The LORD is good to them that wait for him, to the soul that seeks him.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)The Lord is good.—The alliterative form of the Hebrew makes “good” the first word of this and the two following verses, the adjective being predicated, first of the essential character of Jehovah, and then of the conditions in man on which the manifestation of that character depends.
wait—(Isa 30:18).Good is a term of a very comprehensive notion. The nature of it lieth in a suitableness to the thing or person to whom it relateth; so it signifieth profit and pleasantness. There is in God an essential goodness, which is his absolute perfection; but this text speaketh of a communicative goodness, which floweth from him to his creatures, and is seen in his suiting their various necessities and desires with satisfactory dispensations of providence. Though God be in one degree or oilier good to all, yet he is more especially good to the true worshippers of him; yet possibly not in their seasons or times when they expect or would have God show himself so to them, in this or that way, but always to those who wait for him, patiently enduring trials and afflictions until God please to send them deliverance. Isaiah 49:23; perhaps some regard may be had to the coming of Christ in the flesh, which the saints then expected, and were waiting for in faith and hope; to whom the Lord was good and gracious in due time, by performing the mercy promised them, Isaiah 25:9;
to the soul that seeketh him; that seeketh him aright; that seeks him by prayer and supplication; that seeks him in his house and ordinances, where he is to be found; that seeks him early, in the first place, and above all things else; that seeks him earnestly, diligently, with his whole spirit, heart, and soul; that seeks his face, his favour, grace, and glory, and all in Christ, through whom all are to be enjoyed. God is good to such souls; he is a rewarder of them in a way of grace; with himself, as their shield and exceeding great reward; with his Son, and all things freely with him; with his Spirit and graces, and with eternal glory and happiness; such find what they seek for, Christ, his grace, and eternal fire; the Lord never forsakes them, nor the work of his hand in them, and they shall live spiritually and eternally; see Hebrews 11:6.The LORD is good unto them that wait for him, to the soul that seeketh him.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)25–27. Good is the leading word of this group. The knowledge of the Lord’s goodness (25) is that which (26) makes it good that man should be hopeful and submissive and (27) makes him also to recognise the moral good that comes of suffering. Löhr and Pe. cp. Romans 5:3-5. “These vv. have the ring of autobiography” (Dummelow). Cp.
“Nor less I deem …
That we can feed this mind of ours
In a wise passiveness.”
Wordsworth, Expostulation and Reply (Poems of Sentiment and Reflection).
25–51. See intr. note.Lamentations 3:19 : luctatur hic contra desperationis adfectum, quo tentatus fuerat, Lamentations 3:18, mix inde per fidem emersurus. In like manner it is said in the Berleburger Bibel, "In Lamentations 3:19 he struggles with despair, to which he had been tempted, and in the following verse soars up once more into the region of faith." By the resumption of עני from Lamentations 3:1, and of לענה and ראשׁ from Lamentations 3:15 and Lamentations 3:5, the contents of the whole preceding lamentation are given in a summary, and by זכר are presented to God in prayer. "Mine affliction" is intensified by the addition of "my persecution" (see on Lamentations 1:7), and the contents of the lamentation thereby more plainly pointed out. This connection of the verse has been misunderstood in many ways. An old interpretation of the words, still maintained by Bttcher and Thenius, makes זכר an infinitive; according to this view, Lamentations 3:19 would require to be conjoined with the preceding, and the inf. without ל would stand for the ground, recordando, "while I think of," - which is grammatically impossible.
(Note: Seb. Mnster long since said: Secundum quosdam est זכר infinit., ut sit sensus: periit spes mea, recordante me afflictionis meae. Calvin also gives the preference to this view, with the remark: Videtur enim hic propheta exprimere, quomodo fere a spe exciderit, ut nihil reperiret amplius fortitudinis in Deo, quia scilicet oppressus erat malis; in support of which he affirms that it is valde absurdum, eos qui experti sunt aliquando Dei misericordiam, sic omnem spem abjicere, ut non statuant amplius sibi esse refugium ad Deum.)
The same remark applies to the assumption that זכר is an infinitive which is resumed in Lamentations 3:20 : "it thinks of my misery...yes, my soul thinks thereon" (Bttcher, Thenius). Gerlach very properly remarks concerning this view that such a construction is unexampled, and, as regards the change in the form of the infinitive (constr. and abs.), would be unintelligible. The objection of Thenius, however, that the imperative meaning usually attached to זכר is against the whole context, and quite inappropriate here, is connected with the erroneous assumption that Lamentations 3:19 and Lamentations 3:20 form a continuation of what precedes, and that the idea of the speaker's being completely overwhelmed by the thought of all that he had suffered and still suffers, forms the proper conclusion of the first part, after which, from Lamentations 3:21 onwards, there follows relief. Gerlach has rightly opposed to these arguments the following considerations: (1) That, after the outburst of despair in Lamentations 3:18, "my strength is gone, and my hope from Jahveh," the words "my soul is bowed down in me" form far too feeble a conclusion; (2) That it is undoubtedly more correct to make the relief begin with a prayer breathed out through sighs (Lamentations 3:19), than with such a reflection as is expressed in Lamentations 3:21. Ewald also is right in taking זכר as an imperative, but is mistaken in the notion that the speaker addresses any one who is ready to hear him; this view is shown to be erroneous by the simple fact that, in what precedes and succeeds, the thoughts of the speaker are directed to God only.
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