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.

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The prayer from the pit (Lam 3:55-3:57)

Qoph

“I called

On your name!

O Yahweh!

From the depths

Of the pit!

You heard my plea!

‘Do not close

Your ear

To my cry

For help!

But give me relief!’

You came near

When I called

On you.

You said.

‘Do not fear!’”

This personalized lament continues with a prayer from the bottom of the pit. This author called out to Yahweh. Yahweh then heard his plea as he did not close his ears. He responded to his cry for relief as he came near to him. Yahweh told him not to fear. There may be a happy ending after all this lamentation. These three verses start with the Hebrew consonant letter Qoph in this acrostic poem.

Cry for the children (Lam 2:19-2:19)

Qoph

“Arise!

Cry out

In the night,

At the beginning

Of the watches!

Pour out

Your heart

Like water

Before the presence

Of Yahweh!

Lift your hands

To him

For the lives

Of your children.

They faint

For hunger

At the head

Of every street.”

This author wanted everyone to cry to Yahweh at night, at the beginning of every watch change of the guard. However, there was nothing to guard. They were to pour out their heart like water before Yahweh. They were to pray with outstretched hands for the children who were fainting with hunger on every street corner in town. This verse starts with the Hebrew consonant letter Qoph. Each verse after this will use the next letter of the Hebrew alphabet in this acrostic poem.

The deceived lover (Lam 1:19-1:19)

Qoph

“I called

To my lovers.

But they deceived me.

My priests,

My elders,

Perished in the city.

They sought food

To revive

Their strength.”

Once again, we are back to a personal lament from Jerusalem itself. This time, it is about the former lovers of Jerusalem who deceived her. Both her priests and her elders died in the city, as they were out seeking food to keep their strength up. This verse starts with the Hebrew consonant letter Qoph. Each verse after this will use the next letter of the Hebrew alphabet in this acrostic poem.

My cry for help (Ps 119:145-119:152)

Qoph

“With my whole heart

I cry.

Answer me!

Yahweh!

I will keep your statutes.

I cry to you.

Save me!

Thus I may observe your decrees.

I rise before dawn.

I cry for help.                                                                              

I put my hope in your words.

My eyes are awake before each watch of the night.

Thus I may meditate on your promise.

In your steadfast love,

Hear my voice!

Yahweh!

In your justice,

Preserve my life!

Those who persecute me with evil purpose,

Draw near.

They are far from your law.

You are near.

Yahweh!

All your commandments are true.

Long ago

I learned from your decrees.

You have established them forever.”

This psalmist cried for help to Yahweh from his heart. He wanted to be saved because he kept the statutes of Yahweh. He rose before dawn with his crying prayer to Yahweh. In the middle of the night, he would get up and meditate on the promises of Yahweh. He wanted the steadfast love of Yahweh in his justice to preserve his life. He was being persecuted with an evil purpose by those who were far from Yahweh’s law. He wanted Yahweh near him because his commandments were true. He had long ago learned from Yahweh’s decrees that had been established forever. So ends this section on the nineteenth consonant letter of the Hebrew alphabet, Qoph.