Lamentations 4 – “A Shocking Lament”

camelbirdHebrew-English Text
I. Summary
Lamentations 4 is an acrostic lament. The speaker describes Jerusalem in lurid detail, leads a communal prayer, and curses the Edomites.

II. Photo
Verses 3-4 say: “But my poor people has turned cruel, Like ostriches of the desert. The tongue of the suckling cleaves To its palate for thirst. Little children beg for bread; None gives them a morsel.”

III. Important Verses
v. 2: The precious children of Zion; Once valued as gold — Alas, they are accounted as earthen pots, Work of a potter’s hands!
v. 5: Those who feasted on dainties Lie famished in the streets; Those who were reared in purple Have embraced refuse heaps.
vv. 6-8: The guilt of my poor people Exceeded the iniquity of Sodom, Which was overthrown in a moment, Without a hand striking it. Her elect were purer than snow, Whiter than milk; Their limbs were ruddier than coral, Their bodies were like sapphire. Now their faces are blacker than soot, They are not recognized in the streets; Their skin has shriveled on their bones, It has become dry as wood.
v. 10: With their own hands, tenderhearted women Have cooked their children; Such became their fare, In the disaster of my poor people.
v. 12: The kings of the earth did not believe, Nor any of the inhabitants of the world, That foe or adversary could enter The gates of Jerusalem.
v. 16: The LORD’s countenance has turned away from them, He will look on them no more. They showed no regard for priests, No favor to elders.
v. 21: Rejoice and exult, Fair Edom, Who dwell in the land of Uz! To you, too, the cup shall pass, You shall get drunk and expose your nakedness.

IV. Outline
1-16. Descriptive lament
17-20. Communal lament
21-22. Imprecation of Edom

V. Comment
No comment today. I hope to revisit this chapter at the end of the cycle. Stay tuned.

VI. Works Used
(see “Commentaries” page)
Gerstenberger, Psalms Part 2 and Lamentations (Forms of Old Testament Literature)
Photo taken from