Chapter 3 (Verse by Verse)
Verses 1-18: DARKNESS, AFFLICTION, DERISION, but "The
Lord is longsuffering to usward, not willing that any should perish, but that
all should come to repentance" (2Pe 3:9).
"I am the man": Jeremiah speaks for his nation Israel
-- God's "firstborn" (Exo 4:22), who is afflicted, with the purpose of calling
back the wicked (Ezek 33:11).
Jeremiah speaks for Jesus as well -- and as a type of himself
and all the saints, for whom Jesus is the primary example to follow. Jesus was
the only-begotten of the Father (John 1:14; 3:16) -- and thus the "firstborn".
He was afflicted (Isa 53:4), and he learned obedience by the things he suffered
(Heb 5:8; Phi 2:5-8), being rewarded by his Father as the "firstfruits of them
"That hath seen": "To see" in Hebrew idiom often means
'to experience' (Jer 5:12; Psa 16:10; Eccl 8:16).
"That hath seen affliction by ('under': RSV) the rod
of His wrath": The rod is an expression for correction (see Job 37:13, where
"correction" is the identical word as "rod" here), punishment, and
God used Babylon as His rod to punish Israel, just as He had
previously needed to use Assyria as the "rod of his anger" (Isa 10:5, 15). Note
Rev 11:1 and Lam 2:8, notes -- where the punishment of Israel is seen to be only
of a limited duration.
Christ suffered because of his fleshly nature, which made him
susceptible to temptations and because his death was necessary to save himself
as well as others. But the "rod" of God's correction was not used upon him, for
he never sinned. However, those in Christ -- the saints, the multitudinous
Christ -- do feel this rod of correction. The promise to David speaks of the
Messiah, and God tells him: "I will be his Father, and he shall be My son..."
The second part of that verse, however, can scarcely, if at
all, be applied to Christ:
"If he commit iniquity, I will chasten him with the rod of
This part of the verse seems definitely to apply to believers
in Christ, whom God will correct as children. The Psalmist, in referring to this
verse (2Sa 7:14), alluded to its plural application (see Psa 89:30, 32; cp Paul
in 2Co 6:18; Gal 3:29).
"The man that has seen affliction" has gained knowledge of
some of the deepest facts of life. He can scarcely help being wiser--and more
sympathetic and thoughtful of others -- than he was before the pain came. And if
he thankfully receives the affliction as sent from God, and meant for his good,
then he will become by the Divine discipline more righteous than he would ever
have been otherwise. The fruitful branch, when it is pruned, becomes even more
"He hath led me, and brought me into darkness": Most
versions have "he has driven me into..." The "darkness" is the darkness of night
(1:2), of the grave, and of the eclipse of the Jewish "star" in the "heavens"
(2:1). See vv 53-55; compare Amos 5:18.
"He turned His hand against me all the day": The Hebrew
idiom expresses repeated action. "And I will turn My hand upon thee, and purely
purge away thy dross, and take away all thy sin..." (Isa 1:25).
"My flesh and my skin": Israel's fleshly, natural ways;
her trust in her own strength and the strength of her Gentile friends, such as
"Hath He made old": The verb means "to waste away", or
"to wear out by rubbing", and is used of old clothes.
"He hath broken my bones": Hezekiah compared God with a
lion: "As a lion has He broken my bones" (Isa 38:13). (The bones of an old
person are easily broken).
"He hath builded against me": A siege -- vv
"Gall": Bitter sorrow (as in Jer 8:14). Compare Jesus
in Psa 69:21 and Mat 27:34 ("Vinegar mingled with gall"). The word appears again
in Lam 3:19.
This whole verse is a direct quotation from Psa 143:3, a psalm
of David beseeching God's help in time of trouble -- easily attributable
prophetically to the Lord Jesus in the calamity of his crucifixion.
"He hath set me in dark places": Dark, cave-like
sepulchres (cp Psa 88:6).
