1How the gold has grown dim,
how the pure gold is changed!
The holy stones lie scattered
at the head of every street.
2The precious sons of Zion,
worth their weight in fine gold,
how they are reckoned as earthen pots,
the work of a potter's hands!
3Even the jackals give the breast
and suckle their young,
but the daughter of my people has become cruel,
like the ostriches in the wilderness.
4The tongue of the nursling cleaves
to the roof of its mouth for thirst;
the children beg for food,
but no one gives to them.
5Those who feasted on dainties
perish in the streets;
those who were brought up in purple
lie on ash heaps.
6For the chastisement4.6 Or iniquity of the daughter of my people has been greater
than the punishment4.6 Or sin of Sodom,
which was overthrown in a moment,
no hand being laid on it.4.6 Heb uncertain
7Her princes were purer than snow,
whiter than milk;
their bodies were more ruddy than coral,
the beauty of their form4.7 Heb uncertain was like sapphire.4.7 Heb lapis lazuli
8Now their visage is blacker than soot,
they are not recognised in the streets;
their skin has shrivelled upon their bones,
it has become as dry as wood.
9Happier were the victims of the sword
than the victims of hunger,
who pined away, stricken
by want of the fruits of the field.
10The hands of compassionate women
have boiled their own children;
they became their food
in the destruction of the daughter of my people.
11The LORD gave full vent to his wrath,
he poured out his hot anger;
and he kindled a fire in Zion,
which consumed its foundations.
12The kings of the earth did not believe,
or any of the inhabitants of the world,
that foe or enemy could enter
the gates of Jerusalem.
13This was for the sins of her prophets
and the iniquities of her priests,
who shed in the midst of her
the blood of the righteous.
14They wandered, blind, through the streets,
so defiled with blood
that none could touch
15“Away! Unclean!” men cried at them;
“Away! Away! Touch not!”
So they became fugitives and wanderers;
men said among the nations,
“They shall stay with us no longer.”
16The LORD himself has scattered them,
he will regard them no more;
no honour was shown to the priests,
no favour to the elders.
17Our eyes failed, ever watching
vainly for help;
in our watching4.17 Heb uncertain we watched
for a nation which could not save.
18Men dogged our steps
so that we could not walk in our streets;
our end drew near; our days were numbered;
for our end had come.
19Our pursuers were swifter
than the vultures in the heavens;
they chased us on the mountains,
they lay in wait for us in the wilderness.
20The breath of our nostrils, the LORD's anointed,
was taken in their pits,
he of whom we said, “Under his shadow
we shall live among the nations.”
21Rejoice and be glad, O daughter of Edom,
dweller in the land of Uz;
but to you also the cup shall pass;
you shall become drunk and strip yourself bare.
22The punishment of your iniquity, O daughter of Zion, is accomplished,
he will keep you in exile no longer;
but your iniquity, O daughter of Edom, he will punish,
he will uncover your sins.
Scripture quotations are from the Revised Standard Version of the Bible, copyright © 1946, 1952, 1957 and 1971 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.