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.

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A song of thanksgiving to Yahweh (Ps 124:1-124:5)

A song of ascents, of David

“If it had not been Yahweh

Who was on our side,

Let Israel now say.

If it had not been Yahweh

Who was on our side,

When our enemies attacked us,

Then they would have swallowed us up alive.

Their anger was kindled against us.

Then the flood would have swept us away,

The torrent would have gone over us.

Then over us would have gone

The raging waters.”

Psalm 124 is another short song or psalm of thanksgiving on the pilgrimage ascending to Jerusalem, like the others in this series. Notice the repetition of the opening verses that made it easier to remember while moving on pilgrimage. If Yahweh was not on their side, they would have been swallowed up alive. Their enemies or the flood waters would have destroyed them. They were blessed that Yahweh was on their side of the battle against man and nature.