Lamentations 3:39

39 Why should the living complain when punished for their sins?

Read Lamentations 3:39 Using Other Translations

Wherefore doth a living man complain, a man for the punishment of his sins?
Why should a living man complain, a man, about the punishment of his sins?
Then why should we, mere humans, complain when we are punished for our sins?

What does Lamentations 3:39 mean?

John Gill's Exposition of the Bible
Lamentations 3:39

Wherefore doth a living man complain?
&c.] Or murmur, or fret and vex, or bemoan himself; all which the word F11 may signify; as the prophet had done in his own person; or as representing the church, ( Lamentations 3:1-19 ) ; and here checks himself for it; and especially since the mercies and compassions of God never fail, and are daily renewed; and the Lord himself is the portion of his people, ( Lamentations 3:23 Lamentations 3:24 ) ; and seeing he is good to them that seek him, and it is good to wait quietly for the salvation of God, and to bear the yoke patiently, ( Lamentations 3:25-27 ) ; and because of the unwillingness of God to afflict men, and his sympathy and compassion towards them under affliction, ( Lamentations 3:32 Lamentations 3:33 ) ; and especially since all is from the sovereignty of God, who does according to his will; and from whom all good and evil come, ( Lamentations 3:37 Lamentations 3:38 ) ; he is not to be complained of, or against, for anything he does; or to be murmured at; nor should men vex and fret themselves at their own adversity, or at the prosperity of others; or bemoan themselves, as if no case was like theirs, or so bad. It does not become "a man", a reasonable creature, a man grown up, to behave in this manner; as such should quit themselves like men, and conduct as such; a "man" that God is so mindful of, and cares for, and visits every moment, and follows with his goodness continually; a "man", sinful man, that has rendered himself unworthy of the least favour; and yet such is the lovingkindness, favour, and good will of God to man, that he has provided his own Son to be his Saviour; and therefore man, of all God's creatures, has no reason to complain of him; and is a "living" man too, in a natural sense; is upheld in life by the Lord, and has the common mercies of life; is in health, or however in the land of the living; out of hell, where he deserves to be; and therefore should praise, and not complain, ( Isaiah 38:19 ) ; especially if he is a living man in a spiritual sense; has a principle of spiritual life implanted in him; Christ lives in him, and his life is hid with him in God, and has a right and title to eternal life: a man for [the punishment] of his sins?
the word "punishment" is not in the text; but, admitting the supplement, if a man is a wicked man (and so the Targum interprets it), and is punished for his sins, no injustice is done him; he has no reason to complain; and especially of his punishment in this world, which is greatly less than his sins deserve, ( Ezra 9:13 ) ; and if he is a good man, and is chastised for his sins, he ought not to complain "for the chastisement" of them; since it is the chastisement of a father, is in love, and for his good: but the words may be rendered literally, "a man for", or "of his sins" F12; and be considered as a distinct clause, and as an answer to the former, so Jarchi; if a man will complain, let him complain of his sins; of the corruptions of his heart; of the body of sin and death he carries about with him of his daily iniquities; let him mourn over them, and bemoan himself for them; and if he does this in an evangelic manner, he is happy; for he shall be comforted.


F11 (Nnwaty) (goggusei) Sept. "quiritaretur", Junius & Tremellius; "taedio se confecit", Calvin; "fremet", Strigelius; "murmurabit", Cocceius.
F12 (wajx le rbg) "unusquisque propter sua peccata [quiritatur]", Piscator; "vel contra sua peccata fremat", Strigelius.
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