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Hope in the Lord’s Faithfulness
3 I am the one who has seen the afflictions
that come from the rod of the Lord’s anger.
2 He has led me into darkness,
shutting out all light.
3 He has turned his hand against me
again and again, all day long.
4 He has made my skin and flesh grow old.
He has broken my bones.
5 He has besieged and surrounded me
with anguish and distress.
6 He has buried me in a dark place,
like those long dead.
7 He has walled me in, and I cannot escape.
He has bound me in heavy chains.
8 And though I cry and shout,
he has shut out my prayers.
9 He has blocked my way with a high stone wall;
he has made my road crooked.
10 He has hidden like a bear or a lion,
waiting to attack me.
11 He has dragged me off the path and torn me in pieces,
leaving me helpless and devastated.
12 He has drawn his bow
and made me the target for his arrows.
13 He shot his arrows
deep into my heart.
14 My own people laugh at me.
All day long they sing their mocking songs.
15 He has filled me with bitterness
and given me a bitter cup of sorrow to drink.
16 He has made me chew on gravel.
He has rolled me in the dust.
17 Peace has been stripped away,
and I have forgotten what prosperity is.
18 I cry out, “My splendor is gone!
Everything I had hoped for from the Lord is lost!”
19 The thought of my suffering and homelessness
is bitter beyond words.
20 I will never forget this awful time,
as I grieve over my loss.
21 Yet I still dare to hope
when I remember this:
22 The faithful love of the Lord never ends!
His mercies never cease.
23 Great is his faithfulness;
his mercies begin afresh each morning.
24 I say to myself, “The Lord is my inheritance;
therefore, I will hope in him!”
25 The Lord is good to those who depend on him,
to those who search for him.
26 So it is good to wait quietly
for salvation from the Lord.
27 And it is good for people to submit at an early age
to the yoke of his discipline:
28 Let them sit alone in silence
beneath the Lord’s demands.
29 Let them lie face down in the dust,
for there may be hope at last.
30 Let them turn the other cheek to those who strike them
and accept the insults of their enemies.
31 For no one is abandoned
by the Lord forever.
32 Though he brings grief, he also shows compassion
because of the greatness of his unfailing love.
33 For he does not enjoy hurting people
or causing them sorrow.
34 If people crush underfoot
all the prisoners of the land,
35 if they deprive others of their rights
in defiance of the Most High,
36 if they twist justice in the courts—
doesn’t the Lord see all these things?
37 Who can command things to happen
without the Lord’s permission?
38 Does not the Most High
send both calamity and good?
39 Then why should we, mere humans, complain
when we are punished for our sins?
40 Instead, let us test and examine our ways.
Let us turn back to the Lord.
41 Let us lift our hearts and hands
to God in heaven and say,
42 “We have sinned and rebelled,
and you have not forgiven us.
43 “You have engulfed us with your anger, chased us down,
and slaughtered us without mercy.
44 You have hidden yourself in a cloud
so our prayers cannot reach you.
45 You have discarded us as refuse and garbage
among the nations.
46 “All our enemies
have spoken out against us.
47 We are filled with fear,
for we are trapped, devastated, and ruined.”
48 Tears stream from my eyes
because of the destruction of my people!
49 My tears flow endlessly;
they will not stop
50 until the Lord looks down
from heaven and sees.
51 My heart is breaking
over the fate of all the women of Jerusalem.
52 My enemies, whom I have never harmed,
hunted me down like a bird.
53 They threw me into a pit
and dropped stones on me.
54 The water rose over my head,
and I cried out, “This is the end!”
55 But I called on your name, Lord,
from deep within the pit.
56 You heard me when I cried, “Listen to my pleading!
Hear my cry for help!”
57 Yes, you came when I called;
you told me, “Do not fear.”
58 Lord, you are my lawyer! Plead my case!
For you have redeemed my life.
59 You have seen the wrong they have done to me, Lord.
Be my judge, and prove me right.
60 You have seen the vengeful plots
my enemies have laid against me.
61 Lord, you have heard the vile names they call me.
You know all about the plans they have made.
62 My enemies whisper and mutter
as they plot against me all day long.
63 Look at them! Whether they sit or stand,
I am the object of their mocking songs.
64 Pay them back, Lord,
for all the evil they have done.
65 Give them hard and stubborn hearts,
and then let your curse fall on them!
66 Chase them down in your anger,
destroying them beneath the Lord’s heavens.
