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Lamentations 3

The Prophet’s Afflictions

1 I a am the man who has seen affliction

under the rod of God’s wrath.

2 He has driven me away and made me walk

in darkness instead of light.

3 Indeed, He keeps turning His hand

against me all day long.

4 He has worn away my flesh and skin;

He has shattered my bones.

5 He has besieged me and surrounded me

with bitterness and hardship.

6 He has made me dwell in darkness

like those dead for ages.

7 He has walled me in so I cannot escape;

He has weighed me down with chains.

8 Even when I cry out and plead for help,

He shuts out my prayer.

9 He has barred my ways with cut stones;

He has made my paths crooked.

10 He is a bear lying in wait,

a lion hiding in ambush.

11 He forced me off my path and tore me to pieces;

He left me without help.

12 He bent His bow

and set me as the target for His arrow.

13 He pierced my kidneys

with His arrows.

14 I am a laughingstock to all my people;

they mock me in song all day long.

15 He has filled me with bitterness;

He has intoxicated me with wormwood.

16 He has ground my teeth with gravel

and trampled me in the dust.

17 My soul has been deprived of peace;

I have forgotten what prosperity is.

18 So I say, “My strength has perished,

along with my hope from the LORD.”

The Prophet’s Hope

19 Remember my affliction and wandering,

the wormwood and the gall.

20 Surely my soul remembers

and is humbled within me.

21 Yet I call this to mind,

and therefore I have hope:

22 Because of the loving devotion b of the LORD we are not consumed,

for His mercies never fail.

23 They are new every morning;

great is Your faithfulness!

24 “The LORD is my portion,” says my soul,

“therefore I will hope in Him.”

25 The LORD is good to those who wait for Him,

to the soul who seeks Him.

26 It is good to wait quietly

for the salvation of the LORD.

27 It is good for a man to bear the yoke

while he is still young.

28 Let him sit alone in silence,

for God has disciplined him.

29 Let him bury his face in the dust—

perhaps there is still hope.

30 Let him offer his cheek to the one who would strike him;

let him be filled with reproach.

31 For the Lord will not

cast us off forever.

32 Even if He causes grief, He will show compassion

according to His abundant loving devotion.

33 For He does not willingly afflict

or grieve the sons of men.

34 To crush underfoot

all the prisoners of the land,

35 to deny a man justice

before the Most High,

36 to subvert a man in his lawsuit—

of these the Lord does not approve.

God’s Justice

37 Who has spoken and it came to pass,

unless the Lord has ordained it?

38 Do not both adversity and good

come from the mouth of the Most High?

39 Why should any mortal man complain,

in view of his sins?

40 Let us examine and test our ways,

and turn back to the LORD.

41 Let us lift up our hearts and hands

to God in heaven:

42 “We have sinned and rebelled;

You have not forgiven.”

43 You have covered Yourself in anger and pursued us;

You have killed without pity.

44 You have covered Yourself with a cloud

that no prayer can pass through.

45 You have made us scum and refuse

among the nations.

46 All our enemies

open their mouths against us.

47 Panic and pitfall have come upon us—

devastation and destruction.

48 Streams of tears flow from my eyes

over the destruction of the daughter of my people.

49 My eyes overflow unceasingly,

without relief,

50 until the LORD

looks down from heaven and sees.

51 My eyes bring grief to my soul

because of all the daughters of my city.

52 Without cause my enemies

hunted me like a bird.

53 They dropped me alive into a pit

and cast stones upon me.

54 The waters flowed over my head,

and I thought I was going to die.

55 I called on Your name, O LORD,

out of the depths of the Pit.

56 You heard my plea:

“Do not ignore my cry for relief.”

57 You drew near when I called on You;

You said, “Do not be afraid.”

58 You defend my cause, O Lord;

You redeem my life.

59 You have seen, O LORD, the wrong done to me;

vindicate my cause!

60 You have seen all their malice,

all their plots against me.

61 O LORD, You have heard their insults,

all their plots against me—

62 the slander and murmuring of my assailants

against me all day long.

63 When they sit and when they rise,

see how they mock me in song.

64 You will pay them back what they deserve, O LORD,

according to the work of their hands.

65 Put a veil of anguish over their hearts;

may Your curse be upon them!

66 You will pursue them in anger and exterminate them

from under Your heavens, O LORD.

 

Footnotes:

1 a This chapter is an acrostic poem, each 3–verse stanza beginning with the successive letters of the Hebrew alphabet.
22 b Forms of the Hebrew chesed are translated here and in most cases throughout the Scriptures as loving devotion ; the range of meaning includes love , goodness , kindness , faithfulness , and mercy , as well as loyalty to a covenant .

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