Lamentations 4

1 How the gold has become dim! The most pure gold has changed! The stones of the sanctuary are poured out at the head of every street. 2 The precious sons of Zion, comparable to fine gold, how are they esteemed as earthen pitchers, the work of the hands of the potter! 3 Even the jackals draw out the breast, they nurse their young ones: the daughter of my people has become cruel, like the ostriches in the wilderness. 4 The tongue of the nursing child clings to the roof of his mouth for thirst: the young children ask bread, and no man breaks it to them. 5 Those who fed delicately are desolate in the streets: those who were brought up in scarlet embrace dunghills.t6 For the iniquity of the daughter of my people is greater than the sin of Sodom, that was overthrown as in a moment, and no hands were laid on her. 7 Her nobles were purer than snow, they were whiter than milk; they were more ruddy in body than rubies, their polishing was as of sapphire. 8 Their appearance is blacker than a coal; they are not known in the streets: their skin clings to their bones; it is withered, it has become like a stick.t9 Those who are killed with the sword are better than those who are killed with hunger; for these pine away, stricken through, for want of the fruits of the field. 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. 11 The LORD has accomplished his wrath, he has poured out his fierce anger; He has kindled a fire in Zion, which has devoured its foundations. 12 The kings of the earth didn’t believe, neither all the inhabitants of the world, that the adversary and the enemy would enter into the gates of Jerusalem. 13 It is because of the sins of her prophets, and the iniquities of her priests, that have shed the blood of the just in the middle of her. 14 They wander as blind men in the streets, they are polluted with blood, so that men can’t touch their garments. 15 Depart! they cried to them, Unclean! depart, depart, don’t touch! When they fled away and wandered, men said amongst the nations, They shall not live here any more. 16 The LORD’s anger has scattered them; he will no more regard them: they didn’t respect the persons of the priests, they didn’t favor the elders. 17 Our eyes still fail, looking in vain for our help: in our watching we have watched for a nation that could not save. 18 They hunt our steps, so that we can’t go in our streets: our end is near, our days are fulfilled; for our end has come. 19 Our pursuers were swifter than the eagles of the sky: they chased us on the mountains, they laid wait for us in the wilderness. 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 amongst the nations. 21 Rejoice and be glad, daughter of Edom, that dwell in the land of Uz: the cup shall pass through to you also; you shall be drunken, and shall make yourself naked. 22 The punishment of your iniquity is accomplished, daughter of Zion; he will no more carry you away into captivity: He will visit your iniquity, daughter of Edom; he will uncover your sins.

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Questions about today’s reading? See if Matthew Henry can help.
Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary, 1706

Verses 1-12

What a change is here! Sin tarnishes the beauty of the most exalted powers and the most excellent gifts; but that gold, tried in the fire, which Christ bestows, never will be taken from us; its outward appearance may be dimmed, but its real value can never be changed. The horrors of the siege and destruction of Jerusalem are again described. Beholding the sad consequences of sin in the church of old, let us seriously consider to what the same causes may justly bring down the church now. But, Lord, though we have gone from thee in rebellion, yet turn to us, and turn our hearts to thee, that we may fear thy name. Come to us, bless us with awakening, converting, renewing, confirming grace.

Verses 13-20

Nothing ripens a people more for ruin, nor fills the measure faster, than the sins of priests and prophets. The king himself cannot escape, for Divine vengeance pursues him. Our anointed King alone is the life of our souls; we may safely live under his shadow, and rejoice in Him in the midst of our enemies, for He is the true God and eternal life.

Verses 21-22

Here it is foretold that an end should be put to Zion’s troubles. Not the fulness of punishment deserved, but of what God has determined to inflict. An end shall be put to Edom’s triumphs. All the troubles of the church and of the believer will soon be accomplished. And the doom of their enemies approaches. The Lord will bring their sins to light, and they shall lie down in eternal sorrow. Edom here represents all the enemies of the church. And the corruption, and sin of Israel, which the prophet has proved to be universal, justifies the judgments of the Lord. It shows the need of that grace in Christ Jesus, which the sin and corruption of all mankind make so necessary.

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