Lamentations 3:24
The LORD is my portion, saith my soul; therefore will I hope in him.
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(24) The Lord.—An inversion of the sentence gives a closer and more emphatic rendering: My portion is Jehovah. The phrase is a reminiscence from Psalm 16:5; Psalm 73:26; Psalm 142:5; Psalm 119:57, the thought resting primarily on Numbers 18:20.

Lamentations 3:24-26. The Lord is my portion, saith my soul — An interest in the favour and love of God, and his presence with me, my heart tells me, is the best inheritance. And, possessing these, I have that which is sufficient to balance all my troubles, and make up all my losses. For, while portions on earth are empty and perishing things, God is an all-sufficient and durable portion, a portion for ever. Therefore will I hope in him — I will stay myself upon him, and encourage myself in him, when all other supports and encouragements fail me. Observe, reader, it is our duty and interest to make God the portion of our souls, and then to enjoy and take comfort in him as such, in the midst of afflictions and lamentations. The Lord is good unto them that wait for him — To them that patiently wait his time; when he shall judge it a proper season to afford them comfort and deliverance; and who, in the mean while, apply themselves to him by prayer and humiliation. It is good — It is our duty, and will be our unspeakable comfort and satisfaction; that a man should hope and quietly wait, &c. — To hope that it will come, though the difficulties that lie in the way of it seem insuperable; to wait till it does come, though it be long delayed; and while we wait to be quiet and silent, not quarrelling with God, or making ourselves uneasy, but acquiescing in the divine disposal.

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.The Lord is my portion - "My portion is Yahweh," see Numbers 18:20; Psalm 16:5 ff.

Therefore will I hope in him - A more full expression of the confidence present in the prophet's mind in Lamentations 3:21, but based now upon God's faithfulness in showing mercy.

24. (Nu 18:20; Ps 16:5; 73:26; 119:57; Jer 10:16). To have God for our portion is the one only foundation of hope.


God is the portion of his people, and they have chosen him as their portion; he hath declared himself to them as such, and they have accepted him as such. This gives them ground both for patience under his providences, and also of expectation of good from him in their lowest and meanest state.

The Lord is my portion, saith my soul,.... The prophet, or the church, whom he represents, rises and increases in the exercise of faith; from considering the mercies, compassions, and faithfulness of God, concludes a sure and firm interest in him, as a portion and inheritance. The Lord is the portion of his people in life and in death, in time and to eternity; all he is, and has, is theirs; they are heirs of him, and shall enjoy him for ever, and therefore shall not be consumed; he is a portion large and full, inexpressibly rich and great, a soul satisfying one, and will last for ever. And happy are those, who from their hearts, and with their souls, under a testimony of the Spirit of God to their spirits, and through a gracious experience of him, can say he is their portion and exceeding great reward, as the church here did; and these may say with her, as follows:

therefore will I hope in him: for deliverance from all evils and enemies; for present supplies of grace; and for the enjoyment of future glory and happiness.

The LORD is my {l} portion, saith my soul; therefore will I hope in him.

(l) The godly put their whole confidence in God, and therefore look for no other inheritance, as Ps 16:5.

24. The Lord is my portion] a frequent expression in the Psalms (Psalm 16:5, Psalm 73:26, Psalm 119:57, Psalm 142:5).

Verse 24. - The Lord is my Portion. A reminiscence of Psalm 16:5 (comp. Psalm 73:26; Psalm 119:57; Psalm 142:5). Lamentations 3:24"My portion is Jahveh:" this is a reminiscence from Psalm 16:5; Psalm 73:26; Psalm 142:6; cf. Psalm 119:57, where the expression found here is repeated almost verbatim. The expression is based on Numbers 18:20, where the Lord says to Aaron, "I am thy portion and thine inheritance;" i.e., Jahveh will be to the tribe of Levi what the other tribes receive in their territorial possessions in Canaan; Levi shall have his possession and enjoyment in Jahveh. The last clause, "therefore will I hope," etc., is a repetition of what is in Lamentations 3:21, as if by way of refrain.

