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Lamentations 3 Contemporary English Version (CEV)

There Is Still Hope

The Prophet Speaks:

I have suffered much
    because God was angry.
He chased me into a dark place,
    where no light could enter.
I am the only one he punishes
over and over again,
    without ever stopping.
God caused my skin and flesh
to waste away,
    and he crushed my bones.
He attacked and surrounded me
    with hardships and trouble;
he forced me to sit in the dark
    like someone long dead.

God built a fence around me
that I cannot climb over,
    and he chained me down.
Even when I shouted
and prayed for help,
    he refused to listen.
God put big rocks in my way
and made me follow
    a crooked path.
10 God was like a bear or a lion
    waiting in ambush for me;
11 he dragged me from the road,
    then tore me to shreds.[a]
12 God took careful aim
and shot his arrows
13     straight through my heart.

14 I am a joke to everyone—
no one ever stops
    making fun of me.
15 God has turned my life sour.
16 He made me eat gravel
    and rubbed me in the dirt.
17 I cannot find peace
    or remember happiness.

18 I tell myself, “I am finished!
I can’t count on the Lord
    to do anything for me.”
19 Just thinking of my troubles
and my lonely wandering
    makes me miserable.
20 That’s all I ever think about,
    and I am depressed.[b]
21 Then I remember something
    that fills me with hope.
22 The Lord’s kindness never fails!
If he had not been merciful,
    we would have been destroyed.[c]
23 The Lord can always be trusted
    to show mercy each morning.
24 Deep in my heart I say,
“The Lord is all I need;
    I can depend on him!”

25 The Lord is kind to everyone
    who trusts and obeys him.
26 It is good to wait patiently
    for the Lord to save us.
27 When we are young,
    it is good to struggle hard
28 and to sit silently alone,
if this is what
    the Lord intends.
29 Being rubbed in the dirt
    can teach us a lesson;[d]
30 we can also learn from insults
    and hard knocks.

31 The Lord won’t always reject us!
32     He causes a lot of suffering,
but he also has pity
    because of his great love.
33 The Lord doesn’t enjoy
    sending grief or pain.

34 Don’t trample prisoners
    under your feet
35 or cheat anyone out of
    what is rightfully theirs.
God Most High sees everything,
36 and he knows
when you refuse
    to give someone a fair trial.
37 No one can do anything
    without the Lord’s approval.
38 Good and bad each happen
at the command
    of God Most High.
39 We’re still alive!
    We shouldn’t complain
when we are being punished
    for our sins.
40 Instead, we should think
about the way we are living,
    and turn back to the Lord.

41 When we lift our hands
    in prayer to God in heaven,
we should offer him our hearts
    and say, 42 “We’ve sinned!
We’ve rebelled against you,
    and you haven’t forgiven us!
43 Anger is written all over you,
as you pursue and slaughter us
    without showing pity.
44 You are behind a wall of clouds
    that blocks out our prayers.
45 You allowed nations
to treat us like garbage;
46     our enemies curse us.
47 We are terrified and trapped,
    caught and crushed.”

48 My people are destroyed!
Tears flood my eyes,
49     and they won’t stop
50 until the Lord looks down
    from heaven and helps.
51 I am horrified when I see
    what enemies have done
to the young women of our city.

52 No one had reason to hate me,
but I was hunted down
    like a bird.
53 Then they tried to kill me
by tossing me into a pit
    and throwing stones at me.
54 Water covered my head—
    I thought I was gone.

55 From the bottom of the pit,
    I prayed to you, Lord.
56 I begged you to listen.
    “Help!” I shouted. “Save me!”
You answered my prayer
57 and came when I was in need.
    You told me, “Don’t worry!”
58 You rescued me
    and saved my life.
59 You saw them abuse me, Lord,
    so make things right.
60 You know every plot
    they have made against me.
61 Yes, you know their insults
    and their evil plans.
62 All day long they attack
    with words and whispers.
63 No matter what they are doing,
    they keep on mocking me.

64 Pay them back for everything
    they have done, Lord!
65 Put your curse on them
    and make them suffer.[e]
66 Get angry and go after them
until not a trace is left
    under the heavens.

Footnotes:

  1. 3.11 shreds: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text of verse 11.
  2. 3.20 I am depressed: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
  3. 3.22 destroyed: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text of verse 22.
  4. 3.29 lesson: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text of verse 29.
  5. 3.65 make them suffer: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.

