

4:13 מ (Mem)

But it happened 47  due to the sins of her prophets 48 

and the iniquities of her priests,

who poured out in her midst

the blood of the righteous.

4:14 נ (Nun)

They 49  wander blindly 50  through the streets,

defiled by the blood they shed, 51 

while no one dares 52 

to touch their garments.

4:15 ס (Samek)

People cry to them, “Turn away! You are unclean!

Turn away! Turn away! Don’t touch us!”

So they have fled and wander about;

but the nations say, 53  “They may not stay here any longer.”

4:16 פ (Pe)

The Lord himself 54  has scattered them;

he no longer watches over them.

They did not honor the priests; 55 

they did not show favor to the elders. 56 

The People of Jerusalem Lament:

4:17 ע (Ayin)

Our eyes continually failed us

as we looked in vain for help. 57 

From our watchtowers we watched

for a nation that could not rescue us.

4:18 צ (Tsade)

Our enemies 58  hunted us down at every step 59 

so that we could not walk about in our streets.

Our end drew near, our days were numbered, 60 

for our end had come!

4:19 ק (Qof)

Those who pursued us were swifter

than eagles 61  in the sky. 62 

They chased us over the mountains;

they ambushed us in the wilderness.

4:20 ר (Resh)

Our very life breath – the Lord’s anointed king 63 

was caught in their traps, 64 

of whom we thought, 65 

“Under his protection 66  we will survive among the nations.”

The Prophet Speaks:

4:21 ש (Sin/Shin)

Rejoice and be glad for now, 67  O people of Edom, 68 

who reside in the land of Uz.

But the cup of judgment 69  will pass 70  to you also;

you will get drunk and take off your clothes.

4:22 ת (Tav)

O people of Zion, 71  your punishment 72  will come to an end; 73 

he will not prolong your exile. 74 

But, O people of Edom, 75  he will punish 76  your sin 77 

and reveal 78  your offenses!

NET Bible Study Environment