Lamentations 3:41
Let us lift up our heart with our hands to God in the heavens.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(41) With our hands.—Literally, to our hands. There is, as it were, a psychological analysis of prayer. Men can by an act of will, lift up the heart as the centre of affection: this, in its turn, prompts the outward act of the uplifted hands of supplication; God is the final object to whom the prayer is addressed.

3:37-41 While there is life there is hope; and instead of complaining that things are bad, we should encourage ourselves with the hope they will be better. We are sinful men, and what we complain of, is far less than our sins deserve. We should complain to God, and not of him. We are apt, in times of calamity, to reflect on other people's ways, and blame them; but our duty is to search and try our own ways, that we may turn from evil to God. Our hearts must go with our prayers. If inward impressions do not answer to outward expressions, we mock God, and deceive ourselves.Literally, "Let us lift up our heart unto our hands unto God in heaven;" as if the heart first lifted up the hands, and then with them mounted up in prayer to God. In real prayer the outward expression is caused by the emotion stirring within. 41. heart with … hands—the antidote to hypocrisy (Ps 86:4; 1Ti 2:8). Let us apply ourselves unto God by prayer, often expressed under this notion in Scripture from that gesture ordinarily used in prayer; and let us not do it in hypocrisy, but joining our hearts with our hands, praying seriously and fervently. Let us lift up our heart with our hands,.... Lifting up of the hands is a prayer gesture, and is put for prayer itself; see Psalm 141:2; but the heart must go along with it, or it is of no avail; the soul must be lifted up to God; there must be an ascending of that unto him, in earnest desires after him; in affection and love to him; in faith and dependence on him; and in hope and expectation of good things from him, Psalm 25:1; this is the way in which men return to God, even by prayer and supplication. The Targum is,

"let us lift up our hearts, and cast away rapine and prey out of our hands;''

and Jarchi and Abendana mention a Midrash, that paraphrases it,

"let us lift up our hearts in truth to God, as a man washes his hands in purity, and casts away all filthiness from them;''

see Hebrews 10:22;

unto God in the heavens; who has made them, and dwells in them; and therefore prayer must be directed to him, as being there; so our Lord taught his disciples to pray, Matthew 6:9; and which is a very great encouragement to faith in prayer; when it is considered that God is the Maker and possessor of heaven and earth; and that our help is in and expected from him who made all these; and besides the saints have a High Priest, an Advocate with the Father there, to plead their cause for them; and many great and good things are there laid up for them.

Let us lift up {u} our heart with our hands to God in the heavens.

(u) That is, both hearts and hands: for else to lift up the hands is but hypocrisy.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
41. with our hands] Cp. Exodus 9:33; 1 Kings 8:22.Verse 41. - Our heart with our hands. It is to be sincere prayer; "spreading out the hands" is not enough by itself (Isaiah 1:25). These verses form one connected sentence: while the subject and predicate for the three infinitival clauses do not follow till the words אדני לא ראה, the infinitives with their objects depend on ראה. If there were any foundation for the assertion of Bttcher in his Aehrenlese, that ראה never occurs in construction with ל, we could take the infinitives with ל as the objects of ראה, in the sense, "As to the crushing of all the prisoners," etc. But the assertion is devoid of truth, and disproved by 1 Samuel 16:7, האדם יראה לעינים ויהוה יראה. In the three infinitival clauses three modes of unjust dealing are set forth. The treading down to the earth of all prisoners under his (the treader's) feet, refers to cruel treatment of the Jews by the Chaldeans at the taking of Jerusalem and Judah, and generally to deeds of violence perpetrated by victors in war. This explains כּל, which Kalkschmidt and Thenius incorrectly render "all captives of the land (country)." Those intended are prisoners generally, who in time of war are trodden down to the earth, i.e., cruelly treated. The other two crimes mentioned, vv. 35 and 36, are among the sins of which Judah and Israel have been guilty, - the former being an offence against the proper administration of justice, and the latter falling under the category of unjust practices in the intercourse of ordinary life. "To pervert the right of a man before the face of the Most High" does not mean, in general, proterve, et sine ull numinis inspectantis reverenti (C. B. Michaelis, Rosenmller); but just as הטות משׁפּט is taken from the law (Exodus 23:6; Numbers 16:19, etc.), so also is נגד פּני עליון to be explained in accordance with the directions given in the law (Exodus 22:7, Exodus 22:9), that certain clauses were to be brought before האלהים, where this word means the judge or judges pronouncing sentence in the name of God; cf. Psalm 82:6, where the judges, as God's representatives, are called אלהים and בּני אלהים. "Before the face of the Most High" thus means, before the tribunal which is held in the name of the Most High. "To turn aside a man in his cause" means to pervert his right in a dispute (cf. Job 8:3; Job 34:12, etc.), which may also be done in contested matters that do not come before the public tribunal. The meaning of the three verses depends on the explanation given of אדני לא ראה, which is a disputed point. ראה with ל, "to look on something," may mean to care for it, be concerned about it, but not to select, choose, or to resolve upon, approve (Michaelis, Ewald, Thenius). Nor can the prophet mean to say, "The Lord does not look upon the treading down of the prisoners, the perversion of justice." If any one be still inclined, with Rosenmller and others, to view the words as the expression of a fact, then he must consider them as an exception taken by those who murmur against God, but repelled in Lamentations 3:37. Moreover, he must, in some such way as the following, show the connection between Lamentations 3:33 and Lamentations 3:34, by carrying out the idea presented in the exhortation to hope for compassion: "But will any one say that the Lord knows nothing of this - does not trouble Himself about such sufferings?" Whereupon, in Lamentations 3:37, the answer follows: "On the contrary, nothing happens without the will of God" (Gerlach). But there is no point of attachment that can possibly be found in the words of the text for showing such a connection; we must therefore reject this view as being artificial, and forced upon the text. The difficulty is solved in a simple manner, by taking the words אדני לא as a question, just as has been already done in the Chaldee paraphrase: fierine potest ut in conspectu Jovae non reveletur? The absence of the interrogative particle forms no objection to this, inasmuch as a question is pretty often indicated merely by the tone. Lamentations 3:38 must also be taken interrogatively. Bצttcher and Thenius, indeed, think that the perfect ראה is incompatible with this; but the objection merely tells against the rendering, "Should not the Lord see it?" (De Wette, Maurer, Kalkschmidt), which of course would require יראה. But the idea rather is, "Hath not the Lord looked upon this?" The various acts of injustice mentioned in the three verses are not set forth merely as possible events, but as facts that have actually occurred.
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