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The Prophet’s Anguish

I am the man who has seen affliction
    by the rod of His wrath.
He has driven and brought me
    into darkness without any light.
Surely against me has He turned His hand
    continually, the whole day long.

My flesh and my skin He has made waste away;
    He has broken my bones;
He has besieged and enveloped me
    with gall and travail.
He has set me in dark places,
    like the dead of long ago.

He has hedged me in so that I cannot get out;
    He has made my chain heavy.
Even when I cry for help,
    He shuts out my prayer.
He has blocked my ways with hewn stone;
    He has made my paths crooked.

10 He is to me a bear lying in wait,
    a lion in hiding.
11 He has turned aside my ways and torn me in pieces;
    He has made me desolate.
12 He has bent His bow
    and set me as a target for the arrow.

13 He has caused the arrows of His quiver
    to pierce my inward parts.
14 I have become the derision of all my people,
    their mocking song all the day.
15 He has filled me with bitterness,
    He has sated me with wormwood.

16 He has made my teeth grind on gravel,
    and covered me with ashes.
17 My soul is bereft of peace;
    I have forgotten prosperity.
18 So I say, “My strength and my hope
    from the Lord have perished.”

19 Remember my affliction and my misery,
    the wormwood and the gall.
20 Surely my soul remembers
    and is humbled within me.
21 But this I call to mind,
    and therefore I have hope:

22 It is of the Lord’s mercies that we are not consumed;
    His compassions do not 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 that a man should wait quietly
    for the salvation of the Lord.
27 It is good for a man to bear the yoke
    in his youth.

28 Let him sit alone in silence
    when it is laid on him;
29 let him put his mouth in the dust—
    there may yet be hope.
30 Let him give his cheek to the one who strikes,
    and let him be filled with insults.

31 For the Lord
    will not cast off forever.
32 But though He causes grief, yet He will have compassion
    according to the abundance of His mercies.
33 For He does not afflict from His heart,
    nor grieve the sons of men.

34 To crush underfoot
    all the prisoners of the earth,
35 to turn aside the justice due a man
    in the presence of the Most High,
36 to subvert a man in his cause,
    the Lord does not approve.

37 Who is he who speaks and it comes to pass,
    unless the Lord has commanded it?
38 Is it not from the mouth of the Most High
    that good and bad proceed?
39 Why should a living man complain,
    a man for the punishment of his sins?

40 Let us search and try our ways,
    and return to the Lord!
41 Let us lift up our hearts and hands
    to God in heaven:
42 We have transgressed and rebelled;
    You have not pardoned.

43 You have covered Yourself with anger and pursued us;
    You have killed and not pitied.
44 You have covered Yourself with a cloud,
    so that no prayer should pass through.
45 You have made us filthy refuse
    in the midst of the peoples.

46 All our enemies have opened their mouths
    against us.
47 Panic and snare have come upon us,
    desolation and destruction.
48 My eyes flow with rivers of tears
    for the destruction of the daughter of my people.

49 My eyes flow and do not cease,
    without respite,
50 until the Lord from heaven
    looks down and sees.
51 My eyes bring suffering to my soul
    at the fate of all the daughters of my city.

52 My enemies chased me like a bird,
    without cause.
53 They cut off my life in the pit
    and cast stones on me.
54 Waters flowed over my head;
    I said, “I am cut off!”

55 I called on Your name, O Lord,
    from the lowest pit.
56 You have heard my plea:
    “Do not close Your ear to my cry for help!”
57 You drew near on the day I called on You,
    and You said, “Do not fear!”

58 O Lord, You have pleaded the case for my soul;
    You have redeemed my life.
59 O Lord, You have seen the wrong done to me;
    judge my case.
60 You have seen all their vengeance,
    all their schemes against me.

61 You have heard their reproach, O Lord,
    all their schemes against me,
62 the lips of my enemies and
    their devices against me all the day.
63 Look at their sitting down and their rising up;
    I am their mocking song.

64 Render to them a recompense, O Lord,
    according to the work of their hands.
65 Give them hardness of heart;
    may Your curse be upon them!
66 In Your anger pursue and destroy them
    from under Your heavens, O Lord!