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. 1I am the man who has seen affliction
by the rod of the Lord’s wrath.
2He has driven me away and made me walk
in darkness rather than light;
3indeed, he has turned his hand against me
again and again, all day long.
4He has made my skin and my flesh grow old
and has broken my bones.
5He has besieged me and surrounded me
with bitterness and hardship.
6He has made me dwell in darkness
like those long dead.
7He has walled me in so I cannot escape;
he has weighed me down with chains.
8Even when I call out or cry for help,
he shuts out my prayer.
9He has barred my way with blocks of stone;
he has made my paths crooked.
10Like a bear lying in wait,
like a lion in hiding,
11he dragged me from the path and mangled me
and left me without help.
12He drew his bow
and made me the target for his arrows.
13He pierced my heart
with arrows from his quiver.
14I became the laughingstock of all my people;
they mock me in song all day long.
15He has filled me with bitter herbs
and given me gall to drink.
16He has broken my teeth with gravel;
he has trampled me in the dust.
17I have been deprived of peace;
I have forgotten what prosperity is.
18So I say, “My splendor is gone
and all that I had hoped from the Lord.”
19I remember my affliction and my wandering,
the bitterness and the gall.
20I well remember them,
and my soul is downcast within me.
21Yet this I call to mind
and therefore I have hope:
22Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed,
for his compassions never fail.
23They are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.
24I say to myself, “The Lord is my portion;
therefore I will wait for him.”
25The Lord is good to those whose hope is in him,
to the one who seeks him;
26it is good to wait quietly
for the salvation of the Lord.
27It is good for a man to bear the yoke
while he is young.
28Let him sit alone in silence,
for the Lord has laid it on him.
29Let him bury his face in the dust—
there may yet be hope.
30Let him offer his cheek to one who would strike him,
and let him be filled with disgrace.
31For no one is cast off
by the Lord forever.
32Though he brings grief, he will show compassion,
so great is his unfailing love.
33For he does not willingly bring affliction
or grief to anyone.
34To crush underfoot
all prisoners in the land,
35to deny people their rights
before the Most High,
36to deprive them of justice—
would not the Lord see such things?
37Who can speak and have it happen
if the Lord has not decreed it?
38Is it not from the mouth of the Most High
that both calamities and good things come?
39Why should the living complain
when punished for their sins?
40Let us examine our ways and test them,
and let us return to the Lord.
41Let us lift up our hearts and our hands
to God in heaven, and say:
42“We have sinned and rebelled
and you have not forgiven.
43“You have covered yourself with anger and pursued us;
you have slain without pity.
44You have covered yourself with a cloud
so that no prayer can get through.
45You have made us scum and refuse
among the nations.
46“All our enemies have opened their mouths
wide against us.
47We have suffered terror and pitfalls,
ruin and destruction.”
48Streams of tears flow from my eyes
because my people are destroyed.
49My eyes will flow unceasingly,
50until the Lord looks down
from heaven and sees.
51What I see brings grief to my soul
because of all the women of my city.
52Those who were my enemies without cause
hunted me like a bird.
53They tried to end my life in a pit
and threw stones at me;
54the waters closed over my head,
and I thought I was about to perish.
55I called on your name, Lord,
from the depths of the pit.
56You heard my plea: “Do not close your ears
to my cry for relief.”
57You came near when I called you,
and you said, “Do not fear.”
58You, Lord, took up my case;
you redeemed my life.
59Lord, you have seen the wrong done to me.
Uphold my cause!
60You have seen the depth of their vengeance,
all their plots against me.
61Lord, you have heard their insults,
all their plots against me—
62what my enemies whisper and mutter
against me all day long.
63Look at them! Sitting or standing,
they mock me in their songs.
64Pay them back what they deserve, Lord,
for what their hands have done.
65Put a veil over their hearts,
and may your curse be on them!
66Pursue them in anger and destroy them
from under the heavens of the Lord.
