The Bible – Old Testament
1 I am a man who knows affliction from the rod of his anger,
One whom he has led and forced to walk in darkness, not in the light;
Against me alone he brings back his hand again and again all the day.
He has worn away my flesh and my skin, he has broken my bones;
He has beset me round about with poverty and weariness;
He has left me to dwell in the dark like those long dead.
He has hemmed me in with no escape and weighed me down with chains;
Even when I cry out for help, he stops my prayer;
He has blocked my ways with fitted stones, and turned my paths aside.
A lurking bear he has been to me, a lion in ambush!
He deranged my ways, set me astray, left me desolate.
He bent his bow, and set me up as the target for his arrow.
He pierces my sides with shafts from his quiver.
I have become a laughingstock for all nations, their taunt all the day long;
He has sated me with bitter food, made me drink my fill of wormwood.
He has broken my teeth with gravel, pressed my face in the dust;
My soul is deprived of peace, I have forgotten what happiness is;
I tell myself my future is lost, all that I hoped for from the LORD.
The thought of my homeless poverty is wormwood and gall;
Remembering it over and over leaves my soul downcast within me.
But I will call this to mind, as my reason to have hope:
The favors of the LORD are not exhausted, his mercies are not spent;
They are renewed each morning, so great is his faithfulness.
My portion is the LORD, says my soul; therefore will I hope in him.
Good is the LORD to one who waits for him, to the soul that seeks him;
It is good to hope in silence for the saving help of the LORD.
2 It is good for a man to bear the yoke from his youth.
Let him sit alone and in silence, when it is laid upon him.
3 Let him put his mouth to the dust; there may yet be hope.
Let him offer his cheek to be struck, let him be filled with disgrace.
For the Lord’s rejection does not last forever;
Though he punishes, he takes pity, in the abundance of his mercies;
He has no joy in afflicting or grieving the sons of men.
When anyone tramples underfoot all the prisoners in the land,
When he distorts men’s rights in the very sight of the Most High,
When he presses a crooked claim, the Lord does not look on unconcerned.
Who commands so that it comes to pass, except the Lord ordains it;
Except it proceeds from the mouth of the Most High, whether the thing be good or bad!
Why should any living man complain, any mortal, in the face of his sins?
Let us search and examine our ways that we may return to the LORD!
Let us reach out our hearts toward God in heaven!
We have sinned and rebelled; you have not forgiven us.
You veiled yourself in wrath and pursued us, you slew us and took no pity;
You wrapped yourself in a cloud which prayer could not pierce.
You have made us offscourings and refuse among the nations.
All our enemies have opened their mouths against us;
Terror and the pit have been our lot, desolation and destruction;
My eyes run with streams of water over the downfall of the daughter of my people.
My eyes flow without ceasing, there is no respite,
Till the LORD from heaven looks down and sees.
My eyes torment my soul at the sight of all the daughters of my city.
Those who were my enemies without cause hunted me down like a bird;
They struck me down alive in the pit, and sealed me in with a stone.
The waters flowed over my head, and I said, “I am lost!”
I called upon your name, O LORD, from the bottom of the pit;
You heard me call, “Let not your ear be deaf to my cry for help!”
You came to my aid when I called to you; you said, “Have no fear!”
You defended me in mortal danger, you redeemed my life.
You see, O LORD, how I am wronged; do me justice!
You see all their vindictiveness, all their plots against me.
You hear their insults, O LORD, (all their plots against me),
The whispered murmurings of my foes, against me all the day;
Whether they sit or stand, see, I am their taunt song.
Requite them as they deserve, O LORD, according to their deeds;
Give them hardness of heart, as your curse upon them;
Pursue them in wrath and destroy them from under your heavens!
1 [1-21] The author identifies Zion’s sufferings with his own.
2  To bear the yoke: to do God’s will; cf ⇒ Jeremiah 2:20.
3  Let him put his mouth to the dust: in humble submission; cf ⇒ Psalm 72:9.