This I recall to my mind, therefore have I hope.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)This I recall to my mind.—Better, This will I recall. The first gleam of hope breaks through the darkness. The sorrow has not been in vain; it has brought humility, and out of humility springs hope.Lamentations 3:21-23. This I recall to my mind, &c. — Here the prophet begins to suggest motives of patience and consolation: as if he had said, I call to mind the following considerations, and thereupon I conceive hope and comfort. And surely they are such as afford a sufficient ground for trusting in God under the severest trials. It is of the Lord’s mercies that we are not consumed — It is not clear that this is the exact sense of the Hebrew, in which there is nothing for it is of. The LXX. translate the verse, τα ελεη κυριου, οτι ουκ εξελιπε με. The mercies of the Lord, because they have not left, or do not leave, me: that is, I rely on, and derive hope and consolation from, the mercies of the Lord, which still continue to prevent and follow me. Because his compassions fail not — Ου συντελεσθησαν, are not finished, exhausted, or brought to an end. They are new every morning: great, &c. — Thy mercies are renewed to us every day, one following another; and thy faithfulness in performing them is as great as thy goodness in promising them. God’s mercy and truth, or fidelity, are usually joined together. Blaney connects these three verses thus: “This I revolve in my heart, therefore will I have hope; the mercies of Jehovah, that they are not exhausted, that they fail not; new are his compassions every morning; great is thy faithfulness.” According to our translation the prophet represents himself as calling to mind that, as a sinner, he deserved to be cut off, and delivered up to future punishment, and should certainly have been thus destroyed but for the mercies of God; while his people, for their sins, would have been so totally consumed that no remnant of them would have been left. “As, however, the Lord had mercifully spared him, and had not utterly destroyed them; as his compassions were plenteous and unfailing, and every morning renewed to him, in the continuance of his life, and many unmerited benefits; and as God had given many precious promises to Israel, and to every believer, and, in his great faithfulness, had always performed them to those who trusted in them; so he found there was yet encouragement to hope, and to exercise patience and repentance in expectation of returning comfort.” — Scott.
and therefore have I hope; this revived his hope, which he was ready to say was perished from the Lord, and there was no foundation for it; but now he saw there was, and therefore took heart, and encouraged himself in the grace and mercy of God.This I recall to my mind, therefore have I hope.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)21. This and the previous v. are akin in thought to Psalm 42:4-5 (Hebrews 5, 6), and, inasmuch as the words there corresponding to This I recall of the present passage have reference to that which follows, these words also are made (so Löhr and Pe.) to relate to the more hopeful thoughts that come in Lamentations 3:22 and onwards. But the structure of the poem, Lamentations 3:21 being the third (and last) of its group, and the previous context form an argument that the last words of Lamentations 3:20 are what the prophet recalls for his comfort. The humility arising from sin dwelt upon and acknowledged produces in due course a sense that contrition will be accepted and deliverance granted. Hence arises the change of tone in the section which follows.Verse 21. - This I recall to my mind, etc.; viz. that thou wilt remember me, or, thy faithfulness (ver. 20). Here again there appears to be a reminiscence of a passage in Psalm 42. (ver. 4). Others suppose that "this" refers to the following verses; but in this case a new section would begin in the middle of a triad (the triad of verses beginning with zayin), which is certainly improbable. 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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