Lamentations 3; Lamentations 4; Lamentations 5

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Lamentations 3

1 I am a man who has seen the suffering that comes from the rod of the Lord's anger.
2 He led me into darkness, not light.
3 He turned his hand against me again and again, all day long.
4 He wore out my flesh and skin and broke my bones.
5 He surrounded me with sadness and attacked me with grief.
6 He made me sit in the dark, like those who have been dead a long time.
7 He shut me in so I could not get out; he put heavy chains on me.
8 I cry out and beg for help, but he ignores my prayer.
9 He blocked my way with a stone wall and led me in the wrong direction.
10 He is like a bear ready to attack me, like a lion in hiding.
11 He led me the wrong way and let me stray and left me without help.
12 He prepared to shoot his bow and made me the target for his arrows.
13 He shot me in the kidneys with the arrows from his bag.
14 I was a joke to all my people, who make fun of me with songs all day long.
15 The Lord filled me with misery; he made me drunk with suffering.
16 He broke my teeth with gravel and trampled me into the dirt.
17 I have no more peace. I have forgotten what happiness is.
18 I said, "My strength is gone, and I have no hope in the Lord."
19 Lord, remember my suffering and my misery, my sorrow and trouble.
20 Please remember me and think about me.
21 But I have hope when I think of this:
22 The Lord's love never ends; his mercies never stop.
23 They are new every morning; Lord, your loyalty is great.
24 I say to myself, "The Lord is mine, so I hope in him."
25 The Lord is good to those who hope in him, to those who seek him.
26 It is good to wait quietly for the Lord to save.
27 It is good for someone to work hard while he is young.
28 He should sit alone and be quiet; the Lord has given him hard work to do.
29 He should bow down to the ground; maybe there is still hope.
30 He should let anyone slap his cheek; he should be filled with shame.
31 The Lord will not reject his people forever.
32 Although he brings sorrow, he also has mercy and great love.
33 He does not like to punish people or make them sad.
34 He sees if any prisoner of the earth is crushed under his feet;
35 he sees if someone is treated unfairly before the Most High God;
36 the Lord sees if someone is cheated in his case in court.
37 Nobody can speak and have it happen unless the Lord commands it.
38 Both bad and good things come by the command of the Most High God.
39 No one should complain when he is punished for his sins.
40 Let us examine and see what we have done and then return to the Lord.
41 Let us lift up our hands and pray from our hearts to God in heaven:
42 "We have sinned and turned against you, and you have not forgiven us.
43 "You wrapped yourself in anger and chased us; you killed us without mercy.
44 You wrapped yourself in a cloud, and no prayer could get through.
45 You made us like scum and trash among the other nations.
46 "All of our enemies open their mouths and speak against us.
47 We have been frightened and fearful, ruined and destroyed."
48 Streams of tears flow from my eyes, because my people are destroyed.
49 My tears flow continually, without stopping,
50 until the Lord looks down and sees from heaven.
51 I am sad when I see what has happened to all the women of my city.
52 Those who are my enemies for no reason hunted me like a bird.
53 They tried to kill me in a pit; they threw stones at me.
54 Water came up over my head, and I said, "I am going to die."
55 I called out to you, Lord, from the bottom of the pit.
56 You heard me calling, "Do not close your ears and ignore my gasps and shouts."
57 You came near when I called to you; you said, "Don't be afraid."
58 Lord, you have taken my case and given me back my life.
59 Lord, you have seen how I have been wronged. Now judge my case for me.
60 You have seen how my enemies took revenge on me and made evil plans against me.
61 Lord, you have heard their insults and all their evil plans against me.
62 The words and thoughts of my enemies are against me all the time.
63 Look! In everything they do they make fun of me with songs.
64 Pay them back, Lord, for what they have done.
65 Make them stubborn, and put your curse on them.
66 Chase them in anger, Lord, and destroy them from under your heavens.
Scripture taken from the New Century Version. Copyright © 1987, 1988, 1991 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Lamentations 4

