A Prayer for Mercy
1O Lord, remember what has come upon us;
Look, and see our reproach (national disgrace)!
2Our inheritance has been turned over to strangers,
Our houses to foreigners.
3We have become orphans without a father;
Our mothers are like widows.
4We have to pay for our drinking water;
Our wood comes to us at a price.
5Our pursuers are at our necks;
We are worn out, there is no rest for us.
6We have given the hand [as a pledge of fidelity and submission] to Egypt and Assyria to get enough bread.
7Our fathers sinned, and are no more;
It is we who have carried their sin.
8Servants rule over us;
There is no one to rescue us out of their hand.
9We get our bread at the risk of our lives
Because of the sword [of the Arabs] in the wilderness [who may attack if we go out to harvest the crop].
10Our skin is as hot as [the heat of] an oven
Because of the burning heat of [the fever of] famine.
11They ravished the women in Zion,
The virgins in the cities of Judah.
12Princes were hung by their hands;
Elders were not respected.
13Young men worked at the grinding mill,
And boys fell [staggering] under loads of wood.
14Elders are gone from the gate;
Young men from their music.
15The joy of our hearts has ended;
Our dancing has been turned into mourning.
16The crown has fallen from our head [our honor is covered with dust]!
Woe to us, for we have sinned!
17Because of this our heart is faint,
Because of these things our eyes are dim.
18As for Mount Zion, which lies desolate,
Foxes and the jackals prowl over it.
19But You, O Lord, reign forever;
Your throne endures from generation to [all] generations.
20Why do You forget us forever?
Why do You forsake us so long?
21Return us to You, O Lord, so that we may be restored;
Renew our days as of old,
22Unless You have utterly rejected us
And are exceedingly angry with us.