He gives his cheek to him that smites him: he is filled full with reproach.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)He giveth his cheek . . .—The submission enjoined reaches its highest point—a patience like that of Job 16:10; we may add, like that of the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5:39.) It was harder to accept the Divine chastisement when it came through human agents. Not so had Jeremiah once taught and acted (Jeremiah 20:1-6; Jeremiah 28:15). (Comp. Isaiah 1:6.)
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.
Caph.Matthew 5:39, he doth not take any private revenge; he is reproached and reviled, but when he is so he revileth not again, 1 Peter 2:23; he is filled with reproach from others, but his mouth is not filled with the reproachings of others. Isaiah 9:13; or rather to men. To be smitten on the cheek is always reckoned a very great affront; to turn the cheek to an injurious man is to give him an opportunity and leave to smite, and signifies the taking of it patiently, and agrees both with our Lord's advice and example, Matthew 5:39;
he is filled full with reproach; has many reproaches, and the reproaches of many upon him; as such must expect, that take Christ's yoke upon them; see Psalm 123:3; and yet revile not again, but esteem reproaches for Christ's sake great riches, and wear them as crowns, and bind them about their necks as chains of gold; esteeming it an honour and a happiness to suffer shame for his name.He giveth his cheek to him that smiteth him: he is filled full with reproach.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)30. Let him give his cheek] Cp. Job 16:10; Isaiah 50:6; Matthew 5:39.Verse 30. - He giveth his cheek. Notice the striking affinity (which is hardly accidental) to Job 16:10; Isaiah 1:6. The ideal of the righteous man, according to these kindred books, contains, as one of its most prominent features, the patient endurance of affliction; and so too does the same ideal, received and amplified by the greatest "Servant of Jehovah" (Matthew 5:39). 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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