Reference: Lamentations, Book Of
called in the Hebrew canon 'Ekhah, meaning "How," being the formula for the commencement of a song of wailing. It is the first word of the book (see 2Sa 1:19-27). The LXX. adopted the name rendered "Lamentations" (Gr. threnoi = Heb qinoth) now in common use, to denote the character of the book, in which the prophet mourns over the desolations brought on the city and the holy land by Chaldeans. In the Hebrew Bible it is placed among the Khethubim. (See Bible.)
As to its authorship, there is no room for hesitancy in following the LXX. and the Targum in ascribing it to Jeremiah. The spirit, tone, language, and subject-matter are in accord with the testimony of tradition in assigning it to him. According to tradition, he retired after the destruction of Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar to a cavern outside the Damascus gate, where he wrote this book. That cavern is still pointed out. "In the face of a rocky hill, on the western side of the city, the local belief has placed 'the grotto of Jeremiah.' There, in that fixed attitude of grief which Michael Angelo has immortalized, the prophet may well be supposed to have mourned the fall of his country" (Stanley, Jewish Church).
The book consists of five separate poems. In chapter 1 the prophet dwells on the manifold miseries oppressed by which the city sits as a solitary widow weeping sorely. In chapter 2 these miseries are described in connection with the national sins that had caused them. Chapter 3 speaks of hope for the people of God. The chastisement would only be for their good; a better day would dawn for them. Chapter 4 laments the ruin and desolation that had come upon the city and temple, but traces it only to the people's sins. Chapter 5 is a prayer that Zion's reproach may be taken away in the repentance and recovery of the people.
The first four poems (chapters) are acrostics, like some of the Psalms (25, 34, 37, 119), i.e., each verse begins with a letter of the Hebrew alphabet taken in order. The first, second, and fourth have each twenty-two verses, the number of the letters in the Hebrew alphabet. The third has sixty-six verses, in which each three successive verses begin with the same letter. The fifth is not acrostic.
Speaking of the "Wailing-place (q.v.) of the Jews" at Jerusalem, a portion of the old wall of the temple of Solomon, Schaff says: "There the Jews assemble every Friday afternoon to bewail the downfall of the holy city, kissing the stone wall and watering it with their tears. They repeat from their well-worn Hebrew Bibles and prayer-books the Lamentations of Jeremiah and suitable Psalms."
"Your glory, Israel, is slain on your high places! How the mighty have fallen! Don't tell it in Gath. Don't publish it in the streets of Ashkelon, lest the daughters of the Philistines rejoice, lest the daughters of the uncircumcised triumph. read more. You mountains of Gilboa, let there be no dew nor rain on you, neither fields of offerings; For there the shield of the mighty was vilely cast away, The shield of Saul was not anointed with oil. From the blood of the slain, from the fat of the mighty, Jonathan's bow didn't turn back. Saul's sword didn't return empty. Saul and Jonathan were lovely and pleasant in their lives. In their death, they were not divided. They were swifter than eagles. They were stronger than lions. You daughters of Israel, weep over Saul, who clothed you in scarlet delicately, who put ornaments of gold on your clothing. How are the mighty fallen in the midst of the battle! Jonathan is slain on your high places. I am distressed for you, my brother Jonathan. You have been very pleasant to me. Your love to me was wonderful, passing the love of women. How are the mighty fallen, and the weapons of war perished!"
LAMENTATIONS, BOOK OF
Jeremiah lamented for Josiah: and all the singing men and singing women spoke of Josiah in their lamentations to this day; and they made them an ordinance in Israel: and behold, they are written in the lamentations.
How the city sits solitary, that was full of people! She has become as a widow, who was great among the nations! She who was a princess among the provinces is become tributary!
How the city sits solitary, that was full of people! She has become as a widow, who was great among the nations! She who was a princess among the provinces is become tributary! She weeps bitterly in the night, and her tears are on her cheeks; among all her lovers she has none to comfort her: All her friends have dealt treacherously with her; they are become her enemies. read more. Judah is gone into captivity because of affliction, and because of great servitude; she dwells among the nations, she finds no rest: all her persecutors overtook her within the straits. The ways of Zion do mourn, because none come to the solemn assembly; all her gates are desolate, her priests do sigh: her virgins are afflicted, and she herself is in bitterness. Her adversaries are become the head, her enemies prosper; for Yahweh has afflicted her for the multitude of her transgressions: her young children are gone into captivity before the adversary. From the daughter of Zion all her majesty is departed: her princes are become like harts that find no pasture, they are gone without strength before the pursuer. Jerusalem remembers in the days of her affliction and of her miseries all her pleasant things that were from the days of old: when her people fell into the hand of the adversary, and none did help her, The adversaries saw her, they did mock at her desolations. Jerusalem has grievously sinned; therefore she is become as an unclean thing; all who honored her despise her, because they have seen her nakedness: yes, she sighs, and turns backward. Her filthiness was in her skirts; she didn't remember her latter end; therefore is she come down wonderfully; she has no comforter: see, Yahweh, my affliction; for the enemy has magnified himself. The adversary has spread out his hand on all her pleasant things: for she has seen that the nations are entered into her sanctuary, concerning whom you commanded that they should not enter into your assembly. All her people sigh, they seek bread; they have given their pleasant things for food to refresh the soul: look, Yahweh, and see; for I am become abject. Is it nothing to you, all you who pass by? Look, and see if there be any sorrow like my sorrow, which is brought on me, With which Yahweh has afflicted [me] in the day of his fierce anger. From on high has he sent fire into my bones, and it prevails against them; He has spread a net for my feet, he has turned me back: He has made me desolate and faint all the day. The yoke of my transgressions is bound by his hand; They are knit together, they are come up on my neck; he has made my strength to fail: The Lord has delivered me into their hands, against whom I am not able to stand. The Lord has set at nothing all my mighty men in the midst of me; He has called a solemn assembly against me to crush my young men: The Lord has trodden as in a winepress the virgin daughter of Judah. For these things I weep; my eye, my eye runs down with water; Because the comforter who should refresh my soul is far from me: My children are desolate, because the enemy has prevailed. Zion spreads forth her hands; there is none to comfort her; Yahweh has commanded concerning Jacob, that those who are around him should be his adversaries: Jerusalem is among them as an unclean thing. Yahweh is righteous; for I have rebelled against his commandment: Please hear all you peoples, and see my sorrow: My virgins and my young men are gone into captivity. I called for my lovers, [but] they deceived me: My priests and my elders gave up the spirit in the city, While they sought them food to refresh their souls. See, Yahweh; for I am in distress; my heart is troubled; My heart is turned within me; for I have grievously rebelled: Abroad the sword bereaves, at home there is as death. They have heard that I sigh; there is none to comfort me; All my enemies have heard of my trouble; they are glad that you have done it: You will bring the day that you have proclaimed, and they shall be like me. Let all their wickedness come before you; Do to them, as you have done to me for all my transgressions: For my sighs are many, and my heart is faint.
