Lamentations 3:18
And I said, My strength and my hope is perished from the LORD:
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(18) I said, My strength.—The sorrow of the mourner comes to the very verge of despair. There was “no help for him from his God;” even that hope had left him. But, as the sequel shows, this despair was the beginning of a reaction. The very name of Jehovah (no longer Adonai) reminded him of the everlasting mercies.

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.The prophet reaches the verge of despair. But by struggling against it he reaches at length firm ground. 18. from the Lord—that is, my hope derived from Him (Ps 31:22).


No text from Poole on this verse.

And I said, my strength and my hope are perished from the Lord. The former of these words signifies, according to Aben Ezra, "my standing", my subsistence, my continuance in being, or my perpetuity; according to Jarchi, my abiding (r) in this world; it is rendered "blood" in Isaiah 63:3; which is the support of life; and which when gone, or ceases to circulate, a man ceases to be: the sense is, that the prophet, or those he represents, looked upon themselves as dead men, at least of a short continuance; their natural strength was exhausted, and they must quickly die, and had no hope of living, or of enjoying the divine favour, or good things, at the hand of God. Some understand it of spiritual strength to do good, and of hope of having good things, or deliverance from the hand of God, which they were despairing of; for the words are the language of despondency, and betray great, weakness and infirmity; for in the Lord is everlasting strength, and he is the hope of his people, and the Saviour of them in time of trouble, Isaiah 26:4.

(r) "duratio mea", Montanus; "perennitas mea", Cocceius.

And I said, My strength and my {g} hope hath perished from the LORD:

(g) Thus with pain he was driven to and fro between hope and despair, as the godly often are, yet in the end the spirit gets the victory.

Lamentations 3:18In 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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