1I am the man that hath seen affliction by the rod of his wrath. 2He hath led me, and brought me into darkness, but not into light. 3Surely against me is he turned; he turneth his hand against me all the day. 4My flesh and my skin hath he made old; he hath broken my bones. 5He hath builded against me, and compassed me with gall and travail. 6He hath set me in dark places, as they that be dead of old. 7He hath hedged me about, that I cannot get out: he hath made my chain heavy. 8Also when I cry and shout, he shutteth out my prayer. 9He hath inclosed my ways with hewn stone, he hath made my paths crooked. 10He was unto me as a bear lying in wait, and as a lion in secret places. 11He hath turned aside my ways, and pulled me in pieces: he hath made me desolate. 12He hath bent his bow, and set me as a mark for the arrow. 13He hath caused the arrows of his quiver to enter into my reins.3.13 arrows: Heb. sons 14I was a derision to all my people; and their song all the day. 15He hath filled me with bitterness, he hath made me drunken with wormwood.3.15 bitterness: Heb. bitternesses 16He hath also broken my teeth with gravel stones, he hath covered me with ashes.3.16 covered…: or, rolled me in the ashes 17And thou hast removed my soul far off from peace: I forgat prosperity.3.17 prosperity: Heb. good 18And I said, My strength and my hope is perished from the LORD: 19Remembering mine affliction and my misery, the wormwood and the gall.3.19 Remembering: or, Remember 20My soul hath them still in remembrance, and is humbled in me.3.20 humbled: Heb. bowed
21This I recall to my mind, therefore have I hope.3.21 recall…: Heb. make to return to my heart
22¶ It is of the LORD’s mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. 23They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness. 24The LORD is my portion, saith my soul; therefore will I hope in him. 25The LORD is good unto them that wait for him, to the soul that seeketh him. 26It is good that a man should both hope and quietly wait for the salvation of the LORD. 27It is good for a man that he bear the yoke in his youth. 28He sitteth alone and keepeth silence, because he hath borne it upon him. 29He putteth his mouth in the dust; if so be there may be hope. 30He giveth his cheek to him that smiteth him: he is filled full with reproach. 31For the Lord will not cast off for ever: 32But though he cause grief, yet will he have compassion according to the multitude of his mercies. 33For he doth not afflict willingly nor grieve the children of men.3.33 willingly: Heb. from his heart 34To crush under his feet all the prisoners of the earth, 35To turn aside the right of a man before the face of the most High,3.35 the most High: or, a superior 36To subvert a man in his cause, the Lord approveth not.3.36 approveth not: or, seeth not
37¶ Who is he that saith, and it cometh to pass, when the Lord commandeth it not? 38Out of the mouth of the most High proceedeth not evil and good? 39Wherefore doth a living man complain, a man for the punishment of his sins?3.39 complain: or, murmur 40Let us search and try our ways, and turn again to the LORD. 41Let us lift up our heart with our hands unto God in the heavens.
42We have transgressed and have rebelled: thou hast not pardoned. 43Thou hast covered with anger, and persecuted us: thou hast slain, thou hast not pitied. 44Thou hast covered thyself with a cloud, that our prayer should not pass through. 45Thou hast made us as the offscouring and refuse in the midst of the people. 46All our enemies have opened their mouths against us. 47Fear and a snare is come upon us, desolation and destruction. 48Mine eye runneth down with rivers of water for the destruction of the daughter of my people. 49Mine eye trickleth down, and ceaseth not, without any intermission, 50Till the LORD look down, and behold from heaven. 51Mine eye affecteth mine heart because of all the daughters of my city.3.51 mine heart: Heb. my soul3.51 because…: or, more than all 52Mine enemies chased me sore, like a bird, without cause. 53They have cut off my life in the dungeon, and cast a stone upon me. 54Waters flowed over mine head; then I said, I am cut off.
55¶ I called upon thy name, O LORD, out of the low dungeon. 56Thou hast heard my voice: hide not thine ear at my breathing, at my cry. 57Thou drewest near in the day that I called upon thee: thou saidst, Fear not. 58O Lord, thou hast pleaded the causes of my soul; thou hast redeemed my life. 59O LORD, thou hast seen my wrong: judge thou my cause. 60Thou hast seen all their vengeance and all their imaginations against me. 61Thou hast heard their reproach, O LORD, and all their imaginations against me; 62The lips of those that rose up against me, and their device against me all the day. 63Behold their sitting down, and their rising up; I am their musick.
64¶ Render unto them a recompence, O LORD, according to the work of their hands. 65Give them sorrow of heart, thy curse unto them.3.65 sorrow…: or, obstinacy of heart 66Persecute and destroy them in anger from under the heavens of the LORD.