1911encyclopedia.org: Lamentations – [The Lamentations of Jeremiah – “Lamentations was originally part of the Book of Jeremiah. It was later isolated because it was read publically at one of the Feats of Israel and included in the five Megilloth (or scrolls; see introduction to the Book of Ruth – The Book of Ruth was originally part of the Book of Judges). Lamentations is read each year at Tisha B’av (6th of August), a fast commemorating the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem (2 Kgs, 25:8,9) in both 586 B.C. [Solomon’s Temple] and A.D. 70 [2nd Temple – Herod’s Temple]. The style and content leave no doubt that Jeremiah, the “weeping prophet,” is the author.” – Source: The Hebrew Greek Key Study Bible (KJV) – Spiros Zodhiates]
LAMENTATIONS (Lamentations of Jeremiah), book of the Old Testament. In Hebrew MSS. and editions this little collection of liturgical poems is entitled "How...!", the first word of ch. (1) i. (and chs. ii., iv.); cf. the books of the Pentateuch, and the Babylonian Epic of Creation a far older example[?]. In the Septuagint it is called Opiivoc, "Funeral-songs" or "Dirges," the usual rendering of Heb. nirp (Am. v. 1; Jer. vii. 29; 2 Sam. i. 17), which is, in fact, the name in the Talmud (Baba Bathra 15a) and other Jewish writings; and it was known as such to the Fathers (Jerome, Cinoth). The Septuagint (B) introduces the book thus: "And it came to pass, after Israel was taken captive and Jerusalem laid waste, Jeremiah sat weeping, and lamented with this lamentation over Jerusalem, and said .. .," a notice which may have related originally to the first poem only. Some Septuagint MSS., and the Syriac and other versions, have the fuller title Lamentations of Jeremiah. **In the Hebrew Bible Lamentations is placed among the Cetubim or Hagiographa, usually **as the middle book of the five Megilloth or Ferial Rolls (Canticles, Ruth, Lamentations, Ecclesiastes, Esther) **according to the order of the days on which they are read in the Synagogue, **Lamentations being read on the 9th of Ab (6th of August), when the destruction of the Temple is commemorated (Mass. Sopherim 18). *But the Septuagint appends the book to Jeremiah (Baruch intervening), just as it adds Ruth to Judges; thus making the number of the books of the Hebrew Canon the same as that of the letters of the Hebrew alphabet, viz. twenty-two (so Jos. c. Ap. i. 8), instead of the Synagogal twenty-four (see Baba Bathra 14b). [link]
Background of Lamentations – The Hebrew title of the book is ‘echah (How…!), which is the first word of the book – The Greek and Latin translations of this book have called it ‘Lamentations’ because of its mourning over the destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple and the taking of the citizens of Judah into exile in 586 B.C. – Lamentations is a funeral song written in a poetic fashion to convey the deep emotional loss – The book of Lamentations has given Jeremiah the nick name of “the weeping prophet”
Structure: The structure of the book is rather unique and does not show it's beautiful form when translated into English. Each chapter is an acrostic which means that each verse begins with a different letter of the Hebrew alphabet. There are twenty two verses in each poem-chapter. The third chapter has three sets of the Hebrew alphabets adding to 66 verses. While these were emotional laments the structure indicates that there was deliberate care taken in their composition. This form of literature is also common in other Old Testament writers. There are many Psalms written as laments and the prophets often broke into this format, but this is the only book in the Bible that is entirely written in the form of a lament. It is a form that is also common with extra-biblical writings of the time especially in Sumeria. The Book has a universal liturgical history. Orthodox Jews have the custom of reading it on the ninth day of Ab, in commemoration of the destruction of Solomon's Temple in 586 B.C. and destruction of Herod's Temple in 70 A.D. It is also commonly read at the Wailing Wall in the old part of Jerusalem. Roman Catholic's read the book the last three days of Holy Week. -- Contents: Because of Judah's sin, God has left his dwelling place in the Temple and has allowed the sanctuary to be destroyed. The laments are over Judah's sin and not at the Lord's righteousness. The book is a solemn, mournful cry for the people of God to repent. Lamentations 5:21-22 Chapter 3 gives a ray of hope and salvation in the midst of tears. 'It is of the LORD'S mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassion's fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness.' (Lamentations 3:22-23) God's grace shines through the clouds of gloom. [link]
