Survey of the Bible - Lamentations

Text: Lamentations 3:21-36


I.         The book of Lamentations gets its name because it is a sad book

            A.        The Hebrew name for the book could be translated “How come?” The Greek and Latin translations called it “lamentations” and our title is a translation of those.

            B.        The author of the book is not named, but it is universally accepted as being Jeremiah

                        1.         The style and phrasing is that of Jeremiah.

                        2.         II Chronicles 35:25 - We know that Jeremiah was upset at Josiah’s end, and it mentions the book of Laments.

                        3.         The book of Jeremiah looked forward, warning of the destruction of Jerusalem. Lamentations looks backwards, weeping over the result.

            C.        The book is written soon after the fall of Jerusalem, probably during the three months between the fall and Jeremiah being taken to Egypt.

            D.        Themes

                        1.         It is not a complaint against God.

                                    a.         There is despair, but there is understanding that the destruction was their own fault.

                                    b.         There is no “I told you so” attitude by Jeremiah

                        2.         The sorrow at Jerusalem’s destruction - Lamentation 3:45-50

                        3.         The confession of sin and God’s justice in destroy Jerusalem - Lamentations 3:37-40

                        4.         A hope in Jerusalem’s restoration - Lamentations 3:22-23

            E.        Style

                        1.         Lamentations is a set of five poems

                        2.         Chapters 1,2, 4, and 5 are each 22 verses long. Chapter 3 is 66 verses long.

                                    a.         There are 22 letters in the Hebrew alphabet

                                    b.         Chapters 1, 2, and 4 are acrostics with each verse starting with the next letter of the Hebrew alphabet

                                    c.         Chapter 3 is also an acrostic but with three verses for each letter.

                                    d.         Chapter 5 is not an acrostic.

                        3.         Some note that the rhythm used in the Hebrew is that of a funeral dirge.

                        4.         In other words, in this passionate set of poems giving a deep outpouring of emotion is a highly structured presentation.

II.        Contents

            A.        The Grief: Mourning the destroyed city - Chapter 1

                        1.         Jeremiah’s lament - Lamentations 1:1-11

                                    a.         How lonely - Lamentations 1:1-3

                                    b.         Her own fault - Lamentations 1:7-9

                        2.         Jerusalem’s lament - Lamentations 1:12-22

                                    a.         Her own fault - Lamentations 1:18

                                    b.         How lonely - Lamentations 1:19-22

            B.        The Cause: The anger of God - Chapter 2

                        1.         God’s anger - Lamentations 2:1-9

                                    a.         Fierce anger - Lamentations 2:1-2

                        2.         Jerusalem’s suffering - Lamentations 2:10-17

                                    a.         The innocent suffer due to sins of the people - Lamentations 2:10-12

                                    b.         They weren’t turned back - Lamentations 2:14

                        3.         Jerusalem’s appeal - Lamentations 2:18-22

                                    a.         They need to turn back - Lamentations 2:18-19

            C.        The Hope: A prayer for mercy - Chapter 3

                        1.         His cry of despair - Lamentations 3:1-18 (read)

                        2.         His confession of faith and hope - Lamentations 3:19-39 (read)

                        3.         His need - Lamentations 3:40-54

                        4.         His confidence in God - Lamentations 3:55-66

                                    a.         Lamentations 3:56-58

            D.        The Suffering: The siege of Jerusalem - Chapter 4

                        1.         Conditions during the siege - Lamentations 4:1-11 (read 1-9)

                        2.         Reaction of the nations - Lamentations 4:12-22 (read 12-13)

            E.        The Prayer: A request for restoration - Chapter 5

                        1.         The need for restoration - Lamentations 5:1-15

                        2.         Repentance - Lamentations 5:16-18 (read 15-18)

                        3.         Request for restoration - Lamentation 5:19-22 (read)

III.       Lamentations is a foreshadow of Jesus’ lament - Matthew 23:37-39

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