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Lamentations 3:1-36

Context
The Prophet Speaks:

א (Alef) 1 

3:1 I am the man 2  who has experienced 3  affliction

from the rod 4  of his wrath.

3:2 He drove me into captivity 5  and made me walk 6 

in darkness and not light.

3:3 He repeatedly 7  attacks me,

he turns his hand 8  against me all day long. 9 

ב (Bet)

3:4 He has made my mortal skin 10  waste away;

he has broken my bones.

3:5 He has besieged 11  and surrounded 12  me

with bitter hardship. 13 

3:6 He has made me reside in deepest darkness 14 

like those who died long ago.

ג (Gimel)

3:7 He has walled me in 15  so that I cannot get out;

he has weighted me down with heavy prison chains. 16 

3:8 Also, when I cry out desperately 17  for help, 18 

he has shut out my prayer. 19 

3:9 He has blocked 20  every road I take 21  with a wall of hewn stones;

he has made every path impassable. 22 

ד (Dalet)

3:10 To me he is like a bear lying in ambush, 23 

like a hidden lion 24  stalking its prey. 25 

3:11 He has obstructed my paths 26  and torn me to pieces; 27 

he has made me desolate.

3:12 He drew 28  his bow and made me 29 

the target for his arrow.

ה (He)

3:13 He shot 30  his arrows 31 

into my heart. 32 

3:14 I have become the laughingstock of all people, 33 

their mocking song 34  all day long. 35 

3:15 He has given me my fill of bitter herbs

and made me drunk with bitterness. 36 

ו (Vav)

3:16 He ground 37  my teeth in gravel;

he trampled 38  me in the dust.

3:17 I 39  am deprived 40  of peace; 41 

I have forgotten what happiness 42  is.

3:18 So I said, “My endurance has expired;

I have lost all hope of deliverance 43  from the Lord.”

ז (Zayin)

3:19 Remember 44  my impoverished and homeless condition, 45 

which is a bitter poison. 46 

3:20 I 47  continually think about 48  this,

and I 49  am depressed. 50 

3:21 But this I call 51  to mind; 52 

therefore I have hope:

ח (Khet)

3:22 The Lord’s loyal kindness 53  never ceases; 54 

his compassions 55  never end.

3:23 They are fresh 56  every morning;

your faithfulness is abundant! 57 

3:24 “My portion is the Lord,” I have said to myself, 58 

so I will put my hope in him.

ט (Tet)

3:25 The Lord is good to those who trust 59  in him,

to the one 60  who seeks him.

3:26 It is good to wait patiently 61 

for deliverance from the Lord. 62 

3:27 It is good for a man 63 

to bear 64  the yoke 65  while he is young. 66 

י (Yod)

3:28 Let a person 67  sit alone in silence,

when the Lord 68  is disciplining him. 69 

3:29 Let him bury his face in the dust; 70 

perhaps there is hope.

3:30 Let him offer his cheek to the one who hits him; 71 

let him have his fill of insults.

כ (Kaf)

3:31 For the Lord 72  will not

reject us forever. 73 

3:32 Though he causes us 74  grief, he then has compassion on us 75 

according to the abundance of his loyal kindness. 76 

3:33 For he is not predisposed to afflict 77 

or to grieve people. 78 

ל (Lamed)

3:34 To crush underfoot

all the earth’s prisoners, 79 

3:35 to deprive a person 80  of his rights 81 

in the presence of the Most High,

3:36 to defraud a person in a lawsuit –

the Lord 82  does not approve 83  of such things!

1 sn The nature of the acrostic changes here. Each of the three lines in each verse, not just the first, begins with the corresponding letter of the alphabet.

2 tn The noun גֶּבֶר (gever, “man”) refers to a strong man, distinguished from women, children, and other non-combatants whom he is to defend. According to W. F. Lanahan the speaking voice in this chapter is that of a defeated soldier (“The Speaking Voice in the Book of Lamentations” JBL 93 [1974]: 41-49.) F. W. Dobbs-Allsopp (Lamentations [IBC], 108) argues that is the voice of an “everyman” although “one might not unreasonably suppose that some archetypal communal figure like the king does in fact stand in the distant background.”

