The forgotten happiness (Lam 3:16-3:18)

Vav

“Yahweh has made

My teeth grind

On gravel.

He made me

Cower in ashes.

My soul is bereft

Of peace.

I have forgotten

What happiness is.

So I say.

‘Gone is my glory,

All that I had hoped for

From Yahweh.’”

This suffering person proclaims that Yahweh has made him grind his teeth on gravel, which is not a pretty thought. Yahweh made him cower or be afraid with ashes on him, as if in mourning. His soul had no peace. He had forgotten what happiness was. All the glory that he had hoped for from Yahweh was gone. He was almost in despair. These three verses start with the Hebrew consonant letter Vav in this acrostic poem.

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Business transactions (Prov 20:14-20:17)

“‘It is bad.

It is bad.’

Says the buyer.

Then he goes away.

Then he boasts.

There is gold.

There is an abundance of costly stones.

But the lips informed by knowledge

Are a precious jewel.

Take the garment of one

Who has given surety for a stranger.

Seize the pledge

Given as surety for foreigners.

Bread gained by deceit is sweet.

But afterward the mouth will be full of gravel.”

Here we have a series of business transactions. We have already seen the bad scales and measures. Now this is how people complain when they buy something, saying it is bad. However, when they go away they boast about the good bargain they just made. Although there are gold and precious stones, nothing is more precious than lips informed by knowledge. Then there is the problem of pledge and surety for loans. It is not a good idea to lend to strangers, especially if you are the stranger. You seem to be able to take their garments and pledges. Watch out for bread that you get by being deceitful, it may taste sweet at first, but afterwards it will be like a mouthful of gravel.