This may signify either:
"As they that be dead of old": Or, "they that have been
dead since ancient times" -- Men have always died, due to Adam's sin (Rom 5:12),
from the very beginning; and nations also "die" (Isa 14:9-11), since God rules
in them (Dan 4:17, 25) and since only the Kingdom of God will be
- The grave, "hades", as in a political death for Israel (cp Ezek 37:2);
- A dungeon, as where Jeremiah was detained (v 53; Jer 37:16);
- Christ's death and burial (Mat 27:66).
"He hath hedged me about": In the past, God had fenced
Israel with a fiery wall of protection (Exo 14:19, 20; Zec 2:5); and He will do
so again in the future (Zec 9:8; Isa 4:5; 60:18).
But, during the time of Jeremiah, Israel had sinned
grievously, and the hedge became a hedge of thorns (as in Hos 2:6, 7), and a
prison (cp Job 19:8), symbolizing God's purpose of correction with His people
(which they cannot alter), leading (eventually) to their return to Him, their
Every life is surrounded by divine limitations -- God hedges
us all about, in one way or another. For one there may be physical limitations
-- of health or disability or advancing age. Another might feel most severely
the limitation of poverty; another yet, the lack of education. If we accept our
Father's will, then we will accept, and graciously live with, the "hedges" He
has imposed upon us. But if we, fret and grumble and batter against these
"fences" and "chains", then we are rebelling against God and neglecting our
unique opportunities to do the good which God has placed within our own power.
As one brother expressed it, we must do what we can, with what we have, where we
are. We are not responsible for what we cannot do, nor for what we do not have,
nor for where we cannot go.
"My chain": Literally, "fetters of bronze". Compare
"the yoke of my transgression" (1:14). And see also 5:5.
"Also when I cry and shout, He shutteth out my prayer":
Cp v 44. Also, compare Christ when he was "forsaken" by his Father (Psa 22:1, 2;
"Hewn stones": Which fit together tight and make a
stronger barrier than ordinary stones. "He hath made my paths crooked":
Note also Isa 63:17:
"O LORD, why hast thou made us to err from thy ways, and hardened our heart
from thy fear?"
The true picture is that God was long-suffering for a time,
but then He allowed and even encouraged Israel to harden her heart even further.
See note, 2:13 ("He hath turned me back").
"A bear lying in wait": One of the 4 world-empires, and
a ruler over the Jews, was the Medo-Persian Empire, "a bear, and it raised up
itself on one side, and it had 3 ribs in the mouth..." (Dan 7:5).
"As a lion": The symbol of Nebuchadnezzar and Babylon
"He hath made me desolate": Astonished, stupefied,
terrified. Note Isa 3:26, Mat 23:38 ("Your house is left unto you
"As a mark ('target' -- NIV) for the arrow": God
first of all spoke to His people by the prophets, charging them with their sins
and "marking" them for judgment. Arrows are often figurative for disease (Job
34:6; Psa 91:5) or other sorrows sent by God (Deut 32:23).
"He hath caused the arrows (lit., 'children') of His
quiver to enter into my reins": Then, after the warnings, came the actual
judgments. See Job 6:4; 7:20; 16:12, 13; Psa 38:2.
Compare 2:15; Psa 22:6. 7; Mat 27:39-44.
"I was a derision ('laughingstock' -- NIV) to all my
people": Especially, note Christ's experiences (Psa 69:12) -- "His
own received him not" (John 1:11); "No prophet is accepted in his own
country" (Luke 4:24).
"Their song all the day": Verse 63; Jer 20:7.
"He hath filled me with bitterness": Bitter herbs (Exo
12:8) of sorrow and grief.
"He hath made me drunken with wormwood": To fulfill
Jeremiah's prophecy (Jer 9:15).
"He hath also broken my teeth with gravel stones":
Gravel and grit from the fire, in the bread baked in ashes -- thus implying
extreme poverty and hardship. Compare Pro 20:17:
"Bread of deceit is sweet to a man:
Jesus figuratively contrasts bread and stones in Mat
but afterwards his mouth shall be filled with
"He hath covered me with ashes": mourning at the loss
of fleshly strength and glory (cp Jer 6:26; Job 2:8). The RSV and Rotherham have
"made me cower in ashes".