3 tn The verb רָאָה (raah, “to see”) has a broad range of meanings, including (1) “to see” as to learn from experience and (2) “to see” as to experience (e.g., Gen 20:10; Ps 89:49; Eccl 5:17; Jer 5:12; 14:13; 20:18; 42:14; Zeph 3:15). Here it means that the speaker has experienced these things. The same Hebrew verb occurs in 2:20 where the Lord is asked to “see” (translated “Consider!”), although it is difficult to maintain this connection in an English translation.

4 tn The noun שֵׁבֶט (shevet, “rod”) refers to the weapon used for smiting an enemy (Exod 21:20; 2 Sam 23:21; 1 Chr 11:3; Isa 10:15; Mic 4:14) and instrument of child-discipline (Prov 10:13; 22:15; 29:15). It is used figuratively to describe discipline of the individual (Job 9:34; 21:9; 37:13; 2 Sam 7:14; Ps 89:33) and the nation (Isa 10:5, 24; 14:29; 30:31).

5 tn The verb נָהַג (nahag) describes the process of directing (usually a group of) something along a route, hence commonly “to drive,” when describing flocks, caravans, or prisoners and spoils of war (1 Sam 23:5; 30:2). But with people it may also have a positive connotation “to shepherd” or “to guide” (Ps 48:14; 80:1). The line plays on this through the reversal of expectations. Rather than being safely shepherded by the Lord their king, he has driven them away into captivity.

6 tn The Hiphil of הָלַךְ (halakh, “to walk”) may be nuanced either “brought” (BDB 236 s.v. 1) or “caused to walk” (BDB 237 s.v. 5.a).

7 tn The two verbs יָשֻׁב יַהֲפֹךְ (yashuv yahafokh, “he returns, he turns”) form a verbal hendiadys: the second verb retains its full verbal sense, while the first functions adverbially: “he repeatedly turns…” The verb שׁוּב (shuv, lit., “to return”) functions adverbially to denote repetition: “to do repeatedly, do again and again” (GKC 386-87 §120.d, g) (Gen 26:18; 30:31; Num 11:4; Judg 19:7; 1 Sam 3:5, 6; 1 Kgs 13:33; 19:6; 21:3; 2 Chr 33:3; Job 10:16; 17:10; Ps 7:13; Jer 18:4; 36:28; Lam 3:3; Dan 9:25; Zech 5:1; 6:1; Mal 1:4).

8 tn The idiom “to turn the hand against” someone is a figurative expression denoting hostility. The term “hand” (יָד, yad) is often used in idioms denoting hostility (Exod 9:3, 15; Deut 2:15; Judg 2:15; 1 Sam 5:3, 6, 9; 6:9; 2 Sam 24:16; 2 Chr 30:12; Ezra 7:9; Job 19:21; Ps 109:27; Jer 15:17; 16:21; Ezek 3:14). The reference to God’s “hand” is anthropomorphic.

9 tn Heb “all of the day.” The idiom כָּל־הַיּוֹם (kol-hayom, “all day”) means “continually” or “all day long” (Gen 6:5; Deut 28:32; 33:12; Pss 25:5; 32:3; 35:28; 37:26; 38:7, 13; 42:4, 11; 44:9, 16, 23; 52:3; 56:2, 3, 6; 71:8, 15, 24; 72:15; 73:14; 74:22; 86:3; 88:18; 89:17; 102:9; 119:97; Prov 21:26; 23:17; Isa 28:24; 51:13; 52:5; 65:2, 5; Jer 20:7, 8; Lam 1:13, 14, 62; Hos 12:2).

10 tn Heb “my flesh and my skin.” The two nouns joined with ו (vav), בְשָׂרִי וְעוֹרִי (basari vÿori, “my flesh and my skin”), form a nominal hendiadys: the first functions adjectivally and the second retains its full nominal sense: “my mortal skin.”

11 tn Heb “he has built against me.” The verb בָּנָה (banah, “to build”) followed by the preposition עַל (’al, “against”) often refers to the action of building siege-works against a city, that is, to besiege a city (e.g., Deut 20:2; 2 Kgs 25:1; Eccl 9:14; Jer 52:4; Ezek 4:2; 17:17; 21:27). Normally, an explicit accusative direct object is used (e.g., מָצוֹד [matsor] or מָצוֹדִים [matsorim]); however, here, the expression is used absolutely without an explicit accusative [BDB 124 s.v. בָּנָה 1a.η]).

12 tn The verb נָקַף (naqaf, “to surround”) refers to the military action of an army surrounding a besieged city by placing army encampments all around the city, to prevent anyone in the city from escaping (2 Kgs 6:14; 11:8; Pss 17:9; 88:18; Job 19:6).

