Lamentations Chapter 3 to 5 : Easy-to-Read Version  | SearchSearch | Next Version | Previous Page | Next Page |

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The Meaning of Suffering

3 I am a man that has seen much trouble. The Lord beat us with a stick. And I saw it happen! 2The Lord led and brought me into darkness, not light. 3The Lord turned his hand against me. He did this again and again, all day. 4He wore out my flesh and skin. He broke my bones. 5The Lord built up bitterness and trouble against me. He made bitterness and trouble come all around me. 6He made me sit in the dark. He made me like some person that has been dead a long time. 7The Lord shut me in, so I could not get out. He put heavy chains on me. 8Even when I cry out and ask for help, the Lord does not listen to my prayer. 9He has blocked up my path with stones. He has made my path crooked. 10The Lord is like a bear about to attack me. He is like a lion that is in a hiding place. 11The Lord led me off my path. He tore me to pieces. He ruined me. 12He made his bow ready. He made me the target for his arrows. 13He shot me in the stomach. He shot me with his arrows. 14I have become a joke to all of my people. All day long they sing songs about me and make fun of me. 15The Lord gave me this poison (punishment) to drink. He filled me with this bitter drink. 16The Lord pushed my teeth into rocky ground. He pushed me into the dirt. 17I thought I would never have peace again. I forgot about good things. 18I said to myself, “I no longer have any hope that the Lord will help me.” 19Lord, remember, I am very sad. And I have no home. Remember the bitter poison (punishment) that you gave me. 20I remember well all my troubles. And I am very sad. 21But then I think of something else, then I have hope. What I think of is this: 22The Lord’s love and kindness never ends.* His compassion never ends. 23Every morning he shows it in new ways! Lord, you are so very true and loyal! 24I say to myself, “The Lord is my God, and I trust him.”* 25The Lord is good to people that wait for him. The Lord is good to people that look for him. 26It is good for a person to wait quietly for the Lord to save him. 27It is good for a person to wear the yoke* of the Lord. It is good for a person to wear that yoke from the time he is young. 28That person should sit alone and be quiet when the Lord puts his yoke on him. 29That person should bow to the Lord with his face to the ground. Maybe there is still hope. 30That person should turn his cheek to the one that hits him. That person should let people insult him. 31That person should remember that the Lord does not reject people forever. 32When the Lord punishes, he also has mercy. He has mercy because of his great love and kindness. 33The Lord does not want to punish people. He does not like to make people unhappy. 34The Lord does not like these things: He does not like for someone to crush all the prisoners of the earth under his feet. 35He does not like for someone to be unfair to another person. But some people do those bad things right in front of God Most High. 36The Lord does not like for a person to cheat another person. The Lord does not like any of these things. 37Nobody can say something and have it happen, unless the Lord orders it to happen. 38God Most High commands both good and bad things to happen. 39No person alive can complain when the Lord punishes him for his sins. 40Let us check and see what we have done. Then let us turn back to the Lord. 41Let us lift up our hearts and our hands to the God of heaven. 42Let us say to him, “We have sinned and have been stubborn. Because of this, you haven’t forgiven us. 43You wrapped yourself with anger. You chased us. You killed us without mercy! 44You wrapped yourself in a cloud. You did that so that no prayer could get through. 45You made us like garbage and dirt to the other nations. 46All of our enemies speak angrily to us. 47We have been frightened. We have fallen into a pit. We have been hurt bad! We have been broken!” 48My eyes flow with streams of tears! I cry because of the destruction of my people! 49My eyes will flow without stopping! I will keep on crying! 50I will continue to cry until you look down and see us, Lord! I will continue to cry until you see us from heaven! 51My eyes make me sad, when I see what happened to the girls in my city. 52Those people were my enemies for no good reason, but they hunted me like a bird. 53They threw me into a pit while I was still alive. They threw stones at me. 54Water came up over my head. I said to myself, “I am finished.” 55Lord, I called your name. I called out your name from the bottom of the pit. 56You heard my voice. You didn’t close your ears. You didn’t refuse to rescue me. 57You came to me on the day that I called out to you. You said to me, “Don’t be afraid.” 58Lord, you defended me. You bought back my life for me. 59Lord, you have seen my trouble. Now judge my case for me. 60You have seen how my enemies have hurt me. You have seen all the evil plans that they made against me. 61You heard them insult me, Lord. You have heard all the evil plans that they made against me. 62The words and the thoughts of my enemies are against me all the time—63when they sit down and when they stand up. Lord, look how they make fun of me! 64Give them back what they deserve, Lord! Pay them back for what they have done! 65Give them stubbornness of heart! Then put your curse on them! 66Chase them in anger! Destroy them! Destroy them from under the sky, Lord!

never ends The Hebrew reads, “we don’t come to an end.” The Lord … him. Or, “The Lord is my portion and I trust him. yoke A pole that was put on the shoulders of men or animals to help them carry or pull things. This often showed that a person was a slave.

