Lamentations 3-4 – New International Version

September 28 (Year Six)

3 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.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

4 How the gold has lost its luster,
    the fine gold become dull!
The sacred gems are scattered
    at every street corner.

How the precious children of Zion,
    once worth their weight in gold,
are now considered as pots of clay,
    the work of a potter’s hands!

Even jackals offer their breasts
    to nurse their young,
but my people have become heartless
    like ostriches in the desert.

Because of thirst the infant’s tongue
    sticks to the roof of its mouth;
the children beg for bread,
    but no one gives it to them.

Those who once ate delicacies
    are destitute in the streets.
Those brought up in royal purple
    now lie on ash heaps.

The punishment of my people
    is greater than that of Sodom,
which was overthrown in a moment
    without a hand turned to help her.

Their princes were brighter than snow
    and whiter than milk,
their bodies more ruddy than rubies,
    their appearance like lapis lazuli.

But now they are blacker than soot;
    they are not recognized in the streets.
Their skin has shriveled on their bones;
    it has become as dry as a stick.

Those killed by the sword are better off
    than those who die of famine;
racked with hunger, they waste away
    for lack of food from the field.

With their own hands compassionate women
    have cooked their own children,
who became their food
    when my people were destroyed.

The Lord has given full vent to his wrath;
    he has poured out his fierce anger.
He kindled a fire in Zion
    that consumed her foundations.

The kings of the earth did not believe,
    nor did any of the peoples of the world,
that enemies and foes could enter
    the gates of Jerusalem.

But it happened because of the sins of her prophets
    and the iniquities of her priests,
who shed within her
    the blood of the righteous.

Now they grope through the streets
    as if they were blind.
They are so defiled with blood
    that no one dares to touch their garments.

“Go away! You are unclean!” people cry to them.
    “Away! Away! Don’t touch us!”
When they flee and wander about,
    people among the nations say,
    “They can stay here no longer.”

The Lord himself has scattered them;
    he no longer watches over them.
The priests are shown no honor,
    the elders no favor.

Moreover, our eyes failed,
    looking in vain for help;
from our towers we watched
    for a nation that could not save us.

People stalked us at every step,
    so we could not walk in our streets.
Our end was near, our days were numbered,
    for our end had come.

Our pursuers were swifter
    than eagles in the sky;
they chased us over the mountains
    and lay in wait for us in the desert.

The Lord’s anointed, our very life breath,
    was caught in their traps.
We thought that under his shadow
    we would live among the nations.

Rejoice and be glad, Daughter Edom,
    you who live in the land of Uz.
But to you also the cup will be passed;
    you will be drunk and stripped naked.

Your punishment will end, Daughter Zion;
    he will not prolong your exile.
But he will punish your sin, Daughter Edom,
    and expose your wickedness.

Yesterday’s ReadingThe 6 Year PlanTomorrow’s Reading

Lamentations 1-2 – Easy-to-Read Version

September 26 (Year Six)

Jerusalem once was a city full of people,
    but now the city is so empty.
She was one of the greatest cities in the world,
    but now she is like a poor widow.
She was once a princess among cities,
    but now she has been made a slave.
She cries bitterly in the night.
    Her tears are on her cheeks.
    She has no one to comfort her.
Many nations were friendly to her,
    but not one of them comforts her now.
All her friends have turned their backs on her
    and have become her enemies.
Judah suffered very much,
    and then she was taken into captivity.
She lives among other nations
    but has found no rest.
The people who chased her caught her
    where there was no way out.
The roads to Zion are very sad,
    because no one comes to Zion for the festivals anymore.
All of Zion’s gates have been destroyed;
    all her priests groan in sorrow.
Zion’s young women have been taken away,
    and all this made Zion sad.
Jerusalem’s enemies have won.
    Her enemies have been successful.
This happened because the Lord punished her.
    He punished Jerusalem for her many sins.
Her children have gone away.
    Their enemies captured them and took them away.
The beauty of Daughter Zion has gone away.
    Her princes were like deer that cannot find a meadow to feed in.
    They walk away without strength from those who chased them.
Jerusalem thinks back.
She remembers the time when she was hurt
    and when she lost her home.
She remembers all the nice things that she had in the past.
    She remembers those nice things that she had in the old days.
She remembers when her people were captured by the enemy.
    She remembers when there was no one to help her.
When her enemies saw her, they laughed,
    because she was destroyed.
Jerusalem sinned very badly.
    Because Jerusalem sinned,
    she became a ruined city that people shake their heads about.
In the past people respected her.
    But now they hate her,
    because they abused her.
Jerusalem groaned
    and turned away.
Jerusalem’s skirts were dirty.
    She gave no thought to what would become of her.
Her fall was amazing.
    She had no one to comfort her.
She says, “Lord, see how I am hurt!
    See how my enemy thinks he is so great!”