13 tn Heb “with bitterness and hardship.” The nouns רֹאשׁ וּתְלָאָה (rosh utÿlaah, lit. “bitterness and hardship”) function as adverbial accusatives of manner: “with bitterness and hardship.” The two nouns רֹאשׁ וּתְלָאָה (rosh utÿlaah, “bitterness and hardship”) form a nominal hendiadys: the second retains its full nominal sense, while the first functions adverbially: “bitter hardship.” The noun II רֹאשׁ (rosh, “bitterness”) should not be confused with the common homonymic root I רֹאשׁ (rosh, “head”). The noun תְּלָאָה (tÿlaah, “hardship”) is used elsewhere in reference to the distress of Israel in Egypt (Num 20:14), in the wilderness (Exod 18:8), and in exile (Neh 9:32).

14 tn The plural form of the noun מַחֲשַׁכִּים (makhashakkim, “darknesses”) is an example of the plural of intensity (see IBHS 122 §7.4.3a).

15 tn The verb גָּדַר (garad) has a two-fold range of meanings: (1) “to build up a wall” with stones, and (2) “to block a road” with a wall of stones. The imagery depicts the Lord building a wall to seal off personified Jerusalem with no way of escape out of the city, or the Lord blocking the road of escape. Siege imagery prevails in 3:4-6, but 3:7-9 pictures an unsuccessful escape that is thwarted due to blocked roads in 3:7 and 3:9.

16 tn Heb “he has made heavy my chains.”

17 tn Heb “I call and I cry out.” The verbs אֶזְעַק וַאֲשַׁוֵּעַ (’ezaq vaashavvea’, “I call and I cry out”) form a verbal hendiadys: the second retains its full verbal sense, while the first functions adverbially: “I cry out desperately.”

18 tn The verb שׁוע (“to cry out”) usually refers to calling out to God for help or deliverance from a lamentable plight (e.g., Job 30:20; 36:13; 38:41; Pss 5:3; 18:7, 42; 22:25; 28:2; 30:3; 31:23; 88:14; 119:147; Isa 58:9; Lam 3:8; Jon 2:3; Hab 1:2).

19 tn The verb שָׂתַם (satam) is a hapax legomenon (term that appears in the Hebrew scriptures only once) that means “to stop up” or “shut out.” It functions as an idiom here, meaning “he has shut his ears to my prayer” (BDB 979 s.v.).

20 tn The verb גָּדַר (garad) has a two-fold range of meanings: (1) “to build up a wall” with stones, and (2) “to block a road” with a wall of stones. The collocated terms דְּרָכַי (dÿrakhay, “my roads”) in 3:9 clearly indicate that the second category of meaning is in view.

21 tn Heb “my roads.”

22 tn Heb “he had made my paths crooked.” The implication is that the paths by which one might escape cannot be traversed.

23 tn Heb “he is to me [like] a bear lying in wait.”

24 tc The Kethib is written אַרְיֵה (’aryeh, “lion”), while the Qere is אֲרִי (’ari, “lion”), simply a short spelling of the same term (BDB 71 s.v. אַרְיֵה).

25 tn Heb “a lion in hiding places.”

26 tn Or “he made my paths deviate.”

27 tn “Since the Heb. וַיְפַשְּׁחֵנִי (vaypashÿkheni) occurs only here, and the translation relies on the Syriac and the Targum, it is not certain that the image of God as a predatory animal continues into this verse especially since [the beginning of the verse] is also of uncertain meaning” (D. R. Hillers, Lamentations [AB], 54).

28 tn Heb “bent.”

29 tn Heb “and set me as the target.”

30 tn The Hiphil stem of בוֹא (bo’, lit., “cause to come in”) here means “to shoot” arrows.

31 tn Heb “sons of his quiver.” This idiom refers to arrows (BDB 121 s.v. בֵּן 6). The term “son” (בֵּן, ben) is often used idiomatically with a following genitive, e.g., “son of flame” = sparks (Job 5:7), “son of a constellation” = stars (Job 38:22), “son of a bow” = arrows (Job 41:2), “son of a quiver” = arrows (Lam 3:13), “son of threshing-floor” = corn (Isa 21:10).

