Day 241: Lamentations 3-5

(The previous post covered the first two lamentations which showed God's judgment was on all of His people because they did not heed His warnings. These terrors did not have to happen. The reason they did was Justice.)

Lamentations 3

(This third poem contained sixty-six verses, three times as many as the other two. This poem represented the deepest of sufferings, contained a confession of sin, an acknowledgment of God's Justice, and a prayer of faith and for forgiveness. Jeremiah used his own experiences and response to affliction to help the Jews know how to respond well to the affliction they were experiencing.)

(Verses 1-21 showed Jeremiah crying out about his own sorrows…)

1 I am the man that hath seen affliction by the rod of his wrath.
2 He hath led me and caused me to walk in darkness, and not in light.

(Jeremiah was sent to prophesy to people that he knew would not receive his message and would persecute him.)

3 Surely against me he turneth his hand again and again 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 made me to dwell in dark places, as those that have been long dead.
7 He hath walled me about, that I cannot go forth; he hath made my chain heavy.

(Jeremiah carried a heavy burden for God.)

8 Yea, when I cry, and call for help, he shutteth out my prayer.
9 He hath walled up my ways with hewn stone; he hath made my paths crooked.
10 He is unto me as a bear lying in wait, as a lion in secret places.
11 He hath turned aside my ways, and pulled me in pieces; he hath made me desolate.

(Jeremiah felt torn apart and destroyed by God.)

12 He hath bent his bow, and set me as a mark for the arrow.
13 He hath caused the shafts of his quiver to enter into my reins.
14 I am become a derision to all my people, and their song all the day.
15 He hath filled me with bitterness, he hath sated me with wormwood.
16 He hath also broken my teeth with gravel stones; he hath covered me with ashes.

(Jeremiah was continually bitter and lamenting.)

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

(Jeremiah's calling was such a burden to him that he forgot prosperity.)

18 And I said, My strength is perished, and mine expectation from Jehovah.
19 Remember mine affliction and my misery, the wormwood and the gall.
20 My soul hath them still in remembrance, and is bowed down within me.
21 This I recall to my mind; therefore have I hope.

(Although Jeremiah professed his sorrow, his soul was humbled (verse 20) and this brought him hope. Jeremiah knew that when he humbled himself was when God worked through him.)

22 It is of Jehovah's lovingkindnesses that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not.

(God's mercy was why they were not all consumed.)

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

(God's compassions were new every morning.)

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

(Now we see how Jeremiah was showing the Jews how to rightly handle the affliction against them: humble yourself, focus on God, and put your hope in Him.)

25 Jehovah is good unto them that wait for him, to the soul that seeketh him.

(God was Good (Right and Just) to those who wait for Him. Wait meant "to eagerly pursue" and "to bind together.")

26 It is good that a man should hope and quietly wait for the salvation of Jehovah.
27 It is good for a man that he bear the yoke in his youth.
28 Let him sit alone and keep silence, because he hath laid it upon him.
29 Let him put his mouth in the dust, if so be there may be hope.
30 Let him give his cheek to him that smiteth him; let him be filled full with reproach.
31 For the Lord will not cast off for ever.

(If men were repentant ("give his cheek to him that smiteth him"), they would be forgiven.)

32 For though he cause grief, yet will he have compassion according to the multitude of his lovingkindnesses.
33 For he doth not afflict willingly, nor grieve the children of men.

(God cannot act apart from Right and Just. He does have compassion and mercy but eventually everything will be equaled out.)

34 To crush under foot 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 cometh there not evil and good?

(Out of God's Mouth proceeded evil and good. This verse proved the importance of understanding the definitions of key words. If evil and good are not understood, it will result in a contradiction.
-Evil destroys.
-Good creates.)

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

(Jeremiah began a confession and repentance for Jerusalem…)

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

(Jeremiah wanted the people to be contrastive: to search out where they could be wrong.)

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.

(God was Just.)

43 Thou hast covered with anger and pursued us; thou hast slain, thou hast not pitied.
44 Thou hast covered thyself with a cloud, so that no prayer can pass through.

(Since the people were on the wrong side of Justice, God could not hear their prayers.)

45 Thou hast made us an off-scouring and refuse in the midst of the peoples.
46 All our enemies have opened their mouth wide against us.
47 Fear and the pit are come upon us, devastation and destruction.
48 Mine eye runneth down with streams of water, for the destruction of the daughter of my people.

