1As when brushwood is set ablaze,
or fire makes the water boil!
Then your name would be made known to your enemies
and the nations would tremble before you,
2While you worked awesome deeds we could not hope for,*
3such as had not been heard of from of old.
No ear has ever heard, no eye ever seen,
any God but you
working such deeds for those who wait for him.a
4Would that you might meet us doing right,
that we might be mindful of you in our ways!
Indeed, you are angry; we have sinned,
we have acted wickedly.
5We have all become like something unclean,
all our just deeds are like polluted rags;
We have all withered like leaves,
and our crimes carry us away like the wind.b
6There are none who call upon your name,
none who rouse themselves to take hold of you;
For you have hidden your face from us
and have delivered us up to our crimes.
A Final Plea
7* Yet, LORD, you are our father;
we are the clay and you our potter:
we are all the work of your hand.
8Do not be so very angry, LORD,
do not remember our crimes forever;
look upon us, who are all your people!
9Your holy cities have become a wilderness;
Zion has become wilderness, Jerusalem desolation!c
10Our holy and glorious house
in which our ancestors praised you
Has been burned with fire;
all that was dear to us is laid waste.
11Can you hold back, LORD, after all this?
Can you remain silent, and afflict us so severely?
* [64:2] The translation here omits some words repeated in the Hebrew from 63:19 (“would that you would come down, with the mountains trembling before you”).
* [64:7–11] The motifs of father (63:16) and creator (clay and potter, 29:16; 45:9) are adduced to move the Lord to action in view of the damage done to his “holy cities” and “glorious house.”