I am the man that has seen affliction by the rod of his wrath. He has led me and caused me to walk in darkness, and not in light. read more. Surely against me he turns his hand again and again all the day. My flesh and my skin has he made old; he has broken my bones. He has built against me, and surrounded me with gall and travail. He has made me to dwell in dark places, as those that have been long dead. He has walled me about, that I can't go forth; he has made my chain heavy. Yes, when I cry, and call for help, he shuts out my prayer. He has walled up my ways with cut stone; he has made my paths crooked. He is to me as a bear lying in wait, as a lion in secret places. He has turned aside my ways, and pulled me in pieces; he has made me desolate. He has bent his bow, and set me as a mark for the arrow. He has caused the shafts of his quiver to enter into my kidneys. I am become a derision to all my people, and their song all the day. He has filled me with bitterness, he has sated me with wormwood. He has also broken my teeth with gravel stones; he has covered me with ashes. You have removed my soul far off from peace; I forgot prosperity. I said, My strength is perished, and my expectation from Yahweh. Remember my affliction and my misery, the wormwood and the gall. My soul still remembers them, and is bowed down within me. This I recall to my mind; therefore have I hope. [It is of] Yahweh's loving kindnesses that we are not consumed, because his compassion doesn't fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. Yahweh is my portion, says my soul; therefore will I hope in him. Yahweh is good to those who wait for him, to the soul that seeks him. It is good that a man should hope and quietly wait for the salvation of Yahweh. It is good for a man that he bear the yoke in his youth. Let him sit alone and keep silence, because he has laid it on him. Let him put his mouth in the dust, if so be there may be hope. Let him give his cheek to him who strikes him; let him be filled full with reproach. For the Lord will not cast off forever. For though he cause grief, yet he will have compassion according to the multitude of his loving kindnesses. For he does not afflict willingly, nor grieve the children of men. To crush under foot all the prisoners of the earth, To turn aside the right of a man before the face of the Most High, To subvert a man in his cause, the Lord doesn't approve. Who is he who says, and it comes to pass, when the Lord doesn't command it? Doesn't evil and good come out of the mouth of the Most High? Why does a living man complain, a man for the punishment of his sins? Let us search and try our ways, and turn again to Yahweh.
Let us search and try our ways, and turn again to Yahweh. Let us lift up our heart with our hands to God in the heavens. read more. We have transgressed and have rebelled; you have not pardoned. You have covered with anger and pursued us; you have killed, you have not pitied. You have covered yourself with a cloud, so that no prayer can pass through. You have made us an off-scouring and refuse in the midst of the peoples. All our enemies have opened their mouth wide against us. Fear and the pit are come on us, devastation and destruction. My eye runs down with streams of water, for the destruction of the daughter of my people. My eye pours down, and doesn't cease, without any intermission, Until Yahweh look down, and see from heaven. My eye affects my soul, because of all the daughters of my city. They have chased me relentlessly like a bird, those who are my enemies without cause. They have cut off my life in the dungeon, and have cast a stone on me. Waters flowed over my head; I said, I am cut off. I called on your name, Yahweh, out of the lowest dungeon. You heard my voice; don't hide your ear at my breathing, at my cry. You drew near in the day that I called on you; you said, Don't be afraid. Lord, you have pleaded the causes of my soul; you have redeemed my life. Yahweh, you have seen my wrong. Judge my cause. You have seen all their vengeance and all their devices against me. You have heard their reproach, Yahweh, and all their devices against me, The lips of those that rose up against me, and their device against me all the day. You see their sitting down, and their rising up; I am their song. You will render to them a recompense, Yahweh, according to the work of their hands. You will give them hardness of heart, your curse to them. You will pursue them in anger, and destroy them from under the heavens of Yahweh.
Even the jackals draw out the breast, they nurse their young ones: The daughter of my people has become cruel, like the ostriches in the wilderness.
Our eyes do yet fail [in looking] for our vain help: In our watching we have watched for a nation that could not save.