Lamentations 3

Hope through God's Mercy



1 I am the man who has seen affliction under the rod of God's wrath.
2 He has driven me away and forced [me] to walk in darkness instead of light.[a]
3 Yes, He repeatedly turns His hand against me all day long.


4 He has worn away my flesh and skin;[b] He has shattered my bones.
5 He has laid siege against me, encircling me with bitterness and hardship.
6 He has made me dwell in darkness like those who have been dead for ages.[c]


7 He has walled me in so I cannot escape; He has weighed me down with chains.
8 Even when I cry out and plead for help, He rejects my prayer.[d]
9 He has walled in my ways with cut stones; He has made my paths crooked.[e]


10 He is[f] a bear waiting in ambush, a lion in hiding;[g]
11 He forced me off my way and tore me to pieces; He left me desolate.
12 He bent His bow[h] and set me as the target for His arrow.


13 He pierced my kidneys with His arrows.[i]
14 I am a laughingstock[j] to all my people,[k] mocked by their songs[l] all day long.
15 He filled me with bitterness, sated me with wormwood.[m]


16 He ground my teeth on gravel[n] and made me cower[o] in the dust.
17 My soul has been deprived[p] of peace;[q] I have forgotten what happiness is.
18 Then I thought: My future[r] is lost, as well as my hope from the Lord.


19 Remember[s] my affliction and my homelessness,[t] the wormwood and the poison.[u]
20 I continually remember [them] and have become depressed.[v][w]
21 Yet I call this to mind, and therefore I have hope:


22 [Because of] the Lord's faithful love[x] we do not perish,[y] for His mercies never end.
23 They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness![z]
24 I say: The Lord is my portion,[aa] therefore I will put my hope in Him.


25 The Lord is good to those who wait[ab] for Him, to the person who seeks Him.
26 It is good to wait quietly for deliverance from the Lord.[ac]
27 It is good for a man to bear the yoke while he is [still] young.


28 Let him sit alone and be silent, for God has disciplined him.
29 Let him put his mouth in the dust- perhaps there is [still] hope.
30 Let him offer [his] cheek to the one who would strike him;[ad] let him be filled with shame.


31 For the Lord will not reject [us] forever.
32 Even if He causes suffering, He will show compassion according to His abundant, faithful love.
33 For He does not enjoy bringing affliction or suffering on mankind.


34 Crushing all the prisoners of the land[ae] beneath one's feet,
35 denying justice to a man in the presence of the Most High,
36 or suppressing a person's lawsuit[af]- the Lord does not approve [of these things].


37 Who is there who speaks and it happens, unless the Lord has ordained [it]?
38 Do not both adversity and good come from the mouth of the Most High?[ag]
39 Why should [any] living person complain, [any] man, because of the punishment for his sins?


40 Let us search out and examine our ways, and turn back to the Lord.[ah]
41 Let us lift up our hearts and [our] hands to God in heaven:
42 We have sinned and rebelled; You have not forgiven.[ai]


43 You have covered Yourself in anger and pursued us; You have killed without compassion.[aj]
44 You have covered Yourself with a cloud so that no prayer can pass through.[ak]
45 You have made us disgusting filth among the peoples.[al]


46 All our enemies open their mouths against us.[am]
47 We have experienced panic and pitfall,[an] devastation and destruction.
48 My eyes flow with streams of tears because of the destruction of my dear people.


49 My eyes overflow unceasingly, without end,[ao]
50 until the Lord looks down from heaven and sees.[ap]
51 My eyes bring me grief because of [the fate of] all the women in my city.


52 For no [apparent] reason, my enemies[aq] hunted me like a bird.[ar]
53 They dropped me alive into[as] a pit[at] and threw stones at me.
54 Water flooded over my head,[au] and I thought: I'm going to die![av]


55 I called on Your name, Yahweh, from the depths of the Pit.[aw]
56 You hear my plea: Do not ignore my cry for relief.
57 You come near when I call on You; You say: "Do not be afraid."


58 You defend my cause, Lord;[ax] You redeem my life.[ay]
59 Lord, You see the wrong done to me; judge my case.
60 You see all their malice, all their plots against me.


61 Lord, You hear their insults, all their plots against me.
62 The slander[az] and murmuring of my opponents attack me all day long.
63 When they sit and when they rise, look, I am mocked by their songs.[ba]


64 You will pay them back what they deserve, Lord, according to the work of their hands.[bb]
65 You will give them a heart filled with anguish.[bc][bd] May Your curse be on them!
66 You will pursue [them] in anger and destroy them under Your heavens.[be][bf]

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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.

Footnotes 58

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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