a Bible passage

Click a verse to see commentary
Select a resource above

3. Judah's Complaint

I am the man that hath seen affliction by the rod of his wrath. 2He hath led me, and brought me into darkness, but not into light. 3Surely against me is he turned; he turneth his hand against me all the day. 4My flesh and my skin hath he made old; he hath broken my bones. 5He hath builded against me, and compassed me with gall and travail. 6He hath set me in dark places, as they that be dead of old. 7He hath hedged me about, that I cannot get out: he hath made my chain heavy. 8Also when I cry and shout, he shutteth out my prayer. 9He hath inclosed my ways with hewn stone, he hath made my paths crooked. 10He was unto me as a bear lying in wait, and as a lion in secret places. 11He hath turned aside my ways, and pulled me in pieces: he hath made me desolate. 12He hath bent his bow, and set me as a mark for the arrow. 13He hath caused the arrows of his quiver to enter into my reins. 14I was a derision to all my people; and their song all the day. 15He hath filled me with bitterness, he hath made me drunken with wormwood. 16He hath also broken my teeth with gravel stones, he hath covered me with ashes. 17And thou hast removed my soul far off from peace: I forgat prosperity. 18And I said, My strength and my hope is perished from the Lord: 19Remembering mine affliction and my misery, the wormwood and the gall. 20My soul hath them still in remembrance, and is humbled in me. 21This I recall to my mind, therefore have I hope.

22 It is of the Lord’S mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. 23 They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness. 24The Lord is my portion, saith my soul; therefore will I hope in him. 25The Lord is good unto them that wait for him, to the soul that seeketh him. 26 It is good that a man should both hope and quietly wait for the salvation of the Lord. 27 It is good for a man that he bear the yoke in his youth. 28He sitteth alone and keepeth silence, because he hath borne it upon him. 29He putteth his mouth in the dust; if so be there may be hope. 30He giveth his cheek to him that smiteth him: he is filled full with reproach. 31For the Lord will not cast off for ever: 32But though he cause grief, yet will he have compassion according to the multitude of his mercies. 33For he doth not afflict willingly nor grieve the children of men. 34To crush under his feet all the prisoners of the earth, 35To turn aside the right of a man before the face of the most High, 36To subvert a man in his cause, the Lord approveth not. 37Who is he that saith, and it cometh to pass, when the Lord commandeth it not? 38Out of the mouth of the most High proceedeth not evil and good? 39Wherefore doth a living man complain, a man for the punishment of his sins? 40Let us search and try our ways, and turn again to the Lord. 41Let us lift up our heart with our hands unto God in the heavens. 42We have transgressed and have rebelled: thou hast not pardoned. 43Thou hast covered with anger, and persecuted us: thou hast slain, thou hast not pitied. 44Thou hast covered thyself with a cloud, that our prayer should not pass through. 45Thou hast made us as the offscouring and refuse in the midst of the people. 46All our enemies have opened their mouths against us. 47Fear and a snare is come upon us, desolation and destruction. 48Mine eye runneth down with rivers of water for the destruction of the daughter of my people. 49Mine eye trickleth down, and ceaseth not, without any intermission, 50Till the Lord look down, and behold from heaven. 51Mine eye affecteth mine heart because of all the daughters of my city. 52Mine enemies chased me sore, like a bird, without cause. 53They have cut off my life in the dungeon, and cast a stone upon me. 54Waters flowed over mine head; then I said, I am cut off. 55I called upon thy name, O Lord, out of the low dungeon. 56Thou hast heard my voice: hide not thine ear at my breathing, at my cry. 57Thou drewest near in the day that I called upon thee: thou saidst, Fear not. 58O Lord, thou hast pleaded the causes of my soul; thou hast redeemed my life. 59O Lord, thou hast seen my wrong: judge thou my cause. 60Thou hast seen all their vengeance and all their imaginations against me. 61Thou hast heard their reproach, O Lord, and all their imaginations against me; 62The lips of those that rose up against me, and their device against me all the day. 63Behold their sitting down, and their rising up; I am their musick.

64Render unto them a recompence, O Lord, according to the work of their hands. 65Give them sorrow of heart, thy curse unto them. 66Persecute and destroy them in anger from under the heavens of the Lord.

This verse shews what I have before reminded you of, that the Prophet does not here speak as though he was divested of every sin, and prescribed a perfect rule for prayer. But, on the contrary, in order to animate the faithful to seek God, he sets before them here an instance of infirmity which every one finds true as to himself. It was yet a most grievous trial, because the Prophet almost despaired; for since faith is the mother of hope, it follows, that when any one is overwhelmed with despair, faith is extinct. Nevertheless the Prophet. makes this declaration, Perished, he says, has my strength and my hope from God 180180     The word “strength” is rendered “victory” by the Sept., “end” by the Vulg, “splendor by the Syr., and valor by the Targ. means superiority, excellency, rather than strength, —
   And I said, Perished hath my excellency,
And my expectation from Jehovah.

   Whatever he had that was excellent had perished; and perished also had every good he expected from Jehovah. The meaning is not, that these things perished from Jehovah, but that his excellency and his expectation from Jehovah had perished. — Ed.

He does not speak through some inconsiderate impulse, as though he was suddenly carried away, as many things happen to us which we have had no thought of; but he speaks what was, as it were, fixed in his mind. As he said, “Perished has my hope and strength from Jehovah,” it is evident that his faith was not slightly shaken, but had wholly failed’ but the expression, I said, renders the thing still stronger; for it means, as it is well known, a settled conviction. The Prophet was then fully persuaded that he was forsaken by God; but what does this mean? We ought indeed to maintain this, that faith sometimes is so stifled, that even the children of God think that they are lost, and that it is all over with their salvation. Even David confesses the same thing; for it was an evidence of despair, when he declared,

“I said in my haste, Vanity is every man.” (Psalm 116:11.)

He had almost failed, and he was not master of himself when he was thus agitated. There is no doubt but that the Prophet also expressly reminded the faithful that they ought not to despair, though despair laid hold on their minds, or though the devil tempted them to despair, but that they ought then especially to struggle against it. This is indeed, I allow, a hard and perilous contest, but the faithful ought not to faint, even when such a thing happens to them, that is, when it seems to be all over with them and no hope remains; but, on the contrary, they ought nevertheless to go on hoping, and that, indeed, as the Scripture says elsewhere, against hope, or above hope. (Romans 4:18.)

Let us then learn from this passage, that the faithful are not free from despair, for it enters into their souls; but that there is yet no reason why they should indulge despair; on the contrary, they ought courageously and firmly to resist it; for when the Prophet said this, he did not mean that. he succumbed to this trial, as though he had embraced what had come to his mind; but lie meant, that lie was as it were overwhelmed for a short time. Were any one to ask, How can it be that hope and despair should reside in the same man? the answer is, that when faith is weak, that part of the soul is empty, which admits despair. Now, faith is sometimes not only enfeebled, but is also nearly stifled. This, indeed, does not happen daily, but there is no one whom God deeply exercises with temptations, who does not feel that his faith is almost extinguished. It is often no wonder, that despair then prevails; but it is for a moment. In the meantime, the remedy is, immediately to flee to God and to complain of this misery, so that he may succor and raise up those who are thus fallen. He then adds, —

VIEWNAME is study