34-36. This triplet has an infinitive in the beginning of each verse, the governing finite verb being in the end of Lamentations 3:36 , "the Lord approveth not," which is to be repeated in each verse. Jeremiah here anticipates and answers the objections which the Jews might start, that it was by His connivance they were "crushed under the feet" of those who "turned aside the right of a man." God approves (literally, "seeth," Habakkuk 1:13 ; so "behold," "look on," that is, look on with approval) not of such unrighteous acts; and so the Jews may look for deliverance and the punishment of their foes.
35. before . . . face of . . . most High--Any "turning aside" of justice in court is done before the face of God, who Is present, and "regardeth," though unseen ( Ecclesiastes 5:8 ).
36. subvert--to wrong.
37-39. Who is it that can (as God, Psalms 33:9 ) effect by a word anything, without the will of God?
39. living--and so having a time yet given him by God for repentance. If sin were punished as it deserves, life itself would be forfeited by the sinner. "Complaining" (murmuring) ill becomes him who enjoys such a favor as life ( Proverbs 19:3 ).
for the punishment of his sins--Instead of blaming God for his sufferings, he ought to recognize in them God's righteousness and the just rewards of his own sin.
40-42. us--Jeremiah and his fellow countrymen in their calamity.
search--as opposed to the torpor wherewith men rest only on their outward sufferings, without attending to the cause of them ( Psalms 139:23 Psalms 139:24 ).
42. not pardoned--The Babylonian captivity had not yet ended.
43-45. covered--namely, thyself (so Lamentations 3:44 ), so as not to see and pity our calamities, for even the most cruel in seeing a sad spectacle are moved to pity. Compare as to God "hiding His face," Psalms 10:11 , 22:25 .
45. So the apostles were treated; but, instead of murmuring, they rejoiced at it ( 1 Corinthians 4:13 ).
47. Like animals fleeing in fear, we fall into the snare laid for us.
48. ( Jeremiah 4:19 ).
49-51. without . . . intermission--or else, "because there is no intermission" [PISCATOR], namely, Of my miseries.
50. Till--His prayer is not without hope, wherein it differs from the blind grief of unbelievers.
look down, &c.--( Isaiah 63:15 ).
51. eye affecteth mine heart--that is, causeth me grief with continual tears; or, "affecteth my life" (literally, "soul," Margin), that is, my health [GROTIUS].
daughters of . . . city--the towns around, dependencies of Jerusalem, taken by the foe.
52-54. a bird--which is destitute of counsel and strength. The allusion seems to be to Proverbs 1:17 [CALVIN].
without cause--( Psalms 69:4 , Psalms 109:3 Psalms 109:4 ). Type of Messiah ( John 15:25 ).
54. Waters--not literally, for there was "no water" ( Jeremiah 38:6 ) in the place of Jeremiah's confinement, but emblematical of overwhelming calamities ( Psalms 69:2 , Psalms 124:4 Psalms 124:5 ).
cut off--( Isaiah 38:10 Isaiah 38:11 ). I am abandoned by God. He speaks according to carnal sense.
56. Thou hast heard--namely formerly (so in Lamentations 3:57 Lamentations 3:58 ).
breathing . . . cry--two kinds of prayer; the sigh of a prayer silently breathed forth, and the loud, earnest cry (compare "prayer," "secret speech," Isaiah 26:16 , Margin; with "cry aloud," Psalms 55:17 ).
57. Thou drewest near--with Thy help ( James 4:8 ).
59. God's past deliverances and His knowledge of Judah's wrongs are made the grounds of prayer for relief.
60. imaginations--devices ( Jeremiah 11:19 ).
Their vengeance--means their malice. Jeremiah gives his conduct, when plotted against by his foes, as an example how the Jews should bring their wrongs at the hands of the Chaldeans before God.
61-63. their reproach--their reproachful language against me.
63. sitting down . . . rising up--whether they sit or rise, that is, whether they be actively engaged or sedentary, and at rest "all the day" ( Lamentations 3:62 ), I am the subject of their derisive songs ( Lamentations 3:14 ).
66. from under . . . heavens of . . . Lord--destroy them so that it may be seen everywhere under heaven that thou sittest above as Judge of the world.