The impenetrable Yahweh (Lam 3:43-3:45)

Samek

“You have wrapped yourself

With anger.

You have pursued us.

You have killed us

Without pity.

You have wrapped yourself

With a cloud.

Thus no prayer

Can pass through.

You have made us filth.

You have made us rubbish.

Among the people.”

This author turns in an unanswered prayer towards Yahweh, addressing him in the second person singular. Yahweh had wrapped himself in anger and a cloud. He had pursued this author and his friends, killing them without pity. Their prayers to Yahweh could not penetrate through the clouds. They had become filth and rubbish among all people as they were forsaken and downtrodden. These three verses start with the Hebrew consonant letter Samek in this acrostic poem.

Internal struggles with the wall (Neh 4:10-4:14)

“But Judah said. ‘The strength of the burden-bearers is failing. There is too much rubbish. We are unable to work on the wall.’ Our enemies said. ‘They will not know or see anything before we come upon them. We will kill them and thus stop the work.’ When the Jews who lived near them came, they said to us ten times. ‘From all the places where they live, they will come up against us.’  So in the lowest parts of the space behind the wall, in open places, I stationed the people according to their families, with their swords, their spears, and their bows. After I looked these things over, I stood up. I said to the nobles and the officials, as well as the rest of the people. ‘Do not be afraid of them. Remember Yahweh, who is great and awesome. Fight for your kin, your sons, your daughters, your wives, and your homes.’”

“Judah said” refers to the people of Judah who said these things. They said that they were losing their strength. There was just too much trash so that they were unable to work on the wall. They also were afraid of their enemies. They were afraid of getting killed. This was especially so in the lower parts of the wall. Nehemiah came up with a plan to station various families with sword, spears, and bows at these low places. Then he stood up to all of them. He told them not to be afraid. Yahweh was on their side because he was great and awesome. He wanted everyone to fight for their family, their children, their wives, and their homes.