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A Plea for Mercy

1Remember, O Lord, what has befallen us;

look, and see our disgrace!

2Our inheritance has been turned over to strangers,

our homes to aliens.

3We have become orphans, fatherless;

our mothers are like widows.

4We must pay for the water we drink;

the wood we get must be bought.

5With a yoke on our necks we are hard driven;

we are weary, we are given no rest.

6We have made a pact with Egypt and Assyria,

to get enough bread.

7Our ancestors sinned; they are no more,

and we bear their iniquities.

8Slaves rule over us;

there is no one to deliver us from their hand.

9We get our bread at the peril of our lives,

because of the sword in the wilderness.

10Our skin is black as an oven

from the scorching heat of famine.

11Women are raped in Zion,

virgins in the towns of Judah.

12Princes are hung up by their hands;

no respect is shown to the elders.

13Young men are compelled to grind,

and boys stagger under loads of wood.

14The old men have left the city gate,

the young men their music.

15The joy of our hearts has ceased;

our dancing has been turned to mourning.

16The crown has fallen from our head;

woe to us, for we have sinned!

17Because of this our hearts are sick,

because of these things our eyes have grown dim:

18because of Mount Zion, which lies desolate;

jackals prowl over it.

19But you, O Lord, reign forever;

your throne endures to all generations.

20Why have you forgotten us completely?

Why have you forsaken us these many days?

21Restore us to yourself, O Lord, that we may be restored;

renew our days as of old—

22unless you have utterly rejected us,

and are angry with us beyond measure.

New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
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