"And Thou hast removed my soul far off from
I forgat prosperity": Every good, every form of
prosperity had been snatched away. Wherever he looked, he found nothing but
chaos and privation and suffering. Compare Psa 120:6, 7.
"And I said, My strength and my hope is perished from the
LORD": It may have seemed this way to Jeremiah and his contemporaries, but
this is a hasty statement -- as we see from vv 21-25. It may happen to any of us
that, when troubles pile up, we might say in our haste and despair that all is
vanity (Psa 116:11).
Verses 19-21: THE DESIRED EFFECT: TO SAVE A REMNANT.
Through bitterness and suffering and adversity, the Israelite learns to turn to
"By the rivers of Babylon,
The Jews who returned from the 70 years captivity in Babylon
were a much more disciplined, righteous band than those who had been originally
carried there. The rebellious, the half-hearted, the greedy and the idolaters
had been left behind -- often of their own will.
there we sat down,
yea, we wept,
when we remembered Zion
... How shall we sing the Lord's song
in a strange land?
If I forget thee, O Jerusalem,
let my right hand forget her cunning;
if I do not remember thee,
let my tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth;
if I prefer not Jerusalem
above my chief joy" (Psa 137:1,
In the same way, when God brings the Jews back to Israel in
the period after Christ's return, He will purge out the rebels (Ezek 20:28; Zec
13:9). The Jews' will return to their homeland with a renewed spirit, cleansed
at last from their heathen associations, and much the better for their 2000
years spent in division and scattering.
"My soul hath them still in remembrance,
and is humbled in me": The greatest sorrow in
affliction is the remembrance of better times.
"This I recall in my mind; therefore have I hope": This
is the first gleam of real hope. The righteous remnant of Jeremiah's time now
realizes fully that these judgments are the hand of God -- that, if they seek to
obey Him, He will watch over them, and help them, and their hardships will
become only chastenings from their Father. Indeed, if they were not chastened,
they would be illegitimate and not sons (Heb 12:8).
Verses 22-30: THE LORD'S MERCIES, SERVICE, SEPARATION:
These few verses demonstrate the attitude of life for Jeremiah and the
righteous -- in view of God's hand upon them. In the same sense it is
prophetic of the life which Christ led, and the lives of all true
believers in the ages since; a reliance upon the Lord's mercies, a patient
faith and hope and a bearing of God's yoke.
"The LORD'S mercies": The word "mercies" in the Old
Testament is invariably connected with God's promises, or covenants. "Mercy" and
"covenant" are used alongside one another in Psa 89:28, and in v 1 of that
psalm, the author says:
"I will sing of the mercies of the LORD for ever:The mercies of God he identifies in vv 3, 4 --
and throughout the psalm:
with my mouth will I make known Thy faithfulness to all
"I have made a covenant with My chosen,
"It is of the LORD'S mercies that we are not consumed":
Note the lesson of Rom 9:21, 22 -- that God is the Maker of His vessels and has
absolute power over each one, to destroy or to save.
I have sworn unto David My servant,
Thy seed will I establish for ever,
and build up thy throne to all
With special reference to the whole Jewish nation, God has
preserved them due to His covenant with Abraham (Gen 12:3). He will never make a
full end of them (Jer 30:11), for His own Name's sake (Ezek 36:22).
"They are new every morning": God watches over His
servants always. Man must sleep, but God is always awake -- never withdrawing
His life-giving and life-sustaining Spirit for the benefit of all flesh. The
angel of His presence keeps us (Isa 63:9). Weeping may endure for a night, and
that night -- while we lie in darkness -- may seem endless. But in the fresh
morning of God's grace there will come renewal and joy (Psa 30:5).
New every morning is the love
Our wakening and uprising prove;
Through sleep and darkness safely brought,
Restored to life, and power, and thought.
New mercies each returning day
Around us hover while we pray;
New perils past, new sins forgiven,
New time to serve our Lord in Heaven.
The daily round, the common task,
Will furnish all we ought to ask --
Room to deny ourselves; a road
To bring us nearer to our God.