(Jeremiah continued to express his sorrow for the destruction of the Jews.)

49 Mine eye poureth down, and ceaseth not, without any intermission,
50 Till Jehovah look down, and behold from heaven.
51 Mine eye affecteth my soul, because of all the daughters of my city.
52 They have chased me sore like a bird, they that are mine enemies without cause.

(Jeremiah began praying for vengeance on his enemies…)

53 They have cut off my life in the dungeon, and have cast a stone upon me.
54 Waters flowed over my head; I said, I am cut off.
55 I called upon thy name, O Jehovah, out of the lowest dungeon.

(Jeremiah had reached out to God when he was in prison.)

56 Thou heardest 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.

(God did hear Jeremiah's prayers…because Jeremiah was obedient and on the right side of Justice.)

58 O Lord, thou hast pleaded the causes of my soul; thou hast redeemed my life.
59 O Jehovah, thou hast seen my wrong; judge thou my cause.

(Jeremiah wanted to be judged. He wanted God to show him where/how and why he was wrong. Jeremiah was humble.)

60 Thou hast seen all their vengeance and all their devices against me.
61 Thou hast heard their reproach, O Jehovah, and all their devices against me,
62 The lips of those that rose up against me, and their device against me all the day.
63 Behold thou their sitting down, and their rising up; I am their song.
64 Thou wilt render unto them a recompense, O Jehovah, according to the work of their hands.

(Jeremiah asked God for judgment against his enemies.)

65 Thou wilt give them hardness of heart, thy curse unto them.
66 Thou wilt pursue them in anger, and destroy them from under the heavens of Jehovah.

Lamentations 4

(This fourth poem, like the first two and the fifth, was composed of twenty-two verses. This poem was divided into three parts: verses 1-11 concerned the miseries that had fallen upon Judah; verses 12-20 concerned the causes for judgment on Judah; verses 21-22 was a prophecy of the punishment of Edom and the final restoration of Israel.)

1 How is the gold become dim! how is the most pure gold changed! The stones of the sanctuary are poured out at the head of every street.

(The temple had been completely torn down by the Babylonians.)

2 The precious sons of Zion, comparable to fine gold, How are they esteemed as earthen pitchers, the work of the hands of the potter!

(The lives of the Jews were turned from fine gold to clay pitchers.)

3 Even the jackals draw out the breast, they give suck to their young ones: The daughter of my people is become cruel, like the ostriches in the wilderness.
4 The tongue of the sucking child cleaveth to the roof of his mouth for thirst: The young children ask bread, and no man breaketh it unto them.

(Children were thirsty and hungry and not a man was giving nourishment to them.)

5 They that did feed delicately are desolate in the streets: They that were brought up in scarlet embrace dunghills.
6 For the iniquity of the daughter of my people is greater than the sin of Sodom, That was overthrown as in a moment, and no hands were laid upon her.

(The iniquity of Jerusalem was greater than the sin of Sodom.)

7 Her nobles were purer than snow, they were whiter than milk; They were more ruddy in body than rubies, their polishing was as of sapphire.
8 Their visage is blacker than a coal; they are not known in the streets: Their skin cleaveth to their bones; it is withered, it is become like a stick.
9 They that are slain with the sword are better than they that are slain with hunger; For these pine away, stricken through, for want of the fruits of the field.

(It was better to die by the sword than how the people in Jerusalem were dying of hunger.)

10 The hands of the pitiful women have boiled their own children; They were their food in the destruction of the daughter of my people.

(The famine was so severe that children were eaten. Remember, the Jews were deep into idolatry and had at times given their children as offerings to their false gods: 2 Kings 22:6; 23:10.)

11 Jehovah hath accomplished his wrath, he hath poured out his fierce anger; And he hath kindled a fire in Zion, which hath devoured the foundations thereof.

(Verse 12 transitioned into part two of this poem…)

12 The kings of the earth believed not, neither all the inhabitants of the world, That the adversary and the enemy would enter into the gates of Jerusalem.

(All the people of the world did not believe that Jerusalem would be destroyed by an adversary. This verse showed that at that time, Jerusalem looked invincible. Are there nations today that appear to be invincible?)

13 It is because of the sins of her prophets, and the iniquities of her priests, That have shed the blood of the just in the midst of her.