The enemy stretched out his hand.
    He took all her nice things.
In fact, she saw the foreign nations go inside her Temple.
    And you said those people could not join in our assembly!
All the people of Jerusalem are groaning.
    All of her people are looking for food.
    They are giving away all their nice things for food to stay alive.
Jerusalem says, “Look, Lord. Look at me!
    See how people hate me.
All you who pass by on the road, you don’t seem to care.
    But look at me and see.
Is there any pain like my pain?
    Is there any pain like the pain that has come to me?
Is there any pain like the pain that the Lord has punished me with?
    He has punished me on the day of his great anger.
The Lord sent fire from above
    that went down into my bones.
He stretched out a net for my feet.
    He turned me all the way around.
He made me into a wasteland.
    I am sick all day.

“My sins were tied up like a yoke.
    My sins were tied up in the Lord’s hands.
His yoke is on my neck.
    He has made me weak.
He has given me to those
    who I cannot stand up against.
“The Lord rejected all my powerful men
    who were inside the city.
Then he brought a group of people against me.
    He brought them to kill my young soldiers.
The Lord has trampled his dearest city
    like grapes in a winepress.

“I cry about all these things.
    Tears are flowing down my cheeks.
There is no one near to comfort me.
    There is no one who can make me feel better.
My children are like a wasteland,
    because the enemy won.”

Zion spread out her hands.
    There was no one to comfort her.
The Lord had given orders to Jacob’s enemies.
    He ordered them to surround the city.
Jerusalem has become a dirty rag
    that her enemies threw away.

Now Jerusalem says, “I refused to listen to the Lord,
    so he is right for doing these things.
So listen, all you people!
    Look at my pain!
My young women and men
    have gone into captivity.
I called out to my lovers,
    but they tricked me.
My priests and my elders
    have died in the city.
They were looking for food for themselves.
    They wanted to keep themselves alive.

“Look at me, Lord. I am in distress!
    I am upset, as if my heart turned upside down inside of me.
I feel this way because
    I have been so stubborn.
Out in the streets,
    I lost my children to the swords.
Inside, it is like death.

“Listen to me, I am groaning.
    I have no one to comfort me.
All my enemies have heard of my trouble.
    They are happy that you did this to me.
You said there would be a time of punishment.
    You said you would punish my enemies.
Now do what you said.
    Let my enemies be like I am now.

“Look how evil my enemies are!
    Then you can treat them the same way you treated me
    because of all my sins.
Do this because I am groaning again and again.
    Do this because my heart is sick.”

QQQ Look how the Lord has covered daughter Zion
    with the cloud of his anger.
He has thrown her, the glory of Israel,
    from the sky to the ground.
In his anger he showed no care even for the Temple
    where he rests his feet.
The Lord destroyed the houses of Jacob.
    He destroyed them without mercy.
In his anger he destroyed the fortresses of Daughter Judah.
    He threw the kingdom of Judah and its rulers to the ground.
    He ruined the kingdom of Judah.
He was angry, and he destroyed
    all the strength of Israel.
He took away his right hand from Israel.
    He did this when the enemy came.
He burned like a flaming fire in Jacob.
    He was like a fire that burns all around.
He bent his bow like an enemy.
    He held his sword in his right hand.
He killed all the good-looking men of Judah.
    He killed them as if they were the enemy.
He poured out his anger
    like a fire on the tents of Zion.

