Book Overviews · Lamentations

Lamentations Overview

  • Lamentations, Ekha in Hebrew, is a book or wailing and weeping.
  • Lamentations was written in the time between the fall of Judah and the return of the remnant people after 70 years of captivity,

There are 5 poems in this book, each begin at a new chapter (posted at the bottom).  Judah is personified as a woman in this book,  but it is important to remember WHY all this is happening to her.  An avoidable tragedy,  all caused by sin and lack of repenting.  Always read the Bible from God’s character, His Covenant and His Love.  God is Holy, God is Just, God Perfect, and God punishes sin and disobedience in His timing.

In the Bible, Lamentations follows Jeremiah, who is most likely the author,  and which gave Jeremiah the name the “weeping prophet”.  You could read the last chapter of Jeremiah as the introduction to Lamentations.  However the Hebrew Old Testament puts Lamentations with a group of books called the Ketubin or “writings”.  The group includes

  • Song of Songs,
  • Ruth,
  • Ecclesiastes,
  • Esther,
  • Lamentations.

They are in their own category  (our Bible is grouped by category too, that is why we are jumping around a lot) because these books are read at separate Feasts.  To this day, this book is read in Synagogues throughout the world on the ninth day of the fourth month, a day of fasting, to remember the fall of Jerusalem.

Jeremiah’s grief ran deep  in his heart for God’s people.  Jeremiah wept for the Jews not just because of the suffering and the exile they would endure, but because they had rejected the word of the Lord.  This saddened Jeremiah to a level of tears and sympathy.

I read once somewhere this question…and it really should make us all think…

What makes a person cry says a lot about that person whether they are self-centered or God-centered.

Jeremiah

Jeremiah 51-52

Jerusalem is mentioned 810 times in the Bible.  Clearly, a focal point.  However, Babylon is mentioned quite a bit too with 287 mentions.  164 of those 287 are in the book of Jeremiah.  So what is the take home?  Well for me, God wants us to be very educated on the topic of Judgement.  We cant ignore it.  We are judged individually and collectively as a nation.  We also need to consider the judgement that will fall on non-believers.


The last 2 chapters of Jeremiah:

  • God appoints a judgement to come
  • God uses humans in that judgement
  • The humans are not motivated by God, but by their own sinful desires
  • God brings judgment then on those humans He used

Yes, I want to talk about each scripture…such good stuff in this read!  I will pick out some and the next time we do a read through we will pick out some more.

OK, a few chapters back I mentioned that Babylon would be destroyed and a King named Cyrus would let the Israelites OUT of captivity  Do you remember that?  Do you remember what nation he was from??  Persia.

11 “Sharpen the arrows,
    take up the shields!
The Lord has stirred up the kings of the Medes,
    because his purpose is to destroy Babylon.
The Lord will take vengeance,
    vengeance for his temple.

This  “Medes” are God’s instrument to destroy Babylon, as punishment for destroying His temple. The fall of Babylon to the Medes was a fulfillment of this prophecy.  The Medes lived north of Babylon (in modern northwest Iran). The Medes had been allies of the Babylonians in the destruction of Nineveh, the capital of the Assyrian Empire, in 612 B.C. Seventy-three years later, they joined with the Persians to defeat Babylon.   Cyrus’ mother was a Mede, and Persians were linked together several times in the book of Daniel.

(Mentioned again in verse 28)

Babylon before it was destroyed.Hammurabi (do you remember when we read the law we talked about him…the code)  first encircled the city with walls. Nebuchadnezzar further fortified the city with three rings of walls that were 40 feet tall. The walls of Babylon were so thick that chariot races were held on top of them. The city inside the walls occupied an area of 200 square miles, roughly the size of Chicago today.

Nebuchadnezzar built three major palaces, each lavishly decorated with blue and yellow glazed tiles. He also built a number of shrines, the largest of which, called Esagil, was dedicated to Marduk. The shrine stood 280 feet tall, nearly the size of a 26-story office building.

Ancient Babylonia - Nebuchadnezzar's Babylon

37 Babylon will be a heap of ruins,
    a haunt of jackals,
an object of horror and scorn,
    a place where no one lives.

 

Today:

Babylonia - HISTORY

The irony that Saddam Hussein and  the Iraqi government excavated Babylonian ruins and attempted to reconstruct certain features of the ancient city, including one of Nebuchadnezzar’s palaces.

But always remeber that is God’s hand, just like Babylon was used as the “instrument” for judgement (my mother was Italian, I think of it as the wooden spoon in a spanking) the same goes for Medes/Persia conquering Babylon.  They are just the spoon!

55 The Lord will destroy Babylon;
    he will silence her noisy din.
Waves of enemies will rage like great waters;
    the roar of their voices will resound.
56 A destroyer will come against Babylon;
    her warriors will be captured,
    and their bows will be broken.
For the Lord is a God of retribution;
    he will repay in full.


Chapter 52-

Week 36 Study Page - Jeremiah 18-35 — MADISON CHURCH OF CHRIST

The chapter opens with Zedekiah, the last of Jeremiah’s kings.  This is a recap, we have already read it….HOWEVER, it gives us an intro to tomorrow’s book: Lamentation. Here is Solomon’s Temple being destroyed.

Timeline of Jewish History | Sutori