So may we in our waking hours
Our Master serve with all our powers;
And while we serve, O may we be
As thou wouldst have us -- more like
"The LORD is my portion": This is the exact meaning of
the name of Jeremiah's father, Hilkiah -- "Yahweh is my inheritance". Again,
this bears a direct relation to God's promises, as in Psa 16:5, 10, 11. In
conjunction with this is seen the hope of a resurrection to eternal life, first
through Christ and then in all those "in Christ". Along the same lines, compare
Deut 4:20; 9:29; 32:9; Eph 1:11.
How comforting it is to remember, in the midst of loss or
difficulty, that Yahweh is our "portion". Jeremiah stood in the midst of a
devastated city and a desolate land. All around him, his fellows had lost their
"portions" -- homes, families, communities, possessions of every sort. Those
"portions" that are only natural and material are all reduced to the same vanity
at the last, and the man who trusts in them has only wasted his time and
guaranteed his ultimate disappointment. But the life that has God for a
"portion" has the surety of hope and satisfaction at the last, and contentment
even now -- at the prospect of that inheritance. We are saved by hope. The
process is yet far from complete, but it is our right and privilege to rejoice
that our "portion" is in God's hands, and that our hope will surely appear in
the appointed time (Col 3:3, 4).
"The LORD is good unto them that wait for Him": The
righteous are pictured by Isaiah as saying, in their time of deliverance, "We
have waited for him" (Isa 25:9; 30:18). The same thought is found in 1Th
1:9,10. More is implied in these verses, however, than a simple passing of time
now in expectation of receiving the promises at Christ's return. A "watchman" of
God was not only to wait, but to observe keenly the signs of the times, and to
watch himself and keep his garments unspotted (Isa 21:7-12; Ezek 33:1-9). The
Hebrew verb here (in Lam 3:25) is "to wait eagerly", or "to crave".
"To the soul that seeketh Him": "Seek ye the LORD while
he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near: Let the wicked forsake his
way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the LORD, and
he will have mercy upon him: and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon" (Isa
"Hope": "Hope that is seen is not hope: for what a man
seeth why doth he yet hope for? But if we hope for that we see not, then do we
with patience wait for it" (Rom 8:24, 25).
"Quietly wait": With no murmurs or complaints. Job (Job
1:21, 22) and Jesus (Mat 26:63; 27:12; Isa 53:7) were exemplary in such patient
"The salvation of the LORD": The same as the name of
"Joshua" (or "Jesus" in the Greek). A man should wait for Jesus. The patriarch
Jacob did this (Gen 49:18).
"It is good for a man that he bear the yoke in his youth":
The "yoke", to be accepted humbly by the faithful (Jer 37:8-12), was the
yoke which Christ later offered -- meekness and lowliness in the world's
estimation (Mat 11:29).
Also, it is important that we begin to bear this yoke in our
youth if possible. Youth is the time for establishing life-long ambitions and
habits. It is also the time for high hopes, when we may fail to understand the
utter futility of seeking fame and riches. The things learned in our youth will
be the most easily remembered when harder times come. For these reasons, Solomon
"Remember now thy Creator in the days of thy youth, while the evil days come
not, nor the years draw nigh, when thou shalt say, I have no pleasure in
them..." (Eccl 12:1).
Jeremiah himself was called to God's service at a time when he
considered himself as yet "a child" (Jer 1:6, 7), but he soon learned to "put
away childish things" (1Co 13:11).
Such an attitude as this is important in view of the nearness
of our Lord's return, as well as the shortness and uncertainty of mortal
existence at any time:
"The days of our years are threescore years and ten:
And if by reason of strength they be fourscore years,
yet is their strength labour and sorrow:
for it is soon cut off, and we fly away.
So teach us to number our days,
that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom" (Psa 90:10,
"He sitteth alone": The way of true holiness has always
meant a separation from the paths of the wicked. Jeremiah was to maintain a
distinct and separate life. At last, even the appointed time for approaching his
countrymen ceased, and God told him, "Return not unto them" (Jer 15:19). We are
commanded to be separate from the ways of the world (Deut 22:10; 2Co 6:14, 17;
Heb 7:26; Jam 4:4; 1Pe 2:11, 12; 1Jo 2:15-17; 3:1; 4:5; 5:19; Gal 6:14; John
"Because He hath borne it upon him": Literally,
"because He (ie, God) has laid the burden upon him." It would be useless and
impractical to remain separate from the world if God had not commanded it and if
He had not laid it upon us. From a natural standpoint, the best way to make
gains in this life would be by a close association and communion with the world
and all its activities. But our aims, and our attitudes, must be different from
the world around us.
