Lamentations 3:6
He has set me in dark places, as they that be dead of old.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(6) He hath set me in dark places.—A verbal reproduction of Psalm 143:3. The “dark places” are those of hell or Hades. For dead of old read dead eternally or dead for ever, the adverb looking forward rather than back.

3:1-20 The prophet relates the more gloomy and discouraging part of his experience, and how he found support and relief. In the time of his trial the Lord had become terrible to him. It was an affliction that was misery itself; for sin makes the cup of affliction a bitter cup. The struggle between unbelief and faith is often very severe. But the weakest believer is wrong, if he thinks that his strength and hope are perished from the Lord.Or, "He hath" made me to dwell "in darkness," i. e. in Sheol or Hades, "as those" forever "dead." 6. set me—Henderson refers this to the custom of placing the dead in a sitting posture.

dark places—sepulchers. As those "dead long since"; so Jeremiah and his people are consigned to oblivion (Ps 88:5, 6; 143:3; Eze 37:13).

Gimel.

The prophet compareth their state in Babylon to the state of bodies in the graves, or in some charnel-house, which are places of darkness, full of rottenness and dead men’s bones. Such was the state of the Jews in Jerusalem during the time of the siege before the city was taken, when Jerusalem was a most miserable place by reason of the multitudes slain by the enemy, or by the famine: such was their state in Babylon, where the company of heathens made their state as the state of the living amongst the dead. He hath set me in dark places,.... In the dark house of the prison, as the Targum; in the dark dungeon where the prophet was put; or the captivity in which the Jews were, and which was like the dark grave or state of the dead; and hence they are said to be in their graves, Ezekiel 37:12. Christ was laid in the dark grave literally:

as they that be dead of old: that have been long dead, and are forgotten, as if they had never been; see Psalm 88:5; or, "as the dead of the world" (f), or age; who, being dead, are gone out of the world, and no more in it. The Targum is,

"as the dead who go into another world.''

(f) , Sept. "quasi mortuos seculi", Montanus, Calvin.

He hath set me in dark places, as they that be dead of old.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
6. Identical with the last part of Psalm 143:3. See intr. note.

dark places] in the gloom of Sheol.

long dead] or, for ever dead, permanently forgotten, never able to return into the light of God’s favour.Verse 6. - This verse is verbally reproduced in Psalm 143:3. In dark places; i.e. in Hades (comp. Psalm 88:7). As they that be dead of old. A strange comparison; for what difference can it make whether the dead are men of the ancient or the modern world? The rendering, however, though perfectly admissible, is less suitable to the context than as they that are forever dead; who have entered "the land from which there is no return" (an Assyrian title of Hades). Comp. "the everlasting house," i.e. the grave (Ecclesiastes 12:5), "the everlasting sleep" (Jeremiah 51:39, 57). The imperf. תּקרא has perhaps bee chosen merely for the sake of the alphabetic arrangement, because the description is still continued, and the idea of custom (wont) or repetition is not very suitable in the present instance. "Thou summonest, as for a feast-day (viz., for the enemy, cf. Lamentations 1:15), all my terrors round about." מגוּרי מסּביב is to be explained in conformity with the formula מגור מסּביב, so frequent in Jeremiah (Jeremiah 6:25; Jeremiah 20:4, Jeremiah 20:10, etc.): מגוּרי is therefore to be derived from מגור, but not to be confined in its reference to the enemy (as in the Vulgate, qui terrent); it is rather to be understood as applying to all the terrible powers that had come upon Judah, - sword, famine, plagues (cf. Lamentations 1:20). On the ground that מגוּרים elsewhere means wandering, pilgrimage, and that, moreover, the sing. מגור in Psalm 55:16 signifies a dwelling, Ewald translates the expression in the text, "my hamlets round about," understanding by that the inhabitants of the defenceless country towns and villages, which stand to the capital that gave them its protection in the relation of settlers in its neighbourhood (lxx πάροικοι). According to this view, the verse alludes to an important event which took place in those days of the siege, when all the inhabitants of the country towns fled to the capital, thinking that a great festival was going to be held there, as on former occasions; but this became at last for them the great festival of death, when the city was taken. But the translation of the lxx is of no authority, since they have given a false rendering of מגור מסּביב also; and the whole explanation is so artificial and unnatural, that it needs no further refutation. Raschi, indeed, had previously explained מגוּרי to mean שכיני, vicinos meos, but added improbos, ut sese congregarent adversus me ad perdendum. Notwithstanding this, מגוּרים, "wandering" and "place of sojourn," cannot denote the country towns as distinguished from the capital; nor can the flight of the inhabitants of the low-lying regions into the capital be fitly called a summoning together of them by the Lord. The combination פּליט ושׂריד is used as in Jeremiah 42:17; Jeremiah 44:14. For טפּח, see on Lamentations 2:20. With the complaint that no one could escape the judgment, - that the enemy dared to murder even the children whom she Jerusalem had carefully nourished and brought up, - the poem concludes, like the first, with deep sorrow, regarding which all attempts at comfort are quite unavailing (Gerlach).
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