Lamentations 5:19
Thou, O LORD, remainest for ever; thy throne from generation to generation.
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(19) Thou, O Lord, remainest.—Literally, Thou sittest: i.e., as the next clause shows, upon a throne. The lamentation is drawing to its close, and the mourner finds comfort in the thought of the eternity of God (Psalm 102:12), and therefore the unchangeableness of His purpose of love towards His people.

Lamentations 5:19-22. Thou, O Lord, remainest for ever — Though, for our sins, thou hast suffered these calamities to befall us, and our throne, through thy righteous providence, is thrown down; yet thou art still the same God that thou ever wast: thy power is not diminished, nor thy goodness abated. Thou still governest the world, and orderest all the events of it, and shalt rule it, and superintend its affairs, for ever and ever. Thou art, therefore, always able to help us, and art thou not as willing as able? Is it possible thou shouldest be unmindful of the promises which thou hast made to thy people? Our hope, therefore, is still in thee, unto whom we look for mercy and deliverance. Wherefore dost thou forget us, &c. — Wherefore dost thou act toward us, in the dispensations of thy providence, as if thou hadst forgotten us, and forsaken us, and that for a long time? Turn thou us unto thee, O Lord — Turn us unto thyself from our sins and idols, by a sincere repentance and thorough conversion; and we shall be turned — Effectually and lastingly turned to thee, so as to turn from thee no more. Renew our days as of old — Restore us to that happiness and prosperity which we formerly enjoyed. But thou hast utterly rejected us — Hebrew, כיאם מאס מאסתנו, which, it seems, should rather be rendered, For surely thou hast cast us off, &c., the prophet, in this verse, assigning the reason of the preceding application. For God’s having rejected his people, and expressed great indignation against them, was the cause and ground of their pleading with him, and praying thus earnestly to be restored to his favour and the enjoyment of their ancient privileges. The Jewish rabbins, because they would not have the book to conclude with the melancholy words of this verse, repeat after them the prayer of the preceding verse, namely, Turn thou us unto thee, &c., a prayer which we cannot too frequently, or too fervently, address to God, for ourselves and others. And surely the fervent zeal with which the prophet beseeches the Lord to have compassion on his people, should excite us, at all times, to pray earnestly to him, especially for the protection, safety, and prosperity of his church, and the supply of all its wants, whether it be exposed to persecutions and sufferings on the one hand, or the assaults of infidelity, impiety, and vice on the other. We may learn also, from this humble and earnest prayer of the prophet for the restoration of the Jewish nation, that, when God corrects us, and afflicts us, even with the greatest severity, we must not despond or restrain prayer before him, but have recourse to him by true repentance and faith, and implore his pardoning mercy and renewing grace, as the only way to obtain the light of his countenance, and a restoration to our former state of peace, tranquillity, and comfort.

5:17-22 The people of God express deep concern for the ruins of the temple, more than for any other of their calamities. But whatever changes there are on earth, God is still the same, and remains for ever wise and holy, just and good; with Him there is no variableness nor shadow of turning. They earnestly pray to God for mercy and grace; Turn us to thee, O Lord. God never leaves any till they first leave him; if he turns them to him in a way of duty, no doubt he will quickly return to them in a way of mercy. If God by his grace renew our hearts, he will by his favour renew our days. Troubles may cause our hearts to be faint, and our eyes to be dim, but the way to the mercy-seat of our reconciled God is open. Let us, in all our trials, put our whole trust and confidence in his mercy; let us confess our sins, and pour out our hearts before him. Let us watch against repinings and despondency; for we surely know, that it shall be well in the end with all that trust in, fear, love, and serve the Lord. Are not the Lord's judgments in the earth the same as in Jeremiah's days? Let Zion then be remembered by us in our prayers, and her welfare be sought above every earthly joy. Spare, Lord, spare thy people, and give not thine heritage to reproach, for the heathen to rule over them.Remainest - Or, reignest. The earthly sanctuary is in ruins, but the heavenly throne in unchangeable glory. 19. (Ps 102:12). The perpetuity of God's rule over human affairs, however He may seem to let His people be oppressed for a time, is their ground of hope of restoration. That is, Lord, though for our sins thou sufferest these things to be done unto us, and our throne be through thy righteous providence thrown down, and thy throne in thy sanctuary amongst us be thrown down; yet thou art still the same God, thy power is not diminished, nor thy goodness abated. Thou rulest the world, and shalt rule it for ever and for ever.

