Posted by: duncandrews | May 27, 2011

A lamentation: even in his affliction is love

Here’s another translation, this time of a poem from Lamentations 3:28-33. The original Hebrew is an acrostic – the first three and second three couplets start with the same letter (for hebrew boffins, yod and kaph respectively). It’s also in a 3+2 meter – in each couplet, the first line has 3 stresses, the second 2 (with an exception).

Here’s the ESV.

Let him sit alone in silence
when it is laid on him;
let him put his mouth in the dust—
there may yet be hope;
let him give his cheek to the one who strikes,
and let him be filled with insults.
For the Lord will not
cast off forever,
but, though he cause grief, he will have compassion
according to the abundance of his steadfast love;
for he does not willingly afflict
or grieve the children of men.

Here’s my effort. I’ve tried to be fairly source-oriented (see previous post) in both the vocabulary used and the form it’s in (longer first line, shorter second; acrostic stanzas; and a sparseness I don’t think the ESV captures). Would love to hear your thoughts!

Lamentations 3:28-33

May he sit in silence, alone,
God’s burden heavy.
May he consume the dust
in faint hope.
May his cheek yield to God’s blows,
utterly ashamed.

For He will not spurn eternally,
the Lord.
For even in His affliction is love,
overpowering love.
For his heart desires not oppression,
the wounds of mankind.

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Responses

  1. I don’t have time to think about or comment on the meaning which comes through in these (I’m in the middle of checking a translation of Luke and have lots to do). But just to say that I love the sparseness of this. It’s just as I expect poetry to be, so I actually find it easier to understand than the more explicated ESV. I like it! I’d use your translation any day!


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