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Eichah - Lamentations - Chapter 4

Eichah - Lamentations - Chapter 4

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Chapter 4

1How dim the gold has become, [how] changed is the fine gold jewelry! The holy stones are scattered at the head of every street.   אאֵיכָה֙ יוּעַ֣ם זָהָ֔ב יִשְׁנֶ֖א הַכֶּ֣תֶם הַטּ֑וֹב תִּשְׁתַּפֵּ֨כְנָה֙ אַבְנֵי־קֹ֔דֶשׁ בְּרֹ֖אשׁ כָּל־חוּצֽוֹת:
How dim the gold has become: This elegy was recited about Josiah, as it is stated (II Chronicles 35:25): “Behold it is written in the Book of Lamentations,” and with it he joined, in the midst of the elegy, the rest of the children of Zion.  
dim: Heb. יוּעַם, dim, as in (Lev. 13:6) where כֵּהָה is translated by the Targum as עַמְיָא.  
gold: the appearance of a face that shines like gold.  
changed: Heb. יִשְּׁנֶא, changes its appearance.  
the gold jewelry: Heb. הַכֶּתֶם. A collection of beautiful gold articles used as ornamentation is called ַכֶּתֶם.  
The holy stones: children who shine like precious stones, and the Midrash Aggadah (Lam. Rabbah) [states]: Every fourth part [of a log] of blood that came out of Josiah with each arrow that they thrust into him, Jeremiah buried in its place, and he called out concerning it, “the holy stones are scattered.”  
2The precious children of Zion, praised with fine gold; how they are regarded as earthen pitchers, the work of a potter's hands!   בבְּנֵ֤י צִיּוֹן֙ הַיְקָרִ֔ים הַֽמְסֻלָּאִ֖ים בַּפָּ֑ז אֵיכָ֤ה נֶחְשְׁבוּ֙ לְנִבְלֵי־חֶ֔רֶשׂ מַֽעֲשֵׂ֖ה יְדֵ֥י יוֹצֵֽר:
praised with gold: who were praised and equated with gold. Whoever saw them said, “See, the complexion of these is like the appearance of gold,” and so, (Job 28:16): “It cannot be praised (תְסֻלֶה) with jewelry of Ophir” ; (ibid. 19): “it cannot be praised (תְסֻלֶה) with jewelry of fine gold” ; (Ps. 68:5): “praise (סֹלוּ) Him Who rides in Aravoth”; these are expressions of praise and value.  
earthen pitchers: Heb. נִבְלֵי, earthen pitchers in which they pour wine, like wine flasks. (Jer. 48:12): “and they shall smash their jars (נִבְלֵיהֶם).”  
3Even the sea-monsters offer the breast [and] suckle their young; the daughter of my people has become cruel, like the ostriches in the wilderness.   גגַּם־תַּנִּים (כתיב תַּנִּין֙) חָ֣לְצוּ שַׁ֔ד הֵינִ֖יקוּ גּֽוּרֵיהֶ֑ן בַּת־עַמִּ֣י לְאַכְזָ֔ר כַּיְעֵנִ֖ים (כתיב כַּיְ עֵנִ֖ים) בַּמִּדְבָּֽר:
Even the sea-monsters: Even though it is cruel, it offers the breast. When it sees its hungry offspring coming from afar, it uncovers its breasts from their sheath, for it has a cover over its breasts, and draws them out so that its offspring should not see them covered up and retreat. And then they suckle their young.  
the daughter of my people has become cruel: They see their children crying for bread, and they do not break it for them, for their own lives come before their children’s lives because of the hunger.  
4The tongue of the suckling child cleaves to his palate through thirst; the young children beg [for] bread, [but] no one breaks it for them.   דדָּבַ֨ק לְשׁ֥וֹן יוֹנֵ֛ק אֶל־חִכּ֖וֹ בַּצָּמָ֑א עֽוֹלָלִים֙ שָׁ֣אֲלוּ לֶ֔חֶם פֹּרֵ֖שׂ אֵ֥ין לָהֶֽם:
5Those who used to eat dainties are perishing in the streets; they that were reared on crimson clasp the dunghills.   ההָאֹֽכְלִים֙ לְמַ֣עֲדַנִּ֔ים נָשַׁ֖מּוּ בַּֽחוּצ֑וֹת הָֽאֱמֻנִים֙ עֲלֵ֣י תוֹלָ֔ע חִבְּק֖וּ אַשְׁפַּתּֽוֹת:
they that were reared on crimson: on colored garments.  
they that were reared: Heb. הָאֱמֻנִים. An expression similar to (Esther 2:7): “And he brought up (אֹמֵן) Hadassah.”  
clasp the dunghills: heaps of dung; they lie on the dunghills in the street.  
