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Lamentations 4

Yahweh’s Wrath Spent

א  Aleph

How dark the gold has become,
How the pure gold has changed!
The sacred stones are poured out
At the head of every street.

ב  Beth

The precious sons of Zion,
Weighed against fine gold,
How they are regarded as earthen jars,
The work of a potter’s hands!

ג  Gimel

Even jackals offer the breast;
They nurse their young;
But the daughter of my people has become cruel
Like ostriches in the wilderness.

ד  Daleth

The tongue of the nursing baby cleaves
To the roof of its mouth because of thirst;
The infants ask for bread,
But no one breaks it for them.

ה  He

Those who ate delicacies
Are desolate in the streets;
Those reared in crimson
Embrace ash pits.

ו  Vav

So the iniquity of the daughter of my people
Is greater than the sin of Sodom,
Which was overthrown as in a moment,
And no hands whirled toward her.

ז  Zayin

Her Nazirites were purer than snow;
They were whiter than milk;
They were more ruddy in body than corals,
Their polishing was like lapis lazuli.

ח  Heth

Their form is blacker than soot;
They are not recognized in the streets;
Their skin is shriveled on their bones;
It is withered, it has become like wood.

ט  Teth

Better are those pierced through with the sword
Than those pierced through with hunger;
For their life flows away, being stricken
For lack of the produce of the field.

י  Yodh

The hands of compassionate women
Boiled their own children;
They became food for them
Because of the destruction of the daughter of my people.

כ  Kaph

Yahweh has spent His wrath;
He has poured out His burning anger;
And He has kindled a fire in Zion
Which has devoured its foundations.

ל  Lamedh

The kings of the earth did not believe,
Nor did any of the inhabitants of the world,
That the adversary and the enemy
Could enter the gates of Jerusalem.

מ  Mem

Because of the sins of her prophets
And the iniquities of her priests,
Who have shed in her midst
The blood of the righteous;

נ  Nun

They wandered, blind, in the streets;
They were defiled with blood
So that no one could touch their garments.

ס  Samekh

“Depart! Unclean!” they cried of themselves.
“Depart, depart, do not touch!”
So they fled and wandered;
Men among the nations said,
“They shall not continue to sojourn with us.”

פ  Pe

The presence of Yahweh has eradicated them;
He will not continue to look at them;
They did not honor the priests;
They did not favor the elders.

ע  Ayin

Yet our eyes were spent,
Looking for help was vanity;
In our watching we have watched
For a nation that could not save.

צ  Tsadhe

They hunted our steps
So that we could not walk in our open squares;
Our end drew near,
Our days were finished,
For our end had come.

ק  Qoph

Our pursuers were swifter
Than the eagles of the sky;
They hotly pursued us on the mountains;
They waited in ambush for us in the wilderness.

ר  Resh

The breath of our nostrils, the anointed of Yahweh,
Was captured in their pits,
Of whom we had said, “Under his shadow
We shall live among the nations.”

שׂ  Sin

Rejoice and be glad, O daughter of Edom,
Who inhabits the land of Uz;
But the cup will pass on to you as well;
You will become drunk and make yourself naked.

ת  Tav

The punishment of your iniquity has come to an end, O daughter of Zion;
He will exile you no longer.
But He will punish your iniquity, O daughter of Edom;
He will expose your sins!