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Lamentations 3:39

Context

3:39 Why should any living person 1  complain

when punished for his sins? 2 

Lamentations 3:43

Context

ס (Samek)

3:43 You shrouded yourself 3  with anger and then pursued us;

you killed without mercy.

1 tn The Hebrew word here is אָדָם (’adam) which can mean “man” or “person.” The second half of the line is more personalized to the speaking voice of the defeated soldier using גֶּבֶר (gever, “man”). See the note at 3:1.

2 tc Kethib reads the singular חֶטְאוֹ (kheto, “his sin”), which is reflected in the LXX. Qere reads the plural חֲטָאָיו (khataayv, “his sins”) which is preserved in many medieval Hebrew mss and reflected in the other early versions (Aramaic Targum, Syriac Peshitta, Latin Vulgate). The external and internal evidence are not decisive in favor of either reading.

tn Heb “concerning his punishment.” The noun חֵטְא (khet’) has a broad range of meanings: (1) “sin,” (2) “guilt of sin” and (3) “punishment for sin,” which fits the context of calamity as discipline and punishment for sin (e.g., Lev 19:17; 20:20; 22:9; 24:15; Num 9:13; 18:22, 32; Isa 53:12; Ezek 23:49). The metonymical (cause-effect) relation between sin and punishment is clear in the expressions חֵטְא מִשְׁפַט־מָוֶת (khetmishpat-mavet, “sin deserving death penalty,” Deut 21:22) and חֵטְא מָוֶת (khetmavet, “sin unto death,” Deut 22:26). The point of this verse is that the punishment of sin can sometimes lead to death; therefore, any one who is being punished by God for his sins, and yet lives, has little to complain about.

3 tn Heb “covered.” The object must be supplied either from the next line (“covered yourself”) or from the end of this line (“covered us”).



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