Lamentations 3

1 I [am] the man [who] hath seen affliction By the rod of His wrath.
2 Me He hath led, and causeth to go [in] darkness, and without light.
3 Surely against me He turneth back, He turneth His hand all the day.
4 He hath worn out my flesh and my skin. He hath broken my bones.
5 He hath built up against me, And setteth round poverty and weariness.
6 In dark places He hath caused me to dwell, As the dead of old.
7 He hath hedged me about, and I go not out, He hath made heavy my fetter.
8 Also when I call and cry out, He hath shut out my prayer.
9 He hath hedged my ways with hewn work, My paths He hath made crooked.
10 A bear lying in wait He [is] to me, A lion in secret hiding-places.
11 My ways He is turning aside, and He pulleth me in pieces, He hath made me a desolation.
12 He hath trodden His bow, And setteth me up as a mark for an arrow.
13 He hath caused to enter into my reins The sons of His quiver.
14 I have been a derision to all my people, Their song all the day.
15 He hath filled me with bitter things, He hath filled me [with] wormwood.
16 And He breaketh with gravel my teeth, He hath covered me with ashes.
17 And Thou castest off from peace my soul, I have forgotten prosperity.
18 And I say, Perished hath my strength and my hope from Jehovah.
19 Remember my affliction and my mourning, Wormwood and gall!
20 Remember well, and bow down doth my soul in me.
21 This I turn to my heart -- therefore I hope.
22 The kindnesses of Jehovah! For we have not been consumed, For not ended have His mercies.
23 New every morning, abundant [is] thy faithfulness.
24 My portion [is] Jehovah, hath my soul said, Therefore I hope for Him.
25 Good [is] Jehovah to those waiting for Him, To the soul [that] seeketh Him.
26 Good! when one doth stay and stand still For the salvation of Jehovah.
27 Good for a man that he beareth a yoke in his youth.
28 He sitteth alone, and is silent, For He hath laid [it] upon him.
29 He putteth in the dust his mouth, if so be there is hope.
30 He giveth to his smiter the cheek, He is filled with reproach.
31 For the Lord doth not cast off to the age.
32 For though He afflicted, yet He hath pitied, According to the abundance of His kindness.
33 For He hath not afflicted with His heart, Nor doth He grieve the sons of men.
34 To bruise under one's feet any bound ones of earth,
35 To turn aside the judgment of a man, Over-against the face of the Most High,
36 To subvert a man in his cause, the Lord hath not approved.
37 Who [is] this -- he hath said, and it is, [And] the Lord hath not commanded [it]?
38 From the mouth of the Most High Go not forth the evils and the good.
39 What -- sigh habitually doth a living man, A man for his sin?
40 We search our ways, and investigate, And turn back unto Jehovah.
41 We lift up our heart on the hands unto God in the heavens.
42 We -- we have transgressed and rebelled, Thou -- Thou hast not forgiven.
43 Thou hast covered Thyself with anger, And dost pursue us; Thou hast slain -- Thou hast not pitied.
44 Thou hast covered Thyself with a cloud, So that prayer doth not pass through.
45 Offscouring and refuse Thou dost make us In the midst of the peoples.
46 Opened against us their mouth have all our enemies.
47 Fear and a snare hath been for us, Desolation and destruction.
48 Rivulets of water go down my eye, For the destruction of the daughter of my people.
49 Mine eye is poured out, And doth not cease without intermission,
50 Till Jehovah looketh and seeth from the heavens,
51 My eye affecteth my soul, Because of all the daughters of my city.
52 Hunted me sore as a bird have my enemies without cause.
53 They have cut off in a pit my life, And they cast a stone against me.
54 Flowed have waters over my head, I have said, I have been cut off.
55 I called Thy name, O Jehovah, from the lower pit.
56 My voice Thou hast heard, Hide not Thine ear at my breathing -- at my cry.
57 Thou hast drawn near in the day I call Thee, Thou hast said, Fear not.
58 Thou hast pleaded, O Lord, the pleadings of my soul, Thou hast redeemed my life.
59 Thou hast seen, O Jehovah, my overthrow, Judge Thou my cause.
60 Thou hast seen all their vengeance, All their thoughts of me.
61 Thou hast heard their reproach, O Jehovah, All their thoughts against me,
62 The lips of my withstanders, Even their meditation against me all the day.
63 Their sitting down, and their rising up, Behold attentively, I [am] their song.
64 Thou returnest to them the deed, O Jehovah, According to the work of their hands.
65 Thou givest to them a covered heart, Thy curse to them.
66 Thou pursuest in anger, and destroyest them, From under the heavens of Jehovah!

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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