Lamentations 3

1 I am the man who has seen trouble by the rod of his wrath.
2 By him I have been made to go in the dark where there is no light.
3 Truly against me his hand has been turned again and again all the day.
4 My flesh and my skin have been used up by him and my bones broken.
5 He has put up a wall against me, shutting me in with bitter sorrow.
6 He has kept me in dark places, like those who have been long dead.
7 He has put a wall round me, so that I am not able to go out; he has made great the weight of my chain.
8 Even when I send up a cry for help, he keeps my prayer shut out.
9 He has put up a wall of cut stones about my ways, he has made my roads twisted.
10 He is like a bear waiting for me, like a lion in secret places.
11 By him my ways have been turned on one side and I have been pulled in bits; he has made me waste.
12 With his bow bent, he has made me the mark for his arrows.
13 He has let loose his arrows into the inmost parts of my body.
14 I have become the sport of all the peoples; I am their song all the day.
15 He has made my life nothing but pain, he has given me the bitter root in full measure.
16 By him my teeth have been broken with crushed stones, and I am bent low in the dust.
17 My soul is sent far away from peace, I have no more memory of good.
18 And I said, My strength is cut off, and my hope from the Lord.
19 Keep in mind my trouble and my wandering, the bitter root and the poison.
20 My soul still keeps the memory of them; and is bent down in me.
21 This I keep in mind, and because of this I have hope.
22 It is through the Lord's love that we have not come to destruction, because his mercies have no limit.
23 They are new every morning; great is your good faith.
24 I said to myself, The Lord is my heritage; and because of this I will have hope in him.
25 The Lord is good to those who are waiting for him, to the soul which is looking for him.
26 It is good to go on hoping and quietly waiting for the salvation of the Lord.
27 It is good for a man to undergo the yoke when he is young.
28 Let him be seated by himself, saying nothing, because he has put it on him.
29 Let him put his mouth in the dust, if by chance there may be hope.
30 Let his face be turned to him who gives him blows; let him be full of shame.
31 For the Lord does not give a man up for ever.
32 For though he sends grief, still he will have pity in the full measure of his love.
33 For he has no pleasure in troubling and causing grief to the children of men.
34 In a man's crushing under his feet all the prisoners of the earth,
35 In his turning away the right of a man before the face of the Most High.
36 In his doing wrong to a man in his cause, the Lord has no pleasure.
37 Who is able to say a thing, and give effect to it, if it has not been ordered by the Lord?
38 Do not evil and good come from the mouth of the Most High?
39 What protest may a living man make, even a man about the punishment of his sin?
40 Let us make search and put our ways to the test, turning again to the Lord;
41 Lifting up our hearts with our hands to God in the heavens.
42 We have done wrong and gone against your law; we have not had your forgiveness.
43 Covering yourself with wrath you have gone after us, cutting us off without pity;
44 Covering yourself with a cloud, so that prayer may not get through.
45 You have made us like waste and that for which there is no use, among the peoples.
46 The mouths of all our haters are open wide against us.
47 Fear and deep waters have come on us, wasting and destruction.
48 Rivers of water are running down from my eyes, for the destruction of the daughter of my people.
49 My eyes are streaming without stopping, they have no rest,
50 Till the Lord's eye is turned on me, till he sees my trouble from heaven.
51 The Lord is unkind to my soul, more than all the daughters of my town.
52 They who are against me without cause have gone hard after me as if I was a bird;
53 They have put an end to my life in the prison, stoning me with stones.
54 Waters were flowing over my head; I said, I am cut off.
55 I was making prayer to your name, O Lord, out of the lowest prison.
56 My voice came to you; let not your ear be shut to my breathing, to my cry.
57 You came near in the day when I made my prayer to you: you said, Have no fear.
58 O Lord, you have taken up the cause of my soul, you have made my life safe.
59 O Lord, you have seen my wrong; be judge in my cause.
60 You have seen all the evil rewards they have sent on me, and all their designs against me.
61 Their bitter words have come to your ears, O Lord, and all their designs against me;
62 The lips of those who came up against me, and their thoughts against me all the day.
63 Take note of them when they are seated, and when they get up; I am their song.
64 You will give them their reward, O Lord, answering to the work of their hands.
65 You will let their hearts be covered over with your curse on them.
66 You will go after them in wrath, and put an end to them from under the heavens of the Lord.