32 tn Heb “my kidneys.” In Hebrew anthropology, the kidneys are often portrayed as the most sensitive and vital part of man. Poetic texts sometimes portray a person fatally wounded, being shot by the Lord’s arrows in the kidneys (Job 16:13; here in Lam 3:13). The equivalent English idiomatic counterpart is the heart, which is employed in the present translation.

33 tc The MT reads עַמִּי (’ammi, “my people”). Many medieval Hebrew mss read עַמִּים (’ammim, “peoples”), as reflected also in Syriac Peshitta. The internal evidence (contextual congruence) favors the variant עַמִּים (’ammim, “peoples”).

34 tn The noun נְגִינָה (nÿginah) is a musical term: (1) “music” played on strings (Isa 38:20; Lam 5:14), (2) a technical musical term (Pss 4:1; 6:1; 54:1; 55:1; 67:1; 76:1; Hab 3:19) and (3) “mocking song” (Pss 69:13; 77:7; Job 30:9; Lam 3:14). The parallelism with שׂחוֹק “laughingstock” indicates that the latter category of meaning is in view.

35 tn Heb “all of the day.” The idiom כָּל־הַיּוֹם (kol-hayyom, “all day”) means “continually” (Gen 6:5; Deut 28:32; 33:12; Pss 25:5; 32:3; 35:28; 37:26; 38:7, 13; 42:4, 11; 44:9, 16, 23; 52:3; 56:2, 3, 6; 71:8, 15, 24; 72:15; 73:14; 74:22; 86:3; 88:18; 89:17; 102:9; 119:97; Prov 21:26; 23:17; Isa 28:24; 51:13; 52:5; 65:2, 5; Jer 20:7, 8; Lam 1:13; 3:3, 62; Hos 12:2).

36 tn Heb “wormwood” or “bitterness” (BDB 542 s.v. לַעֲנָה; HALOT 533 s.v. לַעֲנָה).

37 tn Heb “crushed.”

38 tn The Hiphil stem of כָּפַשׁ (kafash) means “to tread down” or “make someone cower.” It is rendered variously: “trampled me in the dust” (NIV), “covered me with ashes” (KJV, NKJV), “ground me into the dust” (NJPS), “made me cower in ashes” (RSV, NRSV), “rubbed my face in the ground” (TEV) and “rubbed me in the dirt” (CEV).

39 tn Heb “my soul.” The term נַפְשִׁי (nafshi, “my soul”) is used as a synecdoche of part (= my soul) for the whole person (= I ).

40 tc The MT reads וַתִּזְנַח (vattiznakh), vav (ו) consecutive + Qal preterite 3rd person feminine singular from זָנַח (zanakh, “to reject”), resulting in the awkward phrase “my soul rejected from peace.” The LXX καὶ ἀπώσατο (kai apwsato) reflects a Vorlage of וַיִּזְנַח (vayyiznakh), vav (ו) consecutive + Qal preterite 3rd person masculine singular from זָנַח (zanakh): “He deprives my soul of peace.” Latin Vulgate repulsa est reflects a Vorlage of וַתִּזָּנַח (vattizzanakh), vav (ו) consecutive + Niphal preterite 3rd person feminine singular from זָנַח (zanakh): “My soul is excluded from peace.” The MT best explains the origin of the LXX and Vulgate readings. The מ (mem) beginning the next word may have been an enclitic on the verb rather than a preposition on the noun. This would be the only Qal occurrence of זָנַח (zanakh) used with the preposition מִן (min). Placing the מ (mem) on the noun would have created the confusion leading to the changes made by the LXX and Vulgate. HALOT 276 s.v. II זנח attempts to deal with the problem lexically by positing a meaning “to exclude from” for זָנַח (zanakh) plus מִן (min), but also allows that the Niphal may be the correct reading.

41 tn Heb “from peace.” H. Hummel suggests that שָׁלוֹם (shalom) is the object and the מ (mem) is not the preposition מִן (min), but an enclitic on the verb (“Enclitic Mem in Early Northwest Semitic, Especially in Hebrew” JBL 76 [1957]: 105). שָׁלוֹם (shalom) has a wide range of meaning. The connotation is that there is no peace within; the speaker is too troubled for any calm to take hold.

42 tn Heb “goodness.”

43 tn Heb “and my hope from the Lord.” The hope is for deliverance. The words, “I have lost all…” have been supplied in the translation in order to clarify the Hebrew idiom for the English reader.

