The confession of sins (Dan 9:4-9:6)

“I prayed

To the Lord!

My God!

I made a confession.

I said.

‘O Lord!

Great God!

Awesome God!

You keep the covenant!

You have a steadfast love

With those

Who love you,

With those

Who keep your commandments!

We have sinned!

We have done wrong!

We have acted wickedly!

We have rebelled!

We have turned away

From your commandments,

From your ordinances!

We have not listened

To your servants,

The prophets,

Who spoke

In your name,

To our kings,

To our princes,

To our ancestors,

To all the people

Of the land.’”

Daniel personally prayed to God with this first-person singular confession of sins. However, he quickly reverted to the first-person plural “we” from the singular “I.” God was great and awesome. He had kept his covenant with a steadfast love to those who loved him and kept his commandments. However, they had sinned and done wrong. They had acted wickedly. They had rebelled and turned away from his commandments and ordinances. They had not listened to their prophets, kings, princes, ancestors, or even the people of the land.

The bad living conditions

“We get our bread

At the peril

Of our lives,

Because of the sword

In the wilderness.

Our skin is black

As an oven

From the scorching heat

Of famine.”

Once again in the first person plural, they complain about their living conditions. They have trouble getting bread. They are afraid of the wilderness, because they could die there. Their skin is turning black from the sun with famine all around them. Black skin was considered bad.

The sins of the ancestors (Lam 5:7-5:8)

“Our ancestors sinned.

They are no more.

We bear

Their iniquities.

Slaves rule

Over us.

There is no one

To deliver us

From their hand.”

Once again in the first person plural, they complain. There is no question that their ancestors had sinned, but they are dead. Thus the present living must bear their iniquities. The Chaldean slaves rule over them. There is no one anywhere who can help them to escape.

The hard life (Lam 5:5-5:6)

“With a yoke

On our necks,

We are hard driven.

We are weary.

We are given

No rest.

We have made a pact

With Egypt.

We have made a pact

With Assyria

To get bread enough.”

Once again in the first person plural, they complain about yoke on their necks as in Jeremiah, chapter 28. They are tired because they are forced into hard labor without much rest. They had to make a pact with Egypt and Assyria to get enough bread to eat. Actually, Assyria had already disappeared.

Orphans and widows (Lam 5:3-5:4)

“We have become

Orphans!

We are fatherless!

Our mothers are

Like widows!

We must pay

For the water

We drink!

The wood

We get

Must be bought.”

Assuming the first person plural, this author laments the situation of him and his friends left in Jerusalem. They have become orphans, without fathers. Their mothers have become widows. They have to pay for the water and the wood for their existence. Life is tough.

Being pursued (Lam 4:19-4:19)

Qoph

“Our pursuers

Were swifter

Than the eagles

In the heavens.

They chased us

On the mountains.

They lay in wait

For us

In the wilderness.”

Continuing with the first person plural, the people of Jerusalem and this author believed that they were being pursued by their enemies that were faster than the eagles in the sky. Their foes chased them into the mountains and lay waiting to ambush them in the desert wilderness, since their enemies were all around them. This verse starts with the Hebrew consonant letter Qoph in this acrostic poem.

Our days are numbered (Lam 4:18-4:18)

Cade

“They dogged

Our steps.

Thus we could

Not walk

In our streets.

Our end

Drew near.

Our days

Were numbered.

Our end

Had come.”

This verse speaks in the first person plural, referring to the people of Jerusalem. Their enemies persisted in watching them walking, so that they could not step out into the streets. Their end was near. Their days were numbered. Their end had come. They would be no more.   This verse starts with the Hebrew consonant letter Cade in this acrostic poem.