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Bible Commentaries

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes


- Lamentations

by E.W. Bullinger

Lam THE LAMENTATIONS OF JEREMIAH. THE STRUCTURE OF THE BOOK AS A WHOLE. Lamentations 1:1-7 . JUDGMENTS. Lamentations 1:8-11 . ZION. CONFESSION. Lamentations 1:12-13 . APPEAL TO PASSERS BY. Lamentations 1:14-18 -. ZION. CONFESSION. Lamentations 1:18-19 . APPEAL TO PASSERS BY. Lamentations 1:20-22 . PRAYER. Lamentations 2:1-13 . THE JUDGE. Lamentations 2:14 . ZION. SIN UNCONFESSED. Lamentations 2:15-17 . RECRIMINATION OF PASSERS BY. Lamentations 2:18-22 . PRAYER. Lamentations 3:1-21 . THE JUDGE. Lamentations 3:22-36 . REMEMBRANCE OF JEHOVAH''S MERCIES. Lamentations 3:37-51 . ZION. SIN CONFESSED. Lamentations 3:52-66 . PRAYER. Lamentations 4:1-12 . JUDGMENTS. Lamentations 4:13-20 . ZION. CONFESSION. Lamentations 4:21-22 . RETRIBUTION OF JEHOVAH. Lamentations 5:1-22 . PRAYER. For the place of Lamentations in the Hebrew Canon, see Appdx-1, where it is found to be the central book of the five Megilloth (or scrolls). The book consists of live Elegies on the destruction of Jerusalem; and not, as Josephus supposed, on the death of Josiah ( Ant. Jud. L. x, c. 5, 1), basing his opinion on 2 Chronicles 35:25 . This book is appropriately read on the Fast of the ninth day of the fifth month (Ab, our August. See Appdx-51. V). For on that day are still commemorated the five great calamities which befell the nation, viz.: 1. The return of the twelve spies, and the decree of the forty years'' wanderings in consequence of the rebellion of the People. 2. The destruction of the first Temple by Nebuchadnezzar. 3. The destruction of the second Temple by the Romans under Titus. 4. The taking of Bether by the Romans under Hadrian, when 580,000 were slain. 5. The ploughing of Zion like a field, in fulfillment of Jeremiah 26:18 , &c. and Micah 3:12 . The five Elegies are arranged in a remarkable manner: The first two (chapters 1 and 2) consist of twenty-two long verses of three lines each, each verse respectively commencing with the successive letters of the alphabet. The third (ch. 3 ) consists of sixty-six verses (3 x 22), each triad of verses commencing with the same letter:e.g. the first three lines commence with ( Aleph ), the next three with ( Beth), and SO on through the twenty-two letters of the alphabet. The fourth (ch. 4 ) is arranged in twenty-two long verses of two lines each, also arranged acrosticaily. The fifth (ch. 5 ) Lamentation is resolved into a prayer, and the acrostic arrangement gives way before the outburst of emotion. The only connection with the alphabet is that the number of the verses corresponds with the number of letters (twenty-two). The Septuagint (followed by the Arabic and Vulgate versions) prefaces its version with these words:"It came to pass that, after Israel was taken captive and Jerusalem was made desolate, Jeremiah sat weeping, and lamented with this lamentation over Jerusalem, and said." The Arabic Targum begins its paraphrase thus:"Jeremiah the prophet, and great priest, said. . ." TITLE . In the Hebrew text the name of the book is its first word, ''Eykah = ALAS ! The Talmud (Tract, Baha Bathra, fol. 14b) calls it Kinoth = dirges or elegies. The Sept. has Threnoi, with the same meaning. The Vulg. has Threni, i.e. Lamentationes and Lamenta.