44 tc The LXX records ἐμνήσθην (emnhsqhn, “I remembered”) which may reflect a first singular form זָכַרְתִּי (zakharti) whereas the MT preserves the form זְכָר (zÿkhor) which may be Qal imperative 2nd person masculine singular (“Remember!”) or infinitive construct (“To remember…”). A 2nd person masculine singular imperative would most likely address God. In the next verse נַפְשִׁי (nafshi, “my soul”) is the subject of זְכָר (zÿkhor). If נַפְשִׁי (nafshi) is also the subject here one would expect a 2fs Imperative זִכְרִי (zikhri) a form that stands in the middle of the MT’s זְכָר (zÿkhor) and the presumed זָכַרְתִּי (zakharti) read by the LXX. English versions are split between the options: “To recall” (NJPS), “Remember!” (RSV, NRSV, NASB), “Remembering” (KJV, NKJV), “I remember” (NIV).

tn The basic meaning of זָכַר (zakhar) is “to remember, call to mind” (HALOT 270 s.v. I זכר). Although it is often used in reference to recollection of past events, it can also describe consideration of present situations: “to consider, think about” something present (BDB 270 s.v. 5).

45 tn The two nouns עָנְיִי וּמְרוּדִי (’onyi umÿrudi, lit., “my poverty and my homelessness”) form a nominal hendiadys in which one noun functions adjectivally and the other retains its full nominal sense: “my impoverished homelessness” or “homeless poor” (GKC 397-98 §124.e). The nearly identical phrase is used in Lam 1:7 and Isa 58:7 (see GKC 226 §83.c), suggesting this was a Hebrew idiom. Jerusalem’s inhabitants were impoverished and homeless.

46 tn Heb “wormwood and gall.” The two nouns joined by ו (vav), לַעֲנָה וָרֹאשׁ (laana varosh, “wormwood and bitterness”) form a nominal hendiadys. The first retains its full verbal sense and the second functions adjectivally: “bitter poison.”

47 tc The MT reads נַפְשִׁי (nafshi, “my soul”); however, the Masoretic scribes preserve an alternate textual tradition, marked by the Tiqqune Sopherim (“corrections by the scribes”) of נַפְשֶׁךָ (nafshekha, “your soul”).

tn Heb “my soul.” The term נַפְשִׁי (nafshi, “my soul”) is used as a synecdoche of part (= my soul) for the whole person (= I ). The verb תִּזְכּוֹר (tizkor) is Qal imperfect 3rd person feminine singular and the subject is נַפְשִׁי (nafshi, “my soul”), though the term does not appear until the end of the verse functioning as the subject of both verbs. Due to the synecdoche, the line is translated as though the verb were 1st person common singular.

48 tn The infinitive absolute followed by an imperfect of the same root is an emphatic rhetorical statement: זָכוֹר תִּזְכּוֹר (zakhor tizkor, “continually think”). Although the basic meaning of זָכַר (zakhar) is “to remember, call to mind” (HALOT 270 I זכר), here it refers to consideration of a present situation: “to consider, think about” something present (BDB 270 s.v. זָכַר 5). The referent of the 3rd person feminine singular form of תִּזְכּוֹר (tizkor) is the feminine singular noun נַפְשִׁי (nafshi, “my soul”).

49 tc The MT reads נַפְשִׁי (nafshi, “my soul”); however, the Masoretic scribes preserve an alternate textual tradition, included in some lists of the Tiqqune Sopherim (“corrections by the scribes”) of נַפְשֶׁךָ (nafshekha, “your soul”).

tn Heb “my soul…” or “your soul…” The term נַפְשִׁי (nafshi, “my soul”) is used as a synecdoche of part (= my soul) for the whole person (= I ). Likewise, נַפְשֶׁךָ (nafshekha, “your soul”) is also a synecdoche of part (= your soul) for the whole person (= you).

50 tc The MT preserves the Kethib וְתָשִׁיחַ (vÿtashiakh), Qal imperfect 3rd person feminine singular from II שׁוּחַ (shuakh) + vav (ו) consecutive, while the Qere reads וְתָשׁוֹחַ (vÿtashoakh), Hiphil imperfect 3rd person feminine singular from II שׁוּחַ (shuakh) + vav (ו) consecutive. According to D. R. Hillers (Lamentations [AB], 56), the Kethib implies a Hiphil of שׁוּחַ (shuakh) which is unclear due to a lack of parallels, and reads the Qere as from the root שָׁחַח (shakhakh) which has close parallels in Ps 42:6, 7, 11; 43:5. The conjectured meaning for שׁוּחַ (shuakh) in BDB 1005 s.v שׁוּחַ is that of שָׁחַח (shakhakh). HALOT 1438-39 s.v. שׁוח reads the root as שָׁחַח (shakhakh) but the form as Qal.

tn Heb “and my soul sinks down within me.” The verb II שׁוּחַ (shuakh, “to sink down”) is used here in a figurative sense, meaning “to be depressed.”

