Lamentations 3:15
He hath filled me with bitterness, he hath made me drunken with wormwood.
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(15) Bitterness.—The Hebrew gives the plural, bitternesses. With these, the sorrows which are as the bitter herbs of life (the same word meets us in Exodus 12:8, and Numbers 9:11), the mourner had been filled even to satiety, even as he had been made drunk with wormwood.

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."He hath" filled me to the full with bitterness, i. e. bitter sorrows Job 9:18.15. wormwood—(Jer 9:15). There it is regarded as food, namely, the leaves: here as drink, namely, the juice.


That is, he hath filled me with severe and bitter dispensations.

Wormwood is a bitter herb, but it is also a wholesome herb, and therefore some think that the Hebrew word should rather be translated henbane, and that it signifies some herb whose juice is intoxicating and poisonous.

He hath filled me with bitterness,.... Or "with bitternesses" (m); instead of food, bitter herbs; the allusion perhaps is to the bitter herbs eaten at the passover, and signify bitter afflictions, sore calamities, of which the prophet and his people had their fill. The Targum is,

"with the gall of serpents;''

see Job 20:14;

he hath made me drunken with wormwood; with wormwood drink; but this herb being a wholesome one, though bitter, some think that henbane, or wolfsbane, is rather meant, which is of a poisonous and intoxicating nature; it is no unusual thing for persons to be represented as drunk with affliction, Isaiah 51:17.

(m) "amaritudinibus", V. L. Pagninus, Montanus, Michaelis, "amaroribus", Cocceius.

He hath filled me with bitterness, he hath made me drunk with {f} wormwood.

(f) With great anguish and sorrow he has made me lose my sense.

15. wormwood] See on Jeremiah 9:15; Jeremiah 23:15.

Verse 15. - With bitterness; literally, with bitternesses; i.e. bitter troubles. A reminiscence of Job 9:18. With wormwood; i.e. with a drink of wormwood (comp. Jeremiah 9:15; Jeremiah 23:15). We are slightly reminded of Psalm 69:21, "They gave me gall for my meat." Lamentations 3:15"He fills me with bitternesses" is a reminiscence from Job 9:18, only ממרורים being exchanged for מרורים. Of these two forms, the first occurs only in Job, l.c.; the latter denotes, in Exodus 12:8 and Numbers 9:11, "bitter herbs," but here "bitternesses." The reality (viz., bitter sorrow) is what Jeremiah threatens the people with in Jeremiah 9:14; Jeremiah 23:15. The figure employed in Lamentations 3:16 is still stronger. "He made my teeth be ground down on gravel." חצץ means a gravel stone, gravel, Proverbs 20:17. גּרס (which occurs only in Psalm 119:20 as well as here, and is allied to גּרשׂ, from which comes גּרשׂ, something crushed, Leviticus 2:14, Leviticus 2:16) signifies to be ground down, and in Hiphil to grind down, not to cause to grind; hence בּחצץ cannot be taken as a second object, "He made my teeth grind gravel" (Ewald); but the words simply mean, "He ground my teeth on the gravel," i.e., He made them grind away on the gravel. As regards the application of the words, we cannot follow the older expositors in thinking of bread mixed with stones, but must view the giving of stones for bread as referring to cruel treatment. The lxx have rendered הכפּישׁני by ἐψώμισέν με σποδόν, the Vulgate by cibavit me cinere. This translation has not been lexically established, but is a mere conjecture from Psalm 102:10. The ἁπ λεγ. ̔́̔̀נבך̓̀צ is allied with ,כּבשׁsubigere, and means in Rabbinic, deprimere; cf. Buxtorf, Lex. Rabb. s.v. Similarly, the Chaldee had previously explained the words to mean humiliavit ( )כּנעme in cinere; and Raschi, כפה inclinavit s. subegit me. Luther follows these in his rendering, "He rolls me in the ashes," which is a figure signifying the deepest disgrace and humiliation, or a hyperbolical expression for sprinkling with ashes (Ezekiel 27:30), as a token of descent into the depths of sorrow.
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