Lamentations 3:17
And thou hast removed my soul far off from peace: I forgat prosperity.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(17) Thou hast removed my soul far off from peace.—The verb is found in this sense in Psalm 88:14. By some critics it is taken as passive, and in the 3rd person feminine. My soul loathes peace, i.e., has lost even the desire of better things; or, My soul is despised of peace, i.e., is shut out from it. But the Authorised version is preferable.

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.Prosperity - literally, as in the margin, i. e. I forgot what good was, I lost the very idea of what it meant.17. Not only present, but all hope of future prosperity is removed; so much so, that I am as one who never was prosperous ("I forgat prosperity"). Peace here signifieth prosperity, rather than a freedom from war. Though during the siege they were far from peace in a strict sense, yet in their captivity they had that peace; but both their minds were far off from quiet, and their persons from prosperity: the prophet owneth God as the cause of this. They had in Canaan lived prosperously, but now they thought of it no more, nor understood what such a thing meant.

And thou hast removed my soul far off from peace,.... From the time the city was besieged by the Chaldeans, and now the people was carried captive; who could have no true peace, being in a foreign land, in an enemy's country, and out of their own, and far from the place of divine worship; nor could the prophet have any peace of soul, in the consideration of these things, the city, temple, and nation, being desolate, though he himself was not in captivity.

I forgat prosperity; or "good" (q); he had been so long from the enjoyment of it, that he had lost the idea of it, and was thoughtless about it, never expecting to see it any more.

(q) "bonorum", V. L. "boni", Pagninus, Montanus, Cocceius, Junius & Tremellius, Piscator, Michaelis.

And thou hast removed my soul far off from peace: I forgat prosperity.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
17. thou hast removed (mg. cast off) my soul] The change to the second person is abrupt. LXX have “he has thrust away,” the Syr. (and so Targ.) “my soul is thrust away,” but, as Pe. remarks, this is improbable in view of Lamentations 3:31. The writer there, however, need not be the same as here; see intr. note. By adopting the 3rd person we should avoid the introduction of a direct address to God, which seems not to come earlier than Lamentations 3:19.

Verse 17. - Thou hast removed my soul; rather, thou hast rejected my soul. The words look like a quotation from Psalm 88:14 (Hebrew, 15), where they are undoubtedly an address to Jehovah. But there is another rendering, which grammatically is equally tenable, and which avoids the strangely abrupt address to God, viz. My soul is rejected (from peace). Lamentations 3:17In Lamentations 3:17 and Lamentations 3:18 the speaker, in his lamentation, gives expression to that disposition of his heart which has been produced by the misery that has befallen him to so fearful an extent. He has quite given up hopes of attaining safety and prosperity, and his hope in the Lord is gone. In Lamentations 3:17 it is a question whether תּזנח is second or third pers. of the imperf. Following the lxx, who give the rendering ἀπώσατο ἐξ εἰρήνης ψυχήν μου, Rosenmller, Gesenius, De Wette, and Ngelsbach consider זנח transitive, as in Deuteronomy 2:7, and take תּזנח as of the second pers.: "Thou didst reject my soul (me) from peace." But to this view of the words there is the decided objection, that neither before nor after is there any direct address to Jahveh, and that the verbs which immediately follow stand in the first person, and succeed the first clause appropriately enough, provided we take נפשׁי as the subject to תּזנח (third pers.). זנח has both a transitive and an intransitive meaning in Kal; cf. Hosea 8:3 (trans.) and Hosea 8:5 (intrans.). Ngelsbach has no ground for casting doubt on the intrans. meaning in Hosea 8:5. Moreover, the objection that the passage now before us is a quotation from Psalm 88:15 (Ngelsbach) does not prove that תּזנח נפשׁי is to be taken in the same sense here as in that passage: "O Jahveh, Thou despisest my soul." By adding משּׁלום, Jeremiah has made an independent reproduction of that passage in the Psalms, if he had it before his mind. This addition does not permit of our attaching a transitive sense to תּזנח, for the verb means to despise, not to reject; hence we cannot render the words, "Thou didst reject my soul from peace." The meaning of the clause is not "my soul loathes prosperity," as it is rendered by Thenius, who further gives the sense as follows: "I had such a thorough disgust for life, that I had no longer the least desire for prosperity." As Gerlach has already remarked, this explanation neither harmonizes with the meaning of שׁלום, not with the expression of doubt in the following verse, which implies a very lively "sense of the prosperous;" moreover, it has no good lexical basis. The fundamental meaning of זנח is to stink, be rancid, from which comes the metaphorical one of instilling disgust, - not, feeling disgust (Hosea 8:5), - and further, that of despising. The meaning "to instil disgust" does not suit this passage, but only that of being despised. "My soul is despised of prosperity," i.e., so that it shares not in prosperity; with this accords the intransitive use of the Hiphil הזניח with מן, 2 Chronicles 11:14. The Vulgate, which does not catch the idea of זנח so exactly, renders the passage by expulsa est a pace anima mea. To this there are appropriately joined the words, "I have forgotten good" (good fortune), because I constantly experience nothing but misfortune; and not less appropriate is the expression of doubt, "I say (i.e., I think) my strength and my hope from Jahveh is gone (vanished)," i.e., my strength is worn out through suffering, and I have nothing more to hope for from Jahveh. Starting from the fundamental idea of stability, permanence, נצח, according to the traditional explanation, means vigor, strength; then, by a metaphor, vis vitalis, Isaiah 63:3, Isaiah 63:6, - not trust (Rosenmller, Thenius, Ngelsbach, etc.), in support of which we are pointed to 1 Samuel 15:29, but without sufficient reason; see Delitzsch on Isaiah, l.c. The complaint here attains its deepest and worst. The complainant in his thoughts has gone far from God, and is on the very verge of despair. But here also begins the turning-point. When for the first time he utters the name of God in the expression "my hope from Jahveh," he shows that Jahveh is to him also still the ground of hope and trust. Hence also he not merely complains, "my strength is gone," etc., but introduces this thought with the words ואמר, "I said," sc. in my heart, i.e., I thought, "my strength is gone, and my hope from Jahveh lost," i.e., vanished. The mention of the name Jahveh, i.e., the Covenant-God, keeps him from sinking into despair, and urges him not to let go his trust on the Lord, so that he can now (in what follows) complain to the Lord of his state of distress, and beseech His help.
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