Lamentations 3:1-66

This chapter is an acrostic poem; the verses of each stanza begin with the successive letters of the Hebrew alphabet, and the verses within each stanza begin with the same letter. I am the man who has seen affliction

by the rod of the Lord’s wrath.

He has driven me away and made me walk

in darkness rather than light;

indeed, he has turned his hand against me

again and again, all day long.

He has made my skin and my flesh grow old

and has broken my bones.

He has besieged me and surrounded me

with bitterness and hardship.

He has made me dwell in darkness

like those long dead.

He has walled me in so I cannot escape;

he has weighed me down with chains.

Even when I call out or cry for help,

he shuts out my prayer.

He has barred my way with blocks of stone;

he has made my paths crooked.

Like a bear lying in wait,

like a lion in hiding,

he dragged me from the path and mangled me

and left me without help.

He drew his bow

and made me the target for his arrows.

He pierced my heart

with arrows from his quiver.

I became the laughingstock of all my people;

they mock me in song all day long.

He has filled me with bitter herbs

and given me gall to drink.

He has broken my teeth with gravel;

he has trampled me in the dust.

I have been deprived of peace;

I have forgotten what prosperity is.

So I say, “My splendor is gone

and all that I had hoped from the Lord.”

I remember my affliction and my wandering,

the bitterness and the gall.

I well remember them,

and my soul is downcast within me.

Yet this I call to mind

and therefore I have hope:

Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed,

for his compassions never fail.

They are new every morning;

great is your faithfulness.

I say to myself, “The Lord is my portion;

therefore I will wait for him.”

The Lord is good to those whose hope is in him,

to the one who seeks him;

it is good to wait quietly

for the salvation of the Lord.

It is good for a man to bear the yoke

while he is young.

Let him sit alone in silence,

for the Lord has laid it on him.

Let him bury his face in the dust—

there may yet be hope.

Let him offer his cheek to one who would strike him,

and let him be filled with disgrace.

For no one is cast off

by the Lord forever.

Though he brings grief, he will show compassion,

so great is his unfailing love.

For he does not willingly bring affliction

or grief to anyone.

To crush underfoot

all prisoners in the land,

to deny people their rights

before the Most High,

to deprive them of justice—

would not the Lord see such things?

Who can speak and have it happen

if the Lord has not decreed it?

Is it not from the mouth of the Most High

that both calamities and good things come?

Why should the living complain

when punished for their sins?

Let us examine our ways and test them,

and let us return to the Lord.

Let us lift up our hearts and our hands

to God in heaven, and say:

“We have sinned and rebelled

and you have not forgiven.

“You have covered yourself with anger and pursued us;

you have slain without pity.

You have covered yourself with a cloud

so that no prayer can get through.

You have made us scum and refuse

among the nations.

“All our enemies have opened their mouths

wide against us.

We have suffered terror and pitfalls,

ruin and destruction.”

Streams of tears flow from my eyes

because my people are destroyed.

My eyes will flow unceasingly,

without relief,

until the Lord looks down

from heaven and sees.

What I see brings grief to my soul

because of all the women of my city.

Those who were my enemies without cause

hunted me like a bird.

They tried to end my life in a pit

and threw stones at me;

the waters closed over my head,

and I thought I was about to perish.

I called on your name, Lord,

from the depths of the pit.

You heard my plea: “Do not close your ears

to my cry for relief.”

You came near when I called you,

and you said, “Do not fear.”

You, Lord, took up my case;

you redeemed my life.

Lord, you have seen the wrong done to me.

Uphold my cause!

You have seen the depth of their vengeance,

all their plots against me.

Lord, you have heard their insults,

all their plots against me—

what my enemies whisper and mutter

against me all day long.

Look at them! Sitting or standing,

they mock me in their songs.

Pay them back what they deserve, Lord,

for what their hands have done.

Put a veil over their hearts,

and may your curse be on them!

Pursue them in anger and destroy them

from under the heavens of the Lord.

Read More of Lamentations 3