(The cause of the judgment was the iniquity of the prophets and priests of the people. Are there nations today that no longer appear invincible because of the sins of their prophets and priests? These were two very powerful verses. A nation that looked invincible ended up being conquered not because of economic, military, or political reasons. The reasons this nation was conquered was because of religious reasons.)

14 They wander as blind men in the streets, they are polluted with blood, So that men cannot touch their garments.
15 Depart ye, they cried unto them, Unclean! depart, depart, touch not! When they fled away and wandered, men said among the nations, They shall no more sojourn here.
16 The anger of Jehovah hath scattered them; he will no more regard them: They respected not the persons of the priests, they favored not the elders.

(The Jews were scattered among other nations but were not favored by them.)

17 Our eyes do yet fail in looking for our vain help: In our watching we have watched for a nation that could not save.

(The nations whom Judah saw as their allies were of no help to them.)

18 They hunt our steps, so that we cannot go in our streets: Our end is near, our days are fulfilled; for our end is come.
19 Our pursuers were swifter than the eagles of the heavens: They chased us upon the mountains, they laid wait for us in the wilderness.

(During this time, the Jews were pursued (persecuted) continually.)

20 The breath of our nostrils, the anointed of Jehovah, was taken in their pits; Of whom we said, Under his shadow we shall live among the nations.

(Verse 21 transitioned into part three of this poem…)

21 Rejoice and be glad, O daughter of Edom, that dwellest in the land of Uz: The cup shall pass through unto thee also; thou shalt be drunken, and shalt make thyself naked.

(Edom's time was short before judgment would come. Edom was from Esau.)

22 The punishment of thine iniquity is accomplished, O daughter of Zion; he will no more carry thee away into captivity: He will visit thine iniquity, O daughter of Edom; he will uncover thy sins.

Lamentations 5

(The fifth and final poem of this book contained twenty-two verses. This poem was divided into two parts: verses 1-16 spoke again of the ruin of Judah and Jerusalem; verses 17-22 were Jeremiah's plea for mercy.)

1 Remember, O Jehovah, what is come upon us: Behold, and see our reproach.

(The Jews wanted God to remember what had happened.)

2 Our inheritance is turned unto strangers, Our houses unto aliens.
3 We are orphans and fatherless; Our mothers are as widows.

(Jerusalem was filled with strangers and aliens and the Jews had become orphans and widows.)

4 We have drunken our water for money; Our wood is sold unto us.

(Water and wood were resources the Jews began to have to pay for.)

5 Our pursuers are upon our necks: We are weary, and have no rest.
6 We have given the hand to the Egyptians, And to the Assyrians, to be satisfied with bread.

(The Jews were persecuted so often they were unable to rest.)

7 Our fathers sinned, and are not; And we have borne their iniquities.
8 Servants rule over us: There is none to deliver us out of their hand.

(Those who were servants now ruled over the Jews.)

9 We get our bread at the peril of our lives, Because of the sword of the wilderness.
10 Our skin is black like an oven, Because of the burning heat of famine.

(The famine was so great that the wilderness was as an enemy to the Jews.)

11 They ravished the women in Zion, The virgins in the cities of Judah.
12 Princes were hanged up by their hand: The faces of elders were not honored.
13 The young men bare the mill; And the children stumbled under the wood.
14 The elders have ceased from the gate, The young men from their music.

(The people were being persecuted in a number of ways.)

15 The joy of our heart is ceased; Our dance is turned into mourning.

(Verse 16 transitioned to part two of this poem. Jeremiah began to plea for mercy…)

16 The crown is fallen from our head: Woe unto us! for we have sinned.

(Jeremiah made a confession. He was speaking for the people.)

17 For this our heart is faint; For these things our eyes are dim;
18 For the mountain of Zion, which is desolate: The foxes walk upon it.
19 Thou, O Jehovah, abidest for ever; Thy throne is from generation to generation.
20 Wherefore dost thou forget us for ever, And forsake us so long time?

(Jeremiah was not aware of how long God would forsake His people.)

21 Turn thou us unto thee, O Jehovah, and we shall be turned; Renew our days as of old.

(Jeremiah wanted God to help the Jews turn back to Him.)

22 But thou hast utterly rejected us; Thou art very wroth against us.

(Jeremiah also knew how angry God was toward them. The Book of Lamentations was the third of the five books that made up the major prophet section of the Old Testament. This book consisted of five poems of lamentation by Jeremiah over the destruction of Israel and Jerusalem. The next book of the major prophet section continued the chronology of Israel's captivity...)

Day 242

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