Hope through God’s Mercy

א Alef

I am the man who has seen affliction
under the rod of God’s wrath.
He has driven me away and forced me to walk
in darkness instead of light.(A)
Yes, He repeatedly turns His hand
against me all day long.

ב Bet

He has worn away my flesh and skin;(B)
He has shattered my bones.(C)
He has laid siege against me,(D)
encircling me with bitterness and hardship.(E)
He has made me dwell in darkness
like those who have been dead for ages.(F)

ג Gimel

He has walled me in so I cannot escape;(G)
He has weighed me down with chains.
Even when I cry out and plead for help,
He rejects my prayer.(H)
He has walled in my ways with cut stones;(I)
He has made my paths crooked.(J)

ד Dalet

10 He is[a] a bear waiting in ambush,
a lion in hiding.(K)
11 He forced me off my way and tore me to pieces;
He left me desolate.
12 He strung His bow(L)
and set me as the target for His arrow.

ה He

13 He pierced my kidneys
with His arrows.(M)
14 I am a laughingstock(N) to all my people,[b]
mocked by their songs(O) all day long.
15 He filled me with bitterness,
satiated me with wormwood.(P)

ו Vav

16 He ground my teeth on gravel(Q)
and made me cower[c] in the dust.
17 My soul has been deprived[d] of peace;(R)
I have forgotten what happiness is.
18 Then I thought: My future[e] is lost,
as well as my hope from the Lord.

ז Zayin

19 Remember[f] my affliction and my homelessness,(S)
the wormwood and the poison.(T)
20 I continually remember them
and have become depressed.[g](U)
21 Yet I call this to mind,
and therefore I have hope:(V)

ח Khet

22 Because of the Lord’s faithful love(W)
we do not perish,[h]
for His mercies never end.
23 They are new every morning;
great is Your faithfulness!(X)
24 I say: The Lord is my portion,(Y)
therefore I will put my hope in Him.

ט Tet

25 The Lord is good to those who wait(Z) for Him,
to the person who seeks Him.
26 It is good to wait quietly(AA)
for deliverance from the Lord.(AB)
27 It is good for a man to bear the yoke(AC)
while he is still young.

י Yod

28 Let him sit alone and be silent,(AD)
for God has disciplined him.
29 Let him put his mouth in the dust(AE)
perhaps there is still hope.
30 Let him offer his cheek
to the one who would strike him;(AF)
let him be filled with shame.

כ Kaf

31 For the Lord
will not reject us forever.
32 Even if He causes suffering,
He will show compassion
according to His abundant, faithful love.(AG)
33 For He does not enjoy bringing affliction(AH)
or suffering on mankind.

ל Lamed

34 Crushing all the prisoners of the land[i]
beneath one’s feet,
35 denying justice to a man(AI)
in the presence of the Most High,
36 or suppressing a person’s lawsuit(AJ)
the Lord does not approve of these things.

מ Mem

37 Who is there who speaks and it happens,
unless the Lord has ordained it?(AK)
38 Do not both adversity and good
come from the mouth of the Most High?(AL)
39 Why should any living person complain,
any man, because of the punishment for his sins?

נ Nun

40 Let us search out and examine our ways,
and turn back to the Lord.(AM)
41 Let us lift up our hearts and our hands(AN)
to God in heaven:
42 We have sinned and rebelled;
You have not forgiven.(AO)

ס Samek

43 You have covered Yourself in anger and pursued us;
You have killed without compassion.(AP)
44 You have covered Yourself with a cloud
so that no prayer can pass through.(AQ)
45 You have made us disgusting filth
among the peoples.(AR)

פ Pe

46 All our enemies
open their mouths against us.(AS)
47 We have experienced panic and pitfall,(AT)
devastation and destruction.
48 My eyes flow with streams of tears
because of the destruction of my dear people.

ע Ayin

49 My eyes overflow unceasingly,
without end,(AU)
50 until the Lord looks down
from heaven and sees.(AV)
51 My eyes bring me grief
because of the fate of all the women in my city.

צ Tsade

52 For no apparent reason, my enemies[j]
hunted me like a bird.(AW)
53 They dropped me alive into[k] a pit(AX)
and threw stones at me.
54 Water flooded over my head,(AY)
and I thought: I’m going to die!(AZ)

ק Qof

55 I called on Your name, Yahweh,
from the depths of the Pit.(BA)
56 You hear my plea:
Do not ignore my cry for relief.
57 You come near when I call on You;
You say: “Do not be afraid.”

ר Resh

58 You defend my cause, Lord;(BB)
You redeem my life.(BC)
59 Lord, You see the wrong done to me;
judge my case.
60 You see all their malice,
all their plots against me.(BD)

שׂ Sin/ שׁ Shin

61 Lord, You hear their insults,(BE)
all their plots against me.
62 The slander[l] and murmuring of my opponents
attack me all day long.
63 When they sit and when they rise, look,
I am mocked by their songs.(BF)

ת Tav

64 You will pay them back what they deserve, Lord,
according to the work of their hands.(BG)
65 You will give them a heart filled with anguish.[m](BH)
May Your curse be on them!
66 You will pursue them in anger and destroy them
under Your heavens.[n][o](BI)

Footnotes

  1. Lamentations 3:10 Lit is to me
  2. Lamentations 3:14 Some Hb mss, LXX, Vg; other Hb mss, Syr read all peoples
  3. Lamentations 3:16 Or and trampled me
  4. Lamentations 3:17 Syr, Vg; MT reads You deprived my soul
  5. Lamentations 3:18 Or splendor
  6. Lamentations 3:19 Or I remember
  7. Lamentations 3:20 Ancient Jewish tradition reads and You cause me to collapse
  8. Lamentations 3:22 One Hb mss, Syr, Tg read The Lord’s faithful love, indeed, does not perish
  9. Lamentations 3:34 Or earth
  10. Lamentations 3:52 Or Those who were my enemies for no reason
  11. Lamentations 3:53 Or They ended my life in; Hb obscure
  12. Lamentations 3:62 Lit lips
  13. Lamentations 3:65 Or them an obstinate heart; Hb obscure
  14. Lamentations 3:66 LXX, Syr, Vg read heavens, Lord
  15. Lamentations 3:66 Lit under the Lord’s heavens

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

He has made my skin and my flesh grow old(E)
    and has broken my bones.(F)
He has besieged me and surrounded me
    with bitterness(G) and hardship.(H)
He has made me dwell in darkness
    like those long dead.(I)

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

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

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

16 He has broken my teeth with gravel;(AB)
    he has trampled me in the dust.(AC)
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.”(AD)

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

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

25 The Lord is good to those whose hope is in him,
    to the one who seeks him;(AN)
26 it is good to wait quietly(AO)
    for the salvation of the Lord.(AP)
27 It is good for a man to bear the yoke
    while he is young.

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

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

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

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

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

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

46 “All our enemies have opened their mouths
    wide(BO) against us.(BP)
47 We have suffered terror and pitfalls,(BQ)
    ruin and destruction.(BR)
48 Streams of tears(BS) flow from my eyes(BT)
    because my people are destroyed.(BU)

49 My eyes will flow unceasingly,
    without relief,(BV)
50 until the Lord looks down
    from heaven and sees.(BW)
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.(BX)
53 They tried to end my life in a pit(BY)
    and threw stones at me;
54 the waters closed over my head,(BZ)
    and I thought I was about to perish.(CA)

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

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

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

64 Pay them back what they deserve, Lord,
    for what their hands have done.(CO)
65 Put a veil over their hearts,(CP)
    and may your curse be on them!
66 Pursue(CQ) 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.

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