A Prayer for Mercy

O Lord, remember what has come upon us;
Look, and see our reproach (national disgrace)!

Our inheritance has been turned over to strangers,
Our houses to foreigners.

We have become orphans without a father;
Our mothers are like widows.

We have to pay for our drinking water;
Our wood comes to us at a price.

Our pursuers are at our necks;
We are worn out, there is no rest for us.

We have given the hand [as a pledge of fidelity and submission] to Egypt and Assyria to get enough bread.

Our fathers sinned, and are no more;
It is [a]we who have carried their sin.(A)

Servants rule over us;
There is no one to rescue us out of their hand.(B)

We 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].
Our skin is as hot as [the heat of] an oven
Because of the burning heat of [the fever of] famine.
They ravished the women in Zion,
The virgins in the cities of Judah.
Princes were hung by their hands;
Elders were not respected.
Young men worked at the grinding mill,
And boys fell [staggering] under loads of wood.
Elders are gone from the gate;
Young men from their music.
The joy of our hearts has ended;
Our dancing has been turned into mourning.
The crown has fallen from our head [our honor is covered with dust]!
Woe to us, for we have sinned!
Because of this our heart is faint,
Because of these things our eyes are dim.
As for Mount Zion, which lies desolate,
Foxes and the jackals prowl over it.
But You, O Lord, reign forever;
Your throne endures from generation to [all] generations.
Why do You forget us forever?
Why do You forsake us so long?
Return us to You, O Lord, so that we may be restored;
Renew our days as of old,
Unless You have utterly rejected us
And are exceedingly angry with us.


  1. Lamentations 5:7 Both forefathers and sons were responsible for the disaster that had come on Jerusalem. This generation was equally deserving of punishment.

Cross references

  1. Lamentations 5:7 : Is 65:7; Jer 16:11, 12; 31:29; Ezek 18:2-4
  2. Lamentations 5:8 : Neh 5:15