"He putteth his mouth in the dust": Figurative
subjection and humility (2Ch 33:12; cp Mic 7:17; Psa 72:9). Here is a man so
subdued in obedience, that he will bear whatever God may lay upon him without
complaint, because he truly has hope.
"If so be there may be hope": "There may yet be hope"
"He giveth his cheek to him that smiteth him": Compare
Jesus in Mat 5:39 (principle) and in Mat 26:67 and 1Pe 2:19-24 (practice). Also
see Isa 50:6 and Job 16:10.
"He is filled full of reproach": See Psa 69:9,
"For the LORD will not cast off forever": The gospel of
the kingdom is intimately connected with the "hope of Israel", as Paul shows
(Acts 28:20). God's deliverance of the natural Jews from their enemies is
related to, and concurrent with, the deliverance (to immortality) of His saints.
Note carefully Rom 11:1-6, 25-27; 1Sa 12:22; Jer 31:37; and Hos 14:4.
"The multitude of His mercies": See notes, v
"For He doth not afflict willingly nor grieve the children
of men": This "affliction of the sons of men" is tragically necessary, but
it gives God no pleasure. Neither does the death of the wicked give Him pleasure
(Ezek 18:32; 33:11), for He is not willing that any should perish (2Pe 3:9) --
but it is necessary to vindicate God's holy name. He will be, at last, gracious
to those who love Him, but He must of necessity be vengeful upon those who
"To crush under His feet": A reference to the
oppressions of the Babylonian and Assyrian conquerors (Eastern monarchs crushing
slaves beneath their feet are common sights on wall murals and decorations in
capital cities and palaces). But men may "crush" their fellows underfoot in many
other ways as well (cp vv 35, 36).
"The prisoners of the earth": "prisoners in the land"
(NIV) -- ie, Israel, the Jews were the apple of God's eye. Perhaps also a
reference to the prisoners of the pit wherein is no water, the prisoners of sin
and death and the grave, debtors to the law and the servants of sin (Zec 9:11,
"To turn aside the right of a man": Perversion of
justice in a court, as was perpetrated upon Jesus.
"To subvert a man in his cause": Going further, even
the private wrongs, devious and secretive acts, gossip and slander. Even of
these... (see Psa 15).
"The Lord approveth not": Or, by the margin, "the Lord
seeth not", in the sense of Isa 59:15 and Hab 1:13:
"And the LORD saw it, and it displeased him that
Such verses as these show the way in which God will not see
wicked works. In other words, He will not condescend to behold them forever, but
will soon make an end of all such deeds.
there was no judgment."
"Thou art of purer eyes than to behold evil,
and canst not look on iniquity."
"Who is he that saith, and it cometh to pass,
when the Lord commanded it not?":
"My (God's) counsel shall stand,
God is always watching even the sparrows and controlling all
events to His satisfaction. There are no such things as "good luck" or "bad
luck" for the saints. Everything is in God's hands (cp Psa 33:9).
and I will do all my pleasure" (Isa
"Out of the mouth of the Most High proceedeth not evil and
good?": God's works are all done in goodness. He controls events to benefit
Israel and His elect, although this may not always be clearly discernible.
Sometimes we may "receive evil" (in the sense of misfortune) for a time (Job
2:10; Jam 5:10), but not above what we are able to bear.
Also, note that the author of evil in this sense is not some
supernatural being with horns and hooves and pitchfork. God says, "I
create evil" (Isa 45:7). "Shall there be evil in a city, and the LORD
hath not done it?" (Amos 3:6).
