Lament and Suffering

The Psalms of Lament are a great Jewish/Christian resource for those who are called alongside the suffering. They not only give caregivers a way to process their own struggles- whether personally or professionally derived- but also help us help those whom we serve.

Among other things, the Psalms of Lament give us ALL a language and a form so that we may more adequately and properly express our anguish before our faithful God.

The Psalms of Lament make up about 40% of the Psalter (the Book of Psalms). The Psalter has been broken into 5 Books, which are thought to reflect the 5 Books of the Pentateuch (the first 5 Books of the Hebrew Scriptures/ Old Testament) A very helpful introduction to the Psalms can be found at The Bible Project site.

Below is a list of Psalms of Lament. The list is based upon Glen D. Pemberton’s wonderful book on Lament- Hurting with God: Learning to Lament with the Psalms.

BOOK 1 (19 Psalms)

Psalms 2-7
Psalms 9-10
Psalms 12-13
Psalm 17
Psalm 22
Psalm 25- 26
Psalm 28
Psalm 31
Psalm 35
Psalm 38 -39
Psalm 41

BOOK 2 (19 Psalms)

Psalms 42-43
Psalm 44
Psalm 51
Psalm 52
Psalm 54
Psalm 55-64
Psalm 69-71

BOOK 3 (9 Psalms)

Psalm 74
Psalm 77
Psalm 80
Psalm 83
Psalm 85-86
Psalm 88 – 89

BOOK 4 (2 Psalms)

Psalm 90
Psalm 102

BOOK 5 (11 Psalms)

Psalms 108-109
Psalm 120
Psalm 123
Psalm 130
Psalm 137
Psalms 141-144