6The iniquity of my people is greater than the sin of Sodom, which was overthrown as in a moment, and no hands fell on her.   ווַיִּגְדַּל֙ עֲוֹ֣ן בַּת־עַמִּ֔י מֵֽחַטַּ֖את סְדֹ֑ם הַֽהֲפוּכָ֣ה כְמוֹ־רָ֔גַע וְלֹא־חָ֥לוּ בָ֖הּ יָדָֽיִם:
The iniquity of my people is greater, etc.: Their punishment proves about them that their iniquity is greater than that of Sodom.  
which was overthrown as in a moment: The distress of Sodom was not prolonged; it was overthrown as in one moment.  
and no hands fell on her: [i.e.,] the hands of the enemy, but through angels it was overthrown. There are also Aggadic midrashim, but they do not fit the sequence of the verses.  
7Her Nazirites were purer than snow, they were whiter than milk, their appearance was ruddier than coral, [and] sapphire was their form.   זזַכּ֤וּ נְזִירֶ֨יהָ֙ מִשֶּׁ֔לֶג צַח֖וּ מֵֽחָלָ֑ב אָ֤דְמוּ עֶ֨צֶם֙ מִפְּנִינִ֔ים סַפִּ֖יר גִּזְרָתָֽם:
Her Nazirites were purer: Heb. נְזִירֶיהָ, her princes, like נֶזֶר and כֶּתֶר, a crown, but I say that [it means] real Nazirites, who had long hair and were remarkably handsome, and the antecedent is “the daughter of my people.”  
their appearance was ruddier than coral: Those whose appearance was ruddier than coral and whose forms were like sapphire-their complexions became darker than charcoal.  
8[But now] their appearance has become darker than charcoal, they are not recognized in the streets; their skin is shriveled on their bones; it has become as dry as a stick.   חחָשַׁ֤ךְ מִשְּׁחוֹר֙ תָּֽאֳרָ֔ם לֹ֥א נִכְּר֖וּ בַּֽחוּצ֑וֹת צָפַ֤ד עוֹרָם֙ עַל־עַצְמָ֔ם יָבֵ֖שׁ הָיָ֥ה כָעֵֽץ:
than charcoal: Heb. מִשְּׁחוֹר. This is charcoal.  
appearance: Heb. עֶצֶם, an expression of appearance, like (Exod. 24:10): “like the appearance of (וּכְעֶצֶם) the heavens in purity”; couleur in French, color, complexion.  
is shriveled: Heb. צָפַד, shriveled and adhered, and there is no similar word.  
9Better off were the victims of the sword than the victims of hunger, for they ooze, pierced by the fruits of the field.   טטוֹבִ֤ים הָיוּ֙ חַלְלֵי־חֶ֔רֶב מֵֽחַלְלֵ֖י רָעָ֑ב שֶׁ֣הֵ֤ם יָזֻ֨בוּ֙ מְדֻקָּרִ֔ים מִתְּנוּב֖וֹת שָׂדָֽי:
for they ooze, pierced, etc.: The victims of hunger were swollen from the smell of the fruits of the field, for the enemies would roast meat on the grass outside the wall, and the aroma would go into those swollen from hunger, and their stomachs would split, and their feces would ooze. Now this is a more ignoble death than those who are slain by the sword.  
pierced: Heb. מְדֻקָרִים. Being split either by the swelling of hunger or by the stabbing of the sword is called דְקִירָה, piercing.  
by the fruits of the field: Because of the roots and grasses that they gathered and ate, their feces increased and were loathsome.  
10The hands of compassionate women boiled their own children; they have become their food in the destruction of the daughter of my people.   ייְדֵ֗י נָשִׁים֙ רַֽחֲמָ֣נִיּ֔וֹת בִּשְּׁל֖וּ יַלְדֵיהֶ֑ן הָי֤וּ לְבָרוֹת֙ לָ֔מוֹ בְּשֶׁ֖בֶר בַּת־עַמִּֽי:
food: Heb. לְבָרוֹת, for food, like (II Sam. 12:17): “neither did he eat (בָרָה) bread with them” ; (ibid. 3:35): “to serve (לְהַבְרוֹת) David bread.”  
