Our days are numbered (Lam 4:18-4:18)

Cade

“They dogged

Our steps.

Thus we could

Not walk

In our streets.

Our end

Drew near.

Our days

Were numbered.

Our end

Had come.”

This verse speaks in the first person plural, referring to the people of Jerusalem. Their enemies persisted in watching them walking, so that they could not step out into the streets. Their end was near. Their days were numbered. Their end had come. They would be no more.   This verse starts with the Hebrew consonant letter Cade in this acrostic poem.

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Blindness (Lam 4:17-4:17)

Ayin

“Our eyes failed.

We were forever

Watching vainly

For help.

We were

Watching eagerly

For a nation

That could not save.”

Despite the fact that the people of Jerusalem were watching in vain, their eyes failed them. They were looking for help, but none came. They eagerly watched for country after country to help them, but no one could save them. Either they were blind or other countries were blind to them. This verse starts with the Hebrew consonant letter Ayin in this acrostic poem.

The disgraced priests and elders (Lam 4:16-4:16)

Phe

“Yahweh himself

Has scattered them.

He will regard them

No more.

No honor

Was shown

To the priests.

No favor

To the elders.”

Yahweh himself had scattered these immoral leaders. He did not have any regard for them any longer. No honor was to be shown to any of these priests, while the elders were not to be favored. Yahweh had clearly turned on these so-called spiritual leaders. This verse starts with the Hebrew consonant letter Phe in this acrostic poem.

Immoral lepers (Lam 4:15-4:15)

Samek

“‘Away!

Unclean!’

People shouted

At them.

‘Away!

Away!

Do not touch!’

So they became

Fugitives.

So they became

Wanderers.

It was said

Among the nations.

‘They shall

Stay here

No longer.’”

These leaders had become immoral lepers. People shouted at them to get away from them. No one was to touch these unclean people. They became like fugitives and wanderers since nobody would take them in. Everyone said not to stay there any longer since they had become moral pariahs. This verse starts with the Hebrew consonant letter Samek in this acrostic poem.

The blind wandering leaders (Lam 4:14-4:14)

Nun

“Blindly,

These leaders

Wandered

Through the streets,

So defiled

With blood

That no one

Was able

To touch

Their garments.”

These leaders wandered blindly through the streets defiled with the blood of the righteous. Thus no one was able to touch their garments. This verse starts with the Hebrew consonant letter Nun in this acrostic poem.

The sinful prophets and priests (Lam 4:13-4:13)

Mem

“It was for the sins

Of her prophets

With the iniquities

Of her priests.

They shed

The blood

Of the righteous

In the midst of her.”

Yahweh was angry because the prophets had sinned and the priests had committed iniquities. They had shed the blood of the righteous in the middle of Jerusalem. Everyone was at fault, especially the leaders of the city who should have known better. This verse starts with the Hebrew consonant letter Mem in this acrostic poem.

The strong gates of Jerusalem (Lam 4:12-4:12)

Lamed

“The kings

Of the earth

Did not believe.

Nor did any

Of the inhabitants

Of the world

Believe

That any foe

Or any enemy

Could enter

The gates of Jerusalem.”

All the kings of the earth and all the inhabitants of the world did not believe that any foe or enemy would be able to enter the gates of Jerusalem. This is a little hyperbole. I am not sure that everyone thought this way. Nevertheless, it would be a big surprise for any foe to get through the very strong Jerusalem gates. This verse starts with the Hebrew consonant letter Lamed in this acrostic poem.