The Horrors of the Attack on Jerusalem

4 See how the gold has grown dark. See how the good gold is changed. There are jewels* scattered all around. They are scattered at every street corner. 2The people of Zion* were worth a lot. They were worth their weight in gold. But now the enemy treats those people like old clay jars. The enemy treats them like clay jars made by a potter. 3Even a wild dog feeds her babies. Even the jackal lets her pups suck at her breast. But the daughter of my people* is cruel. She is like the ostrich that lives in the desert. 4The little baby’s tongue sticks to the roof of its mouth from thirst. Young children ask for bread. But no one gives any bread to them. 5The people that at one time ate rich food now are dying in the streets. The people that grew up wearing nice red clothes now pick through garbage piles. 6The sin of the daughter of my people* was very great. Their sin was greater than the sins of Sodom and Gomorrah.* Sodom and Gomorrah were destroyed suddenly. No human hand caused that destruction.* 7Some of the men of Judah were dedicated to God in a special way. Those men were very pure. They were whiter than snow. They were whiter than milk. Their bodies were red like coral. Their beards were sapphire stones. 8But now their faces are blacker than soot. No one even recognizes them in the streets. Their skin is wrinkled over their bones. Their skin is like wood. 9The people that were killed by the sword had it better than the people that were killed by famine. The starving people were very sad. They were hurt. They died because they got no food from the field. 10At that time, even very nice women cooked their own children. Those children became food for their mothers. This happened when my people were destroyed. 11The Lord used all of his anger. He poured out all his anger. He made a fire in Zion.* That fire burned down Zion to its foundations. 12The kings of the earth could not believe what had happened. The people of the world could not believe what had happened. They could not believe that enemies would be able to come through the city gates of Jerusalem. 13This happened because the prophets of Jerusalem sinned. This happened because the priests of Jerusalem did evil things. Those people were shedding blood in the city of Jerusalem. They were shedding the blood of good people. 14The prophets and priests walked around like blind men in the streets. They had become dirty with blood. No one could even touch their clothes because they were dirty. 15People shouted, “Go away! Go away! Don’t touch us.” Those people wandered around and had no home. People in other nations said, “We don’t want them to live with us.” 16The Lord himself destroyed those people. He didn’t look after them anymore. He didn’t respect the priests. He was not friendly to the elders of Judah. 17We have worn out our eyes looking for help. But no help comes. We kept on looking for a nation to save us. We kept watch from our watchtower, but no nation came to us. 18Our enemies hunted us all the time. We could not even go out into the streets. Our end came near. Our time was up. Our end came! 19The men that chased us were faster than eagles in the sky. Those men chased us into the mountains. They hid in the desert to catch us. 20The king was very important to us. He was like the breath we breathe. But the king was trapped by them. The king was chosen by the Lord himself. We had said about the king, “We will live in his shadow. He protects us from the nations.” 21Be happy, people of Edom. Be happy, you people that live in the land of Uz. But remember, the cup of the Lord’s anger will come around to you, too. When you drink from that cup (punishment), you will get drunk and will make yourselves naked. 22Your punishment is complete, Zion.* You will not go into captivity again. But the Lord will punish your sins, people of Edom. He will uncover your sins.

jewels The meaning of the Hebrew word here is uncertain. Zion The southeast part of the mountain Jerusalem is built on. Sometimes it means the people of God living in Jerusalem. daughter of my people This is a figurative way of referring here to the women of Jerusalem. daughter of my people These words refer to all the people of Jerusalem. Sodom and Gomorrah Two cities that God destroyed because the people were so evil. No human hand caused that destruction The Hebrew of this line is unclear.

A Prayer to the Lord

5 Remember, Lord, what happened to us. Look and see our disgrace. 2Our land has been turned over to strangers. Our houses have been given to foreigners. 3We have become orphans. We have no father. Our mothers have become like widows. 4We have to buy the water that we drink. We have to pay for the wood that we use. 5We are forced to wear a yoke* on our necks. We get tired, and we have no rest. 6We made an agreement with Egypt. We also made an agreement with Assyria* to get enough bread. 7Our ancestors sinned against you. Now they are dead. Now we are suffering because of their sins. 8Slaves have become our rulers. No person can save us from them. 9We risk our lives to get food. There are men in the desert with swords. 10Our skin is hot like an oven. We have a high fever because of our hunger. 11The enemy raped the women of Zion.* They raped the women in the cities of Judah. 12The enemy hanged our princes. They didn’t honor our elders. 13The enemy made our young men grind grain at the mill. Our young men stumbled under loads of wood. 14The elders no longer sit at the gates of the city. The young men no longer make music. 15We have no more joy in our hearts. Our dancing was changed into crying for the dead. 16The crown has fallen from our head. Things have gone bad for us because we sinned. 17Because of these things, our hearts have become sick, our eyes cannot see clearly. 18Mount Zion is a wasteland. Foxes run around on Mount Zion. 19But you rule forever, Lord. Your kingly chair lasts forever and ever. 20You seem to have forgotten us forever, Lord. You seem to have left us alone for such a long time. 21Bring us back to you, Lord. We will gladly come back to you. Make our lives like they were before. 22 You were very angry at us. Have you completely rejected us?

yoke A pole that was put on the shoulders of men or animals to help them carry or pull things. This often showed that a person was a slave. Assyria This was a powerful nation northeast of Israel.  Zion The southeast part of the mountain Jerusalem is built on. Sometimes it means the people of God living in Jerusalem. 

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