11The Lord has spent His fury, He has poured out His fierce anger, and He has kindled a fire in Zion, which has consumed her foundations.   יאכִּלָּ֤ה יְהֹוָה֙ אֶת־חֲמָת֔וֹ שָׁפַ֖ךְ חֲר֣וֹן אַפּ֑וֹ וַיַּצֶּת־אֵ֣שׁ בְּצִיּ֔וֹן וַתֹּ֖אכַל יְסֹֽדֹתֶֽיהָ:
The Lord has spent His fury: which burned in Him for many years; He now spent it when He avenged Himself upon them.  
12The kings of the earth did not believe, nor all the inhabitants of the world, that a foe or enemy could enter the gates of Jerusalem.   יבלֹ֤א הֶֽאֱמִ֨ינוּ֙ מַלְכֵי־אֶ֔רֶץ כֹּ֖ל (כתיב וכֹּ֖ל) יֽשְׁבֵ֣י תֵבֵ֑ל כִּ֤י יָבֹא֙ צַ֣ר וְאוֹיֵ֔ב בְּשַֽׁעֲרֵ֖י יְרֽוּשָׁלָֽםִ:
13[It was] for the sins of her prophets, the iniquities of her priests, who shed in her midst the blood of the righteous.   יגמֵֽחַטֹּ֣את נְבִיאֶ֔יהָ עֲו‍ֹנֹ֖ת כֹּֽהֲנֶ֑יהָ הַשֹּֽׁפְכִ֥ים בְּקִרְבָּ֖הּ דַּ֥ם צַדִּיקִֽים:
for the sins of her prophets: [Because of the sins of her] false [prophets], this evil has befallen her.  
14The blind stagger through the streets, they are defiled with blood, and none can touch their garments.   ידנָע֤וּ עִוְרִים֙ בַּֽחוּצ֔וֹת נְגֹֽאֲל֖וּ בַּדָּ֑ם בְּלֹ֣א יֽוּכְל֔וּ יִגְּע֖וּ בִּלְבֻֽשֵׁיהֶֽם:
The blind stagger through the streets: When the blind would walk in the street, they staggered, and their feet slipped on the blood of the slain, whom the wicked were slaying in their midst.  
they are defiled with blood: They were so sullied with blood that those near them could not touch their clothes, and would therefore call out to them.  
15"Depart, unclean!" they called out to them, "Depart, depart, do not touch!" for they are foul, even slipping; they said, "They shall no more sojourn among the nations."   טוס֣וּרוּ טָמֵ֞א קָ֣רְאוּ לָ֗מוֹ ס֤וּרוּ ס֨וּרוּ֙ אַל־תִּגָּ֔עוּ כִּ֥י נָצ֖וּ גַּם־נָ֑עוּ אָֽמְרוּ֙ בַּגּוֹיִ֔ם לֹ֥א יוֹסִ֖פוּ לָגֽוּר:
Depart: from us, you unclean ones, who are sullied with blood.  
for they are foul: Heb. נָצוּ, an expression of foulness and filth, like (Lev. 1:16): “its crop, בְּנֹצָתָה,” which is translated by the Targum as בְּאוּכְלֵיה. So did Menahem associate it (not found in our editions of Machbereth).  
even slipping: They slipped in the blood.  
16The anger of the Lord divided them; He will regard them no longer; they respected not the presence of the priests; they favored not the elders.   טזפְּנֵ֤י יְהֹוָה֙ חִלְּקָ֔ם לֹ֥א יוֹסִ֖יף לְהַבִּיטָ֑ם פְּנֵ֤י כֹֽהֲנִים֙ לֹ֣א נָשָׂ֔אוּ וּזְקֵנִ֖ים (כתיב זְקֵנִ֖ים) לֹ֥א חָנָֽנוּ:
The anger of the Lord divided them: Heb. פְּנֵי, lit. the face of. The angry face of the Holy One, blessed be He, divided them and dispersed them among the heathens, because they did not respect the presence of the priests when they were in their [state of] tranquility.  
