The Lamentations of Jeremiah

Chapter 3

The prophet bewails his own calamities, 1-21. By the mercies of God he nourishes his hope, 22-36. He acknowledges God's justice, 37-54. He prays for deliverance, 55-63, and vengeance on his enemies, 64-66.

[ALEPH - א]

I am the man who has seen affliction/
by the rod of his wrath.

He has led me and brought me into darkness,/
but not into light.

Surely against me he is turned./
He turns his hand against me all the day.

[BET - ב]

My flesh and my skin he has made old./
He has broken my bones.

He has built against me and compassed me/
with gall and labor.

He has set me in dark places,/
as those who are dead of old.

[GIMEL - ג]

He has hedged me in so that I cannot get out./
He has made my chain heavy.

Also when I cry and shout,/
he shuts out my prayer.

He has enclosed my ways with hewn stone./
He has made my paths crooked.

[DALET - ד]

10 He was to me as a bear lying in wait/
and as a lion in secret places.

11 He has turned aside my ways and pulled me in pieces./
He has made me desolate.

12 He has bent his bow/
and set me as a mark for the arrow.

[HE - ה]

13 He has caused the arrows of his quiver/
to enter into my kidneys.

14 I was a derision to all my people/
and their song all the day.

15 He has filled me with bitterness./
He has made me drunken with wormwood.

[VAV - ו]

16 He has also broken my teeth with gravel stones./
He has covered me with ashes.

17 And you have cast my soul far off from peace./
I forgot prosperity.

18 And I said, "My strength/
and my hope has perished from the LORD."

[ZAYIN - ז]

19 Remember my affliction and my misery,/
the wormwood and the gall.

20 My soul has them still in remembrance/
and is humbled in me.

21 This I recall to my mind;/
therefore, I have hope.

[HET - ח]

22 It is of the LORD'S mercies that we are not consumed,/
because his compassions do not fail.

23 They are new every morning./
Your faithfulness is great.

24 "The LORD is my portion," says my soul,/
"therefore, I will hope in him."

[TET - ט]

25 The LORD is good to those who wait for him,/
to the soul who seeks him.

26 It is good that a man should both hope and quietly wait/
for the salvation of the LORD.

27 It is good for a man/
that he should bear the yoke in his youth.

[YOD - י]

28 He sits alone and keeps silence/
because he has borne it upon him.

29 He puts his mouth in the dust,/
if there may be hope.

30 He gives his cheek to him who smites him./
He is filled full with reproach.

[KAF - כ]

31 For the Lord will not/
cast off forever.

32 But though he causes grief, yet he will have compassion/
according to the multitude of his mercies.

33 For he does not afflict willingly/
nor grieve the children of men.

[LAMED - ל]

34 To crush under his feet/
all the prisoners of the earth,

35 To turn aside the right of a man/
before the face of the most High,

36 To subvert a man in his cause,/
the Lord does not approve.

[MEM - מ]

37 Who is he who speaks and it comes to pass/
when the Lord does not command it?

38 Out of the mouth of the most High,/
does evil and good not proceed?

39 Why does a living man complain,/
a man for the punishment of his sins?

[NUN - נ]

40 Let us search and try our ways/
and turn back to the LORD.

41 Let us lift up our heart with our hands/
to God in the heavens.

42 We have transgressed and have rebelled./
You have not pardoned.

[SAMEKH - ס]

43 You have covered with anger and persecuted us./
You have slain. You have not pitied.

44 You have covered yourself with a cloud/
so that our prayer should not pass through.

45 You have made us as the offscouring and refuse/
in the midst of the people.

[AYIN - ע]

46 All our enemies have opened their mouths/
against us.

47 Fear and a snare have come upon us,/
desolation and destruction.

48 My eye runs down with rivers of water/
for the destruction of the daughter of my people.

[PE - פ]

49 My eye trickles down and does not cease/
without any intermission,

50 Until the LORD looks down/
and beholds from heaven.

51 My eye affects my heart/
because of all the daughters of my city.

[TSADI - צ]

52 My enemies chased me fiercely,/
like a bird without cause.

53 They have cut off my life in the dungeon/
and cast a stone upon me.

54 Waters flowed over my head./
Then I said, "I am cut off."

[QOF - ק]

55 I called upon your name, O LORD,/
out of the low dungeon.

56 You have heard my voice. Do not hide your ear/
at my breathing, at my cry.

57 You drew near in the day that I called upon you./
You said, "Do not fear."

[RESH - ר]

58 O Lord, you have pleaded the causes of my soul./
You have redeemed my life.

59 O LORD, you have seen my wrong./
Judge my cause.

60 You have seen all their vengeance/
and all their imaginations against me.

[SHIN - ש]

61 You have heard their reproach, O LORD,/
and all their imaginations against me,

62 The lips of those who rose up against me,/
and their device against me all the day.

63 Behold their sitting down and their rising up./
I am their music.

64 [TAV - ת]

64 Render to them a recompense, O LORD,/
according to the work of their hands.

65 Give them sorrow of heart,/
your curse to them.

66 Persecute and destroy them in anger/
from under the heavens of the LORD.


Matthew Henry Commentary - Lamentations, Chapter 3[➚]


John Gill's 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 (Lamentations 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 (Lamentations 3:22-38); therefore, 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 (Lamentations 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 (Lamentations 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 (Lamentations 3:48-54); and relates bow he called upon the Lord, and he heard and delivered him (Lamentations 3:55-58); and concludes with a request that he would judge his cause and avenge him on enemies (Lamentations 3:59-66).

[v.17] - LXX: "He has also removed my soul from peace. I forgot prosperity."

[v.30] - Reference, Job 16:10; Isaiah 50:6; Matthew 5:39; Luke 6:29.