THE BOOK OF LAMENTATIONS – For Christians today, the book serves as a serious reminder of God’s attitude toward sin and the need for sincere repentance – Each of the five chapters of Lamentations is a separate poem – The first four are arranged as acrostic poems – [An acrostic (from the late Greek akróstichis, from akros, “top”, and stichos, “verse”) is a poem or other form of writing in an alphabetic script, in which the first letter, syllable or word of each line, paragraph or other recurring feature in the text spells out a word or a message. As a form of constrained writing, an acrostic can be used as a mnemonic device to aid memory retrieval. A famous acrostic was made in Greek for the acclamation JESUS CHRIST, GOD’S SON, SAVIOUR which in Greek is: Iesous (Jesus) CHristos (Christ), THeou (God) Yios (Son), Soter (Savior), ch and th being each one letter in Greek. The initials spell ICHTHYS – Greek for fish – hence the frequent use of the fish as a symbol for Jesus Christ from the early days of Christianity to the present time. – Wiki.com]
THE BOOK OF LAMENTATIONS: The text of the Bible does not tell us who wrote the Book of Lamentations. But a tradition says that Jeremiah is the author. The old Greek translation, the Septuagint, added this note at the beginning of the book: "And it came to pass, after Jeremiah was taken captive and Jerusalem laid waste, that Jeremiah sat weeping and lamented with this lamentation over Jerusalem and said ..." Perhaps Jeremiah is the author, but we cannot know for certain. A "lamentation" is an expression of deep sorrow. The Book of Lamentations is made up of five sad poems or songs. The sad event that each of the five poems is concerned with is the destruction of Jerusalem in 587 B.C. In tone the poems are like a dirge that might be heard at a funeral. They are bursting with grief and teardrops. The author of the five Lamentations grieves so deeply not just because the beloved city of Jerusalem has been destroyed; he grieves especially because he knows that the destruction came because of God's judgment on the people's unrepented sins. The reader can almost feel the poems dripping with sorrow even as the first poem begins: "How deserted lies the city, once so full of people! How like a widow is she, who once was great among the nations! She who was queen among the provinces has now become a slave." (1:1) Still today the Jews sadly chant the words of Lamentations to commemorate the destruction of Jerusalem. If you visit the so-called "wailing wall" near the old temple area in Old Jerusalem, you will hear the sobbing laments from Lamentations. [link]
Lamentations 1 – The Prophet Jeremiah begins his personal lament over the destruction of the Nation of Israel; the city of Jerusalem, the Temple of Solomon and the captivity of the Jewish people — ‘Lamentations 1:1-2 How doth the city [Jerusalem] sit solitary, that was full of people how is she become as a widow she that was great among the nations, and princess among the provinces, how is she become tributary! She weepeth sore in the night, and her tears are on her cheeks: among all her lovers she hath none to comfort her: all her friends have dealt treacherously with her, they are become her enemies.’
Lamentations 1:3-8 Judah is gone into captivity because of affliction, and because of great servitude: she dwelleth among the heathen, she findeth no rest: all her persecutors overtook her between the straits. The ways of Zion do mourn, because none come to the solemn feasts: all her gates are desolate: her priests sigh, her virgins are afflicted, and she is in bitterness. Her adversaries are the chief, her enemies prosper; for the LORD hath afflicted her for the multitude of her transgressions: her children are gone into captivity before the enemy. And from the daughter of Zion all her beauty is departed: her princes are become like harts that find no pasture, and they are gone without strength before the pursuer. Jerusalem remembered in the days of her affliction and of her miseries all her pleasant things that she had in the days of old, when her people fell into the hand of the enemy, and none did help her: the adversaries saw her, and did mock at her Sabbaths. Jerusalem hath grievously sinned; therefore she is removed: all that honoured her despise her, because they have seen her nakedness: yea, she sigheth, and turneth backward.
