37 Who is there who speaks and it comes to pass, Unless the Lord has commanded it? 38 Is it not from the mouth of the Most High That both good and ill go forth?
39 Why should any living mortal, or any man, Offer complaint in view of his sins? 40 Let us examine and probe our ways, And let us return to the Lord. 41 We lift up our heart and hands Toward God in heaven; 42 We have transgressed and rebelled, You have not pardoned. 43 You have covered Yourself with anger And pursued us; You have slain and have not spared. 44 You have covered Yourself with a cloud So that no prayer can pass through. 45 You have made us mere offscouring and refuse In the midst of the peoples. 46 All our enemies have opened their mouths against us. 47 Panic and pitfall have befallen us, Devastation and destruction; 48 My eyes run down with streams of water Because of the destruction of the daughter of my people. 49 My eyes pour down unceasingly, Without stopping, 50 Until the Lord looks down And sees from heaven. 51 My eyes bring pain to my soul Because of all the daughters of my city. 52 My enemies without cause Hunted me down like a bird; 53 They have silenced me in the pit And have placed a stone on me. 54 Waters flowed over my head; I said, “I am cut off!” 55 I called on Your name, O Lord, Out of the lowest pit. 56 You have heard my voice, “Do not hide Your ear from my prayer for relief, From my cry for help.” 57 You drew near when I called on You; You said, “Do not fear!” 58 O Lord, You have pleaded my soul’s cause; You have redeemed my life. 59 O Lord, You have seen my oppression; Judge my case. 60 You have seen all their vengeance, All their schemes against me. 61 You have heard their reproach, O Lord, All their schemes against me. 62 The lips of my assailants and their whispering Are against me all day long. 63 Look on their sitting and their rising; I am their mocking song. 64 You will recompense them, O Lord, According to the work of their hands. 65 You will give them hardness of heart, Your curse will be on them. 66 You will pursue them in anger and destroy them From under the heavens of the Lord!
Distress of the Siege Described
4 How dark the gold has become, How the pure gold has changed! The sacred stones are poured out At the corner of every street. 2 The precious sons of Zion, Weighed against fine gold, How they are regarded as earthen jars, The work of a potter’s hands! 3 Even jackals offer the breast, They nurse their young; But the daughter of my people has become cruel Like ostriches in the wilderness. 4 The tongue of the infant cleaves To the roof of its mouth because of thirst; The little ones ask for bread, But no one breaks it for them. 5 Those who ate delicacies Are desolate in the streets; Those reared in purple Embrace ash pits. 6 For the iniquity of the daughter of my people Is greater than the sin of Sodom, Which was overthrown as in a moment, And no hands were turned toward her. 7 Her consecrated ones were purer than snow, They were whiter than milk; They were more ruddy in body than corals, Their polishing was like lapis lazuli. 8 Their appearance is blacker than soot, They are not recognized in the streets; Their skin is shriveled on their bones, It is withered, it has become like wood. 9 Better are those slain with the sword Than those slain with hunger; For they pine away, being stricken For lack of the fruits of the field. 10 The hands of compassionate women Boiled their own children; They became food for them Because of the destruction of the daughter of my people. 11 The Lord has accomplished His wrath, He has poured out His fierce anger; And He has kindled a fire in Zion Which has consumed its foundations. 12 The kings of the earth did not believe, Nor did any of the inhabitants of the world, That the adversary and the enemy Could enter the gates of Jerusalem. 13 Because of the sins of her prophets And the iniquities of her priests, Who have shed in her midst The blood of the righteous; 14 They wandered, blind, in the streets; They were defiled with blood So that no one could touch their garments. 15 “Depart! Unclean!” they cried of themselves. “Depart, depart, do not touch!” So they fled and wandered; Men among the nations said, “They shall not continue to dwell with us.” 16 The presence of the Lord has scattered them, He will not continue to regard them; They did not honor the priests, They did not favor the elders. 17 Yet our eyes failed, Looking for help was useless; In our watching we have watched For a nation that could not save. 18 They hunted our steps So that we could not walk in our streets; Our end drew near, Our days were finished For our end had come. 19 Our pursuers were swifter Than the eagles of the sky; They chased us on the mountains, They waited in ambush for us in the wilderness. 20 The breath of our nostrils, the Lord’s anointed, Was captured in their pits, Of whom we had said, “Under his shadow We shall live among the nations.” 21 Rejoice and be glad, O daughter of Edom, Who dwells in the land of Uz; But the cup will come around to you as well, You will become drunk and make yourself naked. 22 The punishment of your iniquity has been completed, O daughter of Zion; He will exile you no longer. But He will punish your iniquity, O daughter of Edom; He will expose your sins!
A Prayer for Mercy
5 Remember, O Lord, what has befallen us; Look, and see our reproach! 2 Our inheritance has been turned over to strangers, Our houses to aliens. 3 We have become orphans without a father, Our mothers are like widows. 4 We have to pay for our drinking water, Our wood comes to us at a price. 5 Our pursuers are at our necks; We are worn out, there is no rest for us. 6 We have submitted to Egypt and Assyria to get enough bread. 7 Our fathers sinned, and are no more; It is we who have borne their iniquities. 8 Slaves rule over us; There is no one to deliver us from their hand. 9 We get our bread at the risk of our lives Because of the sword in the wilderness. 10 Our skin has become as hot as an oven, Because of the burning heat of famine. 11 They ravished the women in Zion, The virgins in the cities of Judah. 12 Princes were hung by their hands; Elders were not respected. 13 Young men worked at the grinding mill, And youths stumbled under loads of wood. 14 Elders are gone from the gate, Young men from their music. 15 The joy of our hearts has ceased; Our dancing has been turned into mourning. 16 The crown has fallen from our head; Woe to us, for we have sinned! 17 Because of this our heart is faint, Because of these things our eyes are dim; 18 Because of Mount Zion which lies desolate, Foxes prowl in it.
19 You, O Lord, rule forever; Your throne is from generation to generation. 20 Why do You forget us forever? Why do You forsake us so long? 21 Restore us to You, O Lord, that we may be restored; Renew our days as of old, 22 Unless You have utterly rejected us And are exceedingly angry with us.
Scripture quotations taken from the NASB © The Lockman Foundation (www.lockman.org)