Immoral lepers (Lam 4:15-4:15)

Samek

“‘Away!

Unclean!’

People shouted

At them.

‘Away!

Away!

Do not touch!’

So they became

Fugitives.

So they became

Wanderers.

It was said

Among the nations.

‘They shall

Stay here

No longer.’”

These leaders had become immoral lepers. People shouted at them to get away from them. No one was to touch these unclean people. They became like fugitives and wanderers since nobody would take them in. Everyone said not to stay there any longer since they had become moral pariahs. This verse starts with the Hebrew consonant letter Samek in this acrostic poem.

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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.

The derision of Jerusalem (Lam 2:15-2:15)

Samek

“All who pass

Along the way

Clap their hands

At you.

They hiss.

They wag their heads

At the daughters

Of Jerusalem.

‘Is this the city

That was called

The perfection

Of beauty?

Is this the city

That was called The joy

Of all the earth?’”

This author talks about the people passing by Jerusalem, the outsiders, who deride this once beautiful city. They clap their hands as a sign of derision. They hiss at this city. They shake their heads in astonishment at the daughters of Jerusalem. What happened to this beautiful city that was a joy to all people on earth? Destruction is what happened. This verse starts with the Hebrew consonant letter Samek. Each verse after this will use the next letter of the Hebrew alphabet in this acrostic poem.

The crushing defeat of Zion (Lam 1:15-1:15)

Samek

“Yahweh has rejected

All my warriors

In the midst of me.

He proclaimed a time

Against me

To crush

My young men.

Yahweh has trodden

As in a wine press

The virgin daughter,

Judah.”

This lament continued with Jerusalem speaking in the first person. Yahweh has rejected all the warriors from Jerusalem and Judah. Yahweh, not the king of Babylon, has crushed the young men of Judah and Jerusalem. He has trodden and stomped over his virgin daughter, Judah, like a wine press. This verse starts with the Hebrew consonant letter Samek. Each verse after this will use the next letter of the Hebrew alphabet in this acrostic poem.

The law as a shield (Ps 119:113-119:120)

Samek

“I hate the double-minded people.

But I love your law.

You are my hiding place.

You are my shield.

I hope in your word.

Go away from me!

You evildoers!

Thus I may keep the commandments of my God.

Uphold me according to your promise!

Thus I may live.

Let me not be put to shame in my hope!

Hold me up!

Thus I may be safe.

I have regard for your statutes continually!

You spurn all who go astray from your statutes.

Their cunning is in vain.

All the wicked of the earth,

You count as dross.

Therefore I love your decrees.

My flesh trembles for fear of you.

I am afraid of your judgments.”

The psalmist did not like those who were double minded since he loved single minded people and the law. He used the law as a shield as he hoped in the word of God. He wanted the evildoers to go away so that he could keep the commandments of God. He wanted God’s promise to sustain his life so that he would not be put to shame. He wanted to be held safe according to the statutes of God. He knew that God spurned those who went astray from the commandments. Their cunning ways were useless and not worth anything. This psalmist, on the other hand, loved the decrees of God. He trembled with fear because he was afraid of God’s judgments. So ends this section on the fifteenth consonant letter of the Hebrew alphabet, Samek.