The Lamentations of Jeremiah

Chapter 4

Zion bewails her pitiful estate, 1-12. She confesses her sins, 13-20. Edom is threatened and Zion comforted, 21, 22.

[ALEPH - א]

How the gold has become dim!/
How the most fine gold has changed!/
The stones of the sanctuary are poured out/
at the head of every street.

[BET - ב]

The precious sons of Zion,/
comparable to fine gold,/
how they are esteemed as earthen pitchers,/
the work of the hands of the potter!

[GIMEL - ג]

Even the jackals draw out the breast/
to nurse their young ones./
The daughter of my people has become cruel,/
like the ostriches in the wilderness.

[DALET - ד]

The tongue of the nursing child cleaves/
to the roof of his mouth for thirst./
The young children ask for bread,/
and no man breaks it for them.

[HE - ה]

Those who fed delicately/
are desolate in the streets./
Those who were brought up in scarlet/
embrace dunghills.

[VAV - ו]

For the punishment of the iniquity of the daughter of my people is greater/
than the punishment of the sin of Sodom,/
which was overthrown as in a moment,/
and no hands stayed on her.

[ZAYIN - ז]

Her Nazarites were purer than snow./
They were whiter than milk./
They were more ruddy in body than rubies./
Their polishing was of sapphire.

[HET - ח]

Their visage is blacker than a coal./
They are not known in the streets./
Their skin cleaves to their bones./
It is withered. It has become like a stick.

[TET - ט]

Those who are slain with the sword are better/
than those who are slain with hunger,/
for these pine away, stricken through/
for lack of the fruits of the field.

[YOD - י]

10 The hands of the pitiful women/
have boiled their own children./
They were their food/
in the destruction of the daughter of my people.

[KAF - כ]

11 The LORD has accomplished his fury./
He has poured out his fierce anger/
and has kindled a fire in Zion,/
and it has devoured her foundations.

[LAMED - ל]

12 The kings of the earth/
and all the inhabitants of the world would not have believed/
that the adversary and the enemy would have entered/
into the gates of Jerusalem.

[MEM - מ]

13 It is for the sins of her prophets/
and the iniquities of her priests,/
who have shed the blood of the just/
in the midst of her.

[NUN - נ]

14 They have wandered as blind men in the streets./
They have polluted themselves with blood/
so that men could not/
touch their garments.

[SAMEKH - ס]

15 They cried to them, "Depart. It is unclean./
Depart, depart. Do not touch."/
When they fled away and wandered,/
they said among the heathen,/
"They shall no longer sojourn there."

[AYIN - ע]

16 The anger of the LORD has divided them./
He will no longer regard them./
They did not respect the persons of the priests./
They did not favor the elders.

[PE - פ]

17 As for us, our eyes as yet failed/
for our vain help./
In our watching we have watched/
for a nation that could not save us.

[TSADI - צ]

18 They hunt our steps/
so that we cannot go in our streets./
Our end is near. Our days are fulfilled,/
for our end has come.

[QOF - ק]

19 Our persecutors are swifter/
than the eagles of heaven./
They pursued us upon the mountains./
They laid wait for us in the wilderness.

[RESH - ר]

20 The breath of our nostrils, the anointed of the LORD,/
was taken in their pits,/
of whom we said, "Under his shadow/
we shall live among the heathen."

[SHIN - ש]

21 Rejoice and be glad, O daughter of Edom,/
who dwells in the land of Uz./
The cup shall also pass through to you./
You shall be drunken and shall make yourself naked.

[TAV - ת]

22 The punishment of your iniquity is accomplished, O daughter of Zion./
He will no longer carry you away into captivity./
He will visit your iniquity, O daughter of Edom./
He will disclose your sins.


Matthew Henry Commentary - Lamentations, Chapter 4[➚]


John Gill's Chapter Summary:

The prophet begins this chapter with a complaint of the ill usage of the dear children of God and precious sons of Zion (Lamentations 4:1-2); relates the dreadful effects of the famine during the siege of Jerusalem (Lamentations 4:3-10); the taking and destruction of that city he imputes to the wrath of God, and represents it as incredible to the kings and inhabitants of the earth (Lamentations 4:11-12); the causes of which were the sins of the prophets, priests, and people (Lamentations 4:13-16); expresses the vain hopes they once had, but now were given up entirely, their king being taken (Lamentations 4:17-20); and the chapter is concluded with a prophecy of the destruction of the Edomites and of the return of the Jews from captivity (Lamentations 4:21-22).