Lamentations 4

Study the Inner Meaning

English: Basic English Bible         

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1 How dark has the gold become! how changed the best gold! the stones of the holy place are dropping out at the top of every street.

2 The valued sons of Zion, whose price was the best gold, are looked on as vessels of earth, the work of the hands of the potter!

3 Even the beasts of the waste land have full breasts, they give milk to their young ones: the daughter of my people has become cruel like the ostriches in the waste land.

4 The tongue of the child at the breast is fixed to the roof of his mouth for need of drink: the young children are crying out for bread, and no man gives it to them.

5 Those who were used to feasting on delicate food are wasted in the streets: those who as children were dressed in purple are stretched out on the dust.

6 For the punishment of the daughter of my people is greater than the punishment of Sodom, which was overturned suddenly without any hand falling on her.

7 Her holy ones were cleaner than snow, they were whiter than milk, their bodies were redder than corals, their form was as the sapphire:

8 Their face is blacker than night; in the streets no one has knowledge of them: their skin is hanging on their bones, they are dry, they have become like wood.

9 Those who have been put to the sword are better off than those whose death is caused by need of food; for these come to death slowly, burned up like the fruit of the field.

10 The hands of kind-hearted women have been boiling their children; they were their food in the destruction of the daughter of my people.

11 The Lord has given full effect to his passion, he has let loose his burning wrath; he has made a fire in Zion, causing the destruction of its bases.

12 To the kings of the earth and to all the people of the world it did not seem possible that the attackers and the haters would go into the doors of Jerusalem.

13 It is because of the sins of her prophets and the evil-doing of her priests, by whom the blood of the upright has been drained out in her.

14 They are wandering like blind men in the streets, they are made unclean with blood, so that their robes may not be touched by men.

15 Away! unclean! they were crying out to them, Away! away! let there be no touching: when they went away in flight and wandering, men said among the nations, There is no further resting-place for them.

16 The face of the Lord has sent them in all directions; he will no longer take care of them: they had no respect for the priests, they gave no honour to the old men.

17 Our eyes are still wasting away in looking for our false help: we have been watching for a nation unable to give salvation.

18 They go after our steps so that we may not go in our streets: our end is near, our days are numbered; for our end has come.

19 Those who went after us were quicker than the eagles of the heaven, driving us before them on the mountains, waiting secretly for us in the waste land.

20 Our breath of life, he on whom the holy oil was put, was taken in their holes; of whom we said, Under his shade we will be living among the nations.

21 Have joy and be glad, O daughter of Edom, living in the land of Uz: the cup will be given to you in your turn, and you will be overcome with wine and your shame will be seen.

22 The punishment of your evil-doing is complete, O daughter of Zion; never again will he take you away as a prisoner: he will give you the reward of your evil-doing, O daughter of Edom; he will let your sin be uncovered.

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   Study the Inner Meaning
From Swedenborg's Works

Main explanations:

The Inner Meaning of the Prophets and Psalms 122


Other references to this chapter:

Arcana Coelestia 96, 374, 382, 1073, 1234, 1460, 2336, ...

Apocalypse Revealed 47, 305, 312, 343, 379, 501, 502, ...

Sacred Scripture 87

True Christian Religion 252


References from Swedenborg's unpublished works:

Apocalypse Explained 79, 175, 183, 195, 196, 239, 240, ...

Coronis (An Appendix to True Christian Religion) 58

Scriptural Confirmations 4, 59

Other New Christian Commentary

  Stories and their meanings:

Hop to Similar Bible Verses

Genesis 19:24

Leviticus 13:45, 26:28, 33

Deuteronomy 28:51, 56

Judges 9:15

2 Kings 6:29, 18:27, 25:3, 8, 21

Job 1:1, 19:20, 30:30, 39:16

Psalms 106:27, 137:7

Song of Solomon 5:10, 15

Isaiah 13, 22:2, 24:2, 28:18, 30:16, 32:2, 40:2, 47:6, 51:20

Jeremiah 2:37, 6:13, 16:16, 17:27, 19:11, 21:13, 23:14, 37:13, 39:5, 49:7, 12, 50:20, 52:9

