Lamentations 4

Study the Inner Meaning

English: Young's Literal Translation         

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1 How is the gold become dim, Changed the best -- the pure gold? Poured out are stones of the sanctuary At the head of all out-places.

2 The precious sons of Zion, Who are comparable with fine gold, How have they been reckoned earthen bottles, Work of the hands of a potter.

3 Even dragons have drawn out the breast, They have suckled their young ones, The daughter of my people is become cruel, Like the ostriches in a wilderness.

4 Cleaved hath the tongue of a suckling unto his palate with thirst, Infants asked bread, a dealer out they have none.

5 Those eating of dainties have been desolate in out-places, Those supported on scarlet have embraced dunghills.

6 And greater is the iniquity of the daughter of my people, Than the sin of Sodom, That was overturned as [in] a moment, And no hands were stayed on her.

7 Purer were her Nazarites than snow, Whiter than milk, ruddier of body than rubies, Of sapphire their form.

8 Darker than blackness hath been their visage, They have not been known in out-places, Cleaved hath their skin unto their bone, It hath withered -- it hath been as wood.

9 Better have been the pierced of a sword Than the pierced of famine, For these flow away, pierced through, Without the increase of the field.

10 The hands of merciful women have boiled their own children, They have been for food to them, In the destruction of the daughter of my people.

11 Completed hath Jehovah His fury, He hath poured out the fierceness of His anger, And he kindleth a fire in Zion, And it devoureth her foundations.

12 Believe not did the kings of earth, And any of the inhabitants of the world, That come would an adversary and enemy Into the gates of Jerusalem.

13 Because of the sins of her prophets, The iniquities of her priests, Who are shedding in her midst the blood of the righteous,

14 They have wandered naked in out-places, They have been polluted with blood, Without [any] being able to touch their clothing,

15 `Turn aside -- unclean,' they called to them, `Turn aside, turn aside, touch not,' For they fled -- yea, they have wandered, They have said among nations: `They do not add to sojourn.'

16 The face of Jehovah hath divided them, He doth not add to behold them, The face of priests they have not lifted up, Elders they have not favoured.

17 While we exist -- consumed are our eyes for our vain help, In our watch-tower we have watched for a nation [that] saveth not.

18 They have hunted our steps from going in our broad-places, Near hath been our end, fulfilled our days, For come hath our end.

19 Swifter have been our pursuers, Than the eagles of the heavens, On the mountains they have burned [after] us, In the wilderness they have laid wait for us.

20 The breath of our nostrils -- the anointed of Jehovah, Hath been captured in their pits, of whom we said: `In his shadow we do live among nations.'

21 Joy and rejoice, O daughter of Edom, Dwelling in the land of Uz, Even unto thee pass over doth a cup, Thou art drunk, and makest thyself naked.

22 Completed [is] thy iniquity, daughter of Zion, He doth not add to remove thee, He hath inspected thy iniquity, O daughter of Edom, He hath removed [thee] because of thy sins!

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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...

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

head
The head is the part of us that is highest, which means in a representative sense that it is what is closest to the Lord....

Sons
'Sons of Canaan,' as in Genesis 10, are people who kept external worship separate from internal.

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.

dragons
'Wild beasts of the desert,' 'doleful creatures,' 'owls,' 'satyrs,' 'wild beasts of the islands,' and 'dragons,' as in Isaiah 13:21-22, signify when the interior aspects...

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

daughter
It is because of a celestial and angelic proprium, or selfhood, that the church is called 'a woman,' 'a wife,' 'a bride,' 'a virgin,' and...

Wilderness
'Wilderness' signifies something with little life in it, as described in the internal sense in Luke 1:80 'Wilderness' signifies somewhere there is no good because...

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...

eating
When we eat, our bodies break down the food and get from it both energy and materials for building and repairing the body. The process...

dunghills
Dunghills as in Lamentations 4:5 signify the falsities of evil.

iniquity
In Isaiah 59:6, 'webs' and 'garments' signify aspects of the understanding, or thought, 'Iniquity' and 'violence,' aspects of the will, or works.

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

Overturned
'Overturned' signifies punishing.

nazarites
'Nazarites' represent the Lord regarding His divine human, especially His divine natural. 'Nazarites,' in the Israelitish churches, represent the Lord regarding the Word, in its...

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...

bone
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...

withered
In the Bible (and in life), the idea of withering is usually connected to plants, and plants generally wither if they don't get enough water....

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

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...

famine
The three words, sword, famine and pestilence, appear in a group in 26 different Bible verses. That's not an accident. Sword, famine and pestilence describe...

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...

own
In many cases, the spiritual meaning of "own," both as a verb and as an adjective, is relatively literal. When people are described as the...

jehovah
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...

Fury
Fury is a receding from good, and anger is a receding from truth.

anger
'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.

inhabitants
Inhabitants,' in Isaiah 26:9, signify the men of the church who are in good of doctrine, and thence in the good of life.

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...

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

enemy
An enemy in the Bible refers to people who are in the love of evil and the false thinking that springs from evil. On a...

gates
In Lamentations 2:8-9, 'wall,' 'rampart,' 'gates,' and 'bars' signify doctrines.

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...

sins
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...

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.

righteous
He is said to be 'just' in a spiritual sense, who lives according to divine laws. They on the right hand being called 'just,' as...

touch
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...

clothing
'Vestments' signify truth, and in relation to the Lord, divine truth. 'Vesture' signifies truth clothing good, and when describing the Word, it signifies the Word...

unclean
'Pollution' denotes the truth of faith defiled.

called
'To proclaim' signifies exploration from influx of the Lord.

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...

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...

lifted
The idea of "lifting" is used in a number of different ways in the Bible. In general, it means connecting with a higher spiritual state...

elders
Elders are mentioned in the Bible mainly in two ways: First the elders of Israel: and second the 24 elders seated about the throne of...

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...

nation
'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...

going
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...

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

heavens
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...

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...

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...

nostrils
'A blast of the breath of the nostrils' signify the same thing as 'his anger and wrath.'

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

rejoice
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.

dwelling
Many people were nomadic in Biblical times, especially the times of the Old Testament, and lived in tents that could be struck, moved and re-raised...

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....

pass
'To pass,' as in Genesis 31:52, signifies flowing in. 'To pass the night,' as in Genesis 24:54, signifies having peace. 'To pass through,' as in...

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

removed
As with many verbs, the meaning of "remove" in the Bible varies a good bit depending on context. It generally involves a separation of spiritual...


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