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A Request for Mercy

Remember, O Yahweh, what has become of us;
take note, and see our disgrace!
Our inheritance has been turned over to strangers,
    our houses, to foreigners.
We have become orphans, fatherless,
    our mothers are like widows.
We pay for water with money,[a]
    our wood comes to us at a price.
We are driven on our necks;
    we are weary, there is no rest for us.
We have made a deal with Egypt and Assyria
    to be satisfied with food.
Our fathers have sinned, they are no more;
    we bear their iniquity.
Slaves rule over us;
    there is no one to deliver us from their hand.
We risk our life for food[b]
    because of the sword of the desert.
10 Our skin is hot like an oven
    because of the scorching famine.
11 They raped women in Zion,
    young women[c] in the cities of Judah.
12 They hang princes by their hand;
    they do not show respect before elders.
13 Young men must carry a hand-mill
    and boys stumble under the wood.
14 Elders are no longer at the gate,
    young men no longer play stringed instruments.
15 The joy of our hearts has stopped;
    our circle-dancing has changed to a mourning ceremony.
16 The crown has fallen from our head;
    woe to us, for we have sinned!
17 Because of this, our heart has become faint,
    because of these, our eyes have become dim.
18 Because of Mount Zion, which lies desolate,
    foxes tread on it.[d]
19 You, O Yahweh, will sit forever
    on your throne for generation to generation.
20 Why have you forgotten us forever?
    Why have you forsaken us for so long?[e]
21 Restore us to you, O Yahweh, that we will be restored;
    renew our days as of old.
22 Unless you have utterly rejected us,
    unless you are angry with us beyond measure.


  1. Lamentations 5:4 Literally “we drink our water by money”
  2. Lamentations 5:9 Literally “We take our food at our life”
  3. Lamentations 5:11 Or “virgins”
  4. Lamentations 5:18 Literally “foxes go on it”
  5. Lamentations 5:20 Literally “for long days”