Old Testament

Lamentations 3
A Ray of Hope in the Midst of Anguish[]
31I am the man who has experienced affliction under the rod of his fury.
2He drove me off and brought me into darkness instead of light.
3See how he turns against me. He turns his hand against me all day long.
4He wore out my flesh and my skin. He shattered my bones.
5He built siege works against me. He surrounded me with bitterness and hardship.
6He made me dwell in dark places, like people who died long ago.
7He walled me in, so I cannot leave. He made my chains heavy.
8Even when I call and cry out, he shuts out my prayer.
9He has blocked my way with a stone wall. He has made my paths crooked.
10He is about to ambush me like a bear, like a lion lying in wait.
11He diverted me off my path and tore me to pieces. He made me desolate.
12He bent his bow and set me up as a target for the arrow.
13He shot the arrows from his quiver into my heart.[]
14I was a laughingstock to all my people, the target of their song all day long.
15He has made me eat bitter food and drink my fill of wormwood.
16He broke my teeth with gravel. He pushed me down into[] the ashes.
17You deprived my soul of peace. I have forgotten what well-being[] is.
18I said, “My endurance has vanished, along with my hope from the Lord.”
19Remember my affliction and my homeless wandering,
the wormwood and bitterness.
20My soul always remembers, and it has sunk within me.
21Nevertheless, I keep this in my heart. This is the reason I have hope:
22By the mercies of the Lord we are not consumed,
for his compassions do not fail.
23They are new every morning. Great is your faithfulness.
24My soul says, “The Lord is my portion. Therefore, I will hope in him.”
25The Lord is good to those who wait for him, to the soul who seeks him.
26It is good to hope quietly for the salvation of the Lord.
27It is good for a man that he bears a yoke early in his life.
28Let him sit alone and be silent, because the Lord has laid this upon him.
29Let him stick his face in the dust. Perhaps there still is hope.
30Let him turn his cheek toward the one who strikes him.
Let him be filled with disgrace.
31For the Lord will not push us away forever.
32Even though he brings grief, he will show compassion
on the basis of his great mercy.
33Certainly, it is not what his heart desires when he causes affliction,
when he brings grief to the children of men.
34To crush all the land's prisoners under his feet,
35to deny a man's right before the face of the Most High,
36to undermine a man in his legal dispute
—the Lord does not look with favor on these things.[]
37Who can speak something and have it happen, unless the Lord commands it?
38Don't the bad things and the good both come from the mouth of the Most High?
39How can any living man complain?
How can someone complain about the consequences of his sins?
40Let us explore and examine our ways, and let us return to the Lord.
41Let us lift up our hearts and hands to God in heaven.
42We were disobedient and rebelled, so you did not forgive.
43You covered yourself with anger and pursued us. You killed and did not spare.
44You covered yourself with a cloud, so that no prayer passes through.
45You make us like scraps and garbage among the peoples.
46All our enemies opened their mouth against us.
47Panic and the pit were ours, devastation and destruction.
48Streams of water run down from my eyes,
because of the breaking of the daughter of my people.
49My eye pours without stopping. It will not cease,
50until the Lord looks down so that he sees from heaven.
51What I see makes my soul ache for all the daughters of my city.
52For no reason, my enemies hunted me like a bird.
53They ended my life in the pit and threw stones at me.
54Water flowed above my head, and I said, “I am cut off!”
55I called on your name, Lord, from the deepest pit.
56You heard my voice: “Do not hide your ear from my cry for relief!”
57The day I called to you, you came near and said, “Do not fear.”
58Lord, you pleaded my soul's case. You redeemed my life.
59 Lord, you saw how I was wronged. Judge my case.
60You saw all their vengeance, all their plans against me.
61You heard their scorn, Lord, all their plans against me.
62You heard the lips of those who rise up against me
and their plots against me all day long.
63Watch them when they sit down and when they get up.
I am the target of their mocking song.
64You will pay them back, Lord, according to what their hands have done.
65You will give them a stubborn[] heart. Your curse is on them.
66You will pursue them in anger and destroy them
from under the heavens of the Lord.


  • 3:1 This chapter is an alphabetic acrostic. The 66 verses in the chapter form 22 groups, with three verses in each group. All three lines of each group of verses begin with one of the letters of the Hebrew alphabet in alphabetic order. This chapter is the high point of the acrostic structure of Lamentations and includes most of the lines of bright hope contained in the five poems that make up the composition.
  • 3:13 Literally kidneys
  • 3:16 Or made me grovel in
  • 3:17 Or prosperity
  • 3:36 The Hebrew reads the Lord did not see.
  • 3:65 The meaning of this word is uncertain.