O LORD, you have seen my wrong: judge you my cause.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)Lamentations 3:59-63. O Lord, thou hast seen my wrong — Here the prophet adverts to his present sufferings, and the ill usage he met with, concerning which he appeals to God; as if he had said, Thou hast seen that I have done no wrong at all, but that I suffer a great deal. He that knows all things knew, 1st, The malice they had against him; thou hast seen, says he, all their vengeance — How they desire to do me a mischief, as if it were by way of reprisal for some great injury I had done them. 2d, The designs and projects they had laid to do him a mischief. Thou hast seen, Lamentations 3:60, and again, Lamentations 3:61, Thou hast heard, all their imaginations against me, both their desires and their devices to ruin me; these, whether they show themselves in word or deed, are perfectly known to thee. 3d, The contempt and calumny wherewith they loaded him, all that they spoke slightly, and all that they spoke reproachfully of him. Thou hast heard their reproach, Lamentations 3:61; all the ill characters they give me, laying to my charge things that I know not, all the methods that they use to make me odious and contemptible, even the lips of those that rose up against me, Lamentations 3:62; the contumelious language they use whenever they speak of me. Behold, their sitting down, &c. — That is, Behold at all times, whether they sit down or rise up, I am made the subject of their merriment, and their laughing-stock.
judge thou my cause; the present one; as thou hast pleaded and judged many already, do me justice, right my wrongs, an, save me from mine enemies; and let it appear to all the world my cause is just, and they are in the wrong.O LORD, thou hast seen my wrong: judge thou my cause.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)Verse 59. - Thou hast seen my wrong. Here the speaker returns to the present. This is clear from the following words: Judge thou my cause. Psalm 119:139, and the Pilpel, Psalm 88:17. צמתוּ בבּור, "they were destroying (cutting off) my life down into the pit," is a pregnant construction, and must be understood de conatu: "they sought to destroy my life when they hurled me down into the pit, and cast stones on me," i.e., not "they covered the pit with a stone" (Pareau, De Wette, Neumann). The verb ידה construed with בּ does not take this meaning, for ידה merely signifies to cast, e.g., lots (Joshua 4:3, etc.), arrows (Jeremiah 50:14), or to throw down equals destroy, annihilate, Zechariah 2:4; and בּי does not mean "in the pit in which I was," but "upon (or against) me." The sing. אבן is to be understood in accordance with the expression רגם אבן, to cast stones equals stone (1 Kings 12:18; Leviticus 20:2, Leviticus 20:27). As to ויּדּוּ for ויידּוּ, see on ויּגּה in Lamentations 3:33. "Waters flowed over my head" is a figurative expression, denoting such misery and distress as endanger life; cf. Psalm 59:2-3, Psalm 59:15., Psalm 124:4., Psalm 42:8. 'I said (thought), I am cut off (from God's eyes or hand)," Psalm 31:23; Psalm 88:6, is a reminiscence from these Psalms, and does not essentially differ from "cut off out of the land of the living," Isaiah 43:8. For, that we must thereby think of death, or sinking down into Sheol, is shown by מבּור תּחתּיּות, Lamentations 3:55. The complaint in these verses (52-54) is regarded by some expositors as a description of the personal sufferings of Jeremiah; and the casting into the pit is referred to the incident mentioned in Jeremiah 38:6. Such is the view, for instance, taken by Vaihinger and Ngelsbach, who point for proof to these considerations especially: (1) That the Chaldeans certainly could not, without good cause (Lamentations 3:53), be understood as the "enemies;" (2) that Jeremiah could not represent the people, speaking as if they were righteous and innocent; and (3) that the writer already speaks of his deliverance from their power, and contents himself with merely calling down on them the vengeance of God (Lamentations 3:55-66). But not one of these reasons is decisive. For, in the first place, the contents of Lamentations 3:52 do not harmonize with the known hostility which Jeremiah had to endure from his personal enemies. That is to say, there is nothing mentioned or known of his enemies having stoned him, or having covered him over with a stone, after they had cast him into the miry pit (Jeremiah 38:6.), The figurative character of the whole account thus shows itself in the very fact that the separate portions of it are taken from reminiscences of passages in the Psalms, whose figurative character is universally acknowledged. Moreover, in the expression איבי חנּם, even when we understand thereby the Chaldeans, it is not at all implied that he who complains of these enemies considers himself righteous and innocent, but simply that he has not given them any good ground for their hostile conduct towards him. And the assertion, that the writer is already speaking of his deliverance from their power, rests on the erroneous notion that, in Lamentations 3:55-66, he is treating of past events; whereas, the interchange of the perfects with imperatives of itself shows that the deliverance of which he there speaks is not an accomplished or bygone fact, but rather the object of that assured faith which contemplates the non-existent as existent. Lastly, the contrast between personal suffering ad the suffering of the people, on which the whole reasoning rests, is quite beside the mark. Moreover, if we take the lamentations to be merely symbolical, then the sufferings and persecutions of which the prophet here complains are not those of the people generally, but of the godly Israelites, on whom they were inflicted when the kingdom was destroyed, not merely by the Chaldeans, but also by their godless fellow-countrymen. Hence we cannot, of course, say that Jeremiah here speaks from personal experience; however, he complains not merely of the persecutions that befall him personally, but also of the sufferings that had come on him and all godly ones. The same remark applies to the conclusion of this lamentation, - the prayer, Lamentations 3:55-66, in which he entreats the Lord for deliverance, and in the spirit of faith views this deliverance as already accomplished.
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