17Our eyes still strained for our futile help; in our expectations we hoped for a nation that could not save [us].   יזעוֹדֵ֨ינוּ֙ (כתיב עוֹדֵ֨ינֻה֙) תִּכְלֶ֣ינָה עֵינֵ֔ינוּ אֶל־עֶזְרָתֵ֖נוּ הָ֑בֶל בְּצִפִּיָּתֵ֣נוּ צִפִּ֔ינוּ אֶל־גּ֖וֹי לֹ֥א יוֹשִֽׁעַ:
Our eyes still strained for our futile help: When the evil befell us, our eyes were still looking forward to Pharaoh’s army, concerning whom it is said (Isa. 30:7): “And the Egyptians help in vain and to no purpose,” for they would promise us aid but they would not come, as it is stated concerning them (Jer. 37:7): “Behold, Pharaoh’s army, which has come out to aid you, is returning to its land, Egypt.” We find in Midrash Kinoth that they were coming in ships. The Holy One, blessed be He, signaled to the sea and caused inflated flasks like human intestines to float before them, moving around in the water. They said to each other, “These flasks are our forefathers, the men of Egypt who drowned in the sea because of these Jews, and we are going out to aid them?” They stopped and turned around.  
we hoped: Heb. צִפִּינוּ, we waited.  
18They dogged our steps [and prevented us] from walking in the streets; our end drew near, our days were fulfilled, for our end had come.   יחצָד֣וּ צְעָדֵ֔ינוּ מִלֶּ֖כֶת בִּרְחֹֽבֹתֵ֑ינוּ קָרַ֥ב קִצֵּ֛נוּ מָֽלְא֥וּ יָמֵ֖ינוּ כִּי־בָ֥א קִצֵּֽנוּ:
They dogged our steps: Heb. צָדוּ. Our enemies stalked our steps and prevented us from walking in our streets, like (Exod. 21:13): “but if he did not lurk (צָדָה) ” ;(I Sam. 24:12): “but you are stalking (צֹדֶה) my soul.”  
19Our pursuers were swifter than the eagles of the heavens; they chased us on the mountains, they lay in wait for us in the wilderness.   יטקַלִּ֤ים הָיוּ֙ רֹֽדְפֵ֔ינוּ מִנִּשְׁרֵ֖י שָׁמָ֑יִם עַל־הֶֽהָרִ֣ים דְּלָקֻ֔נוּ בַּמִּדְבָּ֖ר אָ֥רְבוּ לָֽנוּ:
20The breath of our nostrils, the Lord's anointed, was captured in their pits, of whom we had said, "Under His protection we shall live among the nations."   כר֤וּחַ אַפֵּ֨ינוּ֙ מְשִׁ֣יחַ יְהֹוָ֔ה נִלְכַּ֖ד בִּשְׁחִֽיתוֹתָ֑ם אֲשֶׁ֣ר אָמַ֔רְנוּ בְּצִלּ֖וֹ נִֽחְיֶ֥ה בַגּוֹיִֽם:
The breath of our nostrils, the Lord’s anointed: That is Josiah, as it is stated in Chronicles (II Chron. 35:25): “And Jeremiah lamented Josiah.”  
in their pits: in the pits that they dug.  
21Rejoice and be glad, O daughter of Edom, who dwells in the land of Uz; upon you also shall the cup pass, you shall become drunk and vomit.   כאשִׂ֤ישִׂי וְשִׂמְחִי֙ בַּת־אֱד֔וֹם יוֹשֶׁ֖בֶת (כתיב יושבתי) בְּאֶ֣רֶץ ע֑וּץ גַּם־עָלַ֨יִךְ֙ תַּֽעֲבָר־כּ֔וֹס תִּשְׁכְּרִ֖י וְתִתְעָרִֽי:
Rejoice and be glad, O daughter of Edom: Jeremiah prophesied about the destruction of the Second Temple, which the Romans would destroy.  
Rejoice and be glad: for the time being, but ultimately, the cup of retribution will pass also over you, and you will become drunk from it.  
and vomit: Heb. וְתִתְעָרִי, like (Gen. 24:20): “and she emptied (וַתְּעַר) her pitcher.”  
22[The punishment of] your iniquity is complete, O daughter of Zion; He will no longer send you into exile; [but] your iniquity, O daughter of Edom, He shall punish-He will reveal your sins.   כבתַּם־עֲו‍ֹנֵךְ֙ בַּת־צִיּ֔וֹן לֹ֥א יוֹסִ֖יף לְהַגְלוֹתֵ֑ךְ פָּקַ֤ד עֲו‍ֹנֵךְ֙ בַּת־אֱד֔וֹם גִּלָּ֖ה עַל־חַטֹּאתָֽיִךְ:
[The punishment of] your iniquity is complete, O daughter of Zion: You suffered for all your sins.  
He will no longer send you into exile: from the exile of Edom and further.  
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