Notes & Commentary:
Ver. 1. Man. Jeremias had a share in the common misery, (Worthington) and bewails his own condition, as a figure of Christ, Psalm lxxxvii. 16., and Isaias liii. 3. (Calmet) — His disciples must expect to suffer. (Haydock)
Ver. 2. Led, or driven me with the rod. (Haydock) — God employs two, Zacharias xi. 7. That of rigour was reserved for this prophet; (chap. xxxviii.) none of them suffered more.
Ver. 4. Old and wrinkled, the effect of misery.
Ver. 5. Gall. Septuagint, “head.” Chaldean, “he hath seized the chief,” Job xvi. 13. He speaks in the name of the besieged, who had been threatened with this punishment, ver. 19., and chap. viii. 14. (Calmet) — And labour. Nabuzardan ransacked the city worse than his master, (Worthington) if the latter was at all present. (Haydock)
Ver. 6. Ever indeed, Ecclesiastes xii. 5., and Psalm xlviii. 12. Jeremias (xxxviii. 6.) was in imminent danger.
Ver. 8. Prayer. God would not allow him to pray for the people, chap. vii. 16.
Ver. 9. Stones. There is no passage, Job xix. 8.
Ver. 10. Places. This may refer to the prophet or to the people.
Ver. 12. Arrows. Such places were common where shooting was practised, 1 Kings xx. 36., and Job xvi. 11.
Ver. 14. Song. True prophets were derided on account of impostors, and because their declarations were unpleasant, &c., chap. xvii. 15., and Ezechiel xii. 22.
Ver. 15. Wormwood, or a bitter poisonous herb, chap. ix. 26., and Deuteronomy xxix. 18.
Ver. 16. One. Hebrew, “against a stone.” My bread is full of them, Psalm ci. 10. (Calmet) — He describes his afflictions, as if his teeth had been broken. (Worthington)
Ver. 18. End. Hebrew, “strength.” Septuagint, “victory.” (Calmet)
Ver. 21. Hope. The remembrance fills him with grief and hope, chap. xx. 12. (Haydock)
Ver. 23. New. Novi should be novæ, to agree with miserationes. (Calmet) — Chaldean, “new miracles” occur daily. (Haydock) — God’s mercies are ever fresh. (Worthington)
Ver. 27. Yoke. Afflictions endured for justice sake ensure a blessing. (Haydock) — All may derive great benefit from suffering.
Ver. 28. Himself, with perfect resignation.
Ver. 29. Hope. He does not doubt, but confides with great humility.
Ver. 30. Him. We cannot verify this of the prophet as we can of Christ, (Matthew xxvi. 62.; Calmet) to whom this particularly refers. (Worthington)
Ver. 33. Men. He punishes with regret, Ezechiel xviii. 23. Our crimes force him to chastise, ver. 36. (Calmet) — Yet he seeks our advantage. (Worthington)
Ver. 37. Commanded. Hebrew, “said: It cometh to pass,” as if by chance. There have always been Epicureans, Ezechiel viii. 12., and Psalm xciii. 7. (Calmet) — Those who deny Providence speak, ver. 30. (Worthington)
Ver. 39. Sins? If all happened by inevitable necessity, or according to the laws of Providence, why should any one complain?
Ver. 41. Up. This posture “is the testimony of a soul naturally Christian.” (Tertullian, Apol.) — Our heart must accompany our hands, 1 Timothy ii. 8. (Calmet)
Ver. 42. Inexorable. Hebrew and Septuagint, “Thou hast not shewn pity.” (Haydock)
Ver. 43. Covered thyself, as if not to see our distress.
Ver. 44. Cloud. Isaias lix. 2., and Ecclesiasticus xxxv. 21. These expressions are admirable.
Ver. 47. Prophecy. Many would read, vastatio. Hebrew, “ruin.” Septuagint, “taking away.” (Calmet) — Protestants, “Fear and a snare is come upon us, desolation and destruction.” The prophets were continually in danger. (Haydock) — The preaching of false prophets has brought these evils upon the people. (Worthington)
Ver. 51. Wasted. Literally, “robbed.” (Haydock) — I have felt more for my people than they have themselves. Moral writers often produce this text, to shew the dangers of an unguarded glance (Calmet) at women.
Ver. 53. Over me, as if I were buried. (Haydock) — Jeremias was in prison (chap. xxxviii. 6.) when he prayed, ver. 54., and chap. xx. 7. (Calmet)
Ver. 59. Judge what they have judged unjustly. (Worthington)
Ver. 62. Lips; or language (Genesis xi. 1.) thou knowest, ver. 60.
Ver. 63. Up, all their conduct. — Song. Ver. 14.
Ver. 65. Buckler, to cover all the body. They shall be surrounded with misery, (Psalm cviii. 29.) while God will protect his servants, Psalm v. 13. (Calmet) — Let sorrow pierce their heart, as thy enemies are treated. (Worthington)
Bible Text & Cross-references: 1
Aleph. I am the man that see my poverty by the rod of his indignation.
