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Lamentations 4:3-4

Context

ג (Gimel)

4:3 Even the jackals 1  nurse their young

at their breast, 2 

but my people 3  are cruel,

like ostriches 4  in the desert.

ד (Dalet)

4:4 The infant’s tongue sticks

to the roof of its mouth due to thirst;

little children beg for bread, 5 

but no one gives them even a morsel. 6 

1 tn The noun תַּנִּין (tannin) means “jackals.” The plural ending ־ִין (-in) is diminutive (GKC 242 §87.e) (e.g., Lam 1:4).

2 tn Heb “draw out the breast and suckle their young.”

3 tn Heb “the daughter of my people.”

4 tc The MT Kethib form כִּי עֵנִים (kienim) is by all accounts a textual corruption for כַּיְעֵנִים (kayenim, “like ostriches”) which is preserved in the Qere and the medieval Hebrew mss, and reflected in the LXX.

5 tn Heb “bread.” The term “bread” might function as a synecdoche of specific (= bread) for general (= food); however, the following parallel line does indeed focus on the act of breaking bread in two.

6 tn Heb “there is not a divider to them.” The term פָּרַשׂ (paras), Qal active participle ms from פָּרַס (paras, “to divide”) refers to the action of breaking bread in two before giving it to a person to eat (Isa 58:7; Jer 16:7; Lam 4:4). The form פָּרַשׂ (paras) is the alternate spelling of the more common פָּרַס (paras).



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