3 [a] “I am the man who has experienced suffering under the rod of God’s fury. 2 God has driven me away and made me walk in darkness instead of light. 3 He beat me again and again all day long. 4 He has made my flesh and my skin waste away. He has broken my bones. 5 He has attacked me and surrounded me with bitterness and hardship. 6 He has made me live in darkness, like those who died a long time ago. 7 He has blocked me so that I can’t get out. He has put heavy chains on me. 8 Even when I cry and call for help, he shuts out my prayer. 9 He has blocked my way with cut stones and made my paths crooked. 10 He is like a bear waiting to ambush me, like a lion in hiding. 11 He has forced me off the road I was taking, torn me to pieces, and left me with nothing. 12 He has drawn his bow and made me the target for his arrows. 13 He has shot the arrows from his quiver into my heart. 14 I have become a laughingstock to all my people. All day long they make fun of me with their songs. 15 He has filled me with bitterness. He has made me drink wormwood. 16 He has ground my teeth with gravel. He has trampled me into the dust.
17 “My soul has been kept from enjoying peace. I have forgotten what happiness is. 18 I said, ‘I’ve lost my strength to live and my hope in the Lord.’ 19 Remember my suffering and my aimless wandering, the wormwood and poison. 20 My soul continues to remember these things and is so discouraged.
The Prophet—A Man of Hope
21 “The reason I can still find hope is that I keep this one thing in mind: 22 the Lord’s mercy. We were not completely wiped out. His compassion is never limited. 23 It is new every morning. His faithfulness is great. 24 My soul can say, ‘The Lord is my lot in life. That is why I find hope in him.’ 25 The Lord is good to those who wait for him, to anyone who seeks help from him.
26 “It is good to continue to hope and wait silently for the Lord to save us. 27 It is good for people to endure burdens when they’re young. 28 They should sit alone and remain silent because the Lord has laid these burdens on them. 29 They should put their mouths in the dust. Maybe a reason to hope exists. 30 They should turn their cheeks to the one who strikes them and take their fill of insults.
31 “The Lord will not reject such people forever. 32 Even if he makes us suffer, he will have compassion in keeping with the richness of his mercy. 33 He does not willingly bring suffering or grief to anyone, 34 crush any prisoner on earth underfoot, 35 deny people their rights in the presence of the Most High God, 36 or deprive people of justice in court. The Lord isn’t happy to see these things. 37 Who was it who spoke and it came into being? It was the Lord who gave the order. 38 Both good and bad come from the mouth of the Most High God.
39 “Why should any living mortal (any person) complain about being punished for sin? 40 Let us look closely at our ways and examine them and then return to the Lord. 41 Let us raise our hearts and hands to God in heaven.
42 “We have been disobedient and rebellious. You haven’t forgiven us. 43 You covered yourself with anger and pursued us. You killed without pity. 44 You covered yourself with a cloud so that no prayer could get through it. 45 You made us the scum and trash of the nations. 46 All our enemies gawk at us. 47 Panic and pitfalls have found us, so have devastation and destruction.
48 “Streams of tears run down from my eyes over the ruin of my dear people. 49 My eyes will keep flowing without stopping for a moment 50 until the Lord looks down from heaven and sees. 51 What I see with my eyes disturbs me deeply because of all the young women in my city.[b]
52 “Those who were my enemies for no reason hunted me like a bird. 53 They threw me alive into a pit and threw rocks at me. 54 Water flowed over my head. I thought I was finished.
55 “I call your name from the deepest pit, O Lord. 56 Listen to my cry for help. Don’t close your ears when I cry out for relief. 57 Be close at hand when I call to you. You told me not to be afraid. 58 Plead my case for me, O Lord. Reclaim my life. 59 Look at the wrong that has been done to me, O Lord. Give me a fair verdict. 60 Look at all their malice, all their plots against me. 61 Listen to their insults, all their plots against me. 62 The words and thoughts of those who attack me are directed against me all day long. 63 Look at them! Whether they are sitting or standing, they make fun of me in their songs. 64 Pay them back, O Lord, for what they deserve, for what their own hands have done. 65 Make them stubborn. Let your curse be on them. 66 Pursue them in anger, and wipe them out from under the Lord’s heaven.”
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