Thou, O Lord, remainest for ever,.... The same in his nature and perfections; in his grace and goodness; in his power and faithfulness; in his purposes and promises; though all things else change, are fickle and inconstant, he changes not, but abides the same, without any variableness or shallow of turning; whatever revolutions there are in the world, or alterations in the course of Providence, yet he remains firm and unalterable in his counsel and covenant; though all material things are subject to decay, and even his own sanctuary lay in ruins, yet he himself continued just as he ever was. The eternity and unchangeableness of God are of great use and comfort to his people in times of distress, and to be regarded and observed:

thy throne from generation to generation; though his throne on earth, in Jerusalem, in the temple, was thrown down, yet his throne in heaven remained unshaken; there he sits, and reigns, and rules, and overrules all things here below to his own glory and the good of his people; and this is the saints' comfort in the worst of times, that Zion's King reigns; he has reigned, and will reign, throughout all generations. The Targum is,

"the house of thine habitation in the high heavens; the throne of thy glory to the generations of generations?''

Thou, O LORD, remainest for {k} ever; thy throne from generation to generation.

(k) And therefore your covenant and mercies can never fail.

19. abidest] mg. sittest as king. Cp. Psalm 102:12.

19–22. See intr. note to ch.

Verses 19-22. - FINAL APPEAL TO GOD FOR THE REVERSAL OF THE JUDGMENT. Verse 19. - Remainest; better, art enthroned. Lamentations 5:19The glory of Zion, the earthly habitation of the Lord, is at an end, but the throne of the Lord endures eternally. Through this thought, the lamentation rises to the prayer that the Lord may not forsake His people for ever, but re-establish His kingdom on the earth. "Thou, O Jahveh, art enthroned eternally." This thought is expressed as the ground of hope, in nearly the same words as are found in Psalm 102:13. Jahveh is the God of salvation. Since His throne endures eternally in heaven, He cannot let His kingdom perish on the earth. On this is founded the request, "Why wilt Thou forget us for ever, forsake us for a length of days (i.e., through life, always, Psalm 23:6)?" This the Lord cannot do, because of His grace. From this is developed the further request (Lamentations 5:21), "Lead us back to Thyself, that we may return." We must not restrict השׁיב and שׁוּב to conversion to the Lord (Kalkschmidt, Ewald, Vaihinger, Gerlach); they signify the re-establishment of the gracious relation, which is, of course, impossible without repentance and conversion on the part of Israel. It is wrong to refer the words to the restoration of the people to their native land, or to the re-establishment of the theocracy (Dathe, Thenius), because it is not the exiles who address this petition to the Lord. The mode in which we are to understand the "bringing back to Jahveh" is shown in the second hemistich, "renew our days, as they were in former times," i.e., vouchsafe to us again the life (or state of grace) which we enjoyed in former times. In Lamentations 5:22 this request is based on an argument introduced in a negative form. כּי אם, after a negative clause, signifies nisi, but (Ger. sondern). This meaning developed into that of a strong limitation (cf. Ewald, 356), unless equals provided that. Thus literally here: "unless Thou hast utterly rejected us, - art very wroth against us." This case, however, is merely stated as a possibility, the actual occurrence of which is out of the question. The idea is the same as that expressed by Jeremiah (Jeremiah 14:19) in the form of a question, in order to give greater emphasis to his intercession for his nation. The Lord cannot have utterly rejected His people Israel, because He would thereby make His name to be despised in the eyes of the nations (Jeremiah 14:21). Thus terminates this lamentation, with a request for whose fulfilment faith can hope with confidence.
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