Lamentations 3:28
He sitteth alone and keepeth silence, because he hath borne it upon him.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(28) He sitteth alone . . .—Better, Let him sit alone, and keep silence when He (Jehovah) hath laid it (the yoke) upon him; and so in the next verses, Let him put his mouth . . . Let him give his cheek.

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.Translate:

Let him sit alone and keep silence;

For He (God) hath laid the yoke upon him.

Let him place his mouth in the dust;

Perchance there is hope.

Let him offer his cheek to him that smiteth him;

Let him be filled to the full with reproach.

It is good for a man to bear the yoke in his youth, but only if he bear it rightly. To attain this result, let him learn resignation, remembering who has laid the yoke upon him. This reverential silence is described Lamentations 3:29, as putting the mouth in the dust, and so lying prostrate before the Deity; while Lamentations 3:30 the harder task is imposed of bearing contumely with meekness (margin reference), and not shrinking from the last dregs of the cup of reproach. Many who submit readily to God are indignant when the suffering comes through men.

28-30. The fruit of true docility and patience. He does not fight against the yoke (Jer 31:18; Ac 9:5), but accommodates himself to it.

alone—The heathen applauded magnanimity, but they looked to display and the praise of men. The child of God, in the absence of any witness, "alone," silently submits to the will of God.

borne it upon him—that is, because he is used to bearing it on him. Rather, "because He (the Lord, La 3:26) hath laid it on him" [Vatablus].

Our English Annotations supplying that, makes the connexion clear, It is good for a man that he sit alone, Jeremiah 15:17; not doing what he doth to be seen of men, but sitting alone, and when he is alone suppressing the mutinies of his spirit, and keeping his soul in subjection to God; because God hath humbled him by his rod, humbling himself to his will.

He sitteth alone,.... Retires from the world, and the men of it, who takes upon him the yoke of Christ; though he is not alone, but God, Father, Son, and Spirit, are with him; and he is with the saints, the excellent of the earth, and has communion with them; and so he is that under the afflicting hand of God bears it patiently, and does not run from place to place complaining of it, but sits still, and considers the cause, end, and use of it. Some render the words in connection with the preceding, it is good "that he sit alone" (b); it is good for a man to be alone; in his closet, praying to God; in his house or chamber, reading the word of God; in the field, or elsewhere, meditating upon it, and upon the works of God, of nature, providence, and grace:

and keepeth silence, because he hath borne it on him: or, "took it on him"; either because he took it upon him willingly, and therefore should bear it patiently; or because he (God) hath put it upon him (c), and therefore should be silent, and not murmur and repine, since he hath done it, Psalm 39:9.

(b) "ut sedeat solus", Gataker. (c) "projecit super ipsum", Tigurine version; "sub. Dominus", Vatablus; "quod imposuerit ipsi Deus", Junius & Tremellius, Michaelis.

He sitteth alone {n} and keepeth silence, because he hath borne it upon him.

(n) He murmurs not against God, but is patient.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
28. The hortative form is better than mg. He sitteth alone, etc. For sitting alone in grief, cp. Jeremiah 15:17. The connexion is, inasmuch as suffering is really attended with benefit to the sufferer, let him submit readily to it.

hath laid] The subject is God.

Verses 28-30. - He sitteth alone, etc.; rather, Let him sit alone... let him keep silence (ver. 28)... let him put (ver. 29)... let him give... let him be filled (ver. 30). The connection is - since it is good for a man to be afflicted, let him sit still, when trouble is sent, and resign himself to bear it. Verse 28. - Because he hath borne it; rather, when he (viz. God) hath laid it. Lamentations 3:28"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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