4 1How the gold has become tarnished, the fine gold become dull! The stones of the temple[J] lie scattered at the corner of every street. ב Bet 2Zion’s precious people— once worth their weight in pure gold— how they are regarded as clay jars, the work of a potter’s hands! ג Gimel 3Even jackals offer their breasts to nurse their young, but my dear people have become cruel like ostriches in the wilderness. ד Dalet 4The nursing infant’s tongue clings to the roof of his mouth from thirst. Little children beg for bread, but no one gives them any. ה He 5Those who used to eat delicacies are destitute in the streets; those who were reared in purple garments huddle in garbage heaps. ו Vav 6The punishment of my dear people is greater than that of Sodom, which was overthrown in an instant without a hand laid on it. ז Zayin 7Her dignitaries were brighter than snow, whiter than milk; their bodies[K] were more ruddy than coral, their appearance like sapphire.[L] ח Khet 8Now they appear darker than soot; they are not recognized in the streets. Their skin has shriveled on their bones; it has become dry like wood. ט Tet 9Those slain by the sword are better off than those slain by hunger, who waste away, pierced with pain because the fields lack produce. י Yod 10The hands of compassionate women have cooked their own children; they became their food during the destruction of my dear people. כ Kaf 11The Lord has exhausted His wrath, poured out His burning anger; He has ignited a fire in Zion, and it has consumed her foundations. ל Lamed 12The kings of the earth and all the world’s inhabitants did not believe that an enemy or adversary could enter Jerusalem’s gates. מ Mem 13Yet it happened because of the sins of her prophets and the guilt of her priests, who shed the blood of the righteous within her. נ Nun 14Blind, they stumbled in the streets, defiled by this blood, so that no one dared to touch their garments. ס Samek 15“Stay away! Unclean!” people shouted at them. “Away, away! Don’t touch us!” So they wandered aimlessly. It was said among the nations, “They can stay here no longer.” פ Pe 16The Lord Himself has scattered them; He regards them no more. The priests are not respected; the elders find no favor. ע Ayin 17All the while our eyes were failing as we looked in vain for assistance; we watched from our towers for a nation[M] that refused to help. צ Tsade 18Our steps were closely followed so that we could not walk in our streets. Our end drew near; our time ran out. Our end had come! ק Qof 19Those who chased us were swifter than eagles in the sky; they relentlessly pursued us over the mountains and ambushed us in the wilderness. ר Resh 20The Lord’s anointed,[N] the breath of our life,[O] was captured in their traps. We had said about him, “We will live under his protection among the nations.” ׂש Sin 21So rejoice and be glad, Daughter Edom, you resident of the land of Uz! Yet the cup will pass to you as well; you will get drunk and expose yourself. ת Tav 22Daughter Zion, your punishment is complete; He will not lengthen your exile.[P] But He will punish your iniquity, Daughter Edom, and will expose your sins.
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