Lamentations 3

1 Aleph I am a man that sees affliction in the rod of his wrath.
2 Aleph He has led me and brought me into darkness, but not into light.
3 Aleph Surely he is turned against me; he turns his hand against me all the day.
4 Beth My flesh and my skin he has made old; he has broken my bones.
5 Beth He has built against me and compassed me with gall and travail.
6 Beth He has set me in dark places as those that are dead for ever.
7 Gimel He has hedged me about that I cannot get out; he has made my chain heavy.
8 Gimel Even when I cried and shouted, he shut out my prayer.
9 Gimel He has enclosed my ways with hewn stone; he has made my paths crooked.
10 Daleth He was unto me as a bear lying in wait and as a lion in secret places.
11 Daleth He has made my ways crooked and pulled me in pieces; he has made me desolate.
12 Daleth He has bent his bow and set me as a mark for the arrow.
13 He He has caused the arrows of his quiver to enter into my kidneys.
14 He I was a derision to all my people and their song every day.
15 He He has filled me with bitterness, he has made me drunk with wormwood.
16 Vau He has broken my teeth with gravel stones; he has covered me with ashes.
17 Vau My soul removed itself far from peace; I forgot about good.
18 Vau And I said, My strength and my hope of the LORD is perished.
19 Zain Remember my affliction and my misery, the wormwood and the gall.
20 Zain My soul shall have them still in remembrance because it is humbled in me.
21 Zain This shall go down into my heart; therefore I shall wait.
22 Chet It is of the LORD’s mercies that we are not consumed because his mercies never diminish.
23 Chet They are new every morning; great is thy faith.
24 Chet The LORD is my portion, saith my soul; therefore I will wait for him.
25 Teth The LORD is good unto those that wait in him, to the soul that seeks him.
26 Teth It is good to wait quietly in the salvation of the LORD.
27 Teth It is good for the man if he bears the yoke from his youth.
28 Jod He shall sit alone and keep silence because he has borne it upon him.
29 Jod He shall put his mouth in the dust; if so be there may be hope.
30 Jod He shall turn his cheek unto him that smites him; he shall be filled with reproach.
31 Caph For the Lord will not cast off for ever:
32 Caph But though he causes grief, yet he will also have compassion according to the multitude of his mercies.
33 Caph For he does not afflict nor grieve the sons of men from his heart.
34 Lamed To crush under his feet all the prisoners of the earth,
35 Lamed To turn aside the right of a man before the face of the most High,
36 Lamed To subvert a man in his cause, the Lord does not approve.
37 Mem Who shall he be that saith that something comes which the Lord has not sent?
38 Mem Out of the mouth of the most High proceeds not evil and good?
39 Mem Why does the living man have pain, the man in his sins?
40 Nun Let us search out our ways, and seek, and turn again to the LORD.
41 Nun Let us lift up our heart with our hands unto God in the heavens.
42 Nun We have rebelled and been disloyal; therefore thou hast not forgiven.
43 Samech Thou hast unfurled anger and persecuted us; thou hast slain, thou hast not forgiven.
44 Samech Thou hast covered thyself with a cloud that our prayer should not pass through.
45 Samech Thou hast made us as the offscouring and abomination in the midst of the peoples.
46 Pe All our enemies have opened their mouths upon us.
47 Pe Fear and a snare is come upon us, desolation and destruction.
48 Pe My eyes stream with rivers of water for the destruction of the daughter of my people.
49 Ain My eyes run down, and cease not, for there is no relief,
50 Ain Until the LORD looks down, and beholds from the heavens.
51 Ain My eyes make my soul sad because of all the daughters of my city.
52 Tzaddi My enemies hunted me like a bird, without cause.
53 Tzaddi They bound up my life in the dungeon, and cast a stone upon me.
54 Tzaddi Waters flowed over my head; then I said, I am dead.
55 Koph I called upon thy name, O LORD, out of the low dungeon.
56 Koph Thou hast heard my voice; do not hide thine ear at my cry that I might breath.
57 Koph Thou drewest near in the day that I called upon thee; thou didst say, Fear not.
58 Resh O Lord, thou hast pleaded the cause of my soul; thou hast redeemed my life.
59 Resh O LORD, thou hast seen where I was wrong; plead thou my cause.
60 Resh Thou hast seen all their vengeance and all their imaginations against me.
61 Schin Thou hast heard their reproach, O LORD, and all their imaginations against me;
62 Schin The words of those that rose up against me, and their design against me all the day.
63 Schin Behold their sitting down, and their rising up; I am their music.
64 Tau Render unto them a recompense, O LORD, according to the work of their hands.
65 Tau Give them sorrow of heart; thy curse unto them.
66 Tau Persecute them in thy anger and cut them off from under the heavens, oh 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

INTRODUCTION TO LAMENTATIONS 3

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

The Jubilee Bible

(from the Scriptures of the Reformation)

edited by Russell M. Stendal

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