Lamentations 3:14
I was a derision to all my people; and their song all the day.
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(14) I was a derision.—The personal experience of the prophet breaks through the succession of imagery. The arrows that pierced to the quick were the taunts of the mockers who derided him (Jeremiah 20:7). “Their song.” (Comp. Job 30:9.)

Lamentations 3:14-19. I was a derision to all my people — To all the wicked among them, who made themselves merry with the prophet’s griefs and the public judgments; and their song all the day — Hebrew, נגינתם, their instrument of music. The word, says Blaney, “is commonly rendered their song; but I rather think it means a subject upon which they played, as upon a musical instrument, for their diversion.” He hath filled me with bitterness — A bitter sense of these calamities. God has access to the spirit, and can so imbitter it, as thereby to imbitter all enjoyments; as when the stomach is foul, whatever is eaten becomes acid in it. He hath made me drunken with wormwood — That is, so intoxicated me with the sense of my afflictions, that I know not what to say or do. He hath broken my teeth with gravel- stones — Hath mingled gravel with my bread, so that my teeth are broken with it, and what I eat is neither pleasant nor nourishing. He hath covered me with ashes — As mourners were wont to be; or, as some render הכפישׁני אפר, he hath laid me low, or made me wallow, in ashes, namely, because of great sorrow and grief. These expressions imply the height of misery; that he received no comfort or refreshment from any thing. I said, My strength, my hope is gone — I even began to despair of God’s mercy; remembering my affliction — Reflecting on all the miseries and hardships I had suffered. Without doubt it was his infirmity to think and speak thus, (Psalm 77:10,) for with God there is everlasting strength, and he is his people’s never-failing hope, whatever they may suspect to the contrary.

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.Metaphor is dropped, and Jeremiah shows the real nature of the arrows which rankled in him so deeply.14. (Jer 20:7).

their song—(Ps 69:12). Jeremiah herein was a type of Messiah. "All my people" (Joh 1:11).

Though some think the prophet speaks this of himself, yet, considering he hath all along spoken in the name of the people, it is not probable, which makes a difficulty, how the people could be a derision to themselves? It seemeth therefore ill translated, and that it should have been,

I was a derision to all people, leaving out my, that is, to all foreigners, to whom the Jews were made a derision and a hissing; there only wants the last letter in ymu and it is well observed by the learned author of the English Annotations, that the like defect is to be found, as to the same word, 2 Samuel 22:41, compared with Psalm 18:43, so that is not a pronoun affix, (upon which supposal our translators go,) but one of the letters that form the plural number, the other being left out, and ymu put for Mymzy.

I was a derision to all my people,.... So Jeremiah was to the people of the Jews, and especially to his townsmen, the men of Anathoth, Jeremiah 20:7; but if he represents the body of the people, others must be intended; for they could not be a derision to themselves. The Targum renders it, to the spoilers of my people; that is, either the wicked among themselves, or the Chaldeans; and Aben Ezra well observes, that "ammi" is put for "ammim", the people; and so is to be understood of all the people round about them, the Edomites, Moabites, and Ammonites, that laughed at their destruction; though some interpret it of the wicked among the Jews, to whom the godly were a derision; or of those who had been formerly subject to the Jews, and so their people, though not now:

and their song all the day; beating on their tabrets, and striking their harps, for joy; for the word (l) used signifies not vocal, but instrumental music; of such usage of the Messiah, see Psalm 69:12.

(l) a "pulsare istrumentum musicum".

I was a derision to all my people; and their song all the day.
14. a derision] See on Jeremiah 20:7 f., and cp. Job 12:4; Job 30:1-9; Psalm 69:12.

Verse 14. - A derision to all my people. If the text-reading is correct, these are the words of Jeremiah (or one like Jeremiah), describing the ill return accorded to his friendly admonitions. But the Massora mention Psalm 144:2; 2 Samuel 22:44; Lamentations 3:14, as passages in which "my people" is used, whereas we should expect "peoples." The Syriac Version of our passage actually translates "to all peoples," and the prefixed "all" certainly favours the plural, and so, in a far higher degree, does the view we have been led to adopt of the speaker of this Lamentation (see Introduction). The correction (ammim for ammi) has been received by Archbishop Seeker, by Ewald, and by J. Olshausen. Their song. A reminiscence of Job 30:9. Lamentations 3:14"Abused in this way, he is the object of scoffing and mockery" (Gerlach). In the first clause, the complaint of Jeremiah in Jeremiah 20:7 is reproduced. Rosenmller, Ewald, and Thenius are inclined to take עמּי as an abbreviated form of the plur. עמּים, presuming that the subject of the complaint is the people of Israel. But in none of the three passages in which Ewald (Gram. 177, a), following the Masoretes, is ready to recognise such a plural-ending, does there seem any need or real foundation for the assumption. Besides this passage, the others are 2 Samuel 22:44 and Psalm 144:2. In these last two cases עמּי gives a suitable enough meaning as a singular (see the expositions of these passages); and in this verse, as Gerlach has already remarked, against Rosenmller, neither the conjoined כּל nor the plural suffix of נגינתם requires us to take עמּי as a plural, the former objection being removed on a comparison of Genesis 41:10, and the latter when we consider the possibility of a constructio ad sensum in the case of the collective עם. But the assumption that here the people are speaking, or that the poet (prophet) is complaining of the sufferings of the people in their name, is opposed by the fact that הגּבר stands at the beginning of this lamentation, Lamentations 3:1. If, however, the prophet complained in the name of each individual among God's people, he could not set up כּל־עמּי in opposition to them, because by that very expression the scoffing is limited to the great body of the people. The Chaldee, accordingly, is substantially correct in its paraphrase, omnibus protervis populi mei (following Daniel 11:14). But that the mass of the people were not subdued by suffering, and that there was a great number of those who would not recognise the chastening hand of God in the fall of the kingdom, and who scoffed at the warnings of the prophets, is evinced, not merely by the history of the period immediately after the destruction of Jerusalem (Jeremiah 41ff.), and by the conduct of Ishmael and his followers (Jeremiah 41:2.), and of the insolent men who marched to Egypt in spite of Jeremiah's warning (Jeremiah 43:2), but also by the spirit that prevailed among the exiles, and against which Ezekiel had to contend; cf. e.g., Ezekiel 12:22. נגינתם is a reminiscence from Job 30:9; cf. Psalm 69:13.
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