Lamentations 1:3, 11, 13, 2:1, 3, 4, 11, 12, 14, 20, 5:6, 10, 12

Ezekiel 4:16, 5:10, 7:2, 6, 15, 11:6, 12:13, 19:8, 22:25, 27, 23:45, 29:6, 16, 31:17, 35:15

Daniel 8:25

Hosea 8, 13:10

Obadiah 1:10, 16

Habakkuk 8

Zephaniah 17

Matthew 10:15

Word/Phrase Explanations

gold
Gold means good, and just as gold was the most precious metal known to ancient mankind so it represents the good of the highest and...

stones
Stones in the Bible in general represent truths, or things we know concerning the Lord and what He wants from us and for us in...

holy
'Sanctuary' signifies the truth of heaven and the church. 'Sanctuary,' as in Ezekiel 24:21, signifies the Word.

sons
'Sons of the stranger' signify counterfeit truths, or falsities. 'Our sons' signify the doctrines of truth, and 'our daughters,' the doctrines of good, as in...

Sons of Zion
'Sons of Zion,' as in Joel 2:23, signify people in wisdom from divine truth.

hands
Scientists believe that one of the most crucial developments in the evolution of humans was bipedalism – walking on two legs. That left our hands...

Potter
A potter,' as in Zechariah 11:12, 13, signifies reformation and regeneration.

Full
'To satiate' relates to the extent of a person's will, for good or evil.

breasts
The breast (Ezek. 16:7), signifies natural good.

tongue
'The tongue,' as an organ, signifies doctrine, but as speech, or language, it signifies religion. 'Tongue' signifies perception of truth with respect to speech, and...

bread
Just as natural food feeds the natural body, so spiritual food feeds the spiritual body. And since our spiritual body is the expression of what...

streets
The phrase 'in the streets and synagogues' in Matthew 6:2, 5, and Luke 8:26-27, refers to a representative rite amongst the Jews to teach in...

Punishment
Punishment' is the consummation of evil, because after punishment, reformation succeeds. This is why it says in Deuteronomy 25:3, 'that no more than forty stripes...

Sodom
'Sodom' signifies the evil of self-love, and 'Gomorrah,' the falsity derived from it.

Overturned
'Overturned' signifies punishing.

hand
In Genesis 27:22, 'voice' relates to truth, and 'hand,' to good.

Snow
In Job 9:30, 'waters of snow' denotes truths which are or appear genuine. 'Lye' denotes the good which purifies, and 'the ditch' denotes falsity.

milk
Water represents true ideas about day-to-day life, and other drinks and liquids in general represent different forms of truth. Milk is a drink that contains...

skin
'Skin' corresponds to truth or to falsity in the extremes. 'The skin,' as relates to the grand human, means the natural self. There are spirits...

Bones
Bones are strong and supportive, providing a framework for our bodies and making motion and action possible. They are also the least "alive" part of...

wood
To ask counsel at their stocks,' as in Hosea 4:12, signifies the good of the delight that comes from some lusts.

Put
'To put' has reference to order, arrangement, application, and influx.

sword
A 'sword,' in the Word, signifies the truth of faith combating and the vastation of truth. In an opposite sense, it signifies falsity combating and...

field
When we have a desire to be good people and to do good things, the natural first questions are "What does that mean?" "What should...

Women
'Women,' as in Genesis 45:19, signify the affections of truth. But in Genesis 31:50, 'women' signify affections of not genuine truth, so not of the...

boiling
To boil, as in Genesis 25:29, signifies to heap up.

the Lord
The Bible refers to the Lord in many different ways, which from the text seem indistinguishable and interchangeable. Understood in the internal sense, though, there...

lord
The Lord, in the simplest terms, is love itself expressed as wisdom itself. In philosophic terms, love is the Lord's substance and wisdom is His...

wrath
'Wrath,' as in Genesis 49:7, signifies aversion from truth. 'Great wrath,' as in Revelation 12:12, signifies hatred against the new church.

