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Israel’s Affliction

I am a man who has seen misery,
under the rod of his wrath.
He has driven me along, he brought
    darkness and not light.
Surely he has turned his hand against me,
    all day long.
He has worn out my flesh and skin,
    he has broken my bones.
He has besieged[a] and engulfed me
    with bitterness and hardship.
In darkness he has let me dwell
    like the dead of long ago.
He has built a wall around me, I cannot go out;
    he has made my bronze fetters heavy.
Though I cry out for help,
    he shuts out my prayers.
He has blocked my ways with dressed stones;
    he has made my paths crooked.
10 To me he is like a bear lying in wait,
    a lion in hiding.
11 He has forsaken my way and torn me to pieces;
    he has caused me desolation.
12 He has bent his bow and set me
    as the target for the arrow.
13 He shot the arrows of his quiver[b]
    into my kidneys.
14 I have become a laughingstock for all the people,
    their mocking song all day long.
15 He has filled me with bitterness,
    he has drenched me with wormwood.
16 He has broken my teeth on grit,
    he has trampled me down in ash.
17 My life has been removed from peace,
    I have forgotten goodness.
18 And I have said, “My glory is ruined,
    my expectation from Yahweh.”
19 Remember my misery and bitterness,
    the wormwood[c] and venom!
20 Surely my soul remembers
    and bows down within me.
21 This I have reminded myself,[d]
    therefore I will hope.
22 The loyal love of Yahweh does not cease;
    his compassions do not come to an end.
23 They are new in the morning,
    great is your faithfulness.
24 “Yahweh is my portion,”
    says my soul,
        “Thus I will hope on him.”
25 Yahweh is good to those who wait on him,
    to the person that seeks him.
26 It is good to wait in silence
    for the salvation of Yahweh.
27 It is good for a man who carries
    the yoke of his childhood.
28 Let him sit alone and be silent
    when he[e] has laid it on him.
29 Let him put[f] his mouth in the dust;
    perhaps there is hope.
30 Let him give a cheek to his smiter,
    let him be filled with disgrace.
31 For the Lord will not reject
32 For even though he causes grief he has compassion
    according to the greatness of his royal love.
33 He does not afflict willingly,[g]
    or grieve anyone.[h]
34 To crush under his feet
    all the prisoners of the earth;
35 to deprive one of justice[i]
    before the face of the Most High;
36 to subvert a person in a legal dispute
    —the Lord has not found delight in these things.
37 Who can speak[j] and it will happen
    if the Lord has not commanded it?
38 Is it not from the mouth of the Most High
    that disaster and good will come?
39 Why should any living person complain
    about his sin?
40 Let us test and examine our ways;
    let us return to Yahweh.
41 Let us lift up our hearts with our hands
    to God in the heavens.
42 We ourselves have transgressed and rebelled,
    you have not forgiven.
43 You have covered yourself in anger[k] and pursued us,
    you have slain and not shown mercy.
44 You have covered yourself in a cloud
    so that prayer cannot pass through.[l]
45 You have made us scum and refuse
    in the midst of the nations.
46 All our enemies
    have opened their mouth against us.
47 Fear and a pit have come upon us,
    desolation and destruction.
48 Channels of water run down my eyes
    because of the destruction of the daughter of my people.
49 My eyes have poured down unceasingly
    without respite,
50 until Yahweh looks down
    and sees from heaven.
51 My eyes inflict my soul
    because of all the daughters of my city.
52 My enemies hunt me without cause,
    like a bird.
53 They have silenced me in a pit,[m]
    they have thrown a stone at me.
54 Water has flown over my head,
    I said, “I am cut off.”
55 I have called your name, O Yahweh,
    from the depths of the pit.
56 You have heard my cry, “Do not shut your ear
    to my cry for help, for my relief!”
57 You came near on a day when I called you,
    you said, “Do not fear!”
58 O Lord, you have pleaded for my cause,[n]
    you have redeemed my life.
59 You have seen my injustice, O Yahweh;
    judge my case.
60 You have seen all their vengeance,
    all there plans against me.
61 You have heard their disgrace, O Yahweh,
    all their plans against me.
62 The lips and meditation of my assailants
    are against me all day long.
63 Look at their sitting and their standing,
    I am their mocking song.
64 Return to them what is deserved, O Yahweh,
    according to the work of their hands.
65 Give them a stubborn heart;
    curse them!
66 Pursue them in anger[o] and destroy them
    from under the heavens of Yahweh.


  1. Lamentations 3:5 Literally “he has built against”
  2. Lamentations 3:13 Literally “the offspring of his arrow quiver”
  3. Lamentations 3:19 Or “the bitter substance”
  4. Lamentations 3:21 Literally “I have brought back to my heart”
  5. Lamentations 3:28 Yahweh
  6. Lamentations 3:29 Literally “him give”
  7. Lamentations 3:33 Literally “afflict from the heart”
  8. Lamentations 3:33 Literally “the sons of men”
  9. Lamentations 3:35 Literally “to turn aside the judgment of a man”
  10. Lamentations 3:37 Literally “Who is this that speaks”
  11. Lamentations 3:43 Literally “in the nose”
  12. Lamentations 3:44 Literally “from a passing prayer”
  13. Lamentations 3:53 Literally “they have put to silence my life in a pit”
  14. Lamentations 3:58 Literally “the legal disputes of my soul”
  15. Lamentations 3:66 Literally “in nose”