51 tn Heb “I cause to return.”

52 tn Heb “to my heart.” The noun לֵבָב (levav, “heart”) has a broad range of meanings, including its use as a metonymy of association, standing for thoughts and thinking = “mind” (e.g., Deut 32:46; 1 Chr 29:18; Job 17:11; Ps 73:7; Isa 10:7; Hag 1:5, 7; 2:15, 18; Zech 7:10; 8:17).

53 tn It is difficult to capture the nuances of the Hebrew word חֶסֶד (khesed). When used of the Lord it is often connected to his covenant loyalty. This is the only occasion when the plural form of חֶסֶד (khesed) precedes the plural form of רַחֲמִים (rakhamim, “mercy, compassion”). The plural forms, as with this one, tend to be in late texts. The plural may indicate several concrete expressions of God’s kindnesses or may indicate the abstract concept of his kindness.

54 tc The MT reads תָמְנוּ (tamnu) “indeed we are [not] cut off,” Qal perfect 1st person common plural from תָּמַם (tamam, “be finished”): “[Because of] the kindnesses of the Lord, we are not cut off.” However, the ancient versions (LXX, Syriac Peshitta, Aramaic Targum) and many medieval Hebrew mss preserve the alternate reading תָּמּוּ (tammu), Qal perfect 3rd person common plural from תָּמַם (tamam, “to be finished”): “The kindnesses of the Lord never cease.” The external evidence favors the alternate reading. The internal evidence supports this as well, as the parallel B-line suggests: “his compassions never come to an end.” Several English versions follow the MT: “It is of the Lord’s mercies that we are not consumed” (KJV, NKJV), “Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed” (NIV). Other English versions follow the alternate textual tradition: “The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases” (RSV, NRSV), “The Lord’s lovingkindnesses indeed never cease” (NASB), “The kindness of the Lord has not ended” (NJPS) and “The Lord’s unfailing love still continues” (TEV).

55 tn The plural form of רַחֲמִים (rakhamim) may denote the abstract concept of mercy, several concrete expressions of mercy, or the plural of intensity: “great compassion.” See IBHS 122 §7.4.3a.

56 tn Heb “they are new.”

57 tn The adjective רַב (rav) has a broad range of meanings: (1) quantitative: “much, numerous, many (with plurals), abundant, enough, exceedingly” and (2) less often in a qualitative sense: “great” (a) of space and location, (b) “strong” as opposed to “weak” and (c) “major.” The traditional translation, “great is thy faithfulness,” is less likely than the quantitative sense: “your faithfulness is abundant” [or, “plentiful”]. NJPS is on target in its translation: “Ample is your grace!”

58 tn Heb “My soul said…” The term נַפְשִׁי (nafshi, “my soul”) is a synecdoche of part (= my soul) for the whole person (= I ).

59 tn Heb “wait for him”

60 tn Heb “to the soul…” The term נֶפֶשׁ (nefesh, “soul”) is a synecdoche of part (= “the soul who seeks him”) for the whole person (= “the person who seeks him”).

61 tn Heb “waiting and silently.” The two adjectives וְיָחִיל וְדוּמָם (vÿyakhil vÿdumam, “waiting and silently”) form a hendiadys: The first functions verbally and the second functions adverbially: “to wait silently.” The adjective דוּמָם (dumam, “silently”) also functions as a metonymy of association, standing for patience or rest (HALOT 217 s.v.). This metonymical nuance is captured well in less literal English versions: “wait in patience” (TEV) and “wait patiently” (CEV, NJPS). The more literal English versions do not express the metonymy as well: “quietly wait” (KJV, NKJV, ASV), “waits silently” (NASB), “wait quietly” (RSV, NRSV, NIV).

62 tn Heb “deliverance of the Lord.” In the genitive-construct, the genitive יהוה (YHWH, “the Lord”) denotes source, that is, he is the source of the deliverance: “deliverance from the Lord.”

