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Christ In Type And Prophecy: Volumes 1&2 by Rev. A.J. Maas S.J.

1. STRUCTURE OF THE CHAPTER.—According to Prof. Bickell, the chapter consists of twenty-two stanzas, each containing three dodeka-syllabic verses. All the lines of each stanza begin with the same letter of the alphabet, and these follow each other in regular succession, so that the whole chapter forms an alphabetic poem. As to the thought, the inspired writer complains that he is smitten by the hand of the Lord, and he describes his affliction in general in vv. 6–18. In vv. 19–39 he prays, and conceives through prayer new hope which he nourishes and augments by considering God’s mercy and faithfulness. In vv. 40–66 the writer shows that God must be prayed to with humble confidence, and that Sion’s sufferings must be proposed to him incessantly.

Driver’s analysis differs somewhat from the one proposed: “Here the poet speaking in the name of the people—or the people itself personified—bewails its calamities, vv. 1–20; vv. 21–39 it consoles itself by the thought of God’s compassion, and the purposes of grace which he may have in his visitation; vv. 40–54 its members are invited to confess their guilt, and turn to God in penitence; vv. 55–57 the tone becomes more hopeful; and vv. 58–66 the poem ends with a confident appeal for vengeance on the nation’s foes” (Driver, “Literature of the Old Testament,” pp. 431 f.).

2. MESSIANIC CHARACTER OF THE PASSAGE.—It is clear from what has been said that the chapter cannot be referred to the Messias in its literal sense. But since the literal sense has been verified in the people of Israel, and since the people, especially in its affliction, is a figure of the suffering Messias—though the people suffers for its own sins and the Messias for the sins of the world—we are right in applying the contents of the chapter to Jesus Christ. The commentary and the text will show why it is especially the burial of the Messias that is prefigured in the passage.

LAM. 3

ALEPH

I am the man that see my poverty; by the rod of his indignation

He hath led me, and brought me into darkness, and not into light;

Only against me he hath turned and turned again his hand all the day.

BETH

My skin and my flesh he hath made old, he hath broken my bones;

He hath built round about me, and he hath compassed me with gall and labor;

He hath set me in dark places, as those that are dead for ever.

GHIMEL

He hath built against me round about, that I may not get out, he hath made my fetters heavy;

Yea, and when I cry and entreat, he hath shut out my prayer;

He hath shut up my ways with square stones, he hath turned my paths upside down.

DALETH

He is become to me as a bear lying in wait, as a lion in secret places;

He hath turned aside my paths, and hath broken me in pieces; he hath made me desolate;

He hath bent his bow, and set me as a mark for his arrows.

HE

He hath shot into my reins the daughters of his quiver;

I am made a derision to all my people, their song all the day long;

He hath filled me with bitterness, he hath inebriated me with wormwood.

VAU

And he hath broken my teeth, one by one, he hath fed me with ashes;

And my soul is removed far off from peace, I have forgotten good things;

And I said: My end, and my hope is perished from the Lord.

ZAIN

Remember my poverty and transgression, the wormwood and the gall;

I will be mindful and remember, and my soul shall languish within me;

These things I shall think over in my heart, therefore will I hope.

HETH

The mercies of the Lord that we are not consumed, because his tender mercies have not failed;

They are new every morning, great is thy faithfulness;

The Lord is my portion, said my soul; therefore will I wait for him.

TETH

The Lord is good to them that hope in him, to the soul that seeketh him;

It is good to wait with silence for the salvation of God;

It is good for a man when he hath borne the yoke from his youth.

JOD

He shall sit solitary and hold his peace, because he hath taken it up upon himself;

He shall put his mouth in the dust, if so be there may be hope;

He shall give his cheek to him that striketh him, he shall be filled with reproaches.

CAPH

For the Lord will not cast off for ever;

For if he hath cast off, he will also have mercy, according to the multitude of his mercies;

For he hath not willingly afflicted, nor cast off the children of men.

LAMED

To crush under his feet all the prisoners of the land,

To turn aside the judgment of a man before the face of the Most High;

To destroy a man wrongfully in his judgment, the Lord hath not approved.

MEM

Who is he that hath commanded a thing to be done, when the Lord commandeth it not?

Shall not both evil and good proceed out of the mouth of the Highest?

Why hath a living man murmured, man suffering for his sins?

NUN

Let us search our ways, and seek, and return to the Lord;

Let us lift up our hearts with our hands to the Lord in the heavens;

We have done wickedly, and provoked thee to wrath; therefore thou art inexorable.

SAMECH

Thou hast covered in thy wrath and hast struck us, thou hast killed and hast not spared;

Thou hast set a cloud before thee, that our prayer may not pass through;

Thou hast made me as an outcast and refuse in the midst of the people.

PHE

All our enemies have opened their mouths against us;

Prophecy is become to us a fear, and a snare, and destruction;

My eye hath run down with streams of water, for the destruction of the daughter of my people.

AIN

My eye is afflicted and hath not been quiet, because there was no rest

Till the Lord regarded and looked down from the heavens;

My eye hath wasted my soul because of all the daughters of my city.

SADE

My enemies have chased me and caught me like a bird, without cause;

My life is fallen into the pit, and they have laid a stone over me;

Waters have flowed over my head; I said: I am cut off.

COPH

I have called upon thy name, O Lord, from the lowest pit;

Thou hast heard my voice; turn not away thy ear from my sighs and cries;

Thou drewest near in the day, when I called upon thee; thou saidst: Fear not.

RES

Thou hast judged, O Lord, the cause of my soul, thou the Redeemer of my life;

Thou hast seen, O Lord, their iniquity against me; judge thou my judgment;

Thou hast seen all their fury, and all their thoughts against me.

SIN

Thou hast heard their reproach, O Lord, all their imaginations against me;

The lips of them that rise up against me, and their devices against me all the day;

Behold their sitting down, and their rising up, I am their song.

THAU

Thou shalt render them a recompense, O Lord, according to the works of their hands;

Thou shalt give them for a buckler to their heart affliction from thee;

Thou shalt persecute them in anger, and shalt destroy them from under the heavens, O Lord.

We must draw attention to the adaptability of some few particulars of this chapter to Christ’s burial: In the stanza “Sade” the enemies have caught the writer as a bird, without cause; his life is fallen into the pit, and they have laid a stone over him. Waters have flowed over his head, and he has been cut off. It is clear how precisely all this applies to Christ in the sepulchre. Again, the passage that relates to the sufferer’s strict confinement in prison may well be applied to Christ’s body guarded even in the grave.








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