Lamentations 3:28
He sits alone and keeps silence, because he has borne it on him.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(28) He sitteth alone . . .—Better, Let him sit alone, and keep silence when He (Jehovah) hath laid it (the yoke) upon him; and so in the next verses, Let him put his mouth . . . Let him give his cheek.

3:21-36 Having stated his distress and temptation, the prophet shows how he was raised above it. Bad as things are, it is owing to the mercy of God that they are not worse. We should observe what makes for us, as well as what is against us. God's compassions fail not; of this we have fresh instances every morning. Portions on earth are perishing things, but God is a portion for ever. It is our duty, and will be our comfort and satisfaction, to hope and quietly to wait for the salvation of the Lord. Afflictions do and will work very much for good: many have found it good to bear this yoke in their youth; it has made many humble and serious, and has weaned them from the world, who otherwise would have been proud and unruly. If tribulation work patience, that patience will work experience, and that experience a hope that makes not ashamed. Due thoughts of the evil of sin, and of our own sinfulness, will convince us that it is of the Lord's mercies we are not consumed. If we cannot say with unwavering voice, The Lord is my portion; may we not say, I desire to have Him for my portion and salvation, and in his word do I hope? Happy shall we be, if we learn to receive affliction as laid upon us by the hand of God.Translate:

Let him sit alone and keep silence;

For He (God) hath laid the yoke upon him.

Let him place his mouth in the dust;

Perchance there is hope.

Let him offer his cheek to him that smiteth him;

Let him be filled to the full with reproach.

It is good for a man to bear the yoke in his youth, but only if he bear it rightly. To attain this result, let him learn resignation, remembering who has laid the yoke upon him. This reverential silence is described Lamentations 3:29, as putting the mouth in the dust, and so lying prostrate before the Deity; while Lamentations 3:30 the harder task is imposed of bearing contumely with meekness (margin reference), and not shrinking from the last dregs of the cup of reproach. Many who submit readily to God are indignant when the suffering comes through men.

28-30. The fruit of true docility and patience. He does not fight against the yoke (Jer 31:18; Ac 9:5), but accommodates himself to it.

alone—The heathen applauded magnanimity, but they looked to display and the praise of men. The child of God, in the absence of any witness, "alone," silently submits to the will of God.

borne it upon him—that is, because he is used to bearing it on him. Rather, "because He (the Lord, La 3:26) hath laid it on him" [Vatablus].

Our English Annotations supplying that, makes the connexion clear, It is good for a man that he sit alone, Jeremiah 15:17; not doing what he doth to be seen of men, but sitting alone, and when he is alone suppressing the mutinies of his spirit, and keeping his soul in subjection to God; because God hath humbled him by his rod, humbling himself to his will. He sitteth alone,.... Retires from the world, and the men of it, who takes upon him the yoke of Christ; though he is not alone, but God, Father, Son, and Spirit, are with him; and he is with the saints, the excellent of the earth, and has communion with them; and so he is that under the afflicting hand of God bears it patiently, and does not run from place to place complaining of it, but sits still, and considers the cause, end, and use of it. Some render the words in connection with the preceding, it is good "that he sit alone" (b); it is good for a man to be alone; in his closet, praying to God; in his house or chamber, reading the word of God; in the field, or elsewhere, meditating upon it, and upon the works of God, of nature, providence, and grace:

and keepeth silence, because he hath borne it on him: or, "took it on him"; either because he took it upon him willingly, and therefore should bear it patiently; or because he (God) hath put it upon him (c), and therefore should be silent, and not murmur and repine, since he hath done it, Psalm 39:9.

(b) "ut sedeat solus", Gataker. (c) "projecit super ipsum", Tigurine version; "sub. Dominus", Vatablus; "quod imposuerit ipsi Deus", Junius & Tremellius, Michaelis.

He sitteth alone {n} and keepeth silence, because he hath borne it upon him.

(n) He murmurs not against God, but is patient.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
28. The hortative form is better than mg. He sitteth alone, etc. For sitting alone in grief, cp. Jeremiah 15:17. The connexion is, inasmuch as suffering is really attended with benefit to the sufferer, let him submit readily to it.

hath laid] The subject is God.Verses 28-30. - He sitteth alone, etc.; rather, Let him sit alone... let him keep silence (ver. 28)... let him put (ver. 29)... let him give... let him be filled (ver. 30). The connection is - since it is good for a man to be afflicted, let him sit still, when trouble is sent, and resign himself to bear it. Verse 28. - Because he hath borne it; rather, when he (viz. God) hath laid it. The view taken of this verse will depend on the answer to the question whether תּזכר is second or third pers. fem. Following in the wake of Luther ("Thou wilt assuredly think thereon"), C. B. Michaelis, Pareau, Rosenmller, and Kalkschmidt take it as second pers.: "Think, yea, think wilt Thou, that my soul is bowed down in me," or "that my soul is at rest within me" (Ngelsbach). But it is impossible to maintain either of these views in the face of the language employed. To take the ו before תּשׁיח in the meaning of quod is characterized by Ngelsbach as an arbitrary procedure, unwarranted either by Genesis 30:27 or Ezekiel 13:11; but neither can the meaning of resting, being at east, which is attributed to שׁוּח or שׁיח by that writer, be established. The verb means to sink down, Proverbs 2:18, and metaphorically, to be bowed down, Psalm 44:26. The latter meaning is required in the present passage, from the simple fact that the sentence undeniably refers to Psalm 42:6.

(Note: Luther's translation, "for my soul tells me," is founded on the circumstance that the lxx have mistaken שׁיח for שׂיח: καταδολεσχήσει ἐπ ̓ ἐμὲ ἡ ψυχή μου.)

ותּשׁיח expresses the consequence of זכר תּזכר, which therefore can only be the third pers., and "my soul" the subject of both clauses; for there is no logical consecution of the meaning given by such a rendering as, "If Thou wilt remember, my soul shall be bowed within me." The expression, "If my soul duly meditates thereon (on the deep suffering), it becomes depressed within me," forms the foundation of the request that God would think of his distress, his misery; and Lamentations 3:21, "I will lay this to heart," connects itself with the leading thought set forth in Lamentations 3:19, the reason for which is given in Lamentations 3:20, viz., that my soul is only bowed down within me over the thought of my distress, and must complain of it to God, that He may think of it and alleviate it: This will I lay to heart and set my hope upon. על־כּן is a strong inferential expression: "therefore," because God alone can help, will I hope. This self-encouragement begins with Lamentations 3:22, inasmuch as the prophet strengthens his hope by a consideration of the infinite compassion of the Lord. (It is) חסדי, "the mercies of God," i.e., proofs of His mercy (cf. Psalm 89:2; Psalm 107:43; Isaiah 63:7), "that we are not utterly consumed," as Luther and similarly our English translators have excellently rendered תּמנוּ. This form stands for תּמּונוּ, as in Jeremiah 44:18; Numbers 17:1-13 :28, not for תּמּוּ, third pers., as Pareau, Thenius, Vaihinger, and Ewald, referring to his Grammar, 84, b, would take it. The proofs of the grace of God have their foundation in His compassion, from which they flow. In Lamentations 3:23 we take חסדי as the subject of חדשׁים; it is the proofs of the grace of God that are new every morning, not "His compassions," although the idea remains the same. לבּקרים, every morning, as in Isaiah 33:2; Psalm 73:14. Ubi sol et dies oritur, simul et radii hujus inexhaustae bonitatis erumpunt (Tarnovius in Rosenmller). The consciousness of this constant renewal of the divine favour impels to the prayerful exclamation, "great is Thy faithfulness;" cf. Psalm 36:6.

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