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Lamentations 3:54

54. Waters flowed over mine head; then I said, I am cut off.

54. Inundaverunt (ad verbum, alii, ascenderunt) aquae super caput meum; dixi, succisus sum.


He now adds a third comparison, — that he had been overwhelmed, as it were, with a flood of evils. This similitude occurs often in Scripture, especially in the Psalms; for when David wished to set forth his despair, lie said that he was sunk in deep waters. (Psalm 69:15, 16.) So also in this place the Prophet complains, that waters had flowed over his head, so that he thought himself lost. Though, indeed, this was the saying of a man in a hopeless state, it is yet evident from the context that the Prophet was firm in the hope of God’s mercy. But he speaks according to the judgment of the flesh; and we know that the faithful are as it were divided; for as they have not put off the flesh, they must necessarily be acquainted with adversities, be stormed by fear and feel anxieties; in short, when death hangs over them, they must in a manner be exposed to fear. In the meantime, faith in their hearts obtains the victory, so that they do not succumb under terrors, or cares, or anxieties.

When, therefore, the Prophet says that in his own judgment he was lost, he does not mean that his faith was so extinguished that he ceased to pray to God; for in the next verse he shews that he persevered in prayer. How, then, did he say or believe that he was lost? even, as I have already said, according to human judgment. And we often see that the faithful complain that they are forsaken, that God is asleep in heaven, that he has turned away from them. All these things are to be referred to the perception of the flesh. While, then, the faithful cast their eyes on dangers, when death comes, they not only tremble, but fear greatly and faint also. In the meantime, as I have said, they struggle by faith against all these temptations. So, then, is this passage to be understood, — that the Prophet believed that he was lost, that is, as far as he could judge by the aspect of things at that time, for no hope appeared then to the Church. But we yet see that the Prophet did not indulge himself in this despair; for he immediately adds, —

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