Lamentations 3

1 I am the man who has seen affliction by the rod of the LORD’s wrath.
2 He has driven me away and made me walk in darkness rather than light;
3 indeed, he has turned his hand against me again and again, all day long.
4 He has made my skin and my flesh grow old and has broken my bones.
5 He has besieged me and surrounded me with bitterness and hardship.
6 He has made me dwell in darkness like those long dead.
7 He has walled me in so I cannot escape; he has weighed me down with chains.
8 Even when I call out or cry for help, he shuts out my prayer.
9 He has barred my way with blocks of stone; he has made my paths crooked.
10 Like a bear lying in wait, like a lion in hiding,
11 he dragged me from the path and mangled me and left me without help.
12 He drew his bow and made me the target for his arrows.
13 He pierced my heart with arrows from his quiver.
14 I became the laughingstock of all my people; they mock me in song all day long.
15 He has filled me with bitter herbs and given me gall to drink.
16 He has broken my teeth with gravel; he has trampled me in the dust.
17 I have been deprived of peace; I have forgotten what prosperity is.
18 So I say, “My splendor is gone and all that I had hoped from the LORD.”
19 I remember my affliction and my wandering, the bitterness and the gall.
20 I well remember them, and my soul is downcast within me.
21 Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope:
22 Because of the LORD’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail.
23 They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.
24 I say to myself, “The LORD is my portion; therefore I will wait for him.”
25 The LORD is good to those whose hope is in him, to the one who seeks him;
26 it is good to wait quietly for the salvation of the LORD.
27 It is good for a man to bear the yoke while he is young.
28 Let him sit alone in silence, for the LORD has laid it on him.
29 Let him bury his face in the dust— there may yet be hope.
30 Let him offer his cheek to one who would strike him, and let him be filled with disgrace.
31 For no one is cast off by the Lord forever.
32 Though he brings grief, he will show compassion, so great is his unfailing love.
33 For he does not willingly bring affliction or grief to anyone.
34 To crush underfoot all prisoners in the land,
35 to deny people their rights before the Most High,
36 to deprive them of justice— would not the Lord see such things?
37 Who can speak and have it happen if the Lord has not decreed it?
38 Is it not from the mouth of the Most High that both calamities and good things come?
39 Why should the living complain when punished for their sins?
40 Let us examine our ways and test them, and let us return to the LORD.
41 Let us lift up our hearts and our hands to God in heaven, and say:
42 “We have sinned and rebelled and you have not forgiven.
43 “You have covered yourself with anger and pursued us; you have slain without pity.
44 You have covered yourself with a cloud so that no prayer can get through.
45 You have made us scum and refuse among the nations.
46 “All our enemies have opened their mouths wide against us.
47 We have suffered terror and pitfalls, ruin and destruction.”
48 Streams of tears flow from my eyes because my people are destroyed.
49 My eyes will flow unceasingly, without relief,
50 until the LORD looks down from heaven and sees.
51 What I see brings grief to my soul because of all the women of my city.
52 Those who were my enemies without cause hunted me like a bird.
53 They tried to end my life in a pit and threw stones at me;
54 the waters closed over my head, and I thought I was about to perish.
55 I called on your name, LORD, from the depths of the pit.
56 You heard my plea: “Do not close your ears to my cry for relief.”
57 You came near when I called you, and you said, “Do not fear.”
58 You, Lord, took up my case; you redeemed my life.
59 LORD, you have seen the wrong done to me. Uphold my cause!
60 You have seen the depth of their vengeance, all their plots against me.
61 LORD, you have heard their insults, all their plots against me—
62 what my enemies whisper and mutter against me all day long.
63 Look at them! Sitting or standing, they mock me in their songs.
64 Pay them back what they deserve, LORD, for what their hands have done.
65 Put a veil over their hearts, and may your curse be on them!
66 Pursue them in anger and destroy 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.