"Wherefore doth a living man complain,
a man for the punishment of his sins?":
- The nation of Israel, once politically dead (v 6), is alive today because
of God's direction of world affairs (Ezek 37:10). All things are for their
- We -- who were once "afar off" among the Gentiles, dead in
trespasses and sins -- have been made "alive" (Eph 2:13; Rom 6:13) in Christ
(Gal 2:20), and are now God's sons (1Jo 3:1-3), enduring chastening (Heb 12).
Can we ever complain in view of what we would have been, if God had not called
us to the Truth? There is no real misfortune for the child of faith, and
there is no ultimate evil, except unrepented sin! Let us then, as
Paul did, glory in tribulation... "knowing that tribulation worketh patience:
and patience, experience; and experience, hope; and hope maketh not ashamed"
"Let us search and try our ways,
and turn again to the LORD": see Zec 1:4-6; Hag 1:5;
Joel 2:12; Ruth 1:21, 22; Jer 18:11, 12.
It is instructive to observe the progress of the thoughts and
feelings of "the man that hath seen affliction". At first he can see only his
misfortune. Then, choosing the wisest course, he calls upon God for deliverance.
In doing so, and even before deliverance comes, there comes to him first the
reawakening of faith. The sufferer is now able to see God's mercies everywhere,
even in the sufferings he has felt. The contemplation of God's mercies assures
him that his afflictions must be for a purpose, and that they must be temporary.
Thus, they must not be complained of. So finally is the suffering servant led to
reflection, self-examination, and -- if necessary -- repentance and
"Let us lift up our hearts with our hands unto God in the
heavens": There must be no hypocrisy in prayer (v 48; Psa 86:4; 1Ti 2:8; and
Joel 2:12). The blood of Christ must be sprinkled upon our hearts, and
our consciences must be washed and purified. External rites and practices
are of no value unless they are accompanied by an internal change (Heb 10:22).
God -- and Christ the righteous judge -- can discern our true thoughts and
intentions (Heb 4:12, 13).
"Thou hast not pardoned": Probably because their
transgressions and rebellions have not ceased, and because they have been bitter
when suffering chastisement. But they will change their attitudes and their
ways, and then God will pardon.
"Thou hast covered...":
Compare the thought in 2:1 and the thought in the following
"Thou hast covered Thyself with a cloud": The "cloud"
is the sins of the people, causing God to hide His face from them (Isa 59:2) --
"I will not hear" (Zec 7:13).
"Thou hast made us as the offscouring and refuse in the
midst of the people": The Jews, a proverb and byword (Deut 28:37); and the
saints, of which Paul is an example: "as the filth of the world" (1Co
"All our enemies have opened their mouths against us":
See 2:16, 17 and 4:16,17.
"Fear and a snare": The same combination appears in Jer
48:43 and Isa 24:17. "Panic and pit" (Hillers) suggests the alliteration of the
"A snare": The wicked's own snare (1:13; Pro 1:16-18).
"Desolation": Devastation, "to lay waste" -- as in Isa 37:26.
Verses 48, 49: Tears of humble, honest appeal: "Rend
your hearts" (Joel 2:13). Compare Christ: "Strong crying and tears" (Heb 5:7).
See also Jer 9:13 and Psa 119:136.
"Rivers of water": Compare 1:16; 2:18; Jer 9:1; Psa
"The daughter of my people": The seed of Abraham. See
the words of Christ in Mat 23:37-39.
"Trickleth down": Better, "poureth down" (cp
"Till the LORD look down, and behold from heaven": That
is, until God hears the groaning of the prisoners (cp v 34; Psa 102:20). We
should "give him no rest..." (Isa 62:6,7; Luke 18:1-8). Also, see Isa 63:15;
64:1. Though God is high and exalted, yet He can have respect for those who are
lowly (Psa 113:4-6).
"Mine eye affecteth mine heart": "Affect" is translated
"abuse" in 1Sa 31:4 and "mock" in Num 22:29. What he saw caused discomfort and
grief to his heart.
"All the daughters of my city": 1:4, 18; 2:10,
"Mine enemies chased me sore, like a bird, without a
cause": Compare the symbolism in Pro 1:17 and Psa 11:1. Heedlessly, in
sport, out of greed. But God has sent them (Jer 16:16). Compare Jeremiah and
Jesus: "They hate me without a cause" (Psa 35:19; 69:4; John 15:25).
