Lamentations 3

Hope through God’s Mercy

א Aleph

1I am the man who has seen affliction

under the rod of God’s wrath.

2He has driven me away and forced me to walk

in darkness instead of light.

3Yes, he repeatedly turns his hand

against me all day long.

ב Beth

4He has worn away my flesh and skin;

he has broken my bones.

5He has laid siege against me,

encircling me with bitterness and hardship.

6He has made me dwell in darkness

like those who have been dead for ages.

ג Gimel

7He has walled me in so I cannot get out;

he has weighed me down with chains.

8Even when I cry out and plead for help,

he blocks out my prayer.

9He has walled in my ways with blocks of stone;

he has made my paths crooked.

ד Daleth

10He is a bear waiting in ambush,

a lion in hiding.

11He forced me off my way and tore me to pieces;

he left me desolate.

12He strung his bow

and set me as the target for his arrow.

ה He

13He pierced my kidneys

with shafts from his quiver.

14I am a laughingstock to all my people,

mocked by their songs all day long.

15He filled me with bitterness,

satiated me with wormwood.

ו Waw

16He ground my teeth with gravel

and made me cower in the dust.

17I have been deprived of peace;

I have forgotten what prosperity is.

18Then I thought, “My future is lost,

as well as my hope from the Lord.”

ז Zayin

19Remember my affliction and my homelessness,

the wormwood and the poison.

20I continually remember them

and have become depressed.

21Yet I call this to mind,

and therefore I have hope:

ח Cheth

22Because of the Lord’s faithful love

we do not perish,

for his mercies never end.

23They are new every morning;

great is your faithfulness!

24I say, “The Lord is my portion,

therefore I will put my hope in him.”

ט Teth

25The Lord is good to those who wait for him,

to the person who seeks him.

26It is good to wait quietly

for salvation from the Lord.

27It is good for a man to bear the yoke

while he is still young.

י Yod

28Let him sit alone and be silent,

for God has disciplined him.

29Let him put his mouth in the dust —

perhaps there is still hope.

30Let him offer his cheek

to the one who would strike him;

let him be filled with disgrace.

כ Kaph

31For the Lord

will not reject us forever.

32Even if he causes suffering,

he will show compassion

according to the abundance of his faithful love.

33For he does not enjoy bringing affliction

or suffering on mankind.

ל Lamed

34Crushing all the prisoners of the land

beneath one’s feet,

35denying justice to a man

in the presence of the Most High,

36or subverting a person in his lawsuit —

the Lord does not approve of these things.

מ Mem

37Who is there who speaks and it happens,

unless the Lord has ordained it?

38Do not both adversity and good

come from the mouth of the Most High?

39Why should any living person complain,

any man, because of the punishment for his sins?

נ Nun

40Let’s examine and probe our ways,

and turn back to the Lord.

41Let’s lift up our hearts and our hands

to God in heaven:

42“We have sinned and rebelled;

you have not forgiven.

ס Samek

43“You have covered yourself in anger and pursued us;

you have killed without compassion.

44You have covered yourself with a cloud

so that no prayer can get through.

45You have made us disgusting filth

among the peoples.

פ Pe

46“All our enemies

open their mouths against us.

47We have experienced panic and pitfall,

devastation and destruction.”

48My eyes flow with streams of tears

because of the destruction of my dear people.

ע Ayin

49My eyes overflow unceasingly,

without end,

50until the Lord looks down

from heaven and sees.

51My eyes bring me grief

because of the fate of all the women in my city.

צ Tsade

52For no reason, my enemies

hunted me like a bird.

53They smothered my life in a pit

and threw stones on me.

54Water flooded over my head,

and I thought, “I’m going to die!”

ק Qoph

55I called on your name, Lord,

from the depths of the pit.

56You heard my plea:

Do not ignore my cry for relief.

57You came near whenever I called you;

you said, “Do not be afraid.”

ר Resh

58You championed my cause, Lord;

you redeemed my life.

59Lord, you saw the wrong done to me;

judge my case.

60You saw all their vengefulness,

all their plots against me.

שׂ Sin / שׁ Shin

61Lord, you heard their insults,

all their plots against me.

62The slander and murmuring of my opponents

attack me all day long.

63When they sit and when they rise, look,

I am mocked by their songs.

ת Taw

64You will pay them back what they deserve, Lord,

according to the work of their hands.

65You will give them a heart filled with anguish.

May your curse be on them!

66You will pursue them in anger and destroy them

under your heavens.