Lamentations 3

1 I am the man who has seen affliction by the rod of His wrath.
2 He has led me and made me walk In darkness and not in light.
3 Surely He has turned His hand against me Time and time again throughout the day.
4 He has aged my flesh and my skin, And broken my bones.
5 He has besieged me And surrounded me with bitterness and woe.
6 He has set me in dark places Like the dead of long ago.
7 He has hedged me in so that I cannot get out; He has made my chain heavy.
8 Even when I cry and shout, He shuts out my prayer.
9 He has blocked my ways with hewn stone; He has made my paths crooked.
10 He has been to me a bear lying in wait, Like a lion in ambush.
11 He has turned aside my ways and torn me in pieces; He has made me desolate.
12 He has bent His bow And set me up as a target for the arrow.
13 He has caused the arrows of His quiver To pierce my loins.
14 I have become the ridicule of all my people-- Their taunting song all the day.
15 He has filled me with bitterness, He has made me drink wormwood.
16 He has also broken my teeth with gravel, And covered me with ashes.
17 You have moved my soul far from peace; I have forgotten prosperity.
18 And I said, "My strength and my hope Have perished from the Lord."
19 Remember my affliction and roaming, The wormwood and the gall.
20 My soul still remembers And sinks within me.
21 This I recall to my mind, Therefore I have hope.
22 Through the Lord's mercies we are not consumed, Because His compassions fail not.
23 They are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness.
24 "The Lord is my portion," says my soul, "Therefore I hope in Him!"
25 The Lord is good to those who wait for Him, To the soul who seeks Him.
26 It is good that one should hope and wait quietly For the salvation of the Lord.
27 It is good for a man to bear The yoke in his youth.
28 Let him sit alone and keep silent, Because God has laid it on him;
29 Let him put his mouth in the dust-- There may yet be hope.
30 Let him give his cheek to the one who strikes him, And be full of reproach.
31 For the Lord will not cast off forever.
32 Though He causes grief, Yet He will show compassion According to the multitude of His mercies.
33 For He does not afflict willingly, Nor grieve the children of men.
34 To crush under one's feet All the prisoners of the earth,
35 To turn aside the justice due a man Before the face of the Most High,
36 Or subvert a man in his cause-- The Lord does not approve.
37 Who is he who speaks and it comes to pass, When the Lord has not commanded it?
38 Is it not from the mouth of the Most High That woe and well-being proceed?
39 Why should a living man complain, A man for the punishment of his sins?
40 Let us search out and examine our ways, And turn back to the Lord;
41 Let us lift our hearts and hands To God in heaven.
42 We have transgressed and rebelled; You have not pardoned.
43 You have covered Yourself with anger And pursued us; You have slain and not pitied.
44 You have covered Yourself with a cloud, That prayer should not pass through.
45 You have made us an offscouring and refuse In the midst of the peoples.
46 All our enemies Have opened their mouths against us.
47 Fear and a snare have come upon us, Desolation and destruction.
48 My eyes overflow with rivers of water For the destruction of the daughter of my people.
49 My eyes flow and do not cease, Without interruption,
50 Till the Lord from heaven Looks down and sees.
51 My eyes bring suffering to my soul Because of all the daughters of my city.
52 My enemies without cause Hunted me down like a bird.
53 They silenced my life in the pit And threw stones at me.
54 The waters flowed over my head; I said, "I am cut off!"
55 I called on Your name, O Lord, From the lowest pit.
56 You have heard my voice: "Do not hide Your ear From my sighing, from my cry for help."
57 You drew near on the day I called on You, And said, "Do not fear!"
58 O Lord, You have pleaded the case for my soul; You have redeemed my life.
59 O Lord, You have seen how I am wronged; Judge my case.
60 You have seen all their vengeance, All their schemes against me.
61 You have heard their reproach, O Lord, All their schemes against me,
62 The lips of my enemies And their whispering against me all the day.
63 Look at their sitting down and their rising up; I am their taunting song.
64 Repay them, O Lord, According to the work of their hands.
65 Give them a veiled heart; Your curse be upon them!
66 In Your anger, Pursue 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.

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

Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.