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Lamentations 3

Lam 3, La 3

Lamentations 3

1 I AM the man that hath seen affliction by the rod of his wrath.

2 He hath led me, and brought me into darkness, but not into light.

3 Surely against me is he turned; he turneth his hand against me all the day.

4 My flesh and my skin hath he made old; he hath broken my bones.

5 He hath builded against me, and compassed me with gall and travail.

6 He hath set me in dark places, as they that be dead of old.

7 He hath hedged me about, that I cannot get out: he hath made my chain heavy.

8 Also when I cry and shout, he shutteth out my prayer.

9 He hath inclosed my ways with hewn stone, he hath made my paths crooked.

10 He was unto me as a bear lying in wait, and as a lion in secret places.

11 He hath turned aside my ways, and pulled me in pieces: he hath made me desolate.

12 He hath bent his bow, and set me as a mark for the arrow.

13 He hath caused the arrows of his quiver to enter into my reins.

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

15 He hath filled me with bitterness, he hath made me drunken with wormwood.

16 He hath also broken my teeth with gravel stones, he hath covered me with ashes.

17 And thou hast removed my soul far off from peace: I forgat prosperity.

18 And I said, My strength and my hope is perished from the LORD:

19 Remembering mine affliction and my misery, the wormwood and the gall.

20 My soul hath them still in remembrance, and is humbled in me.

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

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

23 They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness.

24 The LORD is my portion, saith my soul; therefore will I hope in him.

25 The LORD is good unto them that wait for him, to the soul that seeketh 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 bear the yoke of his youth.

28 He sitteth alone and keepeth silence, because he hath borne it upon him.

29 He putteth his mouth in the dust; if so be there may be hope.

30 He giveth his cheek to him that smiteth him: he is filled full with reproach.

31 For the LORD will not cast off for ever:

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

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

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 approveth not.

37 Who is he that saith, and it cometh to pass, when the Lord commandeth it not?

38 Out of the mouth of the most High proceedeth not evil and good?

39 Wherefore doth a living man complain, a man for the punishment of his sins?

40 Let us search and try our ways, and turn again to the LORD.

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

42 We have transgressed and have rebelled: thou hast not pardoned.

43 Thou hast covered with anger, and persecuted us: thou hast slain, thou hast not pitied.

44 Thou hast covered thyself with a cloud, that our prayer should not pass through.

45 Thou hast made us as the offscouring and refuse in the midst of the people.

46 All our enemies have opened their mouths against us.

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

48 Mine eye runneth down with rivers of water for the destruction of the daughter of my people.

49 Mine eye trickleth down, and ceaseth not, without any intermission.

50 Till the LORD look down, and behold from heaven.

51 Mine eye affecteth mine heart because of all the daughters of my city.

52 Mine enemies chased me sore, 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 mine head; then I said, I am cut off.

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

56 Thou hast heard my voice: hide not thine ear at my breathing, at my cry.

57 Thou drewest near in the day that I called upon thee: thou saidst, Fear not.

58 O LORD, thou hast pleaded the causes of my soul; thou hast redeemed my life.

59 O LORD, thou hast seen my wrong: judge thou my cause.

60 Thou hast seen all their vengeance and all their imaginations against me.

61 Thou hast heard their reproach, O LORD, and all their imaginations against me;

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

63 Behold their sitting down, and their rising up; I am their musick.

64 Render unto them a recompence, O LORD, according to the work of their hands.

65 Give them sorrow of heart, thy curse unto them.

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

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Summary and the Meaning of Lamentations Chapter 3

The book of Lamentations is a poetic book in the Old Testament of the Bible, traditionally attributed to the prophet Jeremiah. The third chapter of Lamentations is arguably the heart of the book, situated at the midpoint of its five chapters. This chapter stands out for its unique structure, emotional intensity, and profound theological insights. It is an intimate, first-person account of personal and communal suffering, an expression of deep faith amid despair, and a testament to the enduring hope in the steadfast love and mercy of God.

