Lamentations 3:37-66; Lamentations 4; Lamentations 5

37 Suppose people order something to happen. It won't happen unless the Lord has planned it. 38 Troubles and good things alike come to people because the Most High God has commanded them to come. 39 A man who is still alive shouldn't blame God when God punishes him for his sins. 40 Let's take a good look at the way we're living. Let's return to the Lord. 41 Let's lift up our hands to God in heaven. Let's pray to him with all our hearts. 42 Let's say, "We have sinned. We've refused to obey you. And you haven't forgiven us. 43 "You have covered yourself with the cloud of your anger. You have chased us. You have killed our people without pity. 44 You have covered yourself with the cloud of your anger. Our prayers can't get through to you. 45 You have made us become like trash and garbage among the nations. 46 "All of our enemies have opened their mouths wide to swallow us up. 47 We are terrified and trapped. We are broken and destroyed." 48 Streams of tears flow from my eyes. That's because my people are destroyed. 49 Tears will never stop flowing from my eyes. My eyes can't get any rest. 50 I'll sob until the LORD looks down from heaven. I'll cry until he notices my tears. 51 What I see brings pain to my spirit. All of the people in my city are suffering so much. 52 Those who were my enemies for no reason at all hunted me down as if I were a bird. 53 They tried to end my life by throwing me into a deep pit. They threw stones down at me. 54 The water rose and covered my head. I thought I was going to die. 55 Lord, I called out to you. I called out from the bottom of the pit. 56 I prayed, "Please don't close your ears to my cry for help." And you heard my appeal. 57 You came near when I called out to you. You said, "Do not be afraid." 58 Lord, you stood up for me in court. You saved my life and set me free. 59 Lord, you have seen the wrong things people have done to me. Stand up for me again! 60 You have seen how my enemies have tried to get even with me. You know all about their plans against me. 61 Lord, you have heard them laugh at me. You know all about their plans against me. 62 You have heard my enemies whispering among themselves. They speak against me all day long. 63 Just look at them sitting and standing there! They sing and make fun of me. 64 Lord, pay them back. Punish them for what their hands have done. 65 Cover their minds with a veil. Put a curse on them! 66 Lord, get angry with them and hunt them down. Wipe them off the face of the earth.
1 Look at how the gold has lost its brightness! See how dull the fine gold has become! The sacred jewels are scattered at every street corner. 2 The priceless children of Zion were worth their weight in gold. But now they are thought of as clay pots made by the hands of a potter. 3 Even wild dogs nurse their young pups. But my people are as mean as ostriches in the desert. 4 When our babies get thirsty, their tongues stick to the roofs of their mouths. When our children beg for bread, no one gives them any. 5 Those who once ate fine food are dying in the streets. Those who wore fancy clothes are now lying on piles of trash. 6 My people have been punished more than Sodom was. It was destroyed in a moment. No one offered it a helping hand. 7 Jerusalem's princes were brighter than snow. They were whiter than milk. Their bodies were redder than rubies. They looked like sapphires. 8 But now they are blacker than coal. No one even recognizes them in the streets. Their skin is wrinkled on their bones. It has become as dry as a stick. 9 Those who have been killed with swords are better off than those who have to die of hunger. Those who are hungry waste away to nothing. They don't have any food from the fields. 10 With their own hands, loving mothers have had to cook even their own children. They ate their children when my people were destroyed. 11 The LORD has become very angry. He has poured out his burning anger. He started a fire in Zion. It burned up the very foundations. 12 The kings of the earth couldn't believe what was happening. Neither could any of the world's people. Enemies actually attacked and entered the gates of Jerusalem. 13 It happened because Jerusalem's prophets had sinned. Its priests had done evil things. All of them spilled the blood of those who did what was right. 14 Now those prophets and priests have to feel their way along the streets like people who are blind. The blood of those they killed has made them "unclean." So no one dares even to touch their clothes. 15 "Go away! You are 'unclean'!" people cry out to them. "Go away! Get out of here! Don't touch us!" So they run away and wander around. Then people among the nations say, "They can't stay here anymore." 16 The LORD himself has scattered them. He doesn't watch over them anymore. No one shows the priests any respect. No one honors the elders. 17 And that's not all. Our eyes grew tired. We looked for help that never came. We watched from our towers. We kept looking for a nation that couldn't save us. 18 People hunted us down no matter where we went. We couldn't even walk in our streets. Our end was near. We only had a few days to live. Our end had come. 19 Those who were hunting us down were faster than eagles in the sky. They chased us over the mountains. They hid and waited for us in the desert. 20 Zedekiah, the LORD's anointed king, was our last hope. But he was caught in their traps. We thought he would keep us safe. We expected to continue living among the nations. 21 People of Edom, be joyful. You who live in the land of Uz, be glad. But the cup of the LORD's anger will also be passed to you. Then you will become drunk. Your clothes will be stripped off. 22 People of Zion, the time for you to be punished will come to an end. The LORD won't keep you away from your land any longer. But he will punish your sin, people of Edom. He will show you the evil things you have done.
1 Lord, think about what has happened to us. Look at the shame our enemies have brought on us. 2 The land you gave us has been turned over to outsiders. Our homes have been given to strangers. 3 Our fathers have been killed. Our mothers don't have husbands. 4 We have to buy the water we drink. We have to pay for the wood we use. 5 Those who chase us are right behind us. We're tired. We can't get any rest. 6 We put ourselves under the control of Egypt and Assyria just to get enough bread. 7 Our people before us sinned. And they are now dead. We are being punished because of their sins. 8 Slaves rule over us. No one can set us free from their powerful hands. 9 We put our lives in danger just to get some bread to eat. Robbers in the desert might kill us with their swords. 10 Our skin is as hot as an oven. We are so hungry we're burning up with fever. 11 Our women have been raped in Zion. Our virgins have been raped in the towns of Judah. 12 Our princes have been hung up by their hands. No one shows our elders any respect. 13 Our young men are forced to grind grain at the mill. Our boys almost fall down as they carry heavy loads of wood. 14 Our elders don't go to the city gate anymore. Our young men have stopped playing their music. 15 There isn't any joy in our hearts. Our dancing has turned into sobbing. 16 All of our honor is gone. How terrible it is for us! We have sinned. 17 So our hearts are weak. Our eyes can't see very clearly. 18 Mount Zion has been deserted. Wild dogs are prowling all around on it. 19 Lord, you rule forever. Your throne will last for all time to come. 20 Why do you always forget us? Why have you deserted us for so long? 21 Lord, please bring us back to you. Then we can return. Make our lives like new again. 22 Or have you completely turned away from us? Are you really that angry with us?
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