Lamentations 2 – The Prophet Jeremiah presents and maintains the perspective that it was God Himself who allowed and oversaw the destruction of Jerusalem and not some random or arbitrary event or force — ‘Lamentations 2:1 How hath the Lord covered the daughter of Zion with a cloud in His anger, and cast down from Heaven unto the earth the beauty of Israel, and remembered not His footstool [resting place for His soul] in the day of His anger!’
Lamentations 2:2-14 The Lord hath swallowed up all the habitations of Jacob, and hath not pitied: He hath thrown down in His wrath the strong holds of the daughter of Judah; he hath brought them down to the ground: He hath polluted the Kingdom and the Princes thereof. He hath cut off in His fierce anger all the horn [strength] of Israel: He hath drawn back His right hand [the hand of deliverance] from before the enemy, and He burned against Jacob like a flaming fire, which devoureth round about. He hath bent his bow like an enemy: He stood with His right hand as an adversary, and slew all that were pleasant to the eye in the tabernacle of the daughter of Zion: He poured out his fury like fire. The Lord was as an enemy: He hath swallowed up Israel, He hath swallowed up all her palaces: He hath destroyed His strong holds, and hath increased in the daughter of Judah mourning and *lamentation. And He hath violently taken away His Tabernacle [Temple], as if it were of a garden: He hath destroyed His places of the assembly: the LORD hath caused the solemn Feasts and Sabbaths to be forgotten in Zion, and hath despised in the indignation of His anger the King and the Priest. The Lord hath cast off His altar, He hath abhorred His sanctuary, He hath given up into the hand of the enemy the walls of her palaces; they have made a noise in the [Temple] House of the LORD, as in the day of a solemn feast. The LORD hath purposed to destroy the wall of the daughter of Zion: He hath stretched out a line, He hath not withdrawn His hand from destroying: therefore He made the rampart and the wall to lament; they languished together. Her gates are sunk into the ground; He hath destroyed and broken her bars: her King and her Princes are among the [Babylonian] Gentiles [in captivity]: **the law is no more [really Israel never at any time in history fulfilled the law only Jesus can uphold and fulfill the law]; her prophets also find no vision from the LORD. The elders of the daughter of Zion sit upon the ground, and keep silence: they have cast up dust upon their heads; they have girded themselves with sackcloth: the virgins of Jerusalem hang down their heads to the ground. Mine eyes do fail with tears, my bowels are troubled, my liver is poured upon the earth, for the destruction of the daughter of my people; because the children and the sucklings swoon in the streets of the city. They say to their mothers, Where is corn and wine? When they swooned as the wounded in the streets of the city, when their soul was poured out into their mothers' bosom. What thing shall I take to witness for thee? what thing shall I liken to thee, O daughter of Jerusalem? what shall I equal to thee, that I may comfort thee, O virgin daughter of Zion? for thy breach is great like the sea: who can heal thee? Thy prophets have seen vain and foolish things for thee: and they have not discovered thine iniquity, to turn away thy captivity; but have seen for thee false burdens and causes of banishment.
Lamentations 3 – The Prophet Jeremiah prophesies that God’s ways and decisions are just and that mankind is the one in need of change and repentance in order to restore back and renew a right relationship with God — ‘Lamentations 3:19-23 Remembering mine affliction and my misery, the wormwood and the gall. My soul hath them still in remembrance, and is humbled in me. This I recall to my mind, therefore have I hope. It is of the LORD’S mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness.’
