Lamentations 3:9

9. He hath enclosed my ways with hewn stone; he hath made my paths crooked.

9. Sepivit (idem est verbum quod ante vidimus) vias meas lapide quadrato, semitas meas pervertit.


Other metaphors are used. Some think that the Prophet refers to the siege of Jerusalem, but such a view is not suitable. The metaphors correspond with one another, though they are somewhat different. He had said before, that he was enclosed by God, or surrounded as with a mound; and now he transfers this idea to his ways. When the life of man is spoken of, it is, we know, compared to a way. Then the Prophet includes under this word all the doings of his life, as though he had said, that all his plans were brought into straits, as though his way was shut up, so that he could not proceed: "Were I to proceed ill any direction, an obstacle is set before me; I am compelled to remain as it were fixed." So the Prophet now says, his ways were enclosed, because God allowed none of His counsels or His purposes to be carried into effect.

And to the same purpose he adds, that. God had perverted his ways, that is, that he had confounded all his doings, and all his counsels.

But these words are added, with a squared stone. The verb zzg gizaz, means to cut; hence the word tyzg, gizit, signifies a polished stone, or one trimmed by the hammer. And we know that such stones are more durable and firmer than other stones. For when unpolished stones are used, the building is not so strong as when the stones are squared, as they fit together better. Then the Prophet intimates that the enclosures were such that he could by no means break through them, as they could not be broken. he, in short, means that he was so oppressed by God's hand, that whatever he purposed God immediately reversed it. We now, then, perceive what he means by saying, that all his ways were subverted or overturned by God. 1 This is not to be understood generally, for it is God who directs our ways. But he is said to pervert our ways, when he disconcerts our counsels, when all our purposes and efforts are rendered void; in a word, when God as it were meets us as an adversary, and impedes our course; it is then that he is said to pervert our ways. But this ought not to be understood as though God blinded men unjustly, or as though he led them astray. The Prophet only means that he could find no success in all his counsels, in all his efforts and doings, because he had God opposed to him. here I stop.


Grant, Almighty God, that as thou didst in former times so severely chastise thy people, we may in the present day patiently submit to all thy scourges, and in a humble and meek spirit suffer ourselves to be chastised as we deserve; and that we may not, in the meantime, cease to call on thee, and that however slowly thou mayest seem to hear our prayers, we may yet persevere continually to the end, until at length we shall really find that salvation is not in vain promised to all those who in sincerity of heart call on thee, through Christ our Lord. -- Amen.

Lecture Ninth

1 "Subverted" is the Vulg., "obstructed" the Sept., and "rendered oblique" the Syr. The meaning is, "turned aside." he had built as it were a wall of hewn stones across his way, and thus he turned aside his goings or his paths, so that he was constrained to take some other course. -- Ed.


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