Why do you forget us for ever, and forsake us so long time?
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)Wherefore dost thou forget . . .—This was the problem of the mystery of suffering then, as it has been at all times. Jehovah had seemed forgetful of His people, indifferent to their miseries.
and forsake us so long time? or, "to length of days" (d)? so long as the seventy years' captivity; which to be forsaken of God, or to seem to be forsaken of him, was with them a long time.Wherefore dost thou forget us for ever, and forsake us so long time?
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)20. Since this is so, why is Israel left desolate?Verse 20. - Wherefore dost thou forget us, etc.? The poet does not say," Wherefore hast thou forgotten us?" One of the psalmists, indeed, does go so far (Psalm 74:1); but the poet of this lamentation, with a more tender and trustful reserve, adopts the tense of feeling (the imperfect) in preference to that of fact (the perfect), and asks, "Wherefore dost thou [to my feeling] forget us? Wherefore, if Jehovah's power is still unbroken, does he allow Israel to feel herself forsaken?" The fact is certain, viz. that the land of Israel is desolate, and (the poet seems to imply) desolate for some time already. The interpretation is hypothetical, and, as the last verse will show, the poet cannot bring himself to believe that it can be accurate. Judges 16:21. The carrying of the mill (not merely of the upper millstone) is mentioned as the heaviest portion of the work in grinding. "Boys stagger (fall down) on the wood laid on them to be carried," i.e., under the burden of it. כּשׁל with בּ means to stumble on something; here בּ denotes the cause of the stumbling; cf. Jeremiah 6:21; Leviticus 26:37. It is arbitrary to understand עץ as meaning the wooden handle of the mill (Aben Ezra, and Bochart in Hieroz. i. 157, ed. Rosenmller); the same must also be said regarding the opinion of Thenius and Ngelsbach, who refer the words to the dragging of the hand-mills, and of the wood necessary for baking bread for the comfort of the soldiers, on the march of the captives to Babylon.
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