Lamentations 3:40-57 Let us search and try our ways, and turn again to the LORD. Let us lift up our heart with our hands unto God in the heavens. We have transgressed and have rebelled: thou hast not pardoned. Thou hast covered with anger, and persecuted us: thou hast slain, thou hast not pitied. Thou hast covered Thyself with a cloud, that our prayer should not pass through. Thou hast made us as the offscouring and refuse in the midst of the people. All our enemies have opened their mouths against us. Fear and a snare is come upon us, desolation and destruction. Mine eye runneth down with rivers of water for the destruction of the daughter of my people. Mine eye trickleth down, and ceaseth not, without any intermission, Till the LORD look down, and behold from heaven. Mine eye affecteth mine heart because of all the daughters of my city. Mine enemies chased me sore, like a bird, without cause. They have cut off my life in the dungeon, and cast a stone upon me. Waters flowed over mine head; then I said, I am cut off. I called upon thy name, O LORD, out of the low dungeon. Thou hast heard my voice: hide not thine ear at my breathing, at my cry. Thou drewest near in the day that I called upon thee: thou saidst, Fear not.
Lamentations 4 – Israel since is miraculous inception had changed, as all things must change, but it had not changed for the better as God had intended – Instead it had changed for the worse as man had intended — ‘Lamentations 4:1-2 How is the gold become dim! how is the most fine gold changed! the stones of the sanctuary are poured out in the top of every street. The precious sons of Zion, comparable to fine gold, how are they esteemed as earthen pitchers, the work of the hands of the potter!’
Lamentations 4:7-16 Her Nazarites [The Vow of the Nazarite (Numbers 6:1-27)] were purer than snow, they were whiter than milk, they were more ruddy in body than rubies, their polishing was of sapphire: Their visage is blacker than a coal; they are not known in the streets: their skin cleaveth to their bones; it is withered, it is become like a stick. They that be slain with the sword are better than they that be slain with hunger: for these pine away, stricken through for want of the fruits of the field. The hands of the pitiful women have sodden their own children: they were their meat in the destruction of the daughter of my people. The LORD hath accomplished his fury; he hath poured out his fierce anger, and hath kindled a fire in Zion, and it hath devoured the foundations thereof. The kings of the earth, and all the inhabitants of the world, would not have believed that the adversary and the enemy should have entered into the gates of Jerusalem. For the sins of her prophets, and the iniquities of her priests, that have shed the blood of the just in the midst of her, They have wandered as blind men in the streets, they have polluted themselves with blood, so that men could not touch their garments. They cried unto them, Depart ye; it is unclean; depart, depart, touch not: when they fled away and wandered, they said among the heathen, They shall no more sojourn there. The anger of the LORD hath divided them; he will no more regard them: they respected not the persons of the priests, they favoured not the elders.
Lamentations 5 – The Prophet Jeremiah concludes his writings with prayer and petition for God’s deliverance for the people and the Nation of Israel — ‘Lamentations 5:1-3 Remember, O LORD, what is come upon us: consider, and behold our reproach. Our inheritance is turned to strangers, our houses to aliens. We are orphans and fatherless, our mothers are as widows.’
The Bible's book of Lamentations concludes: Lamentations 5:15-22 The joy of our heart is ceased; our dance is turned into mourning. The crown is fallen from our head: woe unto us, that we have sinned! For this our heart is faint; for these things our eyes are dim. Because of the mountain of Zion, which is desolate, the foxes walk upon it. Thou, O LORD, remainest forever; thy throne from generation to generation. Wherefore dost thou forget us forever, and forsake us so long time? Turn thou us unto thee, O LORD, and we shall be turned; renew our days as of old. But thou hast utterly rejected us; thou art very wroth against us.
Note: The blog Bible Study will take a few days off and then return on Friday with the Book of 1st Chronicles
The Book of 1st Chronicles will begin the final Old Testament Segment followed by the final New Testament Segment concluding with the Book of Revelation. - Also Note: After completion of the current blog Bible Study the Basic Christian Info RSS feed is going to begin a brief study of Christian Church history and of famous people in Church history. Then it's probable that the RSS feed will continue with topical studies and devotions, though preceding at a much more relaxed and slower pace. There is no intention of returning the RSS feed back to current events or to politics or any other conspiracy type of events. The RSS feed is going to remain exclusively devoted to Christian devotions, Christian topics (current events) and Christian studies. [link]