The Structure and Content of Lamentations 3

Lamentations 3 is composed of 66 verses, making it the longest chapter in the book. Its structure follows an acrostic pattern, with each of the 22 letters of the Hebrew alphabet beginning three consecutive lines. This intricate literary design suggests a thoughtful and deliberate crafting of the text, reinforcing the depth and intensity of the emotions expressed within it.

The chapter opens with the speaker describing himself as a man who has seen affliction under the rod of God's wrath. He speaks of feeling trapped, isolated, and bereft of peace. These vivid images of suffering and despair reflect the collective experience of the Jewish people following the destruction of Jerusalem and the Babylonian exile.

The Themes of Suffering and Divine Judgment

One of the central themes of Lamentations 3 is suffering, both physical and emotional. The speaker describes his affliction in graphic terms, giving voice to the profound pain and sorrow felt by the Jewish people in exile. This suffering is understood as a consequence of divine judgment, a punishment for the nation's sin and rebellion against God.

Yet, even in the midst of despair, the speaker acknowledges the justice of God's judgment. He recognizes that his affliction is a result of his transgressions and the sin of his people. This acknowledgment of guilt is a significant step towards repentance and restoration, suggesting a glimmer of hope amid the darkness of despair.

The Theme of Hope and Divine Mercy

In the middle of the chapter, the tone shifts from despair to hope. The speaker declares, "Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope: Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness" (Lamentations 3:21-23). This affirmation of God's steadfast love and mercy is one of the most powerful and well-known passages in the entire book.

This turning point in the chapter underscores another central theme: the enduring hope in God's mercy. Despite the severity of their affliction, the speaker clings to the belief that God's mercy is greater than His wrath, that His compassion is renewed every morning, and that His faithfulness is unwavering. This hope in God's mercy is not a denial of their present suffering, but a profound affirmation of their faith in God's redemptive power and love.

The Theme of Lament and Prayer

Lamentations 3 is also marked by a strong theme of lament and prayer. The speaker pours out his grief before God, expressing his anguish and despair in raw and honest terms. Yet, his lament is not just a cry of pain, but also a form of prayer. He pleads with God to see his affliction, to judge his cause, and to bring him relief from his suffering.

This lament is a powerful expression of faith. It reflects a deep trust in God's justice and mercy, and a profound hope in His power to deliver and restore. It is a testament to the speaker's unbroken relationship with God, even amid the depths of despair.

The Meaning of Lamentations 3

The third chapter of Lamentations offers a profound exploration of the human experience of suffering and the theological understanding of divine judgment and mercy. It provides a model of lament that is both emotionally honest and deeply faithful, inviting the reader to bring their own pain and sorrow before God.

At the same time, Lamentations 3 offers a message of hope and comfort to those who are suffering. It affirms the steadfast love and mercy of God, reminding us that even in the midst of our darkest trials, God's compassion never fails and His faithfulness is great. This message of hope is not only a comfort to those in despair, but also a challenge to trust in God's redemptive power and to hold fast to hope, even when it seems most elusive.

Finally, Lamentations 3 reminds us of the importance of repentance and restoration in our relationship with God. It encourages us to acknowledge our sins and to seek God's mercy, assuring us that God is just and willing to forgive. This assurance of God's mercy and forgiveness is a source of hope and comfort, and a call to live in accordance with God's commands.

In conclusion, the third chapter of Lamentations is a powerful testament to the human capacity for faith and hope amid suffering. It challenges us to confront our own pain and despair, to acknowledge our sins and seek God's mercy, and to hold fast to the hope of God's steadfast love and faithfulness. It is a chapter that speaks to the depths of human experience, offering a message of hope and comfort that resonates across the centuries.

This article is informed by the King James Version of the Holy Bible, the authors' personal knowledge, considerations and experience, and additional materials and resources available in internet.

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