Cross References 95

  • 1. Jeremiah 15:17-18
  • 2. S Job 19:21; Psalms 88:7
  • 3. S Job 19:8; S Psalms 82:5; S Jeremiah 4:23
  • 4. Psalms 38:2; Isaiah 5:25
  • 5. S Job 30:30; Lamentations 4:8
  • 6. Psalms 51:8; S Isaiah 38:13; S Jeremiah 50:17
  • 7. ver 19
  • 8. Jeremiah 23:15
  • 9. Psalms 88:5-6; Psalms 143:3; Isaiah 59:10
  • 10. S Job 3:23
  • 11. Jeremiah 40:4
  • 12. Psalms 5:2
  • 13. ver 44; S Deuteronomy 1:45; S Job 30:20; Psalms 22:2
  • 14. S Job 19:8
  • 15. S Job 9:24; S Isaiah 63:17; Hosea 2:6
  • 16. S Job 10:16
  • 17. Hosea 13:8; Amos 5:18-19
  • 18. Hosea 6:1
  • 19. S Lamentations 2:4
  • 20. Job 7:20
  • 21. S Job 16:12; Psalms 7:12-13; Psalms 38:2
  • 22. S Job 16:13
  • 23. Job 6:4
  • 24. S Genesis 38:23; Psalms 22:6-7; Jeremiah 20:7
  • 25. S Job 17:2
  • 26. S Job 30:9
  • 27. ver 19; Jeremiah 9:15
  • 28. S Proverbs 20:17
  • 29. S Psalms 7:5
  • 30. S ver 54; S Job 17:15
  • 31. ver 5
  • 32. S ver 15
  • 33. S Psalms 42:5
  • 34. Psalms 42:11; Psalms 43:5
  • 35. S Psalms 103:11
  • 36. S Job 34:15; S Hosea 11:9
  • 37. Psalms 78:38; Psalms 130:7; Malachi 3:6
  • 38. S Exodus 34:6; Zephaniah 3:5
  • 39. S Psalms 119:57; Psalms 16:5
  • 40. S Psalms 33:18; Isaiah 25:9; S Isaiah 30:18
  • 41. S Isaiah 7:4
  • 42. Psalms 37:7; Psalms 40:1
  • 43. Jeremiah 15:17; Lamentations 2:10
  • 44. S Job 2:8
  • 45. S Jeremiah 31:17
  • 46. S Job 16:10; S Isaiah 50:6
  • 47. Micah 5:1
  • 48. Psalms 94:14; Isaiah 54:7
  • 49. Psalms 78:38; Psalms 106:43-45; Hosea 11:8; Nahum 1:12
  • 50. S Job 37:23; S Jeremiah 31:20; Ezekiel 18:23; Ezekiel 33:11
  • 51. Ge 14:18,19,20,22
  • 52. Psalms 140:12; S Proverbs 17:15; S Jeremiah 22:3; Habakkuk 1:13
  • 53. Psalms 33:9-11; S Proverbs 19:21; S Proverbs 21:30
  • 54. S Job 2:10; S Isaiah 45:7; Jeremiah 32:42
  • 55. S Jeremiah 30:15; Micah 7:9
  • 56. 2 Corinthians 13:5
  • 57. Psalms 119:59; Psalms 139:23-24
  • 58. S Psalms 25:1; S Psalms 28:2
  • 59. Jeremiah 14:20; Daniel 9:5
  • 60. S 2 Kings 24:4; Jeremiah 5:7-9
  • 61. ver 66; Psalms 35:6
  • 62. S La 2:2,17,21
  • 63. Psalms 97:2; Lamentations 2:1
  • 64. S ver 8; Zechariah 7:13
  • 65. S Isaiah 58:4
  • 66. 1 Corinthians 4:13
  • 67. Psalms 22:13
  • 68. Lamentations 2:16
  • 69. Jeremiah 48:43
  • 70. S Isaiah 24:17-18; S Isaiah 51:19
  • 71. S Psalms 119:136
  • 72. S Jeremiah 9:1,18; Lamentations 1:16
  • 73. Lamentations 2:11
  • 74. Jeremiah 14:17; S Lamentations 2:18
  • 75. S Psalms 14:2; Psalms 80:14; S Isaiah 63:15
  • 76. Psalms 35:7
  • 77. Jeremiah 37:16; S Jeremiah 38:6
  • 78. Psalms 69:2; John 2:3-5
  • 79. ver 18; Psalms 88:5; Ezekiel 37:11
  • 80. S Psalms 88:6
  • 81. Psalms 130:1; John 2:2
  • 82. S Psalms 55:1; Psalms 116:1-2
  • 83. S Psalms 46:1
  • 84. Isaiah 41:10
  • 85. S Jeremiah 51:36
  • 86. Psalms 34:22; S Jeremiah 50:34
  • 87. Jeremiah 18:19-20
  • 88. Psalms 35:23; Psalms 43:1
  • 89. S Jeremiah 11:20; Jeremiah 18:18
  • 90. Psalms 89:50; Zephaniah 2:8
  • 91. Ezekiel 36:3
  • 92. S Job 30:9
  • 93. S Psalms 28:4; S Jeremiah 51:6
  • 94. Exodus 14:8; Deuteronomy 2:30; Isaiah 6:10
  • 95. S ver 43

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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