Monday, November 14, 2016

Lamentations

The Book of Lamentations was written by the prophet Jeremiah. He predicted the final fall of Judah during the reign of Zedekiah. Toward the end of Lamentations, he also predicts God’s restoration of the nation.

Most of the book, as you would expect from the title, expresses Jeremiah’s mourning for his fallen nation. He understands that God has abandoned Judah to a predatory empire because the nation had long abandoned him. As he mourned the nation, he wept for it. As he preached to the captives, he wept for their condition. He knew that his country would suffer under a long occupation, and he wept for that.

The different sections of the book have overlapping themes. Some of these themes are: the catastrophe coming to Judah is a result of the people’s sins, that God loved them but they rejected His love, the horrors of the siege of Jerusalem, and the time to come when God would relent and restore the nation.

Even in the midst of all this gloom, Jeremiah holds onto a glimmer of hope. He trusts in God’s mercy. He knows that when the people turn their heart to God again, he will gladly gather them back together and restore them.

The book is organized as five poems. In the original language, four are acrostics with each verse starting with a letter of the Hebrew alphabet in order (similar mnemonic devices are used elsewhere in the Bible, especially in poems).

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