1 HOW THE gold has become dim! How the most pure gold has changed! The hallowed stones [of the temple] are poured out at the head of every street.
2 The noble and precious sons of Zion, [once] worth their weight in fine gold–how they are esteemed [merely] as earthen pots or pitchers, the work of the hands of the potter! [Isa. 30:14; Jer. 19:11; II Cor. 4:7.]
3 Even the jackals draw out the breast, they give suck to their young ones, but the daughter of my people has become cruel like ostriches in the wilderness [that desert their young].
4 The tongue of the nursing babe cleaves to the roof of its mouth because of thirst; the young children beg for food, but no one gives it to them.
5 Those who feasted on dainties are perishing in the streets; those who were brought up in purple lie cleaving to refuse and ash heaps.
6 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 in a moment, and no hands had come against her or been laid on her. [Gen. 19:25.]
7 [In physical appearance] her princes were purer than snow, they were whiter than milk; they were more ruddy in body than rubies or corals, their shapely figures [suggested a carefully cut] sapphire.
8 [Prolonged famine has made] them look blacker than soot and darkness; they are not recognized in the streets. Their skin clings to their bones; it is withered and it has become [dry] like a stick.
9 Those who are slain with the sword are more fortunate than those who are the victims of hunger [slain by the famine]; for they [the hungry] pine and ebb away, stricken through for want of the fruits of the field.
10 The hands of [heretofore] compassionate women have boiled their own children; they were their food during the destruction of the daughter of my people [Judah].
11 The Lord has fulfilled His wrath; He has poured out His fierce anger and has kindled a fire in Zion that has consumed her foundations.
12 The kings of the earth did not believe, nor did any of the inhabitants of the earth, that the oppressor and enemy could enter the gates of Jerusalem.
13 [But this happened] because of the sins of her [false] prophets and the iniquities of her priests, who shed the blood of the just and righteous in the midst of her.
14 [The false prophets and priests] wandered [staggering] in the streets as if blind; they had so polluted themselves with blood it was not [lawful] for men to touch their garments.
15 [People] cried to them, Go away! Unclean! Depart! Depart! Touch not! When they fled away, then they wandered [as fugitives]; men said among the nations, They shall not stay here any longer.
16 The anger of the Lord has scattered [and divided them among the nations]; He will no longer look after them. They did not respect the persons of the priests; they did not favor the elders.
17 As for us, our eyes yet failed and wasted away in looking for our worthless help. In our watching [on our watchtower] we have watched and waited expectantly for a nation [Egypt or some other one to come to our rescue] that could not save us. [Ezek. 29:16.]
18 [The missiles of the enemy] dog our steps, so that we cannot go into our streets; our end is near, our days are fulfilled–yes, our end has come.
19 Our pursuers were swifter than the eagles of the sky; they pursued us on the mountains, they lay in wait for us in the wilderness.
20 The breath of our nostrils, the anointed of the Lord [our king], was taken in their snares–he of whom we said, Under his shadow we shall live among the nations.
21 Rejoice and be glad, O Daughter of Edom, you who dwell in the land of Uz. But the cup [of the wine of God's wrath] also shall pass to you; you shall become drunk and make yourself naked. [Jer. 25:17.]
22 The punishment of your iniquity will be accomplished and completed, O Daughter of Zion; [the Lord] will no more carry you away or keep you in exile. But He will inspect and punish your iniquity and guilt, O Daughter of Edom; He will uncover your sins. [Ps. 137:7.]