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The Book of Lamentations

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The Book of Lamentations summary

Purpose of The Book of Lamentations:
Through a gut-wrenching recounting of Jerusalem's destruction, Jeremiah paints a powerful picture of the seriousness of sin and God's hatred of it. Despite its sober message, it also reminds us that it is impossible for God's people to sink so far into sin that they should lose hope in His mercy and forgiveness.

Major Characters of The Book of Lamentations:
God and Jeremiah.

Summary of The Book of Lamentations:
Lamentations is both a reactive and proactive book. On the one hand, it is a transparent account of Jeremiah's sorrow, disappointment, and horror as he surveys the pillaged ruins of oncemighty Jerusalem. At the same time, it is a heartfelt plea to God to forgive Israel for her many sins and restore her to her former magnificence. Although the book's title reflects its basic character of Lament and Woe, there is a quiet but undying hope in God's forgiveness and mercy that underlies the entire work and peeks up above the sorrow from time to time.

The book of Lamentations describes in poetry a significant turning point in the biblical story-the fall of Jerusalem. Despite the present judgment for his people’s faithlessness, Lamentations roots the hope of God’s people in the unchanging character of God.

Author and Dates of The Book of Lamentations:
Lamentations reacts to the destruction of Jerusalem by the Babylonians, thus must have been written soon after 586 B.C.

Outline of The Book of Lamentations:

  1. The City (1).
  2. The Wrath of God (2).
  3. The Compassion of God (3).
  4. The Sins of All People (4).
  5. The Prayer (5).

Themes of The Book of Lamentations:
Suffering and God's Goodness: The destruction of Jerusalem was so brutal, and the inhabitants were treated so inhumanely, that Jeremiah is forced to consider the goodness of God much as did Job. Whereas Job was basically innocent, however, Jeremiah knew that Israel had brought this suffering upon herself.
Judgment: Lamentations considers the destruction of Israel by the Babylonians as a theological, rather than a political, event. God, who so often fought on Israel's behalf against her enemies, has now considered Israel His enemy because of their rebellion against Him, and has turned His holy armies against His own people.
Hope: Although it does not often appear, there are times when Jeremiah's trust in God's promises to be faithful and merciful to His people brings a ray of light into an otherwise dark work.

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