The walled in situation (Lam 3:7-3:9)


“Yahweh has walled me about

So that I cannot escape.

He has put heavy chains

On me.

Although I call,

Although I cry for help,

He shuts out

My prayer.

He has blocked

My ways

With hewn stones.

He has made

My paths crooked.”

This author feels walled in. He cannot escape, because he has heavy chains on him. When he calls for help, no one listens to him. Yahweh has blocked his way with carved stone walls. He can no longer walk a straight path, since all his paths are crooked, like a maze. These three verses start with the Hebrew consonant letter Gimel in this acrostic poem.

These outcasts now look down on Job (Job 30:9-30:15)

“Now they mock me in song.

I am a byword to them.

They abhor me.

They keep aloof from me.

They do not hesitate to spit at the sight of me.

God has loosed my bowstring.

God has humbled me.

They now have cast off restraint in my presence.

On my right hand

The rabble rises up.

They send me sprawling.

They build roadblocks from ruin.

They break up my path.

They promote my calamity.

No one restrains them.

As through a wide breach they come.

Amid the crash they roll on.

Terrors are turned upon me.

My honor is pursued as by the wind.

My prosperity has passed away like a cloud.”

Once again, in colorful language, Job complains about the rabble around him. He did not like what they were doing to him. They were mocking him with various songs and stories. They did not like him. They spit in his direction when he came near to them. They really had no restraints in his presence since God had abandoned him. This rabble of outcasts sent him sprawling to the ground. They blocked his path. They were bullies to him since no one stopped them in their conduct. They already were the outcasts of society. They came at him just like through a hole in the wall. They just rolled over him. All of Job’s honor and prosperity was gone like a wind or cloud. Here today, but gone tomorrow.

The people in Ephron refuse passage to the Jews (1 Macc 5:45-5:48)

“Then Judas gathered together all the Israelites in Gilead, the small and the great, with their wives, children, and goods, a very large company, to go to the land of Judah. So they came to Ephron. This was a large and very strong town on the road. They could not go around it to the right or to the left. They had to go through it. But the people of the town shut them out. They blocked up the gates with stones. Judas sent them this friendly message.

‘Let us pass through your land

To get to our land.

No one will do you harm.

We will simply pass by on foot.’

But they refused to open to him.”

Judas Maccabeus was bringing all the Jews with all their families and belongings back to Judea, rather than have them live in foreign territories. This is like a mini-Exodus. Ephron was on the way to Judah, about 8 miles east of the Jordan River. However, the people of the town would not let Judas and his troops with all the new Jewish inhabitants pass through their town. They blocked the gates with stones. Then Judas sent a friendly message that was reminiscent of the Israelites to King Sihon of the Amorites in Numbers, chapter 21. Like then, the people of Ephron also refused to let them pass.