Personal suffering (Lam 3:1-3:3)

Aleph

“I am the one

Who has seen affliction

Under the rod

Of God’s wrath.

He has driven me.

He has brought me

Into darkness

Without any light.

Against me alone

He turns his hand

Again and again

All day long.”

These three short verses, instead of one verse, start with the Hebrew consonant letter Aleph. Each section after this will use the next letter of the Hebrew alphabet in this personal acrostic poem or psalm. Using the first person singular, this author proclaims that he has seen a lot of suffering. He has seen affliction, due to the rod or stick of God’s wrath. God drove him into darkness, without any light. God has turned his hand against him alone, over and over again, all day long. He was in great pain.

The fall of Babylon (Jer 51:7-51:10)

“Babylon was a

Golden cup

In Yahweh’s hand.

It made all the earth

Drunk.

The nations drank

Of her wine.

So that the nations

Went mad.

Suddenly Babylon

Has fallen.

It is shattered.

Wail for her!

Take balm

For her wound!

Perhaps she may be healed.

We tried

To heal Babylon.

But she could not be healed.

Forsake her!

Let each of us go

To our own country!

Her judgment has reached

Up to heaven.

Her judgment

Has been lifted up

Even to the skies.

Yahweh has brought forth

Our vindication.

Come!

Let us declare in Zion

The work of Yahweh

Our God.”

Babylon was like a golden cup of God’s wrath. The various nations drank this wrath from this golden cup. Thus they got drunk and went mad. Now suddenly Babylon has fallen and fell into many pieces. You can cry for her. You can try to heal her wounds, in hopes that she would be healed. Everyone tried to heal Babylon, but nothing worked. Then Yahweh said that you could cry and wail for her. Nevertheless, everyone should go to their own country. The judgment against Babylon has reached to the high heavens. Yahweh has enacted his vengeance and vindication. They were now to return to Zion, Jerusalem, to declare the works of Yahweh, their God. Bye-bye Babylon!