fire
Just as natural fire can be both comforting in keeping you warm or scary in burning down your house, so fire in the spiritual sense...

the kings of
The kings of Media and Persia' represent people who are in faith separate from charity.

kings
The human mind is composed of two parts, a will and an understanding, a seat of loves and affections, and a seat of wisdom and...

earth
'Lands' of different nations are used in the Word to signify the different kinds of love prevalent in the inhabitants.

world
The term "world" has both general and more specific meanings in the Bible, including the relatively literal sense of the natural, physical world. In more...

jerusalem
Jerusalem first comes to or attention in II Samuel, chapter 5 where King David takes it from the Jebusites and makes it his capital. In...

prophets
The idea of a "prophet" is very closely tied to the idea of the Bible itself, since the Bible was largely written by prophets. At...

priests
Priests' represent the Lord regarding His divine good. When they do not acknowledge the Lord, they lose their signification of the Lord.

the blood of the
‘The blood of the grape’ signifies spiritual celestial good, which is the name given to the divine in heaven as it goes out from the...

blood
Bloods signify evil, in Ezek. 16:9.

robes
'Robes,' as in Revelation 7, signify truths of defense. Before they were washed they signified falsities. People in falsities from ignorance in the spiritual world,...

touched
Imagine having your mother touch your cheek. Then imagine having your spouse or someone you love romantically touch your cheek. Then imagine having a baby...

unclean
'Pollution' denotes the truth of faith defiled.

said
As with many common verbs, the meaning of “to say” in the Bible is highly dependent on context. Who is speaking? Who is hearing? What...

Nations
'Nations' signify people who are in the good of love and charity from the Lord. Two nations in the womb,' as in Genesis 25:23, signify...

face
“The eyes are the windows of the soul.” That’s a sentiment with roots somewhere in murky antiquity, but one that has become hopelessly cliché because...

eyes
'Pairs of hands, eyes, etc.' relate to the will and understanding, or to good and truth. The right side to the will or good, and...

go
In the physical world, the places we inhabit and the distances between them are physical realities, and we have to get our physical bodies through...

near
'Near,' in the Word, signifies presence and conjunction. 'To be near' signifies being on internal levels. Near,' as in Genesis 19:20, signifies truth bordering upon...

days
The expression 'even to this day' or 'today' sometimes appears in the Word, as in Genesis 19:37-38, 22:14, 26:33, 32:32, 35:20, and 47:26. In a...

come
Coming (Gen. 41:14) denotes communication by influx.

Us
Because people are governed by angels and spirits, in Genesis 1:26 it says 'let us make man into our image.' But because the Lord alone...

eagles
Eagle wings, referred to in Daniel 7:3, signify rational principles grounded in man's proprium.

heaven
Heavens are celestial and spiritual things. Consequently, they are inmost things, both of the Lord's kingdom in heaven the and in the earth. This also...

mountains
In Isaiah 40:12 'to weigh the mountains in a balance, and the hills in scales,' signifies that the celestial aspects of love and charity are...

breath
'Breath' is the life of the body corresponding to spiritual things, just like the motion of the heart is the life of the body corresponding...

under
Generally speaking things that are seen as lower physically in the Bible represent things that are lower or more external spiritually. In some cases this...

shade
'The shadow is good' of the oak, poplar and elm means complacence.

glad
To make glad signifies influx and reception from joy of heart.

Edom
'Edom' or 'Idumea,' as in Isaiah 34:5, signifies those who are in evil and in falsities thence derived.

Uz
'Uz, Hul, Gether and Mash,' as in Genesis 10:23, signify several kinds of knowledges derived from the knowledges of good, and anything pertaining those knowledges....

seen
The symbolic meaning of "seeing" is "understanding," which is obvious enough that it has become part of common language (think about it; you might see...

daughter of zion
'Virgin' and 'daughter of Zion' signify the church regarding the affection of good and truth.

sin
In the Word three terms are used to mean bad things that are done. These three are transgression, iniquity, and sin, and they are here...

uncovered
'Unclothed' signifies being deprived of the truths of faith.


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