Lamentations 3

1 I am a man who has suffered greatly. The LORD has used the Babylonians to punish our people.
2 He has driven me away. He has made me walk in darkness instead of light.
3 He has turned his powerful hand against me. He has done it again and again, all day long.
4 He has worn my body out. He has broken my bones.
5 He has surrounded me and attacked me. He has made me suffer bitterly. He has made things hard for me.
6 He has made me live in darkness like those who are dead and gone.
7 He has built walls around me. I can't escape. He has put heavy chains on me.
8 I call out and cry for help. But he won't listen to me when I pray.
9 He has put up a stone wall to block my way. He has made my paths crooked.
10 He has been like a bear waiting to attack me. He has been like a lion hiding in the bushes.
11 He has dragged me off the path. He has torn me to pieces. And he has left me helpless.
12 He has gotten his bow ready to use. He has shot his arrows at me.
13 The arrows from his bag have gone through my heart.
14 My people laugh at me all the time. They sing and make fun of me all day long.
15 The LORD has made my life bitter. He has made me suffer bitterly.
16 He made me chew stones that broke my teeth. He has walked all over me in the dust.
17 I have lost all hope of ever having any peace. I've forgotten what good times are like.
18 So I say, "My glory has faded away. My hope in the LORD is gone."
19 I remember how I suffered and wandered. I remember how bitter my life was.
20 I remember it very well. My spirit is very sad deep down inside me.
21 But here is something else I remember. And it gives me hope.
22 The LORD loves us very much. So we haven't been completely destroyed. His loving concern never fails.
23 His great love is new every morning. Lord, how faithful you are!
24 I say to myself, "The LORD is everything I will ever need. So I will put my hope in him."
25 The LORD is good to those who put their hope in him. He is good to those who look to him.
26 It is good when people wait quietly for the LORD to save them.
27 It is good for a man to carry a heavy load of suffering while he is young.
28 Let him sit alone and not say anything. The LORD has placed that load on him.
29 Let him bury his face in the dust. There might still be hope for him.
30 Let him turn his cheek toward those who would slap him. Let him be filled with shame.
31 The Lord doesn't turn his back on people forever.
32 He might bring suffering. But he will also show loving concern. How great his faithful love is!
33 He doesn't want to bring pain or suffering to people.
34 Every time people crush prisoners under their feet, the Lord knows all about it.
35 When people refuse to give a man his rights, the Most High God knows it.
36 When people don't treat a man fairly, the Lord knows it.
37 Suppose people order something to happen. It won't happen unless the Lord has planned it.
38 Troubles and good things alike come to people because the Most High God has commanded them to come.
39 A man who is still alive shouldn't blame God when God punishes him for his sins.
40 Let's take a good look at the way we're living. Let's return to the Lord.
41 Let's lift up our hands to God in heaven. Let's pray to him with all our hearts.
42 Let's say, "We have sinned. We've refused to obey you. And you haven't forgiven us.
43 "You have covered yourself with the cloud of your anger. You have chased us. You have killed our people without pity.
44 You have covered yourself with the cloud of your anger. Our prayers can't get through to you.
45 You have made us become like trash and garbage among the nations.
46 "All of our enemies have opened their mouths wide to swallow us up.
47 We are terrified and trapped. We are broken and destroyed."
48 Streams of tears flow from my eyes. That's because my people are destroyed.
49 Tears will never stop flowing from my eyes. My eyes can't get any rest.
50 I'll sob until the LORD looks down from heaven. I'll cry until he notices my tears.
51 What I see brings pain to my spirit. All of the people in my city are suffering so much.
52 Those who were my enemies for no reason at all hunted me down as if I were a bird.
53 They tried to end my life by throwing me into a deep pit. They threw stones down at me.
54 The water rose and covered my head. I thought I was going to die.
55 Lord, I called out to you. I called out from the bottom of the pit.
56 I prayed, "Please don't close your ears to my cry for help." And you heard my appeal.
57 You came near when I called out to you. You said, "Do not be afraid."
58 Lord, you stood up for me in court. You saved my life and set me free.
59 Lord, you have seen the wrong things people have done to me. Stand up for me again!
60 You have seen how my enemies have tried to get even with me. You know all about their plans against me.
61 Lord, you have heard them laugh at me. You know all about their plans against me.
62 You have heard my enemies whispering among themselves. They speak against me all day long.
63 Just look at them sitting and standing there! They sing and make fun of me.
64 Lord, pay them back. Punish them for what their hands have done.
65 Cover their minds with a veil. Put a curse on them!
66 Lord, get angry with them and hunt them down. Wipe them off the face of the earth.

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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

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