(Click here to view commentary on this chapter)
God’s Anger Satisfied
4 How the gold has lost its luster!
Even the finest gold has become dull.
The sacred gemstones
lie scattered in the streets!
2 See how the precious children of Jerusalem,
worth their weight in fine gold,
are now treated like pots of clay
made by a common potter.
3 Even the jackals feed their young,
but not my people Israel.
They ignore their children’s cries,
like ostriches in the desert.
4 The parched tongues of their little ones
stick to the roofs of their mouths in thirst.
The children cry for bread,
but no one has any to give them.
5 The people who once ate the richest foods
now beg in the streets for anything they can get.
Those who once wore the finest clothes
now search the garbage dumps for food.
6 The guilt of my people
is greater than that of Sodom,
where utter disaster struck in a moment
and no hand offered help.
7 Our princes once glowed with health—
brighter than snow, whiter than milk.
Their faces were as ruddy as rubies,
their appearance like fine jewels.
8 But now their faces are blacker than soot.
No one recognizes them in the streets.
Their skin sticks to their bones;
it is as dry and hard as wood.
9 Those killed by the sword are better off
than those who die of hunger.
Starving, they waste away
for lack of food from the fields.
10 Tenderhearted women
have cooked their own children.
They have eaten them
to survive the siege.
11 But now the anger of the Lord is satisfied.
His fierce anger has been poured out.
He started a fire in Jerusalem
that burned the city to its foundations.
12 Not a king in all the earth—
no one in all the world—
would have believed that an enemy
could march through the gates of Jerusalem.
13 Yet it happened because of the sins of her prophets
and the sins of her priests,
who defiled the city
by shedding innocent blood.
14 They wandered blindly
through the streets,
so defiled by blood
that no one dared touch them.
15 “Get away!” the people shouted at them.
“You’re defiled! Don’t touch us!”
So they fled to distant lands
and wandered among foreign nations,
but none would let them stay.
16 The Lord himself has scattered them,
and he no longer helps them.
People show no respect for the priests
and no longer honor the leaders.
17 We looked in vain for our allies
to come and save us,
but we were looking to nations
that could not help us.
18 We couldn’t go into the streets
without danger to our lives.
Our end was near; our days were numbered.
We were doomed!
19 Our enemies were swifter than eagles in flight.
If we fled to the mountains, they found us.
If we hid in the wilderness,
they were waiting for us there.
20 Our king—the Lord’s anointed, the very life of our nation—
was caught in their snares.
We had thought that his shadow
would protect us against any nation on earth!
21 Are you rejoicing in the land of Uz,
O people of Edom?
But you, too, must drink from the cup of the Lord’s anger.
You, too, will be stripped naked in your drunkenness.
22 O beautiful Jerusalem, your punishment will end;
you will soon return from exile.
But Edom, your punishment is just beginning;
soon your many sins will be exposed.
(Click here to view commentary on this chapter)
Prayer for Restoration
5 Lord, remember what has happened to us.
See how we have been disgraced!
2 Our inheritance has been turned over to strangers,
our homes to foreigners.
3 We are orphaned and fatherless.
Our mothers are widowed.
4 We have to pay for water to drink,
and even firewood is expensive.
5 Those who pursue us are at our heels;
we are exhausted but are given no rest.
6 We submitted to Egypt and Assyria
to get enough food to survive.
7 Our ancestors sinned, but they have died—
and we are suffering the punishment they deserved!
8 Slaves have now become our masters;
there is no one left to rescue us.
9 We hunt for food at the risk of our lives,
for violence rules the countryside.
10 The famine has blackened our skin
as though baked in an oven.
11 Our enemies rape the women in Jerusalem
and the young girls in all the towns of Judah.
12 Our princes are being hanged by their thumbs,
and our elders are treated with contempt.
13 Young men are led away to work at millstones,
and boys stagger under heavy loads of wood.
14 The elders no longer sit in the city gates;
the young men no longer dance and sing.
15 Joy has left our hearts;
our dancing has turned to mourning.
16 The garlands have fallen from our heads.
Weep for us because we have sinned.
17 Our hearts are sick and weary,
and our eyes grow dim with tears.
18 For Jerusalem is empty and desolate,
a place haunted by jackals.
19 But Lord, you remain the same forever!
Your throne continues from generation to generation.
20 Why do you continue to forget us?
Why have you abandoned us for so long?
21 Restore us, O Lord, and bring us back to you again!
Give us back the joys we once had!
22 Or have you utterly rejected us?
Are you angry with us still?