Lamentations 4:9
Parallel Verses
New International Version
Those killed by the sword are better off than those who die of famine; racked with hunger, they waste away for lack of food from the field.

New Living Translation
Those killed by the sword are better off than those who die of hunger. Starving, they waste away for lack of food from the fields.

English Standard Version
Happier were the victims of the sword than the victims of hunger, who wasted away, pierced by lack of the fruits of the field.

New American Standard Bible
Better are those slain with the sword Than those slain with hunger; For they pine away, being stricken For lack of the fruits of the field.

King James Bible
They that be slain with the sword are better than they that be slain with hunger: for these pine away, stricken through for want of the fruits of the field.

Holman Christian Standard Bible
Those slain by the sword are better off than those slain by hunger, who waste away, pierced with pain because the fields lack produce.

International Standard Version
Those who die by the sword are better off than those who die from starvation, who slowly waste away like those pierced through for lack of food from the fields.

NET Bible
Those who died by the sword are better off than those who die of hunger, those who waste away, struck down from lack of food.

GOD'S WORD® Translation
Those who were killed with swords are better off than those who are dying from starvation. Those who were stabbed bled to death. The others are dying because there is nothing in the fields to eat.

Jubilee Bible 2000
Teth Those slain with the sword are better than those slain with hunger; for these pine away, stricken through for want of the fruits of the earth.

King James 2000 Bible
They that are slain with the sword are better than they that are slain with hunger: for these pine away, stricken through for lack of the fruits of the field.

American King James Version
They that be slain with the sword are better than they that be slain with hunger: for these pine away, stricken through for want of the fruits of the field.

American Standard Version
They that are slain with the sword are better than they that are slain with hunger; For these pine away, stricken through, for want of the fruits of the field.

Douay-Rheims Bible
Teth. It was better with them that were slain by the sword, than with them that died with hunger: for these pined away being consumed for want of the fruits of the earth.

Darby Bible Translation
The slain with the sword are happier than the slain with hunger; for these pine away, stricken through for want of the fruits of the field.

English Revised Version
They that be slain with the sword are better than they that be slain with hunger; for these pine away, stricken through, for want of the fruits of the field.

Webster's Bible Translation
They that are slain with the sword are better than they that are slain with hunger: for these pine away, stricken through for want of the fruits of the field.

World English Bible
Those who are killed with the sword are better than those who are killed with hunger; For these pine away, stricken through, for want of the fruits of the field.

Young's Literal Translation
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.
Parallel Commentaries
Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary

4:1-12 What a change is here! Sin tarnishes the beauty of the most exalted powers and the most excellent gifts; but that gold, tried in the fire, which Christ bestows, never will be taken from us; its outward appearance may be dimmed, but its real value can never be changed. The horrors of the siege and destruction of Jerusalem are again described. Beholding the sad consequences of sin in the church of old, let us seriously consider to what the same causes may justly bring down the church now. But, Lord, though we have gone from thee in rebellion, yet turn to us, and turn our hearts to thee, that we may fear thy name. Come to us, bless us with awakening, converting, renewing, confirming grace.

Pulpit Commentary

Verse 9.-The miserable condition just now described maintains a sad pre-eminence even when compared with the fate of the slain in battle. And why! For these pine away (literally, melt away)

Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible

They that be slain with the sword are better than they that be slain with hunger,.... Not that they are better with respect to their state after death, but with respect to their manner of dying. They that were slain by the sword of the Chaldeans, as many were, either upon the walls, or in sallies out against the enemy, these felt less pain, and had less terror of mind in dying, than those did who perished by famine; they died a lingering death, as it were by inches, and were in continual pain of body and uneasiness of mind:

for these pine away, stricken through for want of the fruits of the field: that is, those that died by famine gradually wasted or "flowed" away, their fluid parts by degrees went off; and though they were not run through with the sword, they were stabbed by famine, and were so distressed in body and mind as if a sword had pierced them; not having the fruits of the field, the corn and the wine, to support nature, and keep them alive. Jarchi's note is,

"they that were slain with hunger were inflated at the smell of the fruits of the field, when the enemies were roasting their flesh upon the grass without the wall; the smell entered into those that swelled by famine, and their bellies burst, and their excrements flowed out; and this is the death worse than that of being slain with the sword.''

And to this agrees the Targum,

"more happy are they that are slain with the sword than they that are slain with famine; for they that are slain with the sword flowed when their bellies were burst, by that which they ate of the fruits of the field; and those that were inflated with famine, their bellies burst through "want" of food.''

Most interpreters refer this clause to those that died of famine: but Gussetius (z) interprets it of those that were killed with the sword; and renders and paraphrases the words thus, "for they being stabbed, sent out"; by the open wounds, "a flux, which arose from the fruits of the field"; their food and nourishment being yet in their belly and veins, and so did not pine away through penury and famine; and their misery was short and light, in comparison of others: and so Abendana.

(z) Comment. Ebr. p. 225.

Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary

9. The speedy death by the sword is better than the lingering death by famine.

pine away—literally, "flow out"; referring to the flow of blood. This expression, and "stricken through," are drawn from death by "the sword."

want of … fruits—The words in italics have to be supplied in the original (Ge 18:28; Ps 109:24).

Jod.

Lamentations 4:9 Additional Commentaries
Context
The Distress of Zion
8Their appearance is blacker than soot, They are not recognized in the streets; Their skin is shriveled on their bones, It is withered, it has become like wood. 9Better are those slain with the sword Than those slain with hunger; For they pine away, being stricken For lack of the fruits of the field. 10The hands of compassionate women Boiled their own children; They became food for them Because of the destruction of the daughter of my people.…
Cross References
Exodus 16:3
The Israelites said to them, "If only we had died by the LORD's hand in Egypt! There we sat around pots of meat and ate all the food we wanted, but you have brought us out into this desert to starve this entire assembly to death."

Leviticus 26:39
Those of you who are left will waste away in the lands of their enemies because of their sins; also because of their ancestors' sins they will waste away.

2 Kings 25:3
By the ninth day of the fourth month the famine in the city had become so severe that there was no food for the people to eat.

Jeremiah 16:4
"They will die of deadly diseases. They will not be mourned or buried but will be like dung lying on the ground. They will perish by sword and famine, and their dead bodies will become food for the birds and the wild animals."

Ezekiel 24:23
You will keep your turbans on your heads and your sandals on your feet. You will not mourn or weep but will waste away because of your sins and groan among yourselves.
Treasury of Scripture

They that be slain with the sword are better than they that be slain with hunger: for these pine away, stricken through for want of the fruits of the field.

for

Leviticus 26:39 And they that are left of you shall pine away in their iniquity in …

Ezekiel 24:23 And your tires shall be on your heads, and your shoes on your feet: …

Ezekiel 33:10 Therefore, O you son of man, speak to the house of Israel; Thus you …

pine away. Heb. flow out.

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