"They have cut off my life in the dungeon, and cast a stone
upon me": As done to:--
- Jeremiah himself, because of his unpopular warnings (Jer 37:16),
- Jesus (Mat 27:66).
"Waters flowed over my head":
"I am cut off": I am as good as dead (Psa 88:5; Isa
- For the Jews, dead among the nations, waters symbolize the powers that
oppressed them (Isa 8:7; 17:12; Rev 16:12).
- Jonah, praying to God from the
fish's belly, says, "The floods have compassed me" (Jonah 2:3). In this state,
Jonah typifies the Lord Jesus, three days and nights in the grave (Mat 12:40;
- For Christ and the saints, the "waters" also are "floods of ungodly
men" (Psa 18:4).
"I called upon Thy name, O LORD":
"I cried by reason of mine affliction unto the LORD, and He heard me; out of
the belly of hell cried I, and Thou heardest my voice" (Jonah
In the same way, Christ knew his Father would not forsake him
in the grave:
"For Thou wilt not leave my soul in hell; neither wilt Thou suffer Thine Holy
One to see corruption" (Psa 16:10).
"Thou hast heard my voice: hide not Thine ear at my
breathing, at my cry": An implication throughout of a resurrection to life
eternal, the only true hope.
Verses 57-60: This section is typical of the latter
days when Gentile enemies enter Israel. Then will Yahweh fight for His city
Jerusalem (Zec 14:3). Israel will then mourn for Christ -- whom they have slain
"Fear not": See Isa 41:10, 14; 43:1, 2. Also see Rev
1:17 and Dan 10:12. This beautiful counsel is recalled in the words of Jesus
(Mark 5:36) and Paul:
"God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of
a sound mind" (2Ti 1:7).
So much of our lives can be taken up with fears if we allow
it... fears for our families, for our livelihoods, fears of violence, fears of
disease, fears of death -- sometimes, perhaps, nameless fears that paralyse
action and stifle prayer. How often we need the reminder of these simple words:
"Fear not". God is for us -- so who can be against us?
"Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father's
good pleasure to give you the kingdom" (Luke 12:32).
"Judge (or 'uphold' -- NIV) Thou my cause": God
is a righteous and a fair judge, but we know also that He has promised to
forgive us our sins and clothe us with His righteousness -- if we have truly
tried to serve Him with our hearts.
"Thou hast seen all their vengeance
and all their imaginations against me": Compare the
Assyrian (Isa 10:7), Joseph's brethren (Gen 50:21), Jesus's enemies (Acts 2:23),
and Russia (Ezek 38:11, 12).
"Behold their sitting down, and their rising up":
Hatred of God's people, manifested in all their activities -- which is
the idiomatic sense of this phrase (Psa 139:2; Isa 37:28; Deut 6:7).
"I am their music": I am the subject of their derisive,
mocking songs (v 14; Job 30:9; Psa 69:12).
Verses 64-66: These verses do not indicate a
vengeful, grudging attitude as proper in God's servants. Rather, they merely
illustrate an understanding and respect for God's purpose as set forth in His
word. Judgments are necessary upon the heathen; this is the only way they will
be converted (Isa 26:9). "Vengeance is mine, I will repay, saith the Lord" (Rom
12:19; Deut 32:35).
These verses therefore are simply another expression of the
sentiments which Christ taught us to pray: "Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done
on earth..." (Mat 6:10).
This verse is taken from Psa 28:4, and is repeated by Paul
against Alexander the coppersmith in 2Ti 4:14.
"Give them sorrow of heart": Literally, "give them a
covering", or a "vail" -- which can signify blindness (as Isa 6:10; 2Co 3:15),
"strong delusion" (2Th 2:11; Rom 1:28), or drunkenness in battle against the
Lord's hosts (Ezek 38:21).
"Persecute and destroy them in anger from under the heavens
of the LORD": God's dominion is the whole earth, ie, all the land under the
whole heaven (Dan 7:27).