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Lamentations: 3

Punishment, repentance & hope.  Lm.3.1-66

1I am the man who has seen affliction
under the rod of his wrath;
2he has driven and brought me into darkness without any light;
3surely against me he turns his hand again and again the whole day long.
4He has made my flesh and my skin waste away,
and broken my bones;
5he has besieged and enveloped me
with bitterness and tribulation;
6he has made me dwell in darkness
like the dead of long ago.

7He has walled me about so that I cannot escape;
he has put heavy chains on me;
8though I call and cry for help,
he shuts out my prayer;
9he has blocked my ways with hewn stones,
he has made my paths crooked.

10He is to me like a bear lying in wait,
like a lion in hiding;
11he led me off my way and tore me to pieces;
he has made me desolate;
12he bent his bow and set me as a mark for his arrow.

13He drove into my heart the arrows of his quiver;
14I have become the laughingstock of all peoples,
the burden of their songs all day long.
15He has filled me with bitterness,
he has sated me with wormwood.

16He has made my teeth grind on gravel,
and made me cower in ashes;
17my soul is bereft of peace,
I have forgotten what happiness is;
18so I say, "Gone is my glory,
and my expectation from the LORD."

19Remember my affliction and my bitterness,
the wormwood and the gall!
20My soul continually thinks of it
and is bowed down within me.
21But this I call to mind,
and therefore I have hope:

22The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases,
his mercies never come to an end;
23they are new every morning;
great is thy faithfulness.
24"The LORD is my portion," says my soul,
"therefore I will hope in him."

25The LORD is good to those who wait for him,
to the soul that seeks him.
26It is good that one should wait quietly
for the salvation of the LORD.
27It is good for a man that he bear the yoke in his youth.

28Let him sit alone in silence when he has laid it on him;
29let him put his mouth in the dust -
there may yet be hope;
30let him give his cheek to the smiter,
and be filled with insults.

31For the Lord will not cast off for ever,
32but, though he cause grief,
he will have compassion according to the abundance of his steadfast love;
33for he does not willingly afflict or grieve the sons of men.

34To crush under foot all the prisoners of the earth,
35to turn aside the right of a man
in the presence of the Most High,
36to subvert a man in his cause,
the Lord does not approve.

37Who has commanded and it came to pass,
unless the Lord has ordained it?
38Is it not from the mouth of the Most High
that good and evil come?
39Why should a living man complain,
a man, about the punishment of his sins?

40Let us test and examine our ways,
and return to the LORD!
41Let us lift up our hearts and hands to God in heaven:
42"We have transgressed and rebelled,
and thou hast not forgiven.

43"Thou hast wrapped thyself with anger and pursued us,
slaying without pity;
44thou hast wrapped thyself with a cloud
so that no prayer can pass through.
45Thou hast made us offscouring
and refuse among the peoples.

46"All our enemies rail against us;
47panic and pitfall have come upon us,
devastation and destruction;
48my eyes flow with rivers of tears
because of the destruction of the daughter of my people.

49"My eyes will flow without ceasing,
without respite,
50until the LORD from heaven looks down and sees;
51my eyes cause me grief at the fate of all the maidens of my city.

52"I have been hunted like a bird by those who were my enemies without cause;
53they flung me alive into the pit and cast stones on me;
54water closed over my head;
I said, 'I am lost.'

55"I called on thy name, O LORD,
from the depths of the pit;
56thou didst hear my plea,
'Do not close thine ear to my cry for help!'
57Thou didst come near when I called on thee;
thou didst say, 'Do not fear!'

58"Thou hast taken up my cause, O Lord,
thou hast redeemed my life.
59Thou hast seen the wrong done to me, O LORD;
judge thou my cause.
60Thou hast seen all their vengeance,
all their devices against me.

61"Thou hast heard their taunts, O LORD,
all their devices against me.
62The lips and thoughts of my assailants
are against me all the day long.
63Behold their sitting and their rising;
I am the burden of their songs.

64"Thou wilt requite them, O LORD,
according to the work of their hands.
65Thou wilt give them dullness of heart;
thy curse will be on them.
66Thou wilt persue them in anger and destroy them
from under thy heavens, O Lord."

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