Lamentations 3

Chapter 3

The Enduring Love of the Lord

1 [a]I am a man who has known affliction
under the rod of God’s wrath.
2 He has led me and forced me to walk
in darkness, not in the light.
3 Against me alone he has turned his hand
again and again, throughout the day.
4 He has caused my flesh and my skin to waste away;
he has broken my bones.
5 He has besieged me and enveloped me
with bitterness and hardship.
6 He has forced me to dwell in darkness
like those long dead.
7 He has walled me in so that I cannot escape,
and he weighed me down with heavy chains.
8 Even when I cry out and plead for help,
he shuts out my prayer.
9 He has barred my way with blocks of stones
and obstructed my paths.
10 He has been for me a bear lying in wait
or a lion hiding in ambush.
11 He has led me away and torn me to pieces,
leaving me helpless.
12 He has bent his bow and used me
as the target for his arrows.
13 He has pierced deep within me
with the shafts from his quiver.
14 I have become a laughingstock to my people;
they taunt me in song throughout the day.
15 He has given me my fill of bitter herbs
and sated me with wormwood.
16 He has broken my teeth[b] with gravel
and trampled my face into the dust.
17 My soul is deprived of peace;
I no longer remember what happiness is.
18 Thus I cry out that my glory is gone
as well as everything that I had hoped for from the Lord.
19 The realization of my poverty and homelessness
is wormwood and gall to me.
20 My soul continually reflects on this
and is left downcast within me.
21 However, I will call this to mind
as the reason for my hope:
22 [c]The love of the Lord is never exhausted,
nor do his deeds of mercy ever come to an end.
23 They are renewed every morning;
his faithfulness never ceases.
24 The Lord is my portion, I say to myself;
therefore, I will place my hope in him.
25 The Lord is good to those who wait for him,
to the soul that seeks him.
26 It is good to wait in silence
for the salvation of the Lord.
27 It is good for a man to bear
the yoke from his youth.
28 Let that man sit alone and in silence
when the yoke is laid upon him.
29 Let him bury his head in the dust;
there may still be hope.
30 Let him offer his cheek to those who strike him
and endure their insults.
31 For the rejection by the Lord
will not last forever.
32 Even though he punishes, he will be compassionate
in the abundance of his unfailing love.
33 For he does not willingly afflict
or cause grief to the children of men.
34 When all the prisoners in a country
are trampled underfoot,
35 when human rights are perverted
in defiance of the Most High,
36 when someone is deprived of justice in the courts—
is the Lord not aware of such evils?
37 Who has only to command and it is done
if the Lord has not given his approval?
38 Is it not from the mouth of the Most High
that evil and good proceed?
39 Why then should any people complain
about being punished for their sins?
40 Let us examine and test our ways
and return to the Lord.
41 Let us lift up our hearts and our hands
to God in heaven.
42 We have sinned and rebelled,
and you have not forgiven us.
43 You have veiled yourself in anger and pursued us,
slaying us without pity.
44 You have wrapped yourself in a cloud
that no prayer can pierce.
45 You have reduced us to filth
and rubbish among the nations.
46 All of our enemies have opened their mouths
in a chorus of jeers against us.
47 Terror and pitfall, devastation and ruin,
have been our lot.
48 My eyes flow with a torrent of tears
because of the destruction of my people.
49 My eyes will flow with unceasing tears,
and there will be no respite
50 until the Lord from heaven
looks down and sees.
51 My eyes are swollen with grief
at the fate of all the daughters of my city.
52 Those who were my enemies without justification
have hunted me down like a bird.
53 They thrust me alive into a pit
and hurled down stones at me.
54 The waters rose above my head,
and I said, “I am lost.”
55 I called upon your name, O Lord,
from the depths of the pit.
56 You heard me plead,
“Do not close your ear to my cry for help!”
57 You came near when I called out to you,
and you said, “Do not fear.”
58 O Lord, you have taken up my cause,
and you have redeemed my life.
59 You have seen the unjust treatment I endure;
grant me justice.
60 You have seen all their vindictiveness,
all their plots against me.
61 You have heard their insults, O Lord;
all their plots against me,
62 the whispers and murmuring of my foes
against me all day long.
63 Whether they sit or stand,
see how I am the object of their taunts.
64 Pay them back for their deeds, O Lord;
punish them as they deserve.
65 Give them hardness of heart
as your curse upon them.
66 Pursue them in anger and destroy them
from under your heavens, O Lord.

Footnotes

  1. Lamentations 3:1 The repeated use of the word he in ascribing the many ways that God has inflicted punishment on his wayward people emphasizes their repeated indiscretions that wore down his divine patience resulting in his divine retribution.
  2. Lamentations 3:16 Broken my teeth: the metaphor expresses extreme prostration.
  3. Lamentations 3:22 In the midst of the seemingly endless recital of destruction and loss suffered because of their sinfulness, a note of hope is interjected. God’s mercy and abiding faithfulness will never cease. In this day, we turn to this glorious hope in the midst of our intense suffering.

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