Lamentations 3:22
It is of the LORD'S mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(22) It is of the Lord’s mercies.—It is, perhaps, part of the elaborate art of this poem that Lamentations 3:22-42, which form its centre, and that of the whole book, represent the highest point of trust to which the mourner attains, being both preceded and followed by words of lamentation.

3:21-36 Having stated his distress and temptation, the prophet shows how he was raised above it. Bad as things are, it is owing to the mercy of God that they are not worse. We should observe what makes for us, as well as what is against us. God's compassions fail not; of this we have fresh instances every morning. Portions on earth are perishing things, but God is a portion for ever. It is our duty, and will be our comfort and satisfaction, to hope and quietly to wait for the salvation of the Lord. Afflictions do and will work very much for good: many have found it good to bear this yoke in their youth; it has made many humble and serious, and has weaned them from the world, who otherwise would have been proud and unruly. If tribulation work patience, that patience will work experience, and that experience a hope that makes not ashamed. Due thoughts of the evil of sin, and of our own sinfulness, will convince us that it is of the Lord's mercies we are not consumed. If we cannot say with unwavering voice, The Lord is my portion; may we not say, I desire to have Him for my portion and salvation, and in his word do I hope? Happy shall we be, if we learn to receive affliction as laid upon us by the hand of God.Verses 22-42 are the center of the present poem, as it also holds the central place in the whole series of the Lamentations. In them the riches of God's grace and mercy are set forth in the brightest colors, but no sooner are they ended than the prophet resumes the language of woe.

That we - He is speaking as the representative of all sufferers.

22-24. (Mal 3:6). Mercy is nothing else but love flowing freely from any to persons in misery, and differs from compassion only in the freeness of the emanation. It is not because God had not power enough utterly to have consumed us, nor because we had not guilt enough to have provoked his justice to have put an end to our lives, as well as to the lives of many thousands of our countrymen, but it is merely from the Lord’s free love and pity to us in our miseries. If God had not a blessing in store for us, how is it that we are captives, and not slain as many others were during the siege?

It is of the Lord's mercies that we are not consumed,.... It was true of the prophet, that he died not in prison, or in the dungeon; and of the people of the Jews, who though many of them perished by the sword, famine, and pestilence, yet God did not make a full end of them, according to his gracious promise, Jeremiah 30:11; but left them a seed, a remnant, from whence the Messiah, the mercy promised, should come, and to which it was owing they were not utterly cut off for their sins: nor are any of the Lord's special people ever consumed; their estates may be consumed, and so may their bodies by wasting diseases, and at last by death; but not their souls, not only as to their being, but as to their well being, here and hereafter; though their peace, joy, and comfort, may be gone for a while, through temptation, desertion, and the prevalence of corruption; and they may be in declining circumstances, as to the exercise of grace, yet the principle itself can never be lost; faith, hope, and love, will abide; nor can they eternally perish, or be punished with an everlasting destruction: all which is to be ascribed not to their own strength to preserve themselves, nor to any want of desert in them to be destroyed, or of power in God to consume them; but to his "mercies" and "goodnesses", the multitude of them; for there is an abundance of mercy, grace, and goodness in God, and various are the instances of it; as in the choice of his people to grace and glory; in the covenant of grace, and the blessings of it they are interested in; in redemption by Christ; in regeneration by his Spirit; in the forgiveness of their sins; and in their complete salvation; which are all so many reasons why they are not, and shall not be, consumed. The words may be rendered, "the mercies" or "goodnesses of the Lord, for they are not consumed", or, "that the mercies of the Lord", &c. (w) Jarchi observes, that "tamnu" is as "tammu"; the "nun" being inserted, according to Aben Ezra, instead of doubling the letter "mem"; and the former makes the sense to be this, in connection with the Lamentations 3:21; "this I recall to mind the mercies of the Lord, that they are not consumed"; to which agrees the Targum,

"the goodnesses, of the Lord, for they cease not;''

and so the Septuagint, "the mercies of the Lord, for they have not left me"; and to the same sense the Syriac version is, "the mercies of the Lord, for they have no end", and Aben Ezra's note on the text is almost in the same words,

"for there is no end to the mercies of God;''

because his compassions fail not; or, "his tender mercies" (x); of which he is full, and which are bestowed in a free and sovereign way, and are the spring of all good things, and a never failing one they are; and this is another reason why the Lord's people are not consumed, and never shall, because of the mercies of the Lord, since these shall never fail; for though they are, yet should they fail, they might be consumed; but these are from everlasting to everlasting, and are kept with Christ their covenant head; see Psalm 103:17.

