Ken Yeo 杨全荣的个人网站
Ken Yeo 杨全荣的个人网站

Lamentation Overview

Who Wrote The Book?

  • Author was not mentioned
  • Strong evidence inside and outside the text points to Jeremiah as the author
  • Septuagint has a note stating Jeremiah as the author

The Name of the Book

  • In Hebrew is “ekah”, it is the first word of the of this book in Hebrew bible (1:1;2:1;4:1). Can be translated “Alas!” or “How”
  • Translators substituted in the title “Lamentations” to give it a clearer meaning
  • The author witnessed the invasion and the result of the destruction of Jerusalem

Location and Time

  • Jeremiah walked through the streets and alleys of Jerusalem and saw nothing but pain, suffering, and destruction in the wake of the Babylonian invasion of 586 BC
  • It makes sense to date the book as close to the invasion as possible

Other Lamentations Songs in the Bible

  • David wrote one for Saul and Jonathan (2 Sam 1:17-27)
  • David wrote one for Abner (2 Sam 3:33-34)
  • Jeremiah wrote one for King Josiah (2 Cro 35:25)
  • Amos wrote one for Israel (Amos 5:1)
  • Ezekiel wrote one for Tyre (Eze 27:1-36)

Hebrew Poetry

  • Ch 1,2, 4 have 22 verses, each starts with a different Hebrew alphabet, in sequential order
  • Ch 3 has 66 verses, each Hebrew letter for three consecutive verses in sequential order
  • Ch 5 is in parallel style
  • Ps 119 has similar style. (8 verses in a group, 22 groups for 22 alphabet) It is interesting to contrast Ps and Lamentation, one is to lift up praises and the other one is to lament

Destruction of Jerusalem

  • Recording 4 times in OT:
    • 2 King 25
    • 2 Chron 36:11-21
    • Jeremiah 39
    • Jeremiah 52
  • The second temple was destroyed on the same month in 70AD
  • The Jews read Lamentation on 9th of Av (May in Jews Calendar, usually in July/August) in  in synagogues every year to remember the event

Mourning for Jerusalem

  • Even tough Jeremiah was prophesying the destruction, but when he had 1st hand experience, he mourned for it
  • The Jews exiled in Babylon mourned for Jerusalem (Ps 137)
    • “If I forget you, O Jerusalem, May my right hand forget her skill”

God’s Covenant with King David

  • Did the end of David’s throne mean God didn’t keep His covenant?
    • 2 Sam 7: 13 “… I will establish the throne of His kingdom forever”
    • 2 Sam 7:16 “Your house and your kingdom shall endure before Me forever; your throne shall be established forever.”
  • Fulfilled in King Jesus:
    • Acts 2:31 “he looked ahead and spoke of the resurrection of the Christ”

God’s Covenant with the Jews

  • God had a covenant with the Jews after they left Egypt and before they entered Canaan (Lev 26, Deut 28-29)
  • God is always faithful to His covenant, either to bless the obedient or chasten the disobedient. His Word will never fail
  • God’s chastening is an expression of His love, a tool He uses to mature His children
    • Heb 12:10 For they disciplined us for a short time as seemed best to them, but He disciplines us for our good, so that we may share His holiness

The Flow of the Book

  • The whole book is filled with the pictures of the destructions and the suffering of Jerusalem
  • However in the middle of the book (3:22-26), we are reminded of the faithfulness of God and we can put our hope in Him
  • Ends with consolation (5:19-22)

Why is Lamentations So Important?

  • Like the book of Job, Lamentations pictures a man of God puzzling over the results of evil and suffering in the world.
  • Job dealt with unexplained evil, and unexpected suffering.
  • Jeremiah dealt with the suffering that has been prophesied by God from Joshua (23:15-16) to Jeremiah, and he knew the reason why it happened: because of their sins
  • There is hope in the midst of suffering: 3:22-26
    • Because of the LORD’s great love we are not consumed, for His compassions never fail
    • They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness
    • I say to myself, “ The LORD is my portion; therefore I will wait for Him.”
    • The LORD is good to those whose hope is in Him , to the one who seeks Him;
    • It is good to wait quietly for the salvation of the LORD

Applications in Christians Life

  • Reminds us of the importance of asking the Lord for His forgiveness when we fail Him
  • Are you mourning over the sin of God’s people?
  • We should submit and trust God that His discipline is for our good, so that we can be holy like Him (Heb 12:10)
  • Discipline produces a harvest of righteousness and peace (Heb 12:11)
  • In the midst of suffering, the Lord is our portion (3:24)
  • Our hope is in Christ in the midst of suffering (3:25)

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