What is the book of Lamentations?


Lamentations 1:1

ESV - 1 How lonely sits the city that was full of people! How like a widow has she become, she who was great among the nations! She who was a princess among the provinces has become a slave.

Clarify Share Report Asked November 15 2013 Mini Anonymous (via GotQuestions)

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Shea S. Michael Houdmann Supporter Got Questions Ministries
Author: The Book of Lamentations does not explicitly identify its author. The tradition is that the Prophet Jeremiah wrote Lamentations. This view is highly likely considering the author was a witn...

November 15 2013 0 responses Vote Up Share Report

Mini John Appelt
Lamentations is a book written by Jeremiah known as the weeping prophet. It was his expression of sorrow and grief when Jerusalem was destroyed, II Chronicles 36:17-21. In fact, it is noted that in Hebrew it uses the “limping or halting meter” or the cadence of a funeral dirge. 

Jeremiah wrote this book in acrostic form. The whole Hebrew alphabet of 22 letters emphasizes the completeness of grief. 

Chapter 1 points out how sin left the city in misery. The city is like a lonely widow slave weeping bitterly and receiving no comfort in her unspeakable sorrow. In this chapter, Jeremiah started with a normal acrostic form, each verse starting with a letter in the order of the alphabet: 
1 Aleph
2 Beth
3 Gimel
4 Daleth

Chapter 2 focuses on how in anger, God destroyed Jerusalem. In structure, it is like the first chapter except for a small change. The 16th letter “ayin” and 17th letter “peh” are reversed (as also in chapters 3 and 4). Here it shows the reversal of Judah’s position of favored status with God and no longer being the victor over her enemies. 

Chapter 3 indicates the intensity of Jeremiah’s personal sorrow and troubled spirit, as he triples the acrostic form but in shorter sentences:

1 Aleph
2 Aleph
3 Aleph
4 Beth
5 Beth
6 Beth

In this section is one of the gems of the book as God’s mercies are recounted, Lamentations 3:22-27. Also, in the very center of the book are three verses, Lamentations 3:31-33, that give the people hope in the Lord, if they would humbly turn back to God, Lamentations 3:40-41.

In chapter 4, describing the agony of the people going through the siege, the acrostic is reduced to two lines each, as if words are failing:

1 Aleph
2 Beth

Then chapter 5, is the prayer and petition for the people. It has the same number of lines as the alphabet, but the acrostic form is dropped, as if unable to continue, but needing to bow down to plead for mercy. 

Lamentations 5:19-20 ends the book with an expression of praise to the Lord and a prayer for restoration. Verse 19 expresses the knowledge of the sovereignty of God; verse 20 the awareness of the suffering of the people. Only in this part of the chapter is there a miniature acrostic of four letters. The first half of Lamentations 5:19 begins with “aleph” and second half with “kaph.” Then the first half of Lamentations 5:20 starts with “lamed” and second half with “taw.” 

Ronald B. Allen wrote, “Lamentations is one of the most highly crafted of all biblical books, the Hebrew poetry developed in a complex acrostic pattern. It seems as though the very crafting of the poem was an outworking of his grief, as a grieving mother might fashion a collage of pictures of her deceased child.”

Although Jeremiah expresses grief, he yet enunciates a glimmer of hope through the Lord’s mercies.

July 27 2023 0 responses Vote Up Share Report

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