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The Catholic Study Bible A special version of the New American Bible, with a wealth of background information useful to Catholics.

Chapter 4

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Miseries of the Besieged City

1How tarnished is the gold, how changed the noble metal; How the sacred stones lie strewn at every street corner!

2Zion's precious sons, fine gold their counterpart, Now worth no more than earthen jars made by the hands of a potter! i Jer 19, 11 .

3Even the jackals bare their breasts and suckle their young; The daughter of my people has become as cruel as the ostrich* in the desert. j Jb 39, 16 .

4The tongue of the suckling cleaves to the roof of its mouth in thirst; The babes cry for food, but there is no one to give it to them.

5Those accustomed to dainty food perish in the streets; Those brought up in purple now cling to the ash heaps. k Dt 28, 56 .

6The punishment of the daughter of my people is greater than the penalty of Sodom, Which was overthrown in an instant without the turning of a hand. l Gn 19, 23–29; 2 Pt 2, 6; Jude 1, 7 .

7Brighter than snow were her princes, whiter than milk, More ruddy than coral, more precious than sapphire.

8Now their appearance is blacker than soot, they are unrecognized on the streets; Their skin shrinks on their bones, as dry as wood. m Lam 3, 4 .

9Better for those who perish by the sword than for those who die of hunger, Who waste away, as though pierced through, lacking the fruits of the field!

10The hands of compassionate women boiled their own children, To serve them as mourners' food in the downfall of the daughter of my people. n Lam 2, 20; Dt 28, 56f; 2 Kgs 6, 29 .

11The LORD has spent his anger, poured out his blazing wrath; He has kindled a fire in Zion that has consumed her foundations. o Jer 7, 20; Ez 5, 13 .

12The kings of the earth did not believe, nor any of the world's inhabitants, That enemy or foe could enter the gates of Jerusalem.

13Because of the sins of her prophets* and the crimes of her priests, Who shed in her midst the blood of the just!— p Jer 6, 13 .

14They staggered blindly in the streets, soiled with blood, So that people could not touch even their garments: q Is 59, 10 .

15“Away, you unclean!” they cried to them, “Away, away, do not draw near!” If they left and wandered among the nations, nowhere could they remain.

16The LORD himself has dispersed them, he regards them no more; He does not receive the priests with favor, nor show kindness to the elders.

17Our eyes ever wasted away, looking in vain for aid; From our watchtower we watched for a nation* that could not save us.

18Men dogged our steps so that we could not walk in our streets; Our end drew near, and came; our time had expired.

19Our pursuers were swifter than eagles in the air, They harassed us on the mountains and waylaid us in the desert. r Jer 4, 13; Hb 1, 8 .

20The anointed one of the LORD, our breath of life,* was caught in their snares, He in whose shadow we thought we could live on among the nations. s Lam 2, 9; Ez 19, 4. 8 .

21Though you rejoice and are glad, O daughter Edom, you who dwell in the land of Uz,* To you also shall the cup be passed; you shall become drunk and naked. t Lam 1, 21; Jer 25, 15 .

22Your chastisement is completed, O daughter Zion, he will not prolong your exile; But your wickedness, O daughter Edom, he will punish, he will lay bare your sins. u Is 40, 2 .

Notes:

i: Jer 19, 11 .

j: Jb 39, 16 .

k: Dt 28, 56 .

l: Gn 19, 23–29; 2 Pt 2, 6; Jude 1, 7 .

m: Lam 3, 4 .

n: Lam 2, 20; Dt 28, 56f; 2 Kgs 6, 29 .

o: Jer 7, 20; Ez 5, 13 .

p: Jer 6, 13 .

q: Is 59, 10 .

r: Jer 4, 13; Hb 1, 8 .

s: Lam 2, 9; Ez 19, 4. 8 .

t: Lam 1, 21; Jer 25, 15 .

u: Is 40, 2 .

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