Scriptures of Suffering

Exodus

Exodus 5:22-23

22 Moses returned to Yahweh, and said, “Lord, why have you brought trouble on this people? Why is it that you have sent me? 23 For since I came to Pharaoh to speak in your name, he has brought trouble on this people; and you have not rescued your people at all.” (WEB)

Deuteronomy

Numbers

Numbers 11:15

If you treat me this way, please kill me right now, if I have found favor in your sight; and don’t let me see my wretchedness. (Moses speaking to Yahweh, WEB)

Job

“God damn the day I was born and the night that forced me from the womb.” – The Book of Job (Stephen Mitchell), pg. 13.

“Why couldn’t I have died / as they pulled me out of the dark?
Why were there knees to hold me, / breasts to keep me alive
If only I had strangled or drowned / on my way to the bitter light.” – The Book of Job (Stephen Mitchell), pg. 13.

Job 3:3-13,16,20-26

3 “Let the day perish in which I was born,
the night which said, ‘There is a boy conceived.’
4 Let that day be darkness.
Don’t let God from above seek for it,
neither let the light shine on it.
5 Let darkness and the shadow of death claim it for their own.
Let a cloud dwell on it.
Let all that makes black the day terrify it.
6 As for that night, let thick darkness seize on it.
Let it not rejoice among the days of the year.
Let it not come into the number of the months.
7 Behold, let that night be barren.
Let no joyful voice come therein.
8 Let them curse it who curse the day,
who are ready to rouse up leviathan.

9 Let the stars of its twilight be dark.
Let it look for light, but have none,
neither let it see the eyelids of the morning,
10 because it didn’t shut up the doors of my mother’s womb,
nor did it hide trouble from my eyes.
11 “Why didn’t I die from the womb?
Why didn’t I give up the spirit when my mother
bore me?
12 Why did the knees receive me?
Or why the breast, that I should nurse?
13 For now should I have lain down and been quiet.
I should have slept, then I would have been
at rest,
16 or as a hidden untimely birth I had not been,
as infants who never saw light.
20 “Why is light given to him who is in misery,
life to the bitter in soul,
21 Who long for death, but it doesn’t come;
and dig for it more than for hidden treasures,
22 who rejoice exceedingly,
and are glad, when they can find the grave?
23 Why is light given to a man whose way is hidden,
whom God has hedged in?
24 For my sighing comes before I eat.
My groanings are poured out like water.
25 For the thing which I fear comes on me,
That which I am afraid of comes to me.
26 I am not at ease, neither am I quiet, neither have I rest;
but trouble comes.” (WEB)

Job 12:4-6

4 I am like one who is a joke to his neighbor, / I, who called on God, and he answered.
The just, the blameless man is a joke. / 5 In the thought of him who is at ease there is contempt for misfortune.
It is ready for them whose foot slips. / 6 The tents of robbers prosper.
Those who provoke God are secure, / who carry their God in their hands.

Job 13:20-28

20 Only don’t do two things to me; /  then I will not hide myself from your face:
21 withdraw your hand far from me; / and don’t let your terror make me afraid.
22 Then call, and I will answer; / or let me speak, and you answer me.
23 How many are my iniquities and sins? / Make me know my disobedience and my sin.
24 Why hide you your face, / and hold me for your enemy?
25 Will you harass a driven leaf? / Will you pursue the dry stubble?
26 For you write bitter things against me, / and make me inherit the iniquities of my youth:
27 You also put my feet in the stocks, / and mark all my paths.
You set a bound to the soles of my feet, / 28 though I am decaying like a rotten thing, / like a garment that is moth-eaten.

Job 14:1-2

1 Man, who is born of a woman, / is of few days, and full of trouble.
2 He grows up like a flower, and is cut down. / He also flees like a shadow, and doesn’t continue.

Job 16:11-17

11 God delivers me to the ungodly, / and casts me into the hands of the wicked.
12 I was at ease, and he broke me apart. / Yes, he has taken me by the neck, and dashed me to pieces.
He has also set me up for his target. / 13 His archers surround me.
He splits my kidneys apart, and does not spare. / He pours out my gall on the ground.
14 He breaks me with breach on breach. / He runs on me like a giant.
15 I have sewed sackcloth on my skin, / and have thrust my horn in the dust.
16 My face is red with weeping. / Deep darkness is on my eyelids.
17 Although there is no violence in my hands, / and my prayer is pure.

