Lamentations 3

1 Aleph. I am the man that see my poverty by the rod of his indignation.
2 Aleph. He hath led me, and brought me into darkness, and not into light.
3 Aleph. Only against me he hath turned, and turned again his hand all the day.
4 Beth. My skin and my flesh he hath made old, he hath broken my bones.
5 Beth. He hath built round about me, and he hath compassed me with gall, and labour.
6 Beth. He hath set me in dark places as those that are dead for ever.
7 Ghimel. He hath built against me round about, that I may not get out: he hath made my fetters heavy.
8 Ghimel. Yea, and when I cry, and entreat, he hath shut out my prayer.
9 Ghimel. He hath shut up my ways with square stones, he hath turned my paths upside down.
10 Daleth. He is become to me as a bear lying in wait: as a lion in secret places.
11 Daleth. He hath turned aside my paths, and hath broken me in pieces, he hath made me desolate.
12 Daleth. He hath bent his bow, and set me as a mark for his arrows.
13 He. He hath shot into my reins the daughters of his quiver.
14 He. I am made a derision to all my people, their song all the day long.
15 He. He hath filled me with bitterness, he hath inebriated me with wormwood.
16 Vau. And he hath broken my teeth one by one, he hath fed me with ashes.
17 Vau. And my soul is removed far off from peace, I have forgotten good things.
18 Vau. And I said: My end and my hope is perished from the Lord.
19 Zain. Remember my poverty, and transgression, the wormwood and the gall.
20 Zain. I will be mindful and remember, and my soul shall languish within me.
21 Zain. These things I shall think over in my heart, therefore will I hope.
22 Heth. The mercies of the Lord that we are not consumed: because his commiserations have not failed.
23 Heth. They are new every morning, great is thy faithfulness.
24 Heth. The Lord is my portion, said my soul: therefore will I wait for him.
25 Teth. The Lord is good to them that hope in him, to the soul that seeketh him.
26 Teth. It is good to wait with silence for the salvation of God.
27 Teth. It is good for a man, when he hath borne the yoke from his youth.
28 Jod. He shall sit solitary, and hold his peace: because he hath taken it up upon himself.
29 Jod. He shall put his mouth in the dust, if so be there may be hope.
30 Jod. He shall give his cheek to him that striketh him, he shall be filled with reproaches.
31 Caph. For the Lord will not cast off for ever.
32 Caph. For if he hath cast off, he will also have mercy, according to the multitude of his mercies.
33 Caph. For he hath not willingly afflicted, nor cast off the children of men.
34 Lamed. To crush under his feet all the prisoners of the land,
35 Lamed. To turn aside the judgment of a man before the face of the most High,
36 Lamed. To destroy a man wrongfully in his judgment, the Lord hath not approved.
37 Mem. Who is he that hath commanded a thing to be done, when the Lord commandeth it not?
38 Mem. Shall not both evil and good proceed out of the mouth of the Highest?
39 Mem. Why hath a living man murmured, man suffering for his sins?
40 Nun. Let us search our ways, and seek, and return to the Lord.
41 Nun. Let us lift up our hearts with our hands to the Lord in the heavens.
42 Nun. We have done wickedly, and provoked thee to wrath: therefore thou art inexorable.
43 Samech. Thou hast covered in thy wrath, and hast struck us: thou hast killed and hast not spared.
44 Samech. Thou hast set a cloud before thee, that our prayer may not pass through.
45 Samech. Thou hast made me as an outcast, and refuse in the midst of the people.
46 Phe. All our enemies have opened their mouths against us.
47 Phe. Prophecy is become to us a fear, and a snare, and destruction.
48 Phe. My eye hath run down with streams of water, for the destruction of the daughter of my people.
49 Ain. My eye is afflicted, and hath not been quiet, because there was no rest:
50 Ain. Till the Lord regarded and looked down from the heavens.
51 Ain. My eye hath wasted my soul because of all the daughters of my city.
52 Sade. My enemies have chased me and caught me like a bird, without cause.
53 Sade. My life is fallen into the pit, and they have laid a stone over me.
54 Sade. Waters have flowed over my head: I said: I am cut off.
55 Coph. I have called upon thy name, O Lord, from the lowest pit.
56 Coph. Thou hast heard my voice: turn not away thy ear from my sighs, and cries.
57 Coph. Thou drewest near in the day, when I called upon thee, thou saidst: Fear not.
58 Res. Thou hast judged, O Lord, the cause of my soul, thou the Redeemer of my life.
59 Res. Thou hast seen, O Lord, their iniquity against me: judge thou my judgment.
60 Res. Thou hast seen all their fury, and all their thoughts against me.
61 Sin. Thou hast heard their reproach, O Lord, all their imaginations against me.
62 Sin. The lips of them that rise up against me: and their devices against me all the day.
63 Sin. Behold their sitting down, and their rising up, I am their song.
64 Thau. Thou shalt render them a recompense, O Lord, according to the works of their hands.
65 Thau. Thou shalt give them a buckler of heart, thy labour.
66 Thau. Thou shalt persecute them in anger, and shalt destroy them from under the heavens, O Lord.

Images for Lamentations 3

Videos for Lamentations 3

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 Douay-Rheims Bible is in the public domain.