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Lamentations 3:44

44. Thou hast covered thyself with a cloud, that our prayer should not pass through.

44. Obtexisti in nube tibi, ne transiret precatio.


The Prophet confirms the same thing, but the words are different. He again repeats the word to cover; but, that the metaphor might be clearer and more fully explained, he says, with a cloud. He simply intimates, that a cloud interposed, that God might more unrestrainedly punish the Jews, as they had deserved. Isaiah speaks somewhat otherwise, but for the same purpose:

“The hand of God,” he says, “is not shortened, nor are his ears more deaf; but your sins have interposed a distance between you and God.” (Isaiah 59:1, 2.)

There is no doubt but that Isaiah meant the same thing as our Prophet, even that God’s nature never changes; and, therefore, that when he seems to rage against his people, the cause ought to be ascribed to their sins, because God ever remains like himself. We know what is said in the Psalms,

“Thou art God who hearest prayer.” (Psalm 65:3.)

God, then, is always ready to hear his people, and he also possesses power sufficient to help them; but the distance arises from our sins. And so the Prophet now says that a cloud interposed.

Nearly the same sentence is found in the third chapter, as we have seen; for there the Prophet said, in the name of the whole people, that they had become separated from God, but that it was a separation, not because God had changed his purpose, but because the people had, in a manner, rejected his favor. Thou hast, then, he says, covered thyself with a cloud, that is, thou hast made for thyself a covering, that prayer may not pass through. This seems, indeed, very strange, because God advances to meet all the miserable, and promises to hear their prayers: what, then, can this mean, that a cloud interposed that prayer might not go through to him? even that the Jews did not pray aright, and that they had closed up against themselves every access by which God could admit them. In short, the faithful do not here contend with God, as though they had been deceived by his promises, but confess that they were unworthy to pray to God, and they also acknowledge that they did not pray aright. 197197     There are circumstances, no doubt, according to God’s word, under which God does not hear prayer: and this seems to have been an instance of this kind. — Ed. And according to this sense they say, that they were hindered, as though a cloud interposed, so that their prayer could not ascend to God. It follows, —

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