2 Aleph. He hath led me, and brought me into darkness, and not into light.
3 Aleph. Only against me he hath turned, and turned again his hand all the day.
4 Beth. My skin and my flesh he hath made old, he hath broken my bones.
5 Beth. He hath built round about me, and he hath compassed me with gall, and labour.
6 Beth. He hath set me in dark places, as those that are dead for ever.
7 Ghimel. He hath built against me round about, that I may not get out: he hath made my fetters heavy.
8 Ghimel. Yea, and when I cry, and entreat, he hath shut out my prayer.
9 Ghimel. He hath shut up my ways with square stones, he hath turned my paths upside down.
10 Daleth. He is become to me as a bear lying in wait: as a lion in secret places.
11 Daleth. He hath turned aside my paths, and hath broken me in pieces, he hath made me desolate.
12 Daleth. He hath bent his bow, and set me as a mark for his arrows.
13 He. He hath shot into my reins the daughters of his quiver.
14 He. I am made a derision to all my people, their song all the day long.
15 He. He hath filled me with bitterness, he hath inebriated me with wormwood.
16 Vau. And he hath broken my teeth one by one, he hath fed me with ashes.
17 Vau. And my soul is removed far off from peace, I have forgotten good things.
18 Vau. And I said: My end, and my hope is perished from the Lord.
19 Zain. Remember my poverty, and transgression, the wormwood and the gall.
20 Zain. I will be mindful, and remember, and my soul shall languish within me.
21 Zain. These things I shall think over in my heart, therefore will I hope.
22 Heth. The mercies of the Lord that we are not consumed: because his commiserations have not failed.
23 Heth. They are new every morning, great is thy faithfulness.
24 Heth. The Lord is my portion, said my soul: therefore will I wait for him.
25 Teth. The Lord is good to them that hope in him, to the soul that seeketh him.
26 Teth. It is good to wait with silence for the salvation of God.
27 Teth. It is good for a man, when he hath borne the yoke from his youth.
28 Jod. He shall sit solitary, and hold his peace: because he hath taken it up upon himself.
29 Jod. He shall put his mouth in the dust, if so be there may be hope.
30 Jod. He shall give his cheek to him that striketh him, he shall be filled with reproaches.
31 Caph. For the Lord will not cast off for ever.
32 Caph. For if he hath cast off, he will also have mercy, according to the multitude of his mercies.
33 Caph. For he hath not willingly afflicted, nor cast off the children of men.
34 Lamed. To crush under his feet all the prisoners of the land,
35 Lamed. To turn aside the judgment of a man before the face of the most High,
36 Lamed. To destroy a man wrongfully in his judgment, the Lord hath not approved.
37 *Mem. Who is he that hath commanded a thing to be done, when the Lord commandeth it not?
38 Mem. Shall not both evil and good proceed out of the mouth of the Highest?
39 Mem. Why hath a living man murmured, man suffering for his sins?
40 Nun. Let us search our ways, and seek, and return to the Lord.
41 Nun. Let us lift up our hearts with our hands to the Lord in the heavens.
42 Nun. We have done wickedly, and provoked thee to wrath: therefore thou art inexorable.
43 Samech. Thou hast covered in thy wrath, and hast struck us: thou hast killed, and hast not spared.
44 Samech. Thou hast set a cloud before thee, that our prayer may not pass through.
45 Samech. Thou hast made me as an outcast, and refuse, in the midst of the people.
46 Phe. All our enemies have opened their mouths against us.
47 Phe. Prophecy is become to us a fear, and a snare, and destruction.
48 Phe. My eye hath run down with streams of water, for the destruction of the daughter of my people.
49 Ain. My eye is afflicted, and hath not been quiet, because there was no rest:
50 Ain. Till the Lord regarded, and looked down from the heavens.
51 Ain. My eye hath wasted my soul, because of all the daughters of my city.
52 Sade. My enemies have chased me, and caught me like a bird, without cause.
53 Sade. My life is fallen into the pit, and they have laid a stone over me.
54 Sade. Waters have flowed over my head: I said: I am cut off.
55 Coph. I have called upon thy name, O Lord, from the lowest pit.
56 Coph. Thou hast heard my voice: turn not away thy ear from my sighs, and cries.
57 Coph. Thou drewest near in the day, when I called upon thee: thou saidst: Fear not.
58 Res. Thou hast judged, O Lord, the cause of my soul, thou the Redeemer of my life.
59 Res. Thou hast seen, O Lord, their iniquity against me, judge thou my judgment.
60 Res. Thou hast seen all their fury, and all their thoughts against me.
61 Sin. Thou hast heard their reproach, O Lord, all their imaginations against me.
62 Sin. The lips of them that rise up against me: and their devices against me all the day.
63 Sin. Behold, their sitting down, and their rising up, I am their song.
64 Thau. Thou shalt render them a recompense, O Lord, according to the works of their hands.
65 Thau. Thou shalt give them a buckler of heart, thy labour.
66 Thau. Thou shalt persecute them in anger, and shalt destroy them from under the heavens, O Lord.
37: Amos iii. 6.