The strong gates of Jerusalem (Lam 4:12-4:12)

Lamed

“The kings

Of the earth

Did not believe.

Nor did any

Of the inhabitants

Of the world

Believe

That any foe

Or any enemy

Could enter

The gates of Jerusalem.”

All the kings of the earth and all the inhabitants of the world did not believe that any foe or enemy would be able to enter the gates of Jerusalem. This is a little hyperbole. I am not sure that everyone thought this way. Nevertheless, it would be a big surprise for any foe to get through the very strong Jerusalem gates. This verse starts with the Hebrew consonant letter Lamed in this acrostic poem.

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The care of Yahweh (Lam 3:34-3:36)

Lamed

“When all

The prisoners

Of the land

Are crushed

Under foot,

Does Yahweh not see it?

When human rights

Are perverted

In the presence

Of the Most High,

Does Yahweh not see it?

When one’s case

Is subverted,

Does Yahweh not see it?”

In a strange way, this author seems to say that Yahweh sees bad things and lets them happen. Prisoners are being crushed. Human rights are perverted. Cases are subverted. The basic question is why doesn’t Yahweh do something, since he sees all this going on? These three verses start with the Hebrew consonant letter Lamed in this acrostic poem.

The fainting children (Lam 2:12-2:12)

Lamed

“They cry

To their mothers.

‘Where is bread?

Where is wine?’

They faint

Like wounded people

In the streets

Of the city.

Their life

Is poured out

On their mothers’ bosom.”

Here again we have a very descriptive presentation about young children asking their mothers for food and drink. They want to know whether there is any bread or wine. They are fainting like wounded soldiers in the streets of the city. They are slowly dying beside their mothers. This is not a pretty picture. This verse starts with the Hebrew consonant letter Lamed. Each verse after this will use the next letter of the Hebrew alphabet in this acrostic poem.

The sorrow in Jerusalem (Lam 1:12-1:12)

Lamed

“Is it nothing to you?

All you who pass by!

Look!

See!

If there is any sorrow

Like my sorrow?

It was brought

Upon me.

Yahweh inflicted it

On the day

Of his fierce anger.”

Now this is no longer a description of Jerusalem, but Jerusalem herself speaking out. She wants the passers-by to notice the great sorrow that is in Jerusalem. They should look and see what Yahweh in his anger has inflicted on her. There is no sorrow like the sorrow in Jerusalem. This verse starts with the Hebrew consonant letter Lamed. Each verse after this will use the next letter of the Hebrew alphabet in this acrostic poem.

The law is my delight (Ps 119:89-119:96)

Lamed

“Yahweh exists forever!

Your word is firmly fixed in heaven.

Your faithfulness endures to all generations.

You have established the earth.

It stands fast.

By your appointment

They stand today.

All things are your servants.

If your law had not been my delight,

I should have perished in my misery.

I will never forget your precepts.

By them,

You have given me life.

I am yours!

Save me!

I have sought your precepts.

The wicked lie in wait

To destroy me.

But I consider your decrees.

I have seen a limit to all perfection.

But your commandment is exceedingly broad.”

Yahweh is eternal in heaven. His faithfulness endures forever. He has established the earth and keeps it going. All things are his servants. This psalmist admits that if he did not have this delightful law, he might have perished in his misery. He would never forget the precepts of Yahweh since they gave him life. He gave himself fully to Yahweh. He relied on Yahweh to save him since he always sought his precepts. However, the wicked lay in wait for him in order to destroy him. The psalmist would consider the decrees of Yahweh and seek perfection because of the broad commandments. So ends this section on the twelfth consonant letter of the Hebrew alphabet, Lamed.