I am the man who has seen affliction under the rod of his wrath;
he has driven and brought me into darkness without any light;
surely against me he turns his hand again and again the whole day long.
He has made my flesh and my skin waste away, and broken my bones;
he has besieged and enveloped me with bitterness and tribulation;
he has made me dwell in darkness like the dead of long ago.
He has walled me about so that I cannot escape; he has put heavy chains on me;
though I call and cry for help, he shuts out my prayer;
he has blocked my ways with hewn stones, he has made my paths crooked.
He is to me like a bear lying in wait, like a lion in hiding;
he led me off my way and tore me to pieces; he has made me desolate;
he bent his bow and set me as a mark for his arrow.
He drove into my heart the arrows of his quiver;
I have become the laughingstock of all peoples, the burden of their songs all day long.
He has filled me with bitterness, he has sated me with wormwood.
He has made my teeth grind on gravel, and made me cower in ashes;
my soul is bereft of peace, I have forgotten what happiness is;
so I say, "Gone is my glory, and my expectation from the LORD."
Remember my affliction and my bitterness, the wormwood and the gall!
My soul continually thinks of it and is bowed down within me.
But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope:
The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases, his mercies never come to an end;
they are new every morning; great is thy faithfulness.
"The LORD is my portion," says my soul, "therefore I will hope in him."
The LORD is good to those who wait for him, to the soul that seeks him.
It is good that one should wait quietly for the salvation of the LORD.
It is good for a man that he bear the yoke in his youth.
Let him sit alone in silence when he has laid it on him;
let him put his mouth in the dust--there may yet be hope;
let him give his cheek to the smiter, and be filled with insults.
For the Lord will not cast off for ever,
but, though he cause grief, he will have compassion according to the abundance of his steadfast love;
for he does not willingly afflict or grieve the sons of men.
To crush under foot all the prisoners of the earth,
to turn aside the right of a man in the presence of the Most High,
to subvert a man in his cause, the Lord does not approve.
Who has commanded and it came to pass, unless the Lord has ordained it?
Is it not from the mouth of the Most High that good and evil come?
Why should a living man complain, a man, about the punishment of his sins?
Let us test and examine our ways, and return to the LORD!
Let us lift up our hearts and hands to God in heaven:
"We have transgressed and rebelled, and thou hast not forgiven.
"Thou hast wrapped thyself with anger and pursued us, slaying without pity;
thou hast wrapped thyself with a cloud so that no prayer can pass through.
Thou hast made us offscouring and refuse among the peoples.
"All our enemies rail against us;
panic and pitfall have come upon us, devastation and destruction;
my eyes flow with rivers of tears because of the destruction of the daughter of my people.
"My eyes will flow without ceasing, without respite,
until the LORD from heaven looks down and sees;
my eyes cause me grief at the fate of all the maidens of my city.
"I have been hunted like a bird by those who were my enemies without cause;
they flung me alive into the pit and cast stones on me;
water closed over my head; I said, 'I am lost.'
"I called on thy name, O LORD, from the depths of the pit;
thou didst hear my plea, 'Do not close thine ear to my cry for help!'
Thou didst come near when I called on thee; thou didst say, 'Do not fear!'
"Thou hast taken up my cause, O Lord, thou hast redeemed my life.
Thou hast seen the wrong done to me, O LORD; judge thou my cause.
Thou hast seen all their vengeance, all their devices against me.
"Thou hast heard their taunts, O LORD, all their devices against me.
The lips and thoughts of my assailants are against me all the day long.
Behold their sitting and their rising; I am the burden of their songs.
"Thou wilt requite them, O LORD, according to the work of their hands.
Thou wilt give them dullness of heart; thy curse will be on them.
Thou wilt pursue them in anger and destroy them from under thy heavens, O LORD."
Revised Standard Version of the Bible, copyright 1952 [2nd edition, 1971] by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. (Revised Standard Version w/ Apocrypha)