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Bible Commentaries
Lamentations 1

Garner-Howes Baptist CommentaryGarner-Howes

Verses 1-7

LAMENTATIONS

The Lamentations of Jeremiah

CONTENTS

A GENERAL OUTLINE OF

THE LAMENTATIONS OF JEREMIAH

I. THE WRETCHEDNESS OF JERUSALEM,

(Chapter 1)

A. HER HUMILIATION, (vs. 1-7)

B. HER RUIN THROUGH SIN, (vs. 8-11)

C. HER PLEA FOR COMPASSIONATE UNDERSTANDING,

(vs.12-22)

II. GOD’S ANGER AGAINST HIS REBELLIOUS

PEOPLE, (Chapter 2)

A. THE MANIFESTATION OF DIVINE HOSTILITY, (vs. 1-9)

B. FAMINE, AND ITS CONSEQUENT SUFFERINGS,

(vs.10-13)

C. PROPHETS: TRUE AND FALSE (vs. 14-17)

D. A CALL TO BROKEN-HEARTED SUPPLICATION,

(vs. 18-22)

III. THE GRIEF OF A TENDER-HEARTED PROPHET,

(Chapter 3)

A. A CRY OF AFFLICTION, (vs. 1-20)

B. HOPE, ROOTED IN REMEMBRANCE OF DIVINE

MERCIES, (vs.21-39)

C. A CALL TO SPIRITUAL RENEWAL, (vs. 40-42)

D. THE HIGH COST OF REBELLION, (vs. 43-54)

E. COMFORT, AND A CRY FOR VENGEANCE,

(vs. 55-66)

IV. JERUSALEM UNDER SIEGE,

(Chapter 4)

A. A CONTRAST BETWEEN THE PAST AND PRESENT,

(vs. 1-12)

B. SPIRITUAL MIS-GUIDANCE AND ITS SAD END,

(vs. 13-20)

C. JUDGMENT AWAITS EDOM, (vs. 21-22)

V. THE PRAYER OF A SUFFERING PEOPLE,

(Chapter 5) 360

A. AN APPEAL FOR DIVINE MERCY, (vs. 1-10)

B. BEARING THE SHAME OF SIN, (vs. 11-18)

C. JEHOVAH, AN ETERNAL SOVEREIGN UPON HIS

THRONE, (vs. 19-22)

THE LAMENTATIONS OF JEREMIAH

Written by Jeremiah, on the occasion of the destruction of Jerusalem and the temple (about 586 B.C.), this book is full of pathetic tenderness - further revealing the heart of the weeping prophet. Here are five complete poems - represented by the five chapter divisions. The first four chapters use the acrostic form, where the first letters of each verse begin with the consecutive letters of the Hebrew alphabet - except that there is a TRIPLE usage of those letters in chapter 3.

Through the writer of this book the Lord teaches Judah not to despise His chastisement, or to faint at His rebuke, (comp. Hebrews 12:5-6; Luke 19:41-42). But the inspired word is NOT FOR JUDAH ONLY! Through this series of dirges - resulting from Judah’s failure to hear and heed the voice of the Almighty - God would have ALL OF US to recognize the certain disaster toward our lives to His worthy and loving lordship!

One will surely profit by comparing Jeremiah’s vision of Jerusalem in ruin, while Babylon exults, with that of John (Revelation 18, 21­-22) - wherein Babylon is destroyed, while a New Jerusalem is revealed in triumphant glory! How much better to endure, with Jerusalem, such divinely imposed affliction as finds it’s fruition in GLORY, than share the pride of Babylon that ends in EVERLASTING SHAME!

LAMENTATIONS - CHAPTER 1

THE WRETCHEDNESS OF JERUSALEM

Vs. 1-7: HER HUMILIATION

1. Here is a solemn contrast between what Jerusalem WAS and IS, (vs. 1).

a. Once she sat as a princess among the provinces; great among the nations, she was full of people - highly honored! (1 Kings 4:20-21).

b. Now she sits as a widow - alone, in reproach and forsaken, (comp. Isaiah 3:26; Isaiah 47:8-9; Isaiah 54:4-6); owing tribute to her captors (Ezra 4:20), she is deeply humiliated!

2. Personified as a woman, Jerusalem is heard weeping bitterly in the night-and with good reason, (vs. 2)

a. Of all the lovers she has chased after, there is not one that offers any comfort in the day of her calamity! (Jeremiah 4:30; Jeremiah 22:20).

b. The friends with whom she has formed alliances (Egypt, Tyre, Sidon etc.), for security, have dealt treacherously with her -becoming her enemies, (Micah 7:5-6).

3. Now exiled among the nations, Judah finds no rest (vs. 3); once highly-privileged, she is now powerless - reduced to the role of slavery, in the hands of her enemies, because of her very wickedness!

4. Her appointed feasts deserted (comp. Isaiah 24:4-6), Zion is pictured as in mourning, affliction and bitterness because of her desolation (vs. 4); no longer is she filled with those who once came to her feasts, and her virgins are deeply distressed for a lack of prospective husbands.

5. Because of her multiplied transgressions, the Lord has afflicted her (Psalms 90:7-8; Ezekiel 8:17-18; Ezekiel 9:9-10) - prospering those who lord it over her (vs. 5; Deuteronomy 28:13; Deuteronomy 28:44), and sending her young children away as captives of the enemy.

6. Once "the perfection of beauty" (Psalms 50:2), Zion has lost her splendor; their strength exhausted in flight before their enemies, her princes are likened to stags that have been unable to find pasture, (vs. 6 comp. Jeremiah 39:4-7; 2 Kings 25:4-7).

7. In the midst of her helplessness (Jeremiah 37:7-8), and enemies who mock at her desolation (Psalms 79:4; Jeremiah 48:27), Jerusalem remembers the blessings that were once hers, in abundance, when she walked in fellowship with Jehovah her God, (vs. 7; Psalms 42:4; Psalms 77:3; Psalms 77:5-7; comp. Luke 15:17).

Verses 8-11

Vs. 8-11: HER RUIN THROUGH SIN

1. So grievous has been the sin of Jerusalem, who defiled herself in the demoralizing worship of Baal, that those who once honored her now despise her because they have seen her nakedness, (vs. 8; Isaiah 59:2-13; Jeremiah 2:22-25); thus, she groans and turns her back.

2. While habitually indulging such filthiness, she gave no thoug t to the consequence of her actions, (vs. 9; Deuteronomy 32:28-29; Ezekiel 24:13-14).

a. Thus, she has descended from the throne into abject slavery -where there is no rest, and no one to comfort her.

b. Cringing before the arrogance of the enemy, she calls upon the LORD, whose name she has desecrated by her fornications -asking Him to BEHOLD her afflictions!

c. Instead of castigating her