1 See how the gold has lost its shine, how the pure gold has dulled! at every street corner.
2 The precious people of Jerusalem were more valuable than gold, but now they are thought of as clay jars made by the hands of a potter.
3 Even wild dogs give their milk to feed their young, but my people are cruel like ostriches in the desert.
4 The babies are so thirsty their tongues stick to the roofs of their mouths. Children beg for bread, but no one gives them any.
5 Those who once ate fine foods are now starving in the streets. People who grew up wearing nice clothes now pick through trash piles.
6 My people have been punished more than Sodom was. Sodom was destroyed suddenly, and no hands reached out to help her.
7 Our princes were purer than snow, and whiter than milk. Their bodies were redder than rubies; they looked like sapphires.
8 But now they are blacker than coal, and no one recognizes them in the streets. Their skin hangs on their bones; it is as dry as wood.
9 Those who were killed in the war were better off than those killed by hunger. They starve in pain and die, because there is no food from the field.
10 With their own hands kind women cook their own children. They became food when my people were destroyed.
11 The Lord turned loose all of his anger; he poured out his strong anger. He set fire to Jerusalem, burning it down to the foundations.
12 Kings of the earth and people of the world could not believe that enemies and foes could enter the gates of Jerusalem.
13 It happened because her prophets sinned and her priests did evil. They killed in the city those who did what was right.
14 They wandered in the streets as if they were blind. They were dirty with blood, so no one would touch their clothes.
15 "Go away! You are unclean," people shouted at them. "Get away! Get away! Don't touch us!" So they ran away and wandered. Even the other nations said, "Don't stay here."
16 The Lord himself scattered them and did not look after them anymore. No one respects the priests or honors the older leaders.
17 Also, our eyes grew tired, looking for help that never came. We kept watch from our towers for a nation to save us.
18 Our enemies hunted us, so we could not even walk in the streets. Our end is near. Our time is up. Our end has come.
19 Those who chased us were faster than eagles in the sky. They ran us into the mountains and ambushed us in the desert.
20 The Lord's appointed king, who was our very breath, was caught in their traps. We had said about him, "We will be protected by him among the nations."
21 Be happy and glad, people of Edom, you who live in the land of Uz. The cup of God's anger will come to you; then you will get drunk and go naked.
22 Your punishment is complete, Jerusalem. He will not send you into captivity again. But the Lord will punish the sins of Edom; he will uncover your evil.
Scripture taken from the New Century Version. Copyright © 1987, 1988, 1991 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Lamentations 5

1 Remember, Lord, what happened to us. Look and see our disgrace.
2 Our land has been turned over to strangers; our houses have been given to foreigners.
3 We are like orphans with no father; our mothers are like widows.
4 We have to buy the water we drink; we must pay for the firewood.
5 Those who chase after us want to catch us by the neck. We are tired and find no rest.
6 We made an agreement with Egypt and with Assyria to get enough food.
7 Our ancestors sinned against you, but they are gone; now we suffer because of their sins.
8 Slaves have become our rulers, and no one can save us from them.
9 We risk our lives to get our food; we face death in the desert.
10 Our skin is hot like an oven; we burn with starvation.
11 The enemy abused the women of Jerusalem and the girls in the cities of Judah.
12 Princes were hung by the hands; they did not respect our older leaders.
13 The young men ground grain at the mill, and boys stumbled under loads of wood.
14 The older leaders no longer sit at the city gates; the young men no longer sing.
15 We have no more joy in our hearts; our dancing has turned to sadness.
16 The crown has fallen from our head. How terrible it is because we sinned.
17 Because of this we are afraid, and now our eyes are dim.
18 Mount Zion is empty, and wild dogs wander around it.
19 But you rule forever, Lord. You will be King from now on.
20 Why have you forgotten us for so long? Have you left us forever?
21 Bring us back to you, Lord, and we will return. Make our days as they were before,
22 or have you completely rejected us? Are you so angry with us?
Scripture taken from the New Century Version. Copyright © 1987, 1988, 1991 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.