Lamentations 3 New International Version (NIV)

[a]I am the man who has seen affliction
    by the rod of the Lord’s wrath.
He has driven me away and made me walk
    in darkness rather than light;
indeed, he has turned his hand against me
    again and again, all day long.

He has made my skin and my flesh grow old
    and has broken my bones.
He has besieged me and surrounded me
    with bitterness and hardship.
He has made me dwell in darkness
    like those long dead.

He has walled me in so I cannot escape;
    he has weighed me down with chains.
Even when I call out or cry for help,
    he shuts out my prayer.
He has barred my way with blocks of stone;
    he has made my paths crooked.

10 Like a bear lying in wait,
    like a lion in hiding,
11 he dragged me from the path and mangled me
    and left me without help.
12 He drew his bow
    and made me the target for his arrows.

13 He pierced my heart
    with arrows from his quiver.
14 I became the laughingstock of all my people;
    they mock me in song all day long.
15 He has filled me with bitter herbs
    and given me gall to drink.

16 He has broken my teeth with gravel;
    he has trampled me in the dust.
17 I have been deprived of peace;
    I have forgotten what prosperity is.
18 So I say, “My splendor is gone
    and all that I had hoped from the Lord.”

19 I remember my affliction and my wandering,
    the bitterness and the gall.
20 I well remember them,
    and my soul is downcast within me.
21 Yet this I call to mind
    and therefore I have hope:

22 Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed,
    for his compassions never fail.
23 They are new every morning;
    great is your faithfulness.
24 I say to myself, “The Lord is my portion;
    therefore I will wait for him.”

25 The Lord is good to those whose hope is in him,
    to the one 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 young.

28 Let him sit alone in silence,
    for the Lord has laid it on him.
29 Let him bury his face in the dust
    there may yet be hope.
30 Let him offer his cheek to one who would strike him,
    and let him be filled with disgrace.

31 For no one is cast off
    by the Lord forever.
32 Though he brings grief, he will show compassion,
    so great is his unfailing love.
33 For he does not willingly bring affliction
    or grief to anyone.

34 To crush underfoot
    all prisoners in the land,
35 to deny people their rights
    before the Most High,
36 to deprive them of justice—
    would not the Lord see such things?

37 Who can speak and have it happen
    if the Lord has not decreed it?
38 Is it not from the mouth of the Most High
    that both calamities and good things come?
39 Why should the living complain
    when punished for their sins?

40 Let us examine our ways and test them,
    and let us return to the Lord.
41 Let us lift up our hearts and our hands
    to God in heaven, and say:
42 “We have sinned and rebelled
    and you have not forgiven.

43 “You have covered yourself with anger and pursued us;
    you have slain without pity.
44 You have covered yourself with a cloud
    so that no prayer can get through.
45 You have made us scum and refuse
    among the nations.

46 “All our enemies have opened their mouths
    wide against us.
47 We have suffered terror and pitfalls,
    ruin and destruction.
48 Streams of tears flow from my eyes
    because my people are destroyed.

49 My eyes will flow unceasingly,
    without relief,
50 until the Lord looks down
    from heaven and sees.
51 What I see brings grief to my soul
    because of all the women of my city.

52 Those who were my enemies without cause
    hunted me like a bird.
53 They tried to end my life in a pit
    and threw stones at me;
54 the waters closed over my head,
    and I thought I was about to perish.

55 I called on your name, Lord,
    from the depths of the pit.
56 You heard my plea: “Do not close your ears
    to my cry for relief.”
57 You came near when I called you,
    and you said, “Do not fear.”

58 You, Lord, took up my case;
    you redeemed my life.
59 Lord, you have seen the wrong done to me.
    Uphold my cause!
60 You have seen the depth of their vengeance,
    all their plots against me.

61 Lord, you have heard their insults,
    all their plots against me—
62 what my enemies whisper and mutter
    against me all day long.
63 Look at them! Sitting or standing,
    they mock me in their songs.

64 Pay them back what they deserve, Lord,
    for what their hands have done.
65 Put a veil over their hearts,
    and may your curse be on them!
66 Pursue them in anger and destroy them
    from under the heavens of the Lord.

Footnotes:

  1. Lamentations 3:1 This chapter is an acrostic poem; the verses of each stanza begin with the successive letters of the Hebrew alphabet, and the verses within each stanza begin with the same letter.
New International Version (NIV)

Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

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