Job 19:6-12

6 know now that God has subverted me, / and has surrounded me with his net.
7 Behold, I cry out of wrong, but I am not heard. / I cry for help, but there is no justice.
8 He has walled up my way so that I can’t pass, / and has set darkness in my paths.
9 He has stripped me of my glory, / and taken the crown from my head.
10 He has broken me down on every side, and I am gone. / My hope he has plucked up like a tree.
11 He has also kindled his wrath against me. / He counts me among his adversaries.
12 His troops come on together, / build a siege ramp against me, / and encamp around my tent.

Job 23:16

“16 For God has made my heart faint. / The Almighty has terrified me.”

Job 30:20-31

“20 I cry to you, and you do not answer me. / I stand up, and you gaze at me.
21 You have turned to be cruel to me. / With the might of your hand you persecute me.
22 You lift me up to the wind, and drive me with it. / You dissolve me in the storm.
23 For I know that you will bring me to death, / To the house appointed for all living.
24 “However doesn’t one stretch out a hand in his fall? / Or in his calamity therefore cry for help?
25 Didn’t I weep for him who was in trouble? / Wasn’t my soul grieved for the needy?
26 When I looked for good, then evil came; / When I waited for light, there came darkness.
27 My heart is troubled, and doesn’t rest. / Days of affliction have come on me.
28 I go mourning without the sun. / I stand up in the assembly, and cry for help.
29 I am a brother to jackals, / and a companion to ostriches.
30 My skin grows black and peels from me. / My bones are burned with heat.
31 Therefore my harp has turned to mourning, / and my pipe into the voice of those who weep.

Isaiah

Isaiah 63:17a

O Yahweh, why do you make us wander from your ways, and harden our heart from your fear?.

Jeremiah

“Oh that I could comfort myself against sorrow! / My heart is faint within me.” – Jeremiah 8:18.

“Give glory to Yahweh your God, / before he causes darkness / and before your feet stumble on the dark mountains, / and, while you look for light, / he turns it into the shadow of death, / and makes it gross darkness.” – Jeremiah 13:16.

“Why is my pain perpetual, / and my wound incurable, / which refuses to be healed? / Will you indeed be to me as a deceitful brook, / like waters that fail?” – Jeremiah 15:18.

“Yahweh, you have persuaded me, and I was persuaded; / you are stronger than I, and have prevailed. / I have become a laughing-stock all day. / Every one mocks me.” – Jeremiah 20:7.

“Curse is the day in which I was born. / Don’t let the day in which my mother bore me be blessed. / Cursed is the man who brought news to my father, saying, ‘A boy is born to you,’ making him very glad. / Let that man be as the cities which Yahweh overthrew, / and didn’t repent. / Let him hear a cry in the morning, / and shouting at noontime; / because he didn’t kill me from the womb; / and so my mother would have been my grace, / and her womb always great. / Why did I come out of the womb to see labor and sorrow, / that my days should be consumed with shame?” – Jeremiah 20:14-18.

“My heart wihtin me is broken. / All my bones shake. / I am like a drunken man, / and like a man whom wine has overcome, / because of Yahweh, / and because of his holy words.” – Jeremiah 23:9b.

Psalms

Psalm 6

For the Chief Musician; on stringed instruments, upon the eight-stringed lyre. A Psalm by David.

1 Yahweh, don’t rebuke me in your anger,
                neither discipline me in your wrath.
2 Have mercy on me, Yahweh, for I am faint.
                Yahweh, heal me, for my bones are troubled.
3 My soul is also in great anguish.
                But you, Yahweh—how long?
4 Return, Yahweh. Deliver my soul,
                and save me for your loving kindness’ sake.

5 For in death there is no memory of you.
In Sheol, who shall give you thanks?
6 I am weary with my groaning.
                Every night I flood my bed.
                I drench my couch with my tears.
7 My eye wastes away because of grief.
It grows old because of all my adversaries.
8 Depart from me, all you workers of iniquity,
for Yahweh has heard the voice of my weeping.
9 Yahweh has heard my supplication.
Yahweh accepts my prayer.
10 May all my enemies be ashamed and dismayed.
They shall turn back, they shall be disgraced suddenly. – Psalm 6.

1 How long, Yahweh?
Will you forget me forever?
How long will you hide your face from me?
2 How long shall I take counsel in my soul,
having sorrow in my heart every day?
How long shall my enemy triumph over me?
3 Behold, and answer me, Yahweh, my God.
Give light to my eyes, lest I sleep in death;
4 Lest my enemy say, “I have prevailed against him”;
Lest my adversaries rejoice when I fall.
5 But I trust in your loving kindness.
My heart rejoices in your salvation.
6 I will sing to Yahweh,
because he has been good to me. – Psalm 13:1-6 (WEB)

“My heart is severely pained within me. / The terrors of death have fallen on me.
Fearfulness and trembling have come on me. / Horror has overwhelmed me.” – Psalm 55:4-5.

