Lamentations 3:54
Waters flowed over mine 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. Lamentations 3:54צמתוּ is here used transitively in Kal, as the Piel is elsewhere, Psalm 119:139, and the Pilpel, Psalm 88:17. צמתוּ בבּור, "they were destroying (cutting off) my life down into the pit," is a pregnant construction, and must be understood de conatu: "they sought to destroy my life when they hurled me down into the pit, and cast stones on me," i.e., not "they covered the pit with a stone" (Pareau, De Wette, Neumann). The verb ידה construed with בּ does not take this meaning, for ידה merely signifies to cast, e.g., lots (Joshua 4:3, etc.), arrows (Jeremiah 50:14), or to throw down equals destroy, annihilate, Zechariah 2:4; and בּי does not mean "in the pit in which I was," but "upon (or against) me." The sing. אבן is to be understood in accordance with the expression רגם אבן, to cast stones equals stone (1 Kings 12:18; Leviticus 20:2, Leviticus 20:27). As to ויּדּוּ for ויידּוּ, see on ויּגּה in Lamentations 3:33. "Waters flowed over my head" is a figurative expression, denoting such misery and distress as endanger life; cf. Psalm 59:2-3, Psalm 59:15., Psalm 124:4., Psalm 42:8. 'I said (thought), I am cut off (from God's eyes or hand)," Psalm 31:23; Psalm 88:6, is a reminiscence from these Psalms, and does not essentially differ from "cut off out of the land of the living," Isaiah 43:8. For, that we must thereby think of death, or sinking down into Sheol, is shown by מבּור תּחתּיּות, Lamentations 3:55. The complaint in these verses (52-54) is regarded by some expositors as a description of the personal sufferings of Jeremiah; and the casting into the pit is referred to the incident mentioned in Jeremiah 38:6. Such is the view, for instance, taken by Vaihinger and Ngelsbach, who point for proof to these considerations especially: (1) That the Chaldeans certainly could not, without good cause (Lamentations 3:53), be understood as the "enemies;" (2) that Jeremiah could not represent the people, speaking as if they were righteous and innocent; and (3) that the writer already speaks of his deliverance from their power, and contents himself with merely calling down on them the vengeance of God (Lamentations 3:55-66). But not one of these reasons is decisive. For, in the first place, the contents of Lamentations 3:52 do not harmonize with the known hostility which Jeremiah had to endure from his personal enemies. That is to say, there is nothing mentioned or known of his enemies having stoned him, or having covered him over with a stone, after they had cast him into the miry pit (Jeremiah 38:6.), The figurative character of the whole account thus shows itself in the very fact that the separate portions of it are taken from reminiscences of passages in the Psalms, whose figurative character is universally acknowledged. Moreover, in the expression איבי חנּם, even when we understand thereby the Chaldeans, it is not at all implied that he who complains of these enemies considers himself righteous and innocent, but simply that he has not given them any good ground for their hostile conduct towards him. And the assertion, that the writer is already speaking of his deliverance from their power, rests on the erroneous notion that, in Lamentations 3:55-66, he is treating of past events; whereas, the interchange of the perfects with imperatives of itself shows that the deliverance of which he there speaks is not an accomplished or bygone fact, but rather the object of that assured faith which contemplates the non-existent as existent. Lastly, the contrast between personal suffering ad the suffering of the people, on which the whole reasoning rests, is quite beside the mark. Moreover, if we take the lamentations to be merely symbolical, then the sufferings and persecutions of which the prophet here complains are not those of the people generally, but of the godly Israelites, on whom they were inflicted when the kingdom was destroyed, not merely by the Chaldeans, but also by their godless fellow-countrymen. Hence we cannot, of course, say that Jeremiah here speaks from personal experience; however, he complains not merely of the persecutions that befall him personally, but also of the sufferings that had come on him and all godly ones. The same remark applies to the conclusion of this lamentation, - the prayer, Lamentations 3:55-66, in which he entreats the Lord for deliverance, and in the spirit of faith views this deliverance as already accomplished.
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