א (Alef) 1 Alas! 2 Gold has lost its luster; 3 pure gold loses value. 4 Jewels 5 are scattered on every street corner. 6
How the gold has lost its lustre, the fine gold become dull! The sacred gems are scattered at the head of every street.
How dark the gold has become, How the pure gold has changed! The sacred stones are poured out At the corner of every street.
How the gold has lost its luster! Even the finest gold has become dull. The sacred gemstones lie scattered in the streets!
Oh, oh, oh...How gold is treated like dirt, the finest gold thrown out with the garbage, Priceless jewels scattered all over, jewels loose in the gutters.
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.
How the gold has grown dim, how the pure gold is changed! The sacred stones lie scattered at the head of every street.
How the gold has become dim! How changed the fine gold! The stones of the sanctuary are scattered At the head of every street.
How is the gold
[how] is the most
of the sanctuary
are poured out
in the top
of every street
|NET © [draft] ITL|
loses value. Jewels
|NET © Notes||
1 sn According to W. F. Lanahan (“The Speaking Voice in the Book of Lamentations” JBL 93 : 48), the persona or speaking voice in chap. 4 is a bourgeois, the common man. This voice is somewhat akin to the Reporter in chs 1-2 in that much of the description is in the third person. However, “the bourgeois has some sense of identity with his fellow-citizens” seen in the shift to the first person plural. The alphabetic acrostic structure reduces to two bicola per letter. The first letter of only the first line in each stanza spells the acrostic.
2 tn See the note at 1:1
3 tn Heb “had grown dim.” The verb יוּעַם (yu’am), Hophal imperfect 3rd person masculine singular from עָמַם (’amam, “to conceal, darken”), literally means “to be dimmed” or “to be darkened.” Most English versions render this literally: the gold has “become dim” (KJV, NKJV), “grown dim” (RSV, NRSV), “is dulled” (NJPS), “grown dull” (TEV); however, but NIV has captured the sense well: “How the gold has lost its luster.”
4 tc The verb יִשְׁנֶא (yishne’, Qal imperfect 3rd person feminine singular) is typically taken to be the only Qal imperfect of I שָׁנָהּ (shanah). Such a spelling with א (aleph) instead of ה (he) is feasible. D. R. Hillers suggests the root שָׂנֵא (sane’, “to hate”): “Pure gold is hated”. This maintains the consonantal text and also makes sense in context. In either case the point is that gold no longer holds the same value, probably because there is nothing available to buy with it.
tn Heb “changes.” The imagery in this verse about gold is without parallel in the Bible and its precise nuance uncertain.
5 tn Heb “the stones of holiness/jewelry.” קֹדֶשׁ (qodesh) in most cases refers to holiness or sacredness. For the meaning “jewelry” see J. A. Emerton, “The Meaning of אַבְנֵי־קֹדֶשׁ in Lamentations 4:1” ZAW 79 (1967): 233-36.
6 tn Heb “at the head of every street.”