Lamentations 3:1
I am the man that hath seen affliction by the rod of his wrath.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(1) I am the man.—The lamentation is one of more intense personality. For that very reason it has been the true inheritance of all mourners, however widely different in time, country, circumstance, whose sorrows have approximated to that intensity.

The rod of his wrath.—The “wrath” is obviously that of Jehovah (comp. Proverbs 22:8; Isaiah 10:5), but there is something significant in the fact that He is not named.

Lamentations 3:1-2. I am the man that hath seen affliction — I myself have suffered affliction in this time of public calamity. He speaks, probably, with a particular regard to the ill treatment he had met with in the discharge of his prophetical office. Some indeed suppose that he speaks in this and the subsequent verses, to Lamentations 3:21, in the character of the people, but so many passages manifestly refer to his own personal troubles, that such an interpretation seems very improbable. He hath brought me into darkness, but not into light — Light is often used in Scripture for happiness or comfort, and darkness for affliction and misery. The prophet’s meaning is, that God had been pleased to exercise him with calamity. Perhaps he refers especially to his being put into the dungeon and the stocks, and to the state of darkness and distress which his mind was in during these trials.

3:1-20 The prophet relates the more gloomy and discouraging part of his experience, and how he found support and relief. In the time of his trial the Lord had become terrible to him. It was an affliction that was misery itself; for sin makes the cup of affliction a bitter cup. The struggle between unbelief and faith is often very severe. But the weakest believer is wrong, if he thinks that his strength and hope are perished from the Lord.That hath seen affliction - i. e. hath experienced, suffered it. CHAPTER (ELEGY) 3

La 3:1-66.

Jeremiah proposes his own experience under afflictions, as an example as to how the Jews should behave under theirs, so as to have hope of a restoration; hence the change from singular to plural (La 3:22, 40-47). The stanzas consist of three lines, each of which begins with the same Hebrew letter.

Aleph.

1-3. seen affliction—his own in the dungeon of Malchiah (Jer 38:6); that of his countrymen also in the siege. Both were types of that of Christ.The faithful bewail their misery and contempt, Lamentations 3:1-21. They nourish their hope by consideration of the justice, providence, and mercies of God, Lamentations 3:22-38. They stir up themselves to repentance, patience, prayers, and confidence of deliverance for themselves, and Divine vengeance on their enemies, Lamentations 3:39-66.

Some understand this of the prophet, some of the people, who were before set out under the notion of a woman, a daughter, here of a man.

Affliction must here be taken emphatically for eminent degrees of affliction, caused not merely from the power and malice of the enemy, but from the wrath of God, though brought upon them by the Chaldeans, who were to the two tribes the rod of God’s wrath, as the Assyrians are called with reference to the ten tribes, Isaiah 10:5.

I am the man that hath seen affliction,.... Had a much experience of it, especially ever since he had been a prophet; being reproached and ill used by his own people, and suffering with them in their calamities; particularly, as Jarchi observes, his affliction was greater than the other prophets, who indeed prophesied of the destruction of the city and temple, but did not see it; whereas he lived to see it: he was not indeed the only man that endured affliction, but he was remarkable for his afflictions; he had a large share of them, and was herein a type of Christ, who was a man of sorrows, and acquainted with griefs:

by the rod of his wrath; that is, by the rod of the wrath of God, for he is understood; it is a relative without an antecedent, as in Sol 1:1; unless the words are to be considered in connection Lamentations 2:22. The Targum is,

"by the rod of him that chastiseth in his anger;''

so Jarchi; but God's chastisements of his own people are in love, though thought sometimes by them to be in wrath and hot displeasure; so the prophet imagined, but it was not so; perhaps some regard may be had to the instrument of Jerusalem's destruction, the king of Babylon, called the rod of the Lord's anger, Isaiah 10:5; all this was true of Christ, as the surety of his people, and as sustaining their persons, and standing in their room.

I am the man that hath seen {a} affliction by the rod of his wrath.

(a) The prophet complains of the punishments and afflictions that he endured by the false prophets and hypocrites when he declared the destruction of Jerusalem, as in Jer 20:1,2.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
1. by the rod of his wrath] For the figure cp. Job 9:34; Job 21:9; Psalm 89:32; Isaiah 10:5. We should notice the absence of God’s name Lamentations 3:1-21, except in Lamentations 3:18, in contrast with its frequency afterwards, when a ground of hope is found in the Divine pity and purpose (Lamentations 3:22-40), and in the prayer of Lamentations 3:55-66.

Verses 1-21. - MONOLOGUE SPOKEN BY AN INDIVIDUAL BELIEVER WHOSE FATE IS BOUND UP WITH THAT OF THE NATION; OR PERHAPS BY THE NATION PERSONIFIED (see Introduction). Verse 1. - Seen. "To see" in Hebrew often means "to experience;" e.g. Jeremiah 5:12; Psalm 16:10; Ecclesiastes 8:16. By the rod of his wrath. The idea is, not that Babylon has humbled Israel as Jehovah's instrument, but that God himself has brought these troubles upon his people. "He had led me, hath hedged me about," etc. Lamentations 3:1Lamentation over grievous sufferings. The author of these sufferings is not, indeed, expressly named in the whole section, but it is unmistakeably signified that God is meant; moreover, at the end of Lamentations 3:18 the name יהוה is mentioned. The view thus given of the sufferings shows, not merely that he who utters the complaint perceives in these sufferings a chastisement by God, but also that this chastisement has become for him a soul-struggle, in which he may not take the name of God into his mouth; and only after he has given vent in lamentations to the deep sorrow of his soul, does his spirit get peace to mention the name of the Lord, and make complaint to Him of his need. Nothing certain can be inferred from the lamentations themselves regarding the person who makes complaint. It does not follow from Lamentations 3:1-3 that he was burdened with sorrows more than every one else; nor from Lamentations 3:14 that he was a personage well known to all the people, so that one could recognise the prophet in him. As little are they sufferings which Jeremiah has endured alone, and for his own sake, but sufferings such as many godly people of his time have undergone and struggled through. Against the Jeremianic authorship of the poem, therefore, no argument can be drawn from the fact that the personality of him who utters the complaint is concealed.

Lamentations 3:1

In the complaint, "I am the man that saw (i.e., lived to see) misery," the misery is not specified; and we cannot, with Rosenmller, refer עני (without the article) to the misery announced by the prophet long before. "The rod of His wrath," as in Proverbs 22:8, is the rod of God's anger; cf. Job 21:9; Job 9:34; Isaiah 10:5, etc. The suffix in עברתו is not to be referred, with Aben Ezra, to the enemy.

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