63 tn See note at 3:1 on the Hebrew term for “man” here.

64 tn Heb “that he bear.”

65 sn Jeremiah is referring to the painful humiliation of subjugation to the Babylonians, particularly to the exile of the populace of Jerusalem. The Babylonians and Assyrians frequently used the phrase “bear the yoke” as a metaphor: their subjects were made as subservient to them as yoked oxen were to their masters. Because the Babylonian exile would last for seventy years, only those who were in their youth when Jerusalem fell would have any hope of living until the return of the remnant. For the middle-aged and elderly, the yoke of exile would be insufferable; but those who bore this “yoke” in their youth would have hope.

66 tn Heb “in his youth.” The preposition ב (bet) functions in a temporal sense: “when.”

67 tn Heb “him.” The speaking voice in this chapter continues to be that of the גֶּבֶר (gever, “man”). The image of female Jerusalem in chs. 1-2 was fluid, being able to refer to the city or its inhabitants, both female and male. So too the “defeated soldier” or “everyman” (see note at 3:1 on “man”) is fluid and can represent any member of the Jewish community, male and female. This line especially has a proverbial character which can be extended to any person, hence the translation. But masculine pronouns are otherwise maintained reflecting the Hebrew grammatical system and the speaking voice of the poem.

68 tn Heb “he”; the referent (the Lord) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

69 tn Heb “has laid it on him.” The verb נָטַל (natal) is used 4 times in Biblical Hebrew; the related noun refers to heaviness or a burden. The entry of BDB 642 s.v. is outdated while HALOT 694 s.v. נטל is acceptable for the Qal. See D. R. Hillers, Lamentations (AB), 57. Hillers’ suggestion of a stative meaning for the Qal is followed here, though based on 2 Sam 24:12 “impose” is also possible.

70 tn Heb “Let him put his mouth in the dust.”

71 tn Heb “to the smiter.”

72 tc The MT reads אֲדֹנָי (’adonay, “the Lord”) here rather than יהוה (YHWH, “the Lord”). See the tc note at 1:14.

73 tn The verse is unusually short and something unrecoverable may be missing.

74 tn Heb “Although he has caused grief.” The word “us” is added in the translation.

75 tn Heb “He will have compassion.” The words “on us” are added in the translation.

76 tc The Kethib preserves the singular form חַסְדּוֹ (khasdo, “his kindness”), also reflected in the LXX and Aramaic Targum. The Qere reads the plural form חֲסָדָיו (khasadayv, “his kindnesses”) which is reflected in the Latin Vulgate.

77 tn Heb “he does not afflict from his heart.” The term לֵבָב (levav, “heart”) preceded by the preposition מִן (min) most often describes one’s initiative or motivation, e.g. “of one’s own accord” (Num. 16:28; 24:13; Deut. 4:9; 1Kings 12:33; Neh. 6:8; Job 8:10; Is. 59:13; Ezek. 13:2, 17). It is not God’s internal motivation to bring calamity and trouble upon people.

78 tn Heb “sons of men.”

79 tn Heb “prisoners of earth/land.” The term ארצ may refer to (1) the earth or (2) a country or (3) the promised land in particular (as well as other referents). “Earth” is chosen here since the context presents God’s general principles in dealing with humanity. Given the historical circumstances, however, prisoners from the land of Israel are certainly in the background.

80 tn The speaking voice is still that of the גֶּבֶר (gever, “man”), but the context and line are more universal in character.

81 tn Heb “to turn away a man’s justice,” that is, the justice or equitable judgment he would receive. See the previous note regarding the “man.”

82 tc The MT reads אֲדֹנָי (’adonay, “the Lord”) here rather than יהוה (YHWH, “the Lord”). See the tc note at 1:14.

83 tn Heb “the Lord does not see.” The verb רָאָה (raah, “to see”) is here used in reference to mental observation and approval: “to gaze at” with joy and pleasure (e.g., 2 Kgs 10:16; Mic 7:9; Jer 29:32; Isa 52:8; Job 20:17; 33:28; Pss 54:9; 106:5; 128:5; Son 3:11; 6:11; Eccl 2:1). If the line is parallel to the end of v. 35 then a circumstantial clause “the Lord not seeing” would be appropriate. The infinitives in 34-36 would then depend on the verbs in v. 33; see D. R. Hillers, Lamentations (AB), 71.



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