Lamentations 3

Jeremiah Shares Israel's Affliction

1 I am the man who has 1seen affliction Because of the rod of His wrath.
2 He has driven me and made me walk In 2darkness and not in light.
3 Surely against me He has 3turned His hand Repeatedly all the day.
4 He has caused my 4flesh and my skin to waste away, He has 5broken my bones.
5 He has 6besieged * and encompassed me with 7bitterness and hardship.
6 In 8dark places He has made me dwell, Like those who have long been dead.
7 He has 9walled me in so that I cannot go out; He has made my 10chain heavy.
8 Even when I cry out and call for help, He 11shuts out my prayer.
9 He has 12blocked my ways with hewn stone; He has made my paths crooked.
10 He is to me like a bear lying in wait, Like a lion in secret places.
11 He has turned aside my ways and 13torn me to pieces; He has made me desolate.
12 He 14bent His bow And 15set me as a target for the arrow.
13 He made the arrows of His 16quiver To enter into my inward parts.
14 I have become a 17laughingstock to all my people, Their mocking 18song all the day.
15 He has 19filled me with bitterness, He has made me drunk with wormwood.
16 He has 20broken my teeth with 21gravel; He has made me cower in the 22dust.
17 My soul has been rejected 23from peace; I have forgotten happiness.
18 So I say, "My strength has perished, And so has my 24hope from the LORD."

Hope of Relief in God's Mercy

19 Remember my affliction and my wandering, the 25wormwood and bitterness.
20 Surely 26my soul remembers And is 27bowed down within me.
21 This I recall to my mind, Therefore * I have 28hope.
22 The LORD'S 29lovingkindnesses indeed never cease, 30For His compassions never fail.
23 They are new 31every morning; Great is 32Your faithfulness.
24 "The LORD is my 33portion," says my soul, "Therefore * I 34have hope in Him."
25 The LORD is good to those who 35wait for Him, To the person who 36seeks Him.
26 It is good that he 37waits silently For the salvation of the LORD.
27 It is good for a man that he should bear The yoke in his youth.
28 Let him 38sit alone and be silent Since He has laid it on him.
29 Let him put his mouth in the 39dust, Perhaps there is 40hope.
30 Let him give his 41cheek to the smiter, Let him be filled with reproach.
31 For the Lord will 42not reject forever,
32 For if He causes grief, Then He will have 43compassion According to His abundant lovingkindness.
33 For He 44does not afflict willingly * Or grieve the sons of men.
34 To crush under His feet All the prisoners of the land,
35 To deprive a man of 45justice In the presence of the Most High,
36 To 46defraud a man in his lawsuit - Of these things the Lord does not approve.
37 Who is there who speaks and it 47comes to pass, Unless the Lord has commanded it?
38 Is it not from the mouth of the Most High That 48both good and ill go forth?
39 Why should any living mortal, or any man, Offer 49complaint in view of his sins?
40 Let us 50examine and probe our ways, And let us return to the LORD.
41 We 51lift up our heart and hands Toward God in heaven;
42 We have 52transgressed and rebelled, You have 53not pardoned.
43 You have covered Yourself with 54anger And 55pursued us; You have slain and 56have not spared.
44 You have 57covered Yourself with a cloud So that 58no prayer can pass through.
45 You have made us mere 59offscouring and refuse In the midst of the peoples.
46 All our enemies have 60opened their mouths against us.
47 61Panic and pitfall have befallen us, Devastation and destruction;
48 My 62eyes run down with streams of water Because of the destruction of the daughter of my people.
49 My eyes pour down 63unceasingly *, Without stopping,
50 Until the LORD 64looks down And sees from heaven.
51 My eyes bring pain to my soul Because of all the daughters of my city.
52 My enemies 65without cause Hunted me down 66like a bird;
53 They have silenced me 67in the pit And have 68placed a stone on me.
54 Waters flowed 69over my head; I said, "I am cut off!"
55 I 70called on Your name, O LORD, Out of the lowest pit.
56 You have 71heard my voice, "72Do not hide Your ear from my prayer for relief, From my cry for help."
57 You 73drew near when I called on You; You said, "74Do not fear!"
58 O Lord, You 75have pleaded my soul's cause; You have 76redeemed my life.
59 O LORD, You have 77seen my oppression; 78Judge my case.
60 You have seen all their vengeance, All their 79schemes against me.
61 You have heard their 80reproach, O LORD, All their schemes against me.
62 The 81lips of my assailants and their whispering Are against me all day long.
63 Look on their 82sitting and their rising; 83I am their mocking song.
64 You will 84recompense * them, O LORD, According to the work of their hands.
65 You will give them 85hardness of heart, Your curse will be on them.
66 You will 86pursue them in anger and destroy them From under the 87heavens 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 87

