1. I am the man that hath seen affliction by the rod of his wrath.
1. Ego vir videns afflictionem in virga Indignationis ejus.
The word, hrbe obere, properly means assault, passing over limits; but what is peculiar to man is often in Scripture ascribed to God. Here also he changes the person, for he spoke before of the people under the person of a woman, as it is often done; but now the Prophet himself comes before us. At the same time there is no doubt but that by his own example he exhorted all others to lamentation, which was to be connected with true repentance. And this chapter, as we shall see, is full of rich instruction, for it contains remarkable sentiments which we shall consider in their proper places.
Some think that this Lamentation was written by Jeremiah when he was cast into prison; but this opinion seems not probable to me; and the contents of the chapter sufficiently shew that this ode was composed to set forth the common calamity of the whole people. Jeremiah, then, does not here plead his own private cause, but shews to his own nation what remedy there was for them in such a state of despair, even to have an immediate recourse to God, and on the one hand to consider their sins, and on the other to look to the mercy of God, so that they might entertain hope, and exercise themselves in prayer. All these things we shall see in their due order.
The Prophet then says that he was an afflicted man, or a man who saw affliction. This mode of speaking, we know, is common in Scripture -- to see affliction -- to see good and evil -- to see life and death. He then says that he had experienced many afflictions, and not only so, but that he had been given up as it were to miseries, -- how? by the rod of his fury. He does not mention the name of God, but Jeremiah speaks of him as of one well known, using only a pronoun. Now, then, at the very beginning, he acknowledges that whatever he suffered had been inflicted by God's hand. And as all the godly ought to be convinced of this, that God is never angry without just reasons, there is included in the word wrath a brief confession, especially when it is added, by the rod, or staff. In short, the Prophet says that he was very miserable, and he also expresses the cause, for he had been severely chastised by an angry God.