The first four chapters have been acrostic poems. There is an image of their suffering for every letter of the alphabet, four times over
Each chapter (aka poem) has a with-God /without-God pattern. All this long list of things that are truly terrible and are from God. But at the end of each, remembering that to be without God is even worse.
This is a limit of lamentation. Better not to be an enemy of God, even as they are relatively prosperous and successful, and being, for the time being, used by God to vent his wrath and judgement on Israel.
At the centre of the set of five poems, in the middle of chapter three, hope.
Today’s poem has no overt hope except a reference in the last verse to the punishment eventually ending. It compares their previous ease and wealth with their current degraded state. The vivid poetic language is so rich and engaging, it’s own creativity is a counterpoint to the bleakness it describes:
How the precious children of Zion,
once worth their weight in gold,
are now considered as pots of clay,
the work of a potter’s hands!
Even jackals offer their breasts
to nurse their young,
but my people have become heartless
like ostriches in the desert.
The reference to ostriches is a reference to their habit of not really nurturing their young. Their eggs are hatched in communal nests, no link with a particular mother.
This section about children passage ends with one of the Bible’s unreadable “OK, you went there” moments, when it refers to compassionate parents cooking their children.
I’ve been kicking up a stink at work, I made the best case I could about the redundancy proposed for my job being legally unfair, and it came out actually pretty plausible, won’t bore you with the details.
Yesterday – ostensibly my last day – they came back with the promise of a three month contract working on something else. That would give me a better platform from which to find other work, a longer continuity of income.
They are trying to mollify me, my complaint seems to have shifted some leverage my way. They still win but.
Sigh, I’ll probably do that. Such a whiplash. I came from my farewell lunch with a few close friends, back to the office to meet with my boss who acted surprised that I would think it was my last day. Of course I was carrying on!
It was, as Kelly said when I unpacked with her about it, a mind fuck.
I feel quite wrung out and exhausted. But I’m not boiling the kids, so I suppose I should count my blessings.