Against Edom (Lam 4:21-4:21)

Shin

“Rejoice!

Be glad!

O daughter Edom!

You live

In the land of Uz!

But to you also

The cup shall pass!

You shall

Become drunk!

You shall

Strip yourself bare!”

This poem ends with a swipe at Judah’s southern neighbor Edom. With an ironic twist, this author told Edom to rejoice and be glad because they lived in Uz, the place where Job lived. However, there was a warning that the cup of anger would pass to them. They would become drunk and naked. This verse starts with the Hebrew consonant letter Shin in this acrostic poem.

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The taunts of the enemy (Lam 3:61-3:63)

Shin

“You have heard

Their taunts!

O Yahweh!

You have heard

All their plots

Against me!

The whispers

With the murmurs

Of my assailants

Are against me

All day long.

Whether they sit

Or whether they rise,

I am the object

Of their taunt songs.”

This personalized lamentation approach continues with a complaint against his enemies who taunt him. They plot against him with whispers and murmurs all day long. Whether they are sitting around or moving about, they continue to make him the object of their taunting songs. These three verses start with the Hebrew consonant letter Shin in this acrostic poem.

Yahweh causes the death of many in Jerusalem (Lam 2:21-2:21)

Shin

“The young

With the old

Are lying

On the ground

In the streets.

My young women

With my young men

Have fallen

By the sword.

In the day

Of your anger,

You have killed them,

Slaughtering

Without mercy.”

Suddenly, the author switches to the first person singular as Jerusalem itself laments the death of its people. Both the young and the old people were lying in the streets dead. Both the young men and the young women were killed by the sword. Now this author, speaking as Jerusalem, blames all of this on Yahweh. He claimed with a very strong accusation that on the day of his anger, Yahweh killed and slaughtered the people of Jerusalem without mercy. This verse starts with the Hebrew consonant letter Shin. Each verse after this will use the next letter of the Hebrew alphabet in this acrostic poem.

The happy enemies (Lam 1:21-1:21)

Shin

“They heard

How I was groaning.

There is no one

To comfort me.

All my enemies

Heard of my trouble.

They are glad

That you have done it.

Bring on the day

You have announced!

Let them be as I am!”

Once again, we are back to a personal lament from Jerusalem as she complained about her groaning, since no one comforted her. Her enemies knew all about the troubles in Jerusalem, but they were glad that Yahweh had done this to her. However, Jerusalem was not going to take this sitting down. She wanted the day to come when her enemies would suffer as she was suffering now. This verse starts with the Hebrew letter Shin. Each verse after this will use the next letter of the Hebrew alphabet in this acrostic poem.

Praise Yahweh (Ps 119:161-119:168)

Shin

“Princes persecute me without cause.

But my heart stands in awe of your words.

I rejoice at your word,

Like one who finds great spoil.

I hate falsehood.

I abhor falsehood.

But I love your law.

Seven times a day,

I praise you

For your righteous ordinances.

Those who love your law have great peace.

Nothing can make them stumble.

I hope for your salvation.

Yahweh!

I fulfill your commandments.

My soul keeps your decrees.

I love them exceedingly.

I keep your precepts.

I keep your decrees.

All my ways are before you.”

Princes persecute the psalmist without cause, but his heart is in awe of Yahweh. He rejoiced at the word of Yahweh like one who had found great spoil after a victory. He loved the law. He hated and abhorred falsehood. He prayed 7 times a day, much like the later Christian choral prayers. He praised God for his righteous ordinances. He wanted peace for those who loved the law because nothing could make them stumble. He fulfilled the commandments of Yahweh. He kept his commandments, decrees, and precepts. Everything was laid out for Yahweh to see. So ends this section on the twenty-first consonant letter of the Hebrew alphabet, Shin.