Lamentations 3:53
They have cut off my life in the dungeon, and cast a stone on me.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(53) Cast a stone upon me.—The words admit of two meanings: (1) that they cast stones at him; (2) that they placed a stone over the opening of his dungeon so as to prevent escape.

3:42-54 The more the prophet looked on the desolations, the more he was grieved. Here is one word of comfort. While they continued weeping, they continued waiting; and neither did nor would expect relief and succour from any but the Lord.They have cut off my life in the dungeon - Or, "They destroyed my life in the pit," i. e. tried to destroy it by casting me into the cistern, and covering the month with a stone. See the margin reference. 53. in … dungeon—(Jer 37:16).

stone—usually put at the mouth of a dungeon to secure the prisoners (Jos 10:18; Da 6:17; Mt 27:60).

Dungeon seemeth not to be here taken literally, for the lowest and nastiest place in prisons, which probably was the portion but of a few of the Jews; but metaphorically, for the lowest and saddest condition of misery. Their enemies had brought them into the deepest miseries, to the cutting off of their lives; and as men use to roll great stones upon the mouths of dens and pits, where they have shut up persons, to make them sure from escaping out, so their enemies had dealt with them, doing what lay in them to make their condition remediless and desperate. They have cut off my life in the dungeon,.... Jarchi interprets it,

"they bound me in the prison.''

Jeremiah was both in a prison and in a dungeon, where he was deprived of the society of men, as if he had been dead; and he was in danger of losing his life; but whether any respect is had to it here is not certain: it seems rather to respect the people of the Jews in captivity, who were deprived of their rights and liberties, and of the comforts of life; and were like dead men in their graves, to whom they are compared, Ezekiel 37:11; but since Jeremiah was not dead, nor did he die in the dungeon, Jarchi's sense seems best, and agrees with what follows; and is confirmed by the version of others, who render it, "they shut up my life in the dungeon" (q); or himself there:

and cast a stone upon me; to see if he was dead, or to prevent him from rising. The allusion is to the putting of stones at the mouths of dens and dungeons, caves and graves, to keep in those there put: or they stoned me, as the Targum; that is, they endeavoured to do it: or the Jews in captivity were like persons stoned to death, or like dead men covered with a heap of stones; for that Jeremiah was stoned to death there is no reason to believe.

(q) "concluserunt in fovea vitam meam", Noldius, Concord. Ebr. Part. p. 141, "manciparunt fovea vitam meam", Cocceius.

They have cut off my life {y} in the dungeon, and cast a stone upon me.

(y) Read Jer 37:16 how he was in the miry dungeon.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
God has not pardoned, but positively punished, the people for their misdeeds. "Thou hast covered with anger," Lamentations 3:43, corresponds to "Thou hast covered with a cloud," Lamentations 3:44; hence "Thou hast covered" is plainly used both times in the same meaning, in spite of the fact that לך is wanting in Lamentations 3:43. סכך means to "cover," here to "make a cover." "Thou didst make a cover with anger," i.e., Thou didst hide Thyself in wrath; there is no necessity for taking סכך as in itself reflexive. This mode of viewing it agrees also with what follows. The objection of J. D. Michaelis, qui se obtegit non persequitur alios, ut statim additur, which Bttcher and Thenius have repeated, does not hold good in every respect, but chiefly applies to material covering. And the explanation of Thenius, "Thou hast covered us with wrath, and persecuted us," is shown to be wrong by the fact that סכך signifies to cover for protection, concealment, etc., but not to cover in the sense of heaping upon, pouring upon (as Luther translates it); nor, again, can the word be taken here in a sense different from that assigned to it in Lamentations 3:44. "The covering of wrath, which the Lord draws around Him, conceals under it the lightnings of His wrath, which are spoken of immediately afterwards" (Ngelsbach). The anger vents itself in the persecution of the people, in killing them unsparingly. For, that these two are connected, is shown not merely in Lamentations 3:66, but still more plainly by the threatening in Jeremiah 29:18 : "I will pursue them with sword, and famine, and pestilence, and give them for maltreatment to all the kingdoms of the earth." On "Thou hast slain, Thou hast not spared," cf. Lamentations 2:21. In Lamentations 3:44, לך is further appended to סכּותה: "Thou makest a cover with clouds for Thyself," round about Thee, so that no prayer can penetrate to Thee; cf. Psalm 55:2. These words form the expression of the painful conclusion drawn by God's people from their experience, that God answered no cry for help that came to Him, i.e., granted no help. Israel was thereby given up, in a defenceless state, to the foe, so that they could treat them like dirt and abuse them. סחי (from סחה, Ezekiel 26:4), found only here as a noun, signifies "sweepings;" and מאוס is a noun, "disesteem, aversion." The words of Lamentations 3:45, indeed, imply the dispersion of Israel among the nations, but are not to be limited to the maltreatment of the Jews in exile; moreover, they rather apply to the conduct of their foes when Judah was conquered and Jerusalem destroyed. Such treatment, especially the rejection, is further depicted in Lamentations 3:46. The verse is almost a verbatim repetition of Lamentations 2:16, and is quite in the style of Jeremiah as regards the reproduction of particular thoughts; while Thenius, from the repetition, is inclined to infer that chs. 2 and 3 had different authors: cf. Gerlach on the other side. The very next verse might have been sufficient to keep Thenius from such a precipitate conclusion, inasmuch as it contains expressions and figures that are still more clearly peculiar to Jeremiah. On פּחד ופחת, cf. Jeremiah 48:43; השׁבר is also one of the favourite expressions of the prophet. hashee't is certainly ἅπ. λεγ., but reminds one of בּני , Numbers 24:17, for which in Jeremiah 48:45 there stands בּני שׁאון. It comes from שׁאה, to make a noise, roar, fall into ruins with a loud noise, i.e., be laid waste (cf. Isaiah 6:11); and, as Raschi has already observed, it has the same meaning as שׁאיּה, "devastation," Isaiah 24:12. It is incorrect to derive the word from the Hiphil of נשׁא (J. D. Michaelis and Ewald), according to which it ought to mean "disappointment," for the ה does not form an essential portion of the word, but is the article, as והשׁבר shows. Still more erroneous are the renderings ἔπαρσις (lxx, from נשׂא) and vaticinatio (Jerome, who has confounded השּׁאת with משּׂא).

Over this terrible calamity, rivers of tears must be shed, until the Lord looks down from heaven on it, Lamentations 3:48-51. The prophet once more utters this complaint in the first person, because he who has risked his life in his endeavour to keep the people in the service of God must feel the deepest sympathy for them in their misfortunes. "Rivers of water" is stronger than "water," Lamentations 1:16, and "tears like a stream," Lamentations 2:18; but the mode of expression is in the main like that in those passages, and used again in Psalm 119:136, but in a different connection. The second member of the verse is the same as in Lamentations 2:11.

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