You have covered with anger, and persecuted us: you have slain, you have not pitied.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)Thou hast covered with anger.—Better, as in the next verse, Thou hast covered thyself. Wrath is as the garment in which God wraps Himself to execute His righteous judgments. In Lamentations 3:44 the wrath is represented more definitely as a cloud through which the prayers of the afflicted cannot pass.Thou hast covered with anger; either thou hast covered thyself with anger, or covered thy own face with anger, so as not to look upon us to move thy pity; or (which is more probably the sense) thou hast covered, that is, overwhelmed, us with thy wrath. Thou hast slain, thou hast not pitied; thou hast pursued us to a fatal ruin, without showing us any pity.
"thou hast covered "us" with anger;''
denoting the largeness and abundance of afflictions upon them; they were as it were covered with them, as tokens of the divine displeasure; one wave and billow after another passing over them. Sanctius thinks the allusion is to the covering of the faces of condemned malefactors, as a token of their being guilty:
and persecuted us; the Targum adds, in captivity; that is, pursued and followed us with fresh instances of anger and resentment; to have men to be persecutors is bad, but to have God to be a persecutor is dreadful:
thou hast slain, thou hast not pitied; had suffered them to be stain by the sword of the enemy, and had shown no compassion to them; See Gill on Lamentations 2:21; here, and in some following verses, the prophet, or the people he represents, are got to complaining again; though before he had checked himself for it; so hard it is under afflictions to put in practice what should be done by ourselves and others.Thou hast covered with anger, and persecuted us: thou hast slain, thou hast not pitied.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)43. covered] mg., better, covered thyself. Thou hast clothed thyself in wrath. This accords with the next line.Verse 43. - Thou hast covered with anger. The clause seems imperfect; perhaps "thyself" has fallen out of the text (see next verse). Lamentations 3:37 brings the answer to this question in a lively manner, and likewise in an interrogative form: "Who hath spoken, and it came to pass, which the Lord hath not commanded?" The thought here presented reminds us of the word of the Creator in Genesis 1:3. The form of the expression is an imitation of Psalm 33:9. Rosenmller gives the incorrect rendering, Quis est qui dixit: factum est (i.e., quis audeat dicere fieri quicquam), non praecipiente Deo; although the similar but more free translation of Luther, "Who dares to say that such a thing happens without the command of the Lord?" gives the sense in a general way. The meaning is as follows: Nothing takes place on the earth which the Lord has not appointed; no man can give and execute a command against the will of God. From this it further follows (Lamentations 3:38), that evil and good will proceed from the mouth of the Lord, i.e., be wrought by Him; on this point, cf. Isaiah 45:7; Amos 3:6. לא תצא gives no adequate meaning unless it be taken interrogatively, and as indicating what is usual - wont to be. And then there is established from this, in Lamentations 3:39, the application of the general principle to the particular case in question, viz., the grievous suffering of individuals at the downfall of the kingdom of Judah. "Why does a man sigh as long as he lives? Let every one [sigh] for his sins." Man is not to sigh over suffering and sorrow, but only over his sin. התאונן occurs only here and in Numbers 11:1, and signifies to sigh, with the accessory notion of murmuring, complaining. חי appended to אדם is more of a predicate than a simple attributive: man, as long as he lives, i.e., while he is in this life. The verse is viewed in a different light by Pareau, Ewald, Neumann, and Gerlach, who combine both members into one sentence, and render it thus: "Why doth a man complain, so long as he lives, - a man over the punishment of his sins?" [Similar is the rendering of our "Authorized" Version.] Neumann translates: "A man in the face of [Ger. bei] his sins." But this latter rendering is lexically inadmissible, because על esua in this connection cannot mean "in view of." The other meaning assigned is improbable, though there is nothing against it, lexically considered. For though חטא, sin, may also signify the punishment of sin, the latter meaning does not suit the present context, because in what precedes it is not said that the people suffer for their sins, but merely that their suffering has been appointed by God. If, then, in what follows, there is an exhortation to return to the Lord (Lamentations 3:40.), and in Lamentations 3:42 a confession of sins made; if, moreover, Lamentations 3:39 forms the transition from Lamentations 3:33-38 to the exhortation that succeeds (Lamentations 3:40.); then it is not abstinence from murmuring or sighing over the punishment of sins that forms the true connecting link of the two lines of thought, but merely the refraining from complaint over sufferings, coupled with the exhortation to sigh over their won sins. Tarnov also has viewed the verse in this way, when he deduces from it the advice to every soul labouring under a weight of sorrows: est igitur optimus ex malis emergendi modus Deum excusare et se ipsum accusare.
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