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An individual’s complaint

I am someone[a] who saw the suffering caused by God’s[b] angry rod.
He drove me away, forced me to walk in darkness, not light.
He turned his hand even against me, over and over again, all day long.

He wore out my flesh and my skin; he broke my bones.
He besieged me, surrounding me with bitterness and weariness.
He made me live in dark places like those who’ve been dead a long time.

He walled me in so I couldn’t escape; he made my chains heavy.
Even though I call out and cry for help, he silences my prayer.
He walled in my paths with stonework; he made my routes crooked.

10 He is a bear lurking for me, a lion in hiding.
11 He took me from my path[c] and tore me apart; he made me desolate.
12 He drew back his bow, made me a shooting target for arrows.

13 He shot the arrows of his quiver into my inside parts.
14 I have become a joke to all my people, the object of their song of ridicule all day long.
15 He saturated me with grief, made me choke on bitterness.

16 He crushed my teeth into the gravel; he pressed me down into the ashes.
17 I’ve[d] rejected peace; I’ve forgotten what is good.
18 I thought: My future is gone, as well as my hope from the Lord.

19 The memory of my suffering and homelessness is bitterness and poison.
20 I[e] can’t help but remember and am depressed.
21 I call all this to mind—therefore, I will wait.

22 Certainly the faithful love of the Lord hasn’t ended;[f] certainly God’s compassion isn’t through!
23 They are renewed every morning. Great is your faithfulness.
24 I think:[g] The Lord is my portion! Therefore, I’ll wait for him.

25 The Lord is good to those who hope in him, to the person[h] who seeks him.
26 It’s good to wait in silence for the Lord’s deliverance.
27 It’s good for a man to carry a yoke in his youth.
28 He should sit alone and be silent when God lays it on him.
29 He should put his mouth in the dirt—perhaps there is hope.
30 He should offer his cheek for a blow; he should be filled with shame.

31 My Lord definitely[i] won’t reject forever.
32 Although he has caused grief, he will show compassion in measure with his covenant loyalty.
33 He definitely doesn’t enjoy affliction,[j] making humans suffer.

34 Now crushing underfoot all the earth’s prisoners,
35     denying someone justice before the Most High,
36     subverting a person’s lawsuit—doesn’t my Lord see all this?

37 Who ever spoke and it happened if my Lord hadn’t commanded the same?
38 From the mouth of the Most High evil things don’t come, but rather good!
39 Why then does any living person complain; why should anyone complain about their sins?

40 We must search and examine our ways; we must return to the Lord.
41 We should lift up our hearts and hands to God in heaven.
42 We are the ones who did wrong; we rebelled. But you, God, have not forgiven.

43 You wrapped yourself up in wrath and hunted us; you killed, showing no compassion.
44 You wrapped yourself up in a cloud; prayers can’t make it through!
45 You made us trash and garbage in front of all other people.

46 All our enemies have opened their mouths against us.
47 Terror and trap have come upon us, catastrophe and collapse!
48 Streams of water pour from my eyes because of the destruction of the daughter of my people.

49 My eyes flow and don’t stop. There is no relief
50     until the Lord looks down from the heavens and notices.
51 My eyes hurt me[k] because of what’s happened to my city’s daughters.

52 My enemies hunted me down like a bird, relentlessly, for no reason.
53 They caught me alive in a pit and threw stones at me;
54     water flowed over my head. I thought: I’m finished.

55 I call on your name, Lord, from the depths of the pit.
56 Hear my voice. Don’t close your ear[l] to my need for relief, to my cry for help.[m]
57 Come near to me on the day I call to you. Say to me, “Don’t be afraid.”

58 My Lord! Plead my desperate case;[n] redeem my life.
59 Lord, look at my mistreatment; judge my cause.
60 Look at all of my enemies’ vengeance, all of their scheming against me.

61 Hear their jeering, Lord, all of their scheming against me,
62     the speech of those who rise up against me, their incessant gossiping about me.
63 Whether sitting or standing, look at how I am the object of their song of ridicule.
64 Pay them back fully, Lord, according to what they have done.
65 Give them a tortured mind—put your curse on them!
66 Angrily hunt them down; wipe them out from under the Lord’s heaven.


  1. Lamentations 3:1 Or the man; also in 3:27, 35, 39
  2. Lamentations 3:1 Or his
  3. Lamentations 3:11 Heb uncertain
  4. Lamentations 3:17 Or my spirit; also in 3:20, 24, 25, 51, 58
  5. Lamentations 3:20 Or My spirit can’t help but remember and is depressed
  6. Lamentations 3:22 Tg, Syr, and other ancient sources; MT we aren’t finished.
  7. Lamentations 3:24 Or My spirit thinks
  8. Lamentations 3:25 Or spirit
  9. Lamentations 3:31 Or Because my Lord won’t reject forever
  10. Lamentations 3:33 Heb He does not afflict from his heart.
  11. Lamentations 3:51 Or my spirit
  12. Lamentations 3:56 Or You didn’t close your ear.
  13. Lamentations 3:56 Or You have heard my voice.
  14. Lamentations 3:58 Or my spirit’s case or my spirit’s grievance

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