Lamentations 3

1 ALEPH. I am the man that sees poverty, through the rod of his wrath upon me.
2 He has taken me, and led me away into darkness, and not light.
3 Nay, against me has he turned his hand all the day.
4 He has made old my flesh and my skin; he has broken my bones.
5 BETH. He has built against me, and compassed my head, and brought travail .
6 He has set me in dark places, as them that have long been dead.
7 He has builded against me, and I cannot come forth: he has made my brazen heavy.
8 GIMEL. Yea, I cry and shout, he shuts out my prayer.
9 DALETH. He has built up my ways, he has hedged my paths;
10 he has troubled me, a she-bear lying in wait: he is to me a lion in secret places.
11 He pursued after I departed, and brought me to a stand: he has utterly ruined me.
12 HE. He has bent his bow, and set me as a mark for the arrow.
13 He has caused the arrows of his quiver to enter into my reins.
14 I became a laughing-stock to all my people; and their song all the day.
15 VAU. He has filled me with bitterness, he has drenched me with gall.
16 And he has dashed out my teeth with gravel, he has fed me with ashes.
17 He has also removed my soul from peace: I forgot prosperity.
18 Therefore my success has perished, and my hope from the Lord.
19 ZAIN. I remembered by reason of my poverty, and because of persecution my bitterness and gall shall be remembered;
20 and my soul shall meditate with me.
21 This will I lay up in my heart, therefore I will endure.
22 HETH. the mercies of the Lord, that he has not failed me, because his compassions are not exhausted. Pity , O Lord, early month: for we are not brought to an end, because his compassions are not exhausted.
23 new every morning: great is thy faithfulness.
24 The Lord is my portion, says my soul; therefore will I wait for him.
25 TETH. The Lord is good to them that wait for him: the soul which shall seek him
26 good, and shall wait for, and quietly expect salvation of the Lord.
27 TETH. good for a man when he bears a yoke in his youth.
28 He will sit alone, and be silent, because he has borne upon him.
30 JOD. He will give cheek to him that smites him: he will be filled full with reproaches.
31 For the Lord will not reject for ever.
32 CHAPH. For he that has brought down will pity, and according to the abundance of his mercy.
33 He has not answered from his heart, though he has brought low the children of a man.
34 LAMED. To bring down under his feet all the prisoners of the earth,
35 to turn aside the judgment of a man before the face of the Most High,
36 to condemn a man in his judgment, the Lord has not given commandment.
37 Who has thus spoken, and it has come to pass? the Lord has not commanded it.
38 Out of the mouth of the Most High there shall not come forth evil and good.
39 MEM. Why should a living man complain, a man concerning his sin?
40 NUN. Our way has been searched out and examined, and we will turn to the Lord.
41 Let us lift up our hearts with hand to the lofty One in heaven.
42 We have sinned, we have transgressed; and thou hast not pardoned.
43 SAMECH. Thou has visited in wrath, and driven us away: thou has slain, thou has not pitied.
44 Thou hast veiled thyself with a cloud because of prayer, that I might be blind,
45 and be cast off. AIN. Thou hast set us in the midst of the nations.
46 All our enemies have opened their mouth against us.
47 Fear and wrath are come upon us, suspense and destruction.
48 Mine eye shall pour down torrents of water, for the destruction of the daughter of my people.
49 PHE. Mine eye is drowned , and I will not be silent, so that there shall be no rest,
50 until the Lord look down, and behold from heaven.
51 Mine eye shall prey upon my soul, because of all the daughters of the city.
52 TSADE. The fowlers chased me as a sparrow, all mine enemies destroyed my life in a pit without cause,
53 and laid a stone upon me.
54 Water flowed over my head: I said, I am cut off.
55 KOPH. I called upon thy name, O Lord, out of the lowest dungeon.
56 Thou heardest my voice: close not thine ears to my supplication.
57 Thou drewest nigh to my help: in the day wherein I called upon thee thou saidst to me, Fear not.
58 RECHS. O Lord, thou has pleaded the causes of my soul; thou has redeemed my life.
59 Thou hast seen, O Lord, my troubles: thou hast judged my cause.
60 Thou hast seen all their vengeance, on all their devices against me.
61 CHSEN. Thou hast heard their reproach all their devices against me;
62 the lips of them that rose up against me, and their plots against me all the day;
63 their sitting down and their rising up: look thou upon their eyes.
64 Thou wilt render them a recompense, O Lord, according to the works of their hands.
65 THAU. Thou wilt give them a covering, the grief of my heart.
66 Thou wilt persecute them in anger, and wilt consume them from under the heaven, O 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

The Brenton translation of the Septuagint is in the public domain.