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Lamentations 3 Commentary

Chapter 3

The faithful lament their calamities, and hope in God's mercies.

Verses 1-20 The prophet relates the more gloomy and discouraging part of his experience, and how he found support and relief. In the time of his trial the Lord had become terrible to him. It was an affliction that was misery itself; for sin makes the cup of affliction a bitter cup. The struggle between unbelief and faith is often very severe. But the weakest believer is wrong, if he thinks that his strength and hope are perished from the Lord.

Verses 21-36 Having stated his distress and temptation, the prophet shows how he was raised above it. Bad as things are, it is owing to the mercy of God that they are not worse. We should observe what makes for us, as well as what is against us. God's compassions fail not; of this we have fresh instances every morning. Portions on earth are perishing things, but God is a portion for ever. It is our duty, and will be our comfort and satisfaction, to hope and quietly to wait for the salvation of the Lord. Afflictions do and will work very much for good: many have found it good to bear this yoke in their youth; it has made many humble and serious, and has weaned them from the world, who otherwise would have been proud and unruly. If tribulation work patience, that patience will work experience, and that experience a hope that makes not ashamed. Due thoughts of the evil of sin, and of our own sinfulness, will convince us that it is of the Lord's mercies we are not consumed. If we cannot say with unwavering voice, The Lord is my portion; may we not say, I desire to have Him for my portion and salvation, and in his word do I hope? Happy shall we be, if we learn to receive affliction as laid upon us by the hand of God.

Verses 37-41 While there is life there is hope; and instead of complaining that things are bad, we should encourage ourselves with the hope they will be better. We are sinful men, and what we complain of, is far less than our sins deserve. We should complain to God, and not of him. We are apt, in times of calamity, to reflect on other people's ways, and blame them; but our duty is to search and try our own ways, that we may turn from evil to God. Our hearts must go with our prayers. If inward impressions do not answer to outward expressions, we mock God, and deceive ourselves.

Verses 42-54 The more the prophet looked on the desolations, the more he was grieved. Here is one word of comfort. While they continued weeping, they continued waiting; and neither did nor would expect relief and succour from any but the Lord.

Verses 55-66 Faith comes off conqueror, for in these verses the prophet concludes with some comfort. Prayer is the breath of the new man, drawing in the air of mercy in petitions, and returning it in praises; it proves and maintains the spiritual life. He silenced their fears, and quieted their spirits. Thou saidst, Fear not. This was the language of God's grace, by the witness of his Spirit with their spirits. And what are all our sorrows, compared with those of the Redeemer? He will deliver his people from every trouble, and revive his church from every persecution. He will save believers with everlasting salvation, while his enemies perish with everlasting destruction.

Chapter Summary


This chapter is a complaint and lamentation like the former, and on the same subject, only the prophet mixes his own afflictions and distresses with the public calamities; or else he represents the church in her complaints; and some have thought him to be a type of Christ throughout the whole; to whom various things may be applied. It is indeed written in a different form from the other chapters, in another sort of metre; and though in an alphabetical manner as the rest, yet with this difference, that three verses together begin with the same letter; so that the alphabet is gone through three times in it. Here is first a complaint of the afflictions of the prophet, and of the people, expressed by a rod, by darkness, by wormwood and gall, and many other things; and especially by the Lord's appearing against them as an enemy, in a most severe and terrible manner; shutting out their prayer; being as a bear and lion to them; and giving them up to the cruelty and scorn of their enemies, La 3:1-21; then follows some comfort taken by them, from the mercy, faithfulness, and goodness of God; from the usefulness of patience in bearing afflictions; and from the end of God in laying them upon men; and from the providence of God, by which all things are ordered, La 3:22-38; wherefore, instead of complaining, it would be better, it is suggested, to attend to the duties of examination of their ways, and of repentance, and of prayer, La 3:39-41; and a particular prayer is directed to, in which confession of sin is made, and their miseries deplored, by reason of the hidings of God's face, and the insults of their enemies, La 3:42-47; and then the prophet expresses his sympathy with his people under affliction, and declares what he himself met with from his enemies, La 3:48-54; and relates bow he called upon the Lord, and he heard and delivered him, La 3:55-58; and concludes with a request that he would judge his cause, and avenge him on enemies, La 3:59-66.

Lamentations 3 Commentaries

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