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Lamentations 3 International Standard Version (ISV)

The Lord’s Purposes for Affliction

I am a man familiar with affliction—
    under the rod of God’s[a] anger.
He has led me—brought me
    into darkness, not into light.
He truly turned his hand against me,
    again and again, all day long.

He made my flesh and skin prematurely old;
    he broke my bones.
He laid siege against me,
    surrounding me with bitterness and suffering.
He has forced me to live in darkness,
    like those who are long dead.

He has walled me in so I cannot escape;
    he placed heavy chains on me.
Indeed, when I cry out, calling for help,
    he shuts out my prayer.
He impeded my way with blocks of stone,
    making my paths uneven.

10 He is like[b] a bear that lies in wait for me,
    a lion in hiding.
11 He forced me off my path,
    tearing me to pieces and making me desolate.
12 He bent his bow,
    aiming at me with his arrow.

13 He caused his war arrows[c]
    to pierce my vital organs.
14 I have become a laughingstock to all my people,
    the object of their taunts throughout the day.
15 He has filled me with bitterness,
    making me drink wormwood.

16 He broke my teeth on gravel,
    covering me with dust.
17 You have removed peace from my life;
    I have forgotten what prosperity is.[d]
18 So I say, “My strength is gone
    as is my hope in the Lord.”

19 Remember my affliction and homelessness—
    wormwood and gall!
20 My mind keeps reflecting on it,
    and I become depressed.[e]
21 This is what comes to mind,
    and therefore I have hope:
22 Because of the Lord’s gracious love we are not consumed,
    since his compassions never end.
23 They are new every morning—
    great is your faithfulness!
24 “The Lord is all I have,”[f] says my soul,
    “Therefore I will trust in him.”

25 The Lord is good to those who wait for him,
    to the person who searches for him.
26 It is good to hope and wait patiently
    for the Lord’s salvation.
27 It is good when a young man carries the yoke
    of discipline[g] in his youth.

28 He is to sit apart and remain silent,
    because the Lord[h] has laid it upon him.
29 Let him fall face down in the dust,
    so there may yet be hope.
30 He will endure being slapped in the face,
    bringing him public disgrace.

31 Indeed, the Lord will not always
    reject us[i]
32 though he causes grief,
    his compassion abounds according to his gracious love.
33 For he does not deliberately hurt
    or grieve human beings.
34 When any of the prisoners of the earth
    are crushed underfoot,
35 when a person’s rights are perverted
    in defiance of the Most High.
36 When a man is thwarted in his appeal,
    does the Lord condone[j] it?

37 Who can command, and it happens,
    without the Lord having ordered it?
38 Do not both good and evil things proceed
    from the mouth of the Most High?
39 Why should anyone living complain,
    any mortal, about being punished for sin?

40 Let us examine our lifestyles,
    putting them to the test,
        and turn back to the Lord.
41 Let us lift up our hearts
    and our hands
        to God in heaven.
42 As for us, we have sinned and rebelled;
    but you have not pardoned us.[k]
43 Clothing yourself with anger, you pursued us.
    You killed without pity,
44 You covered yourself with a cloud
    that prayer cannot pierce.
45 You have reduced us to scum and garbage
    among the nations.

46 All our enemies
    jeer at us with gaping mouths.
47 Panic and pitfalls beset us,
    along with devastation and ruin.
48 My eyes run with rivers of tears
    over the destruction of my cherished[l] people.

49 My tears pour[m] down ceaselessly;
    I am far from relief
50 until the Lord bends down
    to see from heaven.
51 What I see[n] grieves my soul
    because of all the young women[o] of my city.

52 My enemies hunted me like a bird,
    viciously and without justification.
53 They dumped me alive into a pit,
    sealing me in with stone.[p]
54 Water closed over my head,
    and I said, “I’m a dead man.”[q]
55 I called on your name, Lord,
    from the depths of the Pit,[r]
56 You heard my voice—
    don’t close your ear to my sighs and cries.[s]
57 You drew near when I called out to you.
    You said, “Stop being afraid”

58 Lord, you have defended my cause;
    you have redeemed my life.
59 Lord, you observed how I have been wronged;
    now make your ruling in my case.
60 You examined their plans for vengeance,
    all of their plots against me.

61 Lord, you listened to their insults—
    all their plots against me,
62 the whisperings of my opponents,
    their scheming against me all day long.
63 Watch! Whether they sit down or stand up,
    they mock me with their songs.

64 Pay them back, Lord,
    according to their actions.
65 Give them an anguished heart;
    may your curse be upon them!
66 Pursue them in your anger
    and destroy them from under the Lord’s heaven.


