Lamentations: Mentor Commentary

John L. Mackay

Christian Focus Publications

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The Book of Lamentations does not explicitly identify its author but the tradition is that the Prophet Jeremiah wrote it. This view is highly likely considering the author was a witness of the Babylonians destroying Jerusalem. Jeremiah fits this qualification (2 Chronicles 35:25; 36:21-22). It was most likely written between 586 and 575 B.C. The Book of Lamentations is divided into five chapters. Each chapter represents a separate poem. In the original Hebrew, the verses are acrostic, which each verse starting with a succeeding letter of the Hebrew alphabet. What can we learn from this book? The Babylonians were God's tool for bringing judgment on Jerusalem (1:12- 15; 2:1-8; 4:11). Sin and rebellion were the causes of God's wrath being poured out (1:8-9; 4:13; 5:16) That Lamenting is appropriate in a time of distress, but it should quickly give way to contrition and repentance (3:40- 42; 5:21-22). Even in terrible judgment, God is a God of hope (3:24-25), love (3:22), faithfulness (3:23), and deliverance (3:26). It is only because of the Lord's mercy that we are allowed to survive to receive the gospel (3:22). A popular view is that Lamentations is a dreary book with nothing much to say to today's upbeat society. The reality is that it could not be more relevant. If you scratch beneath today's upbeat atheist you will discover a disillusioned hedonist wondering if the frantic hurtle down the waste-pipe of life has been worth it!