The Lord has become like an enemy.
    He has swallowed up Israel.
He has swallowed up all her palaces
    and all her fortresses.
He has made much sadness and crying
    for the dead in Daughter Judah.

He pulled up his own tent
    as if it were a garden.
He has ruined the place where the people
    came together to worship him.
The Lord has made people forget
    the special assemblies and special days of rest in Zion.
He rejected the king and the priests.
    He was angry and rejected them.
He rejected his altar,
    and he left his holy place of worship.
He let the enemy pull down the walls
    of the palaces of Jerusalem.
The enemy shouted with joy in the Lord’s Temple.
    They made noise as though it were a festival.
The Lord planned to destroy
    the wall of Daughter Zion.
He marked the wall with a measuring line.
    He didn’t stop himself from destroying it.
He made all the walls cry out in sadness.
    Together they wasted away.

Jerusalem’s gates have sunk into the ground.
    The bars on her gates are completely destroyed.
Her king and princes have been taken to other nations.
    The teaching of the law has stopped.
And her prophets no longer receive
    visions from the Lord.

The elders of Zion sit on the ground.
    They sit on the ground and are quiet.
They pour dust on their heads.
    They put on sackcloth.
The young women of Jerusalem
    bow their heads to the ground in sorrow.

My eyes are worn out with tears,
    and my insides are upset.
My heart feels like it has been poured on the ground;
    I feel this way because of the destruction of my people.
Children and babies are fainting
    in the public squares of the city.
They ask their mothers,
    “Where is the bread and wine?”
    as they pour out their life in their mother’s laps.
My dear Jerusalem, what can I say about you?
    What can I compare you to?
What can I say you are like?
    How can I comfort you, city of Zion?
You have been hurt much too badly
    for anyone to heal.

Your prophets saw visions for you,
    but their visions were only worthless lies.
They didn’t speak against your sins.
    They didn’t try to make things better.
They spoke messages for you,
    but they were false messages that fooled you.

Those who pass by on the road
    clap their hands and laugh at you.
They make fun of Jerusalem,
    shaking their heads at the sight of her.
They ask, “Is this the city that people called
    ‘The Most Beautiful City’
    and ‘The Joy of all the Earth’?”

All your enemies laugh at you.
    They whistle and grind their teeth at you.
They say, “We have swallowed them up!
    This is the day we were hoping for.
    We have finally seen this happen!”

The Lord did what he planned to do.
    He did what he said he would do.
    He did what he commanded a long time ago.
He destroyed, and he had no pity.
    He made your enemies happy because of what happened to you.
    He made your enemies strong.

Cry out with all your heart to the Lord!
    Jerusalem, let tears roll down your walls.
    Let your tears flow like a stream day and night.
Don’t stop crying
    or let your eyes dry.

Get up throughout the night and cry for help.
    Let your sorrow pour out before the Lord like water.
Lift up your hands in prayer to him.
    Ask him to let your children live.
    They are starving to death on every street corner.

Look at us, Lord!
    Have you ever treated anyone else so badly?
Is it right for women to eat their own babies,
    the children they have cared for?
Should priests and prophets be killed
    in the Temple of the Lord?
Young men and old men
    lie on the ground in the streets of the city.
My young women and young men
    have been killed by the sword.
You killed them on the day of your anger.
    You killed them without mercy!

You invited terror to come to me from all around.
    You invited terror as though you were inviting it to a festival.
No one escaped on the day of the Lord’s anger.
    My enemy killed the people who I raised and brought up.

Yesterday’s ReadingThe 6 Year PlanTomorrow’s Reading