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4
Terrors of the Besieged City
א Alef
1How the gold has become tarnished,
the fine gold become dull!
The stones of the temple # Or The sacred gems lie scattered
at the corner of every street. # Ezk 7:19-20
ב Bet
2Zion’s precious people —
once worth their weight in pure gold # Is 62:3; Zch 9:16
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 # Jb 39:13-18 in the wilderness.
ד Dalet
4The nursing infant’s tongue
clings to the roof of his mouth from thirst. # Ps 22:15
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 # Jdg 8:26; Est 8:15
huddle in garbage heaps.
ו Vav
6The punishment of my dear people
is greater than that of Sodom, # Gn 18–19; Is 3:9; Jr 23:14
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 # Lit bones were more ruddy than coral,
their appearance like sapphire. # Or lapis lazuli
ח Khet
8Now they appear darker than soot; # Jb 30:30; Lm 5:10
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; # Dt 28:53; 2Kg 6:9
they became their food
during the destruction of my dear people. # Jr 8:11,21; Lm 2:11; 3:48
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. # Lm 2:3-4
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. # 2Sm 5:6-8; Ps 48:1-5
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. # Ps 106:38-39; Ezk 22:1-5
נ Nun
14Blind, they stumbled in the streets, # Dt 28:29; Is 59:10; Zph 1:17
defiled by this blood, # Lv 21:11
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! ” # Lv 13:45-46
So they wandered aimlessly. # Gn 4:12
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; # Jr 37:7-8
we watched from our towers
for a nation # Probably Egypt that refused to help.
צ Tsade
18Our steps were closely followed
so that we could not walk in our streets.
Our end drew near; # Ezk 7:2-12; Am 8:2 our time ran out.
Our end had come!
ק Qof
19Those who chased us were swifter
than eagles in the sky; # Jr 4:13; Hab 1:8
they relentlessly pursued us over the mountains
and ambushed us in the wilderness.
ר Resh
20The Lord’s anointed, # = King Zedekiah the breath of our life, # Lit nostrils # Gn 2:7; 2Kg 25:7
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, # Ezk 35:15; Ob 12
you resident of the land of Uz! # Jr 25:20
Yet the cup # Is 51:17; Jr 25:15-16; Hab 2:16 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. # Or not deport you again
But He will punish your iniquity, Daughter Edom,
and will expose your sins. # Ps 137:7; Ezk 25:12-14; Jl 3:19

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