“There is nothing like the Lamentations of Jeremiah in the whole world. There has been plenty of sorrow in every age, and in every land, but such another preacher and author, with such a heart for sorrow, has never again been born. Dante comes next to Jeremiah, and we know that Jeremiah was the great exile’s favorite prophet.”
The book is filled with tears and sorrow. It is a paean of pain, a poem of pity, a proverb of pathos, a hymn of heartbreak, a psalm of sadness, a symphony of sorrow, a story of sifting, a tale of tears, a dirge of desolation, a tragedy of travail, an account of agony, and a book of “boo-hoo.” It is the wailing wall of the Bible.
It explains the reason that Jerusalem is in ruins.
The LORD is righteous; for I have rebelled against his commandment. Hear, I pray you, all people, and behold my sorrow; my virgins and my young men are gone into captivity. (Lam_1:18)
Jeremiah reminds us of Another as He sat weeping over Jerusalem. The only difference is that Jerusalem was in ruins and the temple burned as Jeremiah gazed upon the debris. Jesus, about 6 centuries later, wept over the city because it would be destroyed again in the near future.
To Jeremiah, the destruction of Jerusalem was a matter of history.
To Jesus, the destruction of Jerusalem was a matter of prophecy.
No blues singer ever sang a sadder song than Jeremiah.
Lamentations is composed of 5 of his sad songs, which are elegies.
I. Elegy, Chapter 1
A call to consider the destruction of Jerusalem.
Lam_1:8, Lam_1:18 — The reason for the frightful destruction.
Lam_1:12 — An invitation to all to enter into the sorrow of the prophet.
II. Elegy, Chapter 2
Lam_2:10 — Doleful details of the effect of the judgment of God upon the remnant that remain.
Lam_2:15 — The elation of the enemy from without.
III. Elegy, Chapter 3
The tragic and catastrophic destruction of Jerusalem would have been total had it not been for the mercies and faithfulness of God.
IV. Elegy, Chapter 4
Contrast between the former state of prosperity and the present state of Jerusalem in poverty.
V. Elegy, Chapter 5
A cry to God to remember the nation Israel. “Prayer of Jeremiah.”
Gaebelein, Arno C. The Annotated Bible. Neptune, New Jersey:
Loizeaux Brothers, 1917.
Gray, James M. Synthetic Bible Studies. Old Tappan, New Jersey:
Fleming H. Revell Co., 1906.
Jensen, Irving L. Jeremiah: Prophet of Judgment. Chicago,
Illinois: Moody Press, 1966.
Meyer, F. B. Jeremiah: Priest and Prophet. Fort Washington,
Pennsylvania: Christian Literature Crusade, 1894.
(A rich devotional study.)
Sauer, Erich. The Dawn of World Redemption. Grand Rapids,
Michigan: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1951.
(An excellent Old Testament survey.)
Scroggie, W. Graham. The Unfolding Drama of Redemption.
Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan Publishing House,
(An excellent survey and outline of the Old Testament.)
Unger, Merrill F. Unger’s Commentary on the Old Testament.