  • 1. Ps 88:7, 15, 16
  • 2. Job 30:26; Isaiah 59:9; Jeremiah 4:23
  • 3. Psalms 38:2; Isaiah 5:25
  • 4. Psalms 31:9, 10; Psalms 38:2-8; Psalms 102:3-5
  • 5. Psalms 51:8; Isaiah 38:13
  • 6. Job 19:8
  • 7. Jeremiah 23:15; Lamentations 3:19
  • 8. Psalms 88:5, 6; Psalms 143:3
  • 9. Job 3:23; Job 19:8
  • 10. Jeremiah 40:4
  • 11. Job 30:20; Psalms 22:2
  • 12. Isaiah 63:17; Hosea 2:6
  • 13. Job 16:12, 13; Jeremiah 15:3; Hosea 6:1
  • 14. Psalms 7:12; Lamentations 2:4
  • 15. Job 6:4; Job 7:20; Psalms 38:2
  • 16. Jeremiah 5:16
  • 17. Psalms 22:6, 7; Psalms 123:4; Jeremiah 20:7
  • 18. Job 30:9; Lamentations 3:63
  • 19. Jeremiah 9:15
  • 20. Psalms 3:7; Psalms 58:6
  • 21. Proverbs 20:17
  • 22. Jeremiah 6:26
  • 23. Isaiah 59:11; Jeremiah 12:12
  • 24. Job 17:15; Ezekiel 37:11
  • 25. Jeremiah 9:15; Lamentations 3:5, 15
  • 26. Job 21:6
  • 27. Ps 42:5, 6, 11; Psalms 43:5; Psalms 44:25
  • 28. Psalms 130:7
  • 29. Psalms 78:38; Jeremiah 3:12; Jeremiah 30:11
  • 30. Malachi 3:6
  • 31. Isaiah 33:2; Zephaniah 3:5
  • 32. Hebrews 10:23
  • 33. Psalms 16:5; Psalms 73:26
  • 34. Psalms 33:18
  • 35. Psalms 27:14; Isaiah 25:9
  • 36. Isaiah 26:9
  • 37. Psalms 37:7
  • 38. Jeremiah 15:17
  • 39. Job 16:15; Job 40:4
  • 40. Jeremiah 31:17
  • 41. Job 16:10; Isaiah 50:6
  • 42. Psalms 77:7; Psalms 94:14; Isaiah 54:7-10
  • 43. Psalms 78:38; Psalms 106:43-45; Hosea 11:8
  • 44. Ps 119:67, 71, 75; Ezekiel 33:11; Hebrews 12:10
  • 45. Psalms 140:12; Proverbs 17:15
  • 46. Jeremiah 22:3; Habakkuk 1:13
  • 47. Psalms 33:9-11
  • 48. Job 2:10; Isaiah 45:7; Jeremiah 32:42
  • 49. Jeremiah 30:15; Micah 7:9; Hebrews 12:5, 6
  • 50. Psalms 119:59; Psalms 139:23, 24; 2 Corinthians 13:5
  • 51. Psalms 25:1; Psalms 28:2; Psalms 141:2
  • 52. Nehemiah 9:26; Jeremiah 14:20; Daniel 9:5
  • 53. 2 Kings 24:4; Jeremiah 5:7, 9
  • 54. Lamentations 2:21
  • 55. Psalms 83:15; Lamentations 3:66
  • 56. Lam 2:2, 17, 21
  • 57. Psalms 97:2
  • 58. Lamentations 3:8; Zechariah 7:13
  • 59. 1 Corinthians 4:13
  • 60. Job 30:9, 10; Psalms 22:6-8; Lamentations 2:16
  • 61. Isaiah 24:17, 18; Jeremiah 48:43, 44
  • 62. Psalms 119:136; Jeremiah 9:1, 18; Lamentations 1:16; Lamentations 2:11, 18
  • 63. Psalms 77:2; Jeremiah 14:17
  • 64. Psalms 80:14; Isaiah 63:15; Lamentations 5:1
  • 65. Psalms 35:7, 19
  • 66. 1 Samuel 26:20; Psalms 11:1; Psalms 124:7
  • 67. Jeremiah 37:16; Jeremiah 38:6, 9
  • 68. Daniel 6:17
  • 69. Psalms 69:2; Jonah 2:3-5
  • 70. Psalms 130:1; Jonah 2:2
  • 71. Job 34:28
  • 72. Psalms 55:1
  • 73. Psalms 145:18
  • 74. Isaiah 41:10, 14
  • 75. Jeremiah 50:34
  • 76. Psalms 34:22
  • 77. Jeremiah 18:19, 20
  • 78. Psalms 26:1; Psalms 43:1
  • 79. Jeremiah 11:19
  • 80. Psalms 74:18; Psalms 89:50; Lamentations 5:1; Zephaniah 2:8
  • 81. Psalms 59:7, 12; Psalms 140:3; Ezekiel 36:3
  • 82. Psalms 139:2
  • 83. Job 30:9; Lamentations 3:14
  • 84. Psalms 28:4; Jer 51:6, 24, 56
  • 85. Exodus 14:8; Deuteronomy 2:30; Isaiah 6:10
  • 86. Lamentations 3:43
  • 87. Psalms 8:3

Footnotes 23

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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