(w) "quod misericordiae Jehovae deficiunt", vel "defecerunt", so some in Vatablus; "studia Jehovae quod non defecerunt", Cocceius. (x) "miserationes ejus", Junius & Tremellius, Piscator.

It is of the LORD'S {i} mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not.

(i) Considering the wickedness of man it is a marvel that any remains alive: but only that God for his own mercies sake and for his promise will ever have his Church remain, though they are never so few in number, Isa 1:9.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
22, 23. There are metrical irregularities in these vv. as they stand. We should probably (with Löhr) read the first, “The Lord’s compassion ceaseth not”; “His love is not spent,” and the second, which is now too short in its first part, we may safely extend by supplying from the former clause “New is thy compassion every morning.”

Verses 22-36. - RESIGNATION AND HOPEFULNESS. Verse 22. - It is of the Lord's mercies, etc.; literally, The Lord's mercies that we are not consumed. But the "we" is difficult, especially considering that in ver. 23 (which is clearly parallel) the subject of the sentence is, not "we," but "the Lord's mercies." Hence it is probable that the reading of the Targum and the Peshite (adopted by Thenius, Ewald, and Bickell) is correct, "The Lord's mercies, verily they cease not" (tammu for tamnu). Lamentations 3:22The view taken of this verse will depend on the answer to the question whether תּזכר is second or third pers. fem. Following in the wake of Luther ("Thou wilt assuredly think thereon"), C. B. Michaelis, Pareau, Rosenmller, and Kalkschmidt take it as second pers.: "Think, yea, think wilt Thou, that my soul is bowed down in me," or "that my soul is at rest within me" (Ngelsbach). But it is impossible to maintain either of these views in the face of the language employed. To take the ו before תּשׁיח in the meaning of quod is characterized by Ngelsbach as an arbitrary procedure, unwarranted either by Genesis 30:27 or Ezekiel 13:11; but neither can the meaning of resting, being at east, which is attributed to שׁוּח or שׁיח by that writer, be established. The verb means to sink down, Proverbs 2:18, and metaphorically, to be bowed down, Psalm 44:26. The latter meaning is required in the present passage, from the simple fact that the sentence undeniably refers to Psalm 42:6.

(Note: Luther's translation, "for my soul tells me," is founded on the circumstance that the lxx have mistaken שׁיח for שׂיח: καταδολεσχήσει ἐπ ̓ ἐμὲ ἡ ψυχή μου.)

ותּשׁיח expresses the consequence of זכר תּזכר, which therefore can only be the third pers., and "my soul" the subject of both clauses; for there is no logical consecution of the meaning given by such a rendering as, "If Thou wilt remember, my soul shall be bowed within me." The expression, "If my soul duly meditates thereon (on the deep suffering), it becomes depressed within me," forms the foundation of the request that God would think of his distress, his misery; and Lamentations 3:21, "I will lay this to heart," connects itself with the leading thought set forth in Lamentations 3:19, the reason for which is given in Lamentations 3:20, viz., that my soul is only bowed down within me over the thought of my distress, and must complain of it to God, that He may think of it and alleviate it: This will I lay to heart and set my hope upon. על־כּן is a strong inferential expression: "therefore," because God alone can help, will I hope. This self-encouragement begins with Lamentations 3:22, inasmuch as the prophet strengthens his hope by a consideration of the infinite compassion of the Lord. (It is) חסדי, "the mercies of God," i.e., proofs of His mercy (cf. Psalm 89:2; Psalm 107:43; Isaiah 63:7), "that we are not utterly consumed," as Luther and similarly our English translators have excellently rendered תּמנוּ. This form stands for תּמּונוּ, as in Jeremiah 44:18; Numbers 17:1-13 :28, not for תּמּוּ, third pers., as Pareau, Thenius, Vaihinger, and Ewald, referring to his Grammar, 84, b, would take it. The proofs of the grace of God have their foundation in His compassion, from which they flow. In Lamentations 3:23 we take חסדי as the subject of חדשׁים; it is the proofs of the grace of God that are new every morning, not "His compassions," although the idea remains the same. לבּקרים, every morning, as in Isaiah 33:2; Psalm 73:14. Ubi sol et dies oritur, simul et radii hujus inexhaustae bonitatis erumpunt (Tarnovius in Rosenmller). The consciousness of this constant renewal of the divine favour impels to the prayerful exclamation, "great is Thy faithfulness;" cf. Psalm 36:6.

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