Jeremiah compares Jerusalem before and after being conquered. He reveals the cause for being conquered. He says the bad days are over.
VERSE 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.
the gold has become dim. Jerusalem is in a state of calamity.
VERSE 2. The precious sons of Zion, comparable to fine gold, how they are esteemed as earthen pitchers, the work of the hands of the potter!
VERSE 3. Even the jackals offer their breast. They nurse their young ones. But the daughter of my people has become cruel, like the ostriches in the wilderness.
cruel, like the ostriches. In those days, people thought ostriches were cruel. That was because ostriches lay their eggs on the sand.
VERSE 4. The tongue of the nursing child clings to the roof of his mouth for thirst. The young children ask bread, and no one breaks it for them.
VERSE 5. Those who ate delicacies are desolate in the streets. Those who were brought up in purple embrace dunghills.
VERSE 6. For the iniquity of the daughter of my people is greater than the sin of Sodom, which was overthrown as in a moment. No hands were laid on her.
the sin of Sodom. Why was the ancient city of Sodom destroyed? Many people think they know the answer. But they are wrong. The prophet Ezekiel tells us:
Ezekiel 16:49. Behold, this was the iniquity of your sister Sodom: pride, fullness of bread, and prosperous ease was in her and in her daughters. She also didn’t strengthen the hand of the poor and needy.
In other words, the sin of Sodom was that they had plenty and yet gave no help to the poor and needy. In the world of the Bible, that is an abominable crime.
Wisdom 19:15. And not only so, but God will visit the men of Sodom after another sort, Since they received as enemies those who were aliens;
Sirach 16:8. He spared not those with whom Lot sojourned, Whom he abhorred for their pride.
Lamentations 4:6. For the iniquity of the daughter of my people is greater than the sin of Sodom, which was overthrown as in a moment. No hands were laid on her.
VERSE 7. Her Nazirites were purer than snow. They were whiter than milk. They were more ruddy in body than rubies. Their polishing was like sapphire.
VERSE 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.
VERSE 9. Those who are killed with the sword are better than those who are killed with hunger; For these pine away, stricken through, for lack of the fruits of the field.
VERSE 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.
NLT translation. Tenderhearted women have cooked their own children. They have eaten them to survive the siege.
Tenderhearted women. What does the Book of Lamentations say about women? Here are all the verses we found in Lamentations that mention a woman. Read more »
cooked their own children. This is one of the curses that were prophesied if the nation rejected God. They would resort to cannibalism.
This shows that one of the curses in Deuteronomy chapter 28 has been fulfilled:
Deuteronomy 28:53. You will eat the fruit of your own body, the flesh of your sons and of your daughters, whom the LORD your God has given you, in the siege and in the distress with which your enemies will distress you.
VERSE 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.
VERSE 12. The kings of the earth didn’t believe, neither did all the inhabitants of the world, that the adversary and the enemy would enter into the gates of Jerusalem.
VERSE 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.
the sins of her prophets and the iniquities of her priests. Now we get to the root cause of the problem. It was not the sins of the populace. Rather, it was the sins of the prophets and priests. They led the world in depravity.
shed the blood of the just. The prophets and priests adapted the religious practices of the other nations. They slaughtered children as a religious sacrifice.
VERSE 14. They wander as blind men in the streets. They are polluted with blood, So that men can’t touch their garments.
VERSE 15. “Go away!” they cried to them. “Unclean! Go away! Go away! Don’t touch! When they fled away and wandered, men said among the nations, “They can’t live here any more.”
VERSE 16. The LORD’s anger has scattered them. He will not pay attention to them any more. They didn’t respect the persons of the priests. They didn’t favor the elders.
NLT translation. The Lord himself has scattered them, and he no longer helps them. People show no respect for the priests and no longer honor the leaders.
no longer honor the leaders. God stopped honoring the religious leaders.
In some denominations, this is happening in our day. An example is the clergy sex abuse scandal. Instead of helping victims and reforming their denomination, many church leaders rebrand the scandal as an “attack” on their church.
The result is that the leaders have become incapable of reforming their own denomination. They have lost the moral high ground. They have brought all this down upon themselves.
VERSE 17. Our eyes still fail, looking in vain for our help. In our watching we have watched for a nation that could not save.
VERSE 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.
VERSE 19. Our pursuers were swifter than the eagles of the sky. They chased us on the mountains. They set an ambush for us in the wilderness.
VERSE 20. The breath of our nostrils, the anointed of the LORD, was taken in their pits; of whom we said, under his shadow we will live among the nations.
VERSE 21. Rejoice and be glad, daughter of Edom, that dwells in the land of Uz. The cup will pass through to you also. You will be drunken, and will make yourself naked.
Rejoice and be glad. There is cause for rejoicing.
VERSE 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.
punishment … is accomplished. The bad days are over. Now Jerusalem can look forward to restoration.
Unless otherwise noted, all Bible quotations on this page are from the World English Bible and the World Messianic Edition. These translations have no copyright restrictions. They are in the Public Domain.