  1. Lamentations 3:1 Lit. his
  2. Lamentations 3:10 The Heb. lacks like
  3. Lamentations 3:13 Lit. caused the sons of his arrows
  4. Lamentations 3:17 Lit. forgotten prosperity
  5. Lamentations 3:20 Lit. and sinks within me
  6. Lamentations 3:24 Lit. is my portion
  7. Lamentations 3:27 The Heb. lacks of discipline
  8. Lamentations 3:28 Lit. because he
  9. Lamentations 3:31 The Heb. lacks us
  10. Lamentations 3:36 Lit. see
  11. Lamentations 3:42 The Heb. lacks us
  12. Lamentations 3:48 Lit. of the daughter of
  13. Lamentations 3:49 Lit. My eye pours
  14. Lamentations 3:51 Lit. My eye
  15. Lamentations 3:51 Lit. the daughters
  16. Lamentations 3:53 Lit. pit, casting a stone at me
  17. Lamentations 3:54 Lit. “I’m cut off.”
  18. Lamentations 3:55 I.e. the place of punishment in the afterlife
  19. Lamentations 3:56 Lit. my relief, to my cry
International Standard Version (ISV)

Copyright © 1995-2014 by ISV Foundation. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED INTERNATIONALLY. Used by permission of Davidson Press, LLC.

Lamentations 3 New International Version (NIV)

[a]I am the man who has seen affliction
    by the rod of the Lord’s wrath.
He has driven me away and made me walk
    in darkness rather than light;
indeed, he has turned his hand against me
    again and again, all day long.

He has made my skin and my flesh grow old
    and has broken my bones.
He has besieged me and surrounded me
    with bitterness and hardship.
He has made me dwell in darkness
    like those long dead.

He has walled me in so I cannot escape;
    he has weighed me down with chains.
Even when I call out or cry for help,
    he shuts out my prayer.
He has barred my way with blocks of stone;
    he has made my paths crooked.

10 Like a bear lying in wait,
    like a lion in hiding,
11 he dragged me from the path and mangled me
    and left me without help.
12 He drew his bow
    and made me the target for his arrows.

13 He pierced my heart
    with arrows from his quiver.
14 I became the laughingstock of all my people;
    they mock me in song all day long.
15 He has filled me with bitter herbs
    and given me gall to drink.

16 He has broken my teeth with gravel;
    he has trampled me in the dust.
17 I have been deprived of peace;
    I have forgotten what prosperity is.
18 So I say, “My splendor is gone
    and all that I had hoped from the Lord.”

19 I remember my affliction and my wandering,
    the bitterness and the gall.
20 I well remember them,
    and my soul is downcast within me.
21 Yet this I call to mind
    and therefore I have hope:

22 Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed,
    for his compassions never fail.
23 They are new every morning;
    great is your faithfulness.
24 I say to myself, “The Lord is my portion;
    therefore I will wait for him.”

25 The Lord is good to those whose hope is in him,
    to the one who seeks him;
26 it is good to wait quietly
    for the salvation of the Lord.
27 It is good for a man to bear the yoke
    while he is young.

28 Let him sit alone in silence,
    for the Lord has laid it on him.
29 Let him bury his face in the dust
    there may yet be hope.
30 Let him offer his cheek to one who would strike him,
    and let him be filled with disgrace.

31 For no one is cast off
    by the Lord forever.
32 Though he brings grief, he will show compassion,
    so great is his unfailing love.
33 For he does not willingly bring affliction
    or grief to anyone.

34 To crush underfoot
    all prisoners in the land,
35 to deny people their rights
    before the Most High,
36 to deprive them of justice—
    would not the Lord see such things?

37 Who can speak and have it happen
    if the Lord has not decreed it?
38 Is it not from the mouth of the Most High
    that both calamities and good things come?
39 Why should the living complain
    when punished for their sins?

40 Let us examine our ways and test them,
    and let us return to the Lord.
41 Let us lift up our hearts and our hands
    to God in heaven, and say:
42 “We have sinned and rebelled
    and you have not forgiven.

43 “You have covered yourself with anger and pursued us;
    you have slain without pity.
44 You have covered yourself with a cloud
    so that no prayer can get through.
45 You have made us scum and refuse
    among the nations.

46 “All our enemies have opened their mouths
    wide against us.
47 We have suffered terror and pitfalls,
    ruin and destruction.
48 Streams of tears flow from my eyes
    because my people are destroyed.

49 My eyes will flow unceasingly,
    without relief,
50 until the Lord looks down
    from heaven and sees.
51 What I see brings grief to my soul
    because of all the women of my city.

52 Those who were my enemies without cause
    hunted me like a bird.
53 They tried to end my life in a pit
    and threw stones at me;
54 the waters closed over my head,
    and I thought I was about to perish.

55 I called on your name, Lord,
    from the depths of the pit.
56 You heard my plea: “Do not close your ears
    to my cry for relief.”
57 You came near when I called you,
    and you said, “Do not fear.”

58 You, Lord, took up my case;
    you redeemed my life.
59 Lord, you have seen the wrong done to me.
    Uphold my cause!
60 You have seen the depth of their vengeance,
    all their plots against me.

61 Lord, you have heard their insults,
    all their plots against me—
62 what my enemies whisper and mutter
    against me all day long.
63 Look at them! Sitting or standing,
    they mock me in their songs.

64 Pay them back what they deserve, Lord,
    for what their hands have done.
65 Put a veil over their hearts,
    and may your curse be on them!
66 Pursue them in anger and destroy them
    from under the heavens of the Lord.


  1. Lamentations 3:1 This chapter is an acrostic poem; the verses of each stanza begin with the successive letters of the Hebrew alphabet, and the verses within each stanza begin with the same letter.
New International Version (NIV)

Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

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