This hope cannot be frustrated, Lamentations 3:25. The fundamental idea of the section contained in Lamentations 3:25-33 is thus stated by Ngelsbach: "The Lord is well disposed towards the children of men under all circumstances; for even when He smites them, He seeks their highest interest: they ought so to conduct themselves in adversity, that it is possible for Him to carry out His designs." On Lamentations 3:25, cf. Psalm 34:9; Psalm 86:5; and on the general meaning, also Psalm 25:3; Psalm 69:7. If the Lord is kind to those who hope in Him, then it is good for man to wait patiently for His help in suffering. Such is the mode in which Lamentations 3:26 is attached to Lamentations 3:25. טוב, Lamentations 3:26 and Lamentations 3:27, followed by ל dat., means to be good for one, i.e., beneficial. Some expositors (Gesenius, Rosenmller, Maurer, Ngelsbach) take יחיל as a noun-form, substantive or adjective; דּוּמם is then also taken in the same way, and ו - ו as correlative: "it is good both to wait and be silent." But although there are analogous cases to support the view that יחיל is a noun-form, the constant employment of דּוּמם as an adverb quite prevents us from taking it as an adjective. Moreover, "to be silent for the help of the Lord," would be a strange expression, and we would rather expect "to be silent and wait for;" and finally, waiting and silence are so closely allied, that the disjunctive ו - ו et - et appears remarkable. We prefer, then, with Ewald (Gram. ֗235, a) and others, to take יחיל as a verbal form, and that, too, in spite of the i in the jussive form of the Hiphil for יחל, from חוּל, in the meaning of יחל, to wait, tarry. "It is good that he (man) should wait, and in silence too (i.e., without complaining), for the help of the Lord." On the thought presented here, cf. Psalm 38:7 and Isaiah 30:15. Hence it is also good for man to bear a yoke in youth (Lamentations 3:27), that he may exercise himself in calm waiting on the help of the Lord. In the present context the yoke is that of sufferings, and the time of youth is mentioned as the time of freshness and vigour, which render the bearing of burdens more easy. He who has learned in youth to bear sufferings, will not sink into despair should they come on him in old age. Instead of בּנעוּריו, Theodotion has ἐκ νεότητος αὐτοῦ, which is also the reading of the Aldine edition of the lxx; and some codices have מנּעוּריו. But this reading is evidently a correction, prompted by the thought that Jeremiah, who composed the Lamentations in his old age, had much suffering to endure from the time of his call to the prophetic office, in the earlier portion of his old age; nor is it much better than the inference of J. D. Michaelis, that Jeremiah composed this poem when a youth, on the occasion of King Josiah's death. - In Lamentations 3:28-30, the effect of experience by suffering is set forth, yet not in such a way that the verses are to be taken as still dependent on כּי in Lamentations 3:27 (Luther, Pareau, De Wette, Maurer, and Thenius): "that he should sit alone and be silent," etc. Such a combination is opposed to the independent character of each separate alphabetic strophe. Rather, the result of early experience in suffering and patience is developed in a cohortative form. The connection of thought is simply as follows: Since it is good for man that he should learn to endure suffering, let him sit still and bear it patiently, when God puts such a burden on him. Let him sit solitary, as becomes those in sorrow (see on Lamentations 1:1), and be silent, without murmuring (cf. Lamentations 3:26), when He lays a burden on him. There is no object to נטל expressly mentioned, but it is easily understood from the notion of the verb (if He lays anything on him), or from על in Lamentations 3:27 (if He lays a yoke on him). We are forbidden to consider the verbs as indicatives ("he sits alone and is silent;" Gerlach, Ngelsbach) by the apocopated form יתּן in Lamentations 3:29, Lamentations 3:30, which shows that ישׁב and ידּם are also cohortatives.

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