“God, you have rejected us.  / You have broken us down. / You have been angry. / Restore us again… / You have shown your people hard things. / You have made us drink the wine that makes us stagger.” – Psalm 61:1, 3.

“Save me, God, / for the waters have come up to my neck! / I sink in deep mire, where there is no foothold. / I have come into deep waters, where the floods overflow me. / I am weary with my crying. / My throat is dry. / My eyes fail, looking for my God.” – Psalm 69:1-3

“Surely in vain have I cleansed my heart, / and washed my hands in innocence, / For all day long have I been plagued, / and punished every morning.” – Psalm 73:13-14

“For my soul was grieved. / I was embittered in my heart. / I was so senseless and ignorant. / I was a brute beast before you.” – Psalm 73:21-22

“God, why have you rejected us forever? / Why does your anger smolder against the sheep of your pasture?” – Psalm 74:1

“In the day of my trouble I sought the Lord. / My hand was stretched out in the night, and didn’t get tired. / My soul refused to be comforted. I remember God, and I groan. I complain, and my spirit is overwhelmed. / Selah.” – Psalm 76:2-3

“You hold my eyelids open. / I am so troubled that I can’t speak. / Will the Lord reject us forever? / Will he be favorable no more? / Has his loving kindness vanished forever? / Does his promise fail for generations? / Has God forgotten to be gracious? / Has he, in anger, withheld his compassion? Selah.” – Psalm 76:4, 7-9

“God, don’t keep silent. / Don’t keep silent, / and don’t be still, God.” – Psalm 83:1

“Will you be angry with us forever? / Will you draw out your anger to all generations? / Won’t you revive us again, / that your people may rejoice in you?” – Psalm 85:5-6

“Yahweh, the God of my salvation, / I have cried day and night before you. / Let my prayer enter into your presence. / Turn your ear to my cry. / For my soul is full of troubles. / My life draws near to Sheol. / I am counted among those who go down into the pit. / I am like a man who has no help, / set apart among the dead, / like the slain who lie in the grave, / whom you remember no more. / They are cut off from your hand. / You have laid me in the lowest pit, / in the darkest depths. / Your wrath lies heavily on me. / You have afflicted me with all your waves. Selah.

You have taken my friends from me. / You have made me an abomination to them. / I am confined, and I can’t escape. / My eyes are dim from grief. / I have called on you daily, Yahweh. / I have spread out my hands to you. Do you show wonders to the dead? Do the departed spirits rise up and praise you? Selah.

Is your loving kindness declared in the grave? / Or your faithfulness in Destruction? / Are your wonders made known in the dark? / Or your righteousness in the land of forgetfulness? / But to you, Yahweh, I have cried. / In the morning, my prayer comes before you. / Yahweh, why do you reject my soul? / Why do you hide your face from me? / I am afflicted and ready to die from my youth up. / While I suffer your terrors, I am distracted. / Your fierce wrath has gone over me. / Your terrors have cut me off. / They came around me like water all day long. / They completely engulfed me. / You have put lover and friend far from me, / and my friends into darkness. – Psalm 88:1-18.

Psalm 89 is worth looking at in its entirety – its structure is too complex to allow for full presentation here. He begins by praising God and reciting His promises, but then proclaims that God has failed him and closing with a call to God to establish right again.

For I am poor and needy. / My heart is wounded within me. / I fade away like an evening shadow. / I am shaken off like a locust. / My knees are weak through fasting. / My body is thin and lacks fat. / I have also become a reproach to them. / When they see me, they shake their head. – Psalm 109:22-25

The cords of death surrounded me, / the pains of Sheol got a hold of me. / I found trouble and sorrow. – Psalm 116:3

Yah has punished me severely, / but he has not given me over to death. – Psalm 118:18

My flesh trembles for fear of you. / I am afraid of your judgments. – Psalm 119:120

My eyes fail looking for your salvation, / for your righteous word. – Psalm 119:123

You hem me in behind and before. / You laid your hand on me. – Psalm 139:5

Don’t enter into judgment with your servant, / for in your sight no man living is righteous. – Psalm 143:2

For the enemy pursues my soul. / He has struck my life down to the ground. / He has made me live in dark places, as those who have been long dead. / Therefore my spirit is overwhelmed within me. / My heart within me is desolate. / I spread out my hands to you. / My soul thirsts for you, like a parched land. / Selah. – Psalm 143:3-4, 6

Man is like a breath. / His days are like a shadow that passes away. – Psalm 144:4

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