By Tyson Thorne

November 27, 2018

Intro Lamentations Large

Jeremiah served as a prophet for 40 years, warning the people of Israel about the coming judgment. He did his very best to guide the people toward repentance and acceptance of their discipline, but the people would not listen. Then the Babylonians came, and they brought fire, death and destruction with them. The author of Lamentations had a front row seat to the carnage — not only that which Nebuchadnezzar brought once he breached Jerusalem, but the misery and even cannibalism the citizens of that great city participated in during the previous months of siege. The events on both sides were heartbreaking.

Lamentations has some of the most disturbing images and language in the Bible. The third and middle chapter is a lament psalm that would appear heretical if one were unfamiliar with its historic occasion.

the author's description of being hunted by God is particularly difficult to imagine. Yet it is in this same chapter that we get the first glimpse of hope. From chapter three through the end of chapter five we see alternating themes of despair and hope, with despair taking the lions share. New Testament readers should take their time reading this short book of poetry as its theology will seem foreign at first.

The first four chapters all share an interesting property, they use an alphabetic acrostic. There are 22 letters in the Hebrew alphabet, and each of these chapters has 22 verses or a multiple thereof. Verse one begins with Alef, the 22 with Tav. Though chapter five has 22 verses it does not employ the acrostic properties of the others.

Date of Writing

The author of Lamentations was an eyewitness of the events it describes, and the evidence leads one to believe the writer was the weeping prophet himself. Both the Septuagint and the Vulgate translations preface the book and credit the authorship to Jeremiah. Hebrew and Gentile traditions agree. The events described match those in 2 Kings 25 which puts the date of writing at 586 B.C.. Jeremiah was at Mizpah when Jerusalem was burned and is likely the location where he wrote the book.

Structure of the Book

i. Grief, chapter 1

ii. Wrath, chapter 2

iii. Hope, chapters 3

iv. Consequences, chapter 4

v. Confession, chapter 5

Learn Biblical Hebrew Online


English French German Italian Portuguese Russian Spanish



How to setup an RSS of Windows Reader Service