Lamentations 3

1 I am a man seeing my poverty in the rod of his indignation. (I am a man who seeth my poverty, I have felt the rod of his indignation, or of his anger.)
2 He drove me, and brought (me) into darknesses, and not into light.
3 Only he turned into me, and turned together his hand all day. (He turned only against me, and he turned his hand against me all day long.)
4 He made eld my skin, and my flesh; he all-brake my bones. (He made old, or wasted, my skin, and my flesh; he broke all my bones.)
5 He builded in my compass, and he compassed me with gall and travail. (He built all around me, yea, he surrounded me with gall and tribulation.)
6 He setted me in dark places, as everlasting dead men. (He put me in dark places, like the everlasting dead.)
7 He builded about against me, (so) that I go not out; he aggrieved my gyves (he made my chains heavy).
8 But and when I cry and pray, he hath excluded my prayer.
9 He closed together my ways with square stones; he destroyed my paths. (He altogether enclosed my ways with square stones; he destroyed my paths.)
10 He is made (like) a bear setting ambush to me, (like) a lion in hid places.
11 He destroyed my paths, and brake me; he setted me desolate (he left me desolate).
12 He bent his bow, and setted me as a sign to an arrow. (He bent his bow, and made me a target for his arrows.)
13 He sent in(to) my reins the daughters of his arrow case.
14 I am made into scorn to all the people (I am mocked by everyone), the song of them all day (long).
15 He filled me with bitternesses; he greatly filled me with wormwood.
16 He brake at number my teeth (He broke my teeth on gravel); he fed me with ashes.
17 And my soul is put away; I have forgotten goods. (And I have given up; I have forgotten the good things/I have forgotten whatever was good.)
18 And I said, Mine end perished, and mine hope, from the Lord. (And I said, My strength, and my hope in the Lord, have all perished.)
19 Have thou mind on my poverty, and going over, and on wormwood and gall. (Remember my poverty, and my goings about, yea, the wormwood and the gall.)
20 By mind I shall be mindful; and my soul shall fail in me. (Remember, O remember; even though my soul shall fail in me.)
21 I bethink these things in mine heart, I shall hope in God.
22 The mercies of the Lord be many, for we be not wasted; for why his merciful doings failed not.
23 I knew in the morrowtide; thy faith is much [much is thy faith]. (They be new in the morning; great is thy faithfulness.)
24 My soul said, The Lord is my part; therefore I shall abide him. (My soul said, The Lord is my portion; and so I shall wait for him.)
25 The Lord is good to them that hope into him, to a soul seeking him. (The Lord is good to those who hope in him, to someone seeking him.)
26 It is good to abide with stillness the health of God. (It is good to silently wait for the salvation of God./It is good to patiently wait for the deliverance of God.)
27 It is good to a man (It is good for a person), when he hath borne the yoke of his youth.
28 He shall sit alone, and he shall be still; for he raised himself above himself. (He shall sit alone, and he shall be silent/and he shall be patient; and he shall carry it by himself.)
29 He shall set his mouth in (the) dust, if peradventure hope is. (He shall put his face upon the ground, for perhaps there may still be hope.)
30 He shall give the cheek to a man that smiteth him; he shall be filled with shames. (He shall give his cheek to the one who striketh him; he shall be laden with abuse.)
31 For the Lord shall not put away [into] without end. (For the Lord shall not cast us away forever.)
32 For if he casted away, and he shall do mercy after the multitude of his mercies. (For even if he hath cast us away, he shall still do mercy after the multitude of his mercies.)
33 For he maked not low of his heart; and casted not away the sons of men. (For he did not make his heart low; and did not cast away the sons and daughters of men forever.)
34 That he should all-foul under his feet all the bound men of [the] earth. (So that he would all-foul all the bound, or all the imprisoned, on earth, under his feet.)
35 That he should bow down the doom of (a) man, in the sight of the cheer of the Highest. (So that he would deny someone justice, before the very face of the Most High.)
36 That he should pervert a man in his doom, the Lord knew not. (So that he would pervert a person in his judgement; nay, the Lord desireth none of this.)
37 Who is this that said (Who is this who said), that a thing should be done, when the Lord commandeth (it) not?
38 Neither goods neither evils shall go out of the mouth of the Highest. (Do not both good and evil go out from the mouth of the Most High?)
39 What grutched a man living, a man (punished) for his sins? (Why grumble a living man, when he is punished for his sins?)
40 Search we our ways, and seek we, and turn we again to the Lord. (Consider all that we do, and seek we the truth about it, and then turn we again to the Lord.)
41 Raise we our hearts with hands, to the Lord into heavens. (Raise we up our hearts with our hands, to the Lord in heaven.)
42 We have done wickedly, and have stirred thee to wrath; therefore thou art not able to be prayed (to).
43 Thou coveredest in strong vengeance, and smitedest us (and hast struck us); thou killedest (us), and sparedest (us) not.
44 Thou settedest a cloud to thee, that prayer pass not. (Thou hast set a cloud before thee, that prayers cannot pass through.)
45 Thou settedest me, drawing up by the root, and casting out, in the midst of [the] peoples. (Thou hast made us, as if drawn up by the root, and cast out, in the midst of the peoples.)
46 All [the] enemies opened their mouth on us. (All the enemies have opened their mouths against us.)
47 Inward dread and snare is made to us, prophecy and defouling. (Inward fear and snare be made upon us, and prophecy and defiling.)
48 Mine eyes led down partings of waters, for the defouling of the daughter of my people.
49 Mine eye was tormented, and was not still; for no rest was. (My eyes were tormented, and were not still; for there was no rest,)
50 Until the Lord beheld, and saw from heavens. (until the Lord beheld, and saw from heaven.)
51 Mine eye robbed my soul in all the daughters of my city. (My heart is grieved at what befell all the daughters of my city.)
52 Mine enemies took me without cause, by hunting (me) as a bird. (My enemies had no reason to be against me, yet they hunted me down like a bird.)
53 My life slid into a pit; and they putted a stone on me.
54 Waters flowed over mine head; I said, I perish.
55 Lord, I called to help thy name, from the last pit. (Lord, I called thy name for help, from the deepest pit/from the bottom of the pit.)
56 Thou heardest my voice; turn thou not away thine ear from my sobbing and cries.
57 Thou nighedest to me in the day, wherein I called thee to help; thou saidest, Dread thou not. (Thou came to me on the day, when I called to thee for help; thou saidest, Fear thou not.)
58 Lord, again-buyer of my life, thou deemedest the cause of my soul. (Lord, the Redeemer of my life, thou hast pleaded the cause of my soul/thou hast pleaded my soul's case.)
59 Lord, thou sawest the wickedness of them against me; deem thou my doom (judge thou my judgement/judge thou my justice).
60 Thou sawest all the strong vengeance, all the thoughts of them against me.
61 Lord, thou heardest the shames of them (Lord, thou heardest their abuse); all the thoughts of them against me.
62 The lips of men rising against me, and the thoughts of them against me all day (long).
63 See thou the sitting and (the) rising again of them; I am the psalm of them (I am their song of mocking).
64 Lord, thou shalt yield while to them, by the works of their hands. (Lord, thou shalt punish them, according to the works of their hands.)
65 Thou shalt give to them the shield of heart, thy travail. (Give thou them much sorrow of heart, and thy trials and tribulation.)
66 Lord, thou shalt pursue them in thy strong vengeance, and thou shalt defoul them under heavens. (Lord, pursue thou them in thy strong anger, and utterly defile, or destroy, thou them under the heavens.)

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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

Copyright © 2001 by Terence P. Noble. For personal use only.