New Defender's Study Bible Notes
3:1 I am the man. The prophet, still placing himself in substitution for His sinning nation, here begins the central lamentation of the five. This is different than the two before and the one following, in that it has sixty-six verses instead of twenty-two. That is, the acrostic structure is in triplets of verses; the first three verses each begin with the letter aleph, the second three with the letter beth, and so on through the twenty-two letters. Each verse is quite brief, however, in contrast to the longer verses of the other four lamentations.
3:13 reins. See note on Psalm 7:9.
3:21 therefore I have hope. In these closing lines of the seventh triplet, the note changes from despair to hope. Even in wrath, God remembers mercy!
3:22 compassions fail not. Jeremiah recalled that God had promised that the people of Israel would be preserved and eventually restored (Jeremiah 31:37-40; 46:28; etc.), though all he could see at the moment was devastation.
3:23 great is thy faithfulness. God is faithful to His Word, even when we are not faithful and forget His Word. Note II Timothy 2:13.
3:24 my soul. Even when our possessions are gone, our bodies dying, and we seem utterly forsaken, we still, like Job (Job 13:15), can trust our souls to God.
3:24 will I hope. In Lamentations 3:21, Jeremiah has hope in the Lord; in Lamentations 3:24, recalling God’s daily mercies and unfailing compassions, he does hope in the Lord.
3:26 salvation. “Salvation” (Hebrew yeshua) is actually the same as “Jesus.” The dying Jacob cried out, over eleven centuries earlier, “I have waited for thy salvation, O LORD” (Genesis 49:18). Jeremiah was also waiting for God’s “Jesus.” So are we, today! It is good to hope daily and wait patiently for His return, but we must (like Jeremiah) also “occupy” until He comes (Luke 19:13).
3:30 smiteth. See Luke 22:63. At this point, Jeremiah becomes more than ever a type of Christ in his sufferings.
3:33 doth not afflict willingly. This verse concludes the middle triplet of the middle chapter of Lamentations. Thus this triplet (Lamentations 3:31-33) appropriately constitutes the central theme of the whole book. God is “not willing that any should perish” (II Peter 3:9), but must lovingly chastise those of His people who rebel against His word. But “He will not always chide” (Psalm 103:9).
3:36 the Lord approveth not. Despite all the heartbreak of divine punishment on his countrymen, the prophet still knew that “the Judge of all the earth [will] do right” (Genesis 18:25).
3:55 low dungeon. In Lamentations 3:52-57, the prophet recalls his horrifying experience in the deep dungeon of Melchiah (Jeremiah 38:6-13).
3:66 Persecute and destroy them. In these closing verses of his longest lamentation, the prophet in effect composes an imprecatory psalm, calling on God to take vengeance on his enemies, for his enemies were really God’s enemies, and vengeance belongs to God.