Lamentations 3:54
Waters flowed over my head; then I said, I am cut off.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
3:42-54 The more the prophet looked on the desolations, the more he was grieved. Here is one word of comfort. While they continued weeping, they continued waiting; and neither did nor would expect relief and succour from any but the Lord.Waters flowed over mine head - A figurative expression for great mental trouble. 54. Waters—not literally, for there was "no water" (Jer 38:6) in the place of Jeremiah's confinement, but emblematical of overwhelming calamities (Ps 69:2; 124:4, 5).

cut off—(Isa 38:10, 11). I am abandoned by God. He speaks according to carnal sense.

Koph.

Afflictions often in Scripture are called waters, Isaiah 28:17,18 59:19.

I am cut off; that is, I am utterly undone, there is no hope for me. Waters flowed over mine head,.... As in a pit or dungeon, where there is not only mire and clay, but much water, into which persons being put, sink, and are covered therewith; see Psalm 69:1; this is to be understood metaphorically of the waters of afflictions, which overflowed and overwhelmed the people of the Jews. Jarchi interprets it of the nations of the world, as much people are often compared to waters; and here the Chaldeans may be particularly intended, whose army overflowed the land of Judea; and, like a mighty torrent, carried away the people, and wealth of it, and brought them into troubles, which were like deep waters:

then I said, I am cut off; while the waters are only up to a man's loins, he does not apprehend himself in danger; but there is hope of his wading through, and getting out; but when they rise above his head, his hopes are gone; he reckons it all over with him, and that he is just perishing, and his life in the utmost danger; there being scarce any probability or possibility of saving him; so it was with these people.

Waters flowed over mine head; then I said, I am cut off.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
54. Waters flowed over mine head] figuratively. So in Psalm 42:7; Psalm 69:2, which latter Ps. was traditionally ascribed to Jeremiah.

I am cut off] Cp. Psalm 31:22; Psalm 88:5; 2 Chronicles 26:21; Isaiah 53:8.Verse 54. - I am cut off. Some words have to be supplied, and Psalm 31:22 suggests which these are: - "I am cut off from before thine eyes," i.e. from the region on which the eyes of God rest. God has not pardoned, but positively punished, the people for their misdeeds. "Thou hast covered with anger," Lamentations 3:43, corresponds to "Thou hast covered with a cloud," Lamentations 3:44; hence "Thou hast covered" is plainly used both times in the same meaning, in spite of the fact that לך is wanting in Lamentations 3:43. סכך means to "cover," here to "make a cover." "Thou didst make a cover with anger," i.e., Thou didst hide Thyself in wrath; there is no necessity for taking סכך as in itself reflexive. This mode of viewing it agrees also with what follows. The objection of J. D. Michaelis, qui se obtegit non persequitur alios, ut statim additur, which Bttcher and Thenius have repeated, does not hold good in every respect, but chiefly applies to material covering. And the explanation of Thenius, "Thou hast covered us with wrath, and persecuted us," is shown to be wrong by the fact that סכך signifies to cover for protection, concealment, etc., but not to cover in the sense of heaping upon, pouring upon (as Luther translates it); nor, again, can the word be taken here in a sense different from that assigned to it in Lamentations 3:44. "The covering of wrath, which the Lord draws around Him, conceals under it the lightnings of His wrath, which are spoken of immediately afterwards" (Ngelsbach). The anger vents itself in the persecution of the people, in killing them unsparingly. For, that these two are connected, is shown not merely in Lamentations 3:66, but still more plainly by the threatening in Jeremiah 29:18 : "I will pursue them with sword, and famine, and pestilence, and give them for maltreatment to all the kingdoms of the earth." On "Thou hast slain, Thou hast not spared," cf. Lamentations 2:21. In Lamentations 3:44, לך is further appended to סכּותה: "Thou makest a cover with clouds for Thyself," round about Thee, so that no prayer can penetrate to Thee; cf. Psalm 55:2. These words form the expression of the painful conclusion drawn by God's people from their experience, that God answered no cry for help that came to Him, i.e., granted no help. Israel was thereby given up, in a defenceless state, to the foe, so that they could treat them like dirt and abuse them. סחי (from סחה, Ezekiel 26:4), found only here as a noun, signifies "sweepings;" and מאוס is a noun, "disesteem, aversion." The words of Lamentations 3:45, indeed, imply the dispersion of Israel among the nations, but are not to be limited to the maltreatment of the Jews in exile; moreover, they rather apply to the conduct of their foes when Judah was conquered and Jerusalem destroyed. Such treatment, especially the rejection, is further depicted in Lamentations 3:46. The verse is almost a verbatim repetition of Lamentations 2:16, and is quite in the style of Jeremiah as regards the reproduction of particular thoughts; while Thenius, from the repetition, is inclined to infer that chs. 2 and 3 had different authors: cf. Gerlach on the other side. The very next verse might have been sufficient to keep Thenius from such a precipitate conclusion, inasmuch as it contains expressions and figures that are still more clearly peculiar to Jeremiah. On פּחד ופחת, cf. Jeremiah 48:43; השׁבר is also one of the favourite expressions of the prophet. hashee't is certainly ἅπ. λεγ., but reminds one of בּני , Numbers 24:17, for which in Jeremiah 48:45 there stands בּני שׁאון. It comes from שׁאה, to make a noise, roar, fall into ruins with a loud noise, i.e., be laid waste (cf. Isaiah 6:11); and, as Raschi has already observed, it has the same meaning as שׁאיּה, "devastation," Isaiah 24:12. It is incorrect to derive the word from the Hiphil of נשׁא (J. D. Michaelis and Ewald), according to which it ought to mean "disappointment," for the ה does not form an essential portion of the word, but is the article, as והשׁבר shows. Still more erroneous are the renderings ἔπαρσις (lxx, from נשׂא) and vaticinatio (Jerome, who has confounded השּׁאת with משּׂא).

Over this terrible calamity, rivers of tears must be shed, until the Lord looks down from heaven on it, Lamentations 3:48-51. The prophet once more utters this complaint in the first person, because he who has risked his life in his endeavour to keep the people in the service of God must feel the deepest sympathy for them in their misfortunes. "Rivers of water" is stronger than "water," Lamentations 1:16, and "tears like a stream," Lamentations 2:18; but the mode of expression is in the main like that in those passages, and used again in Psalm 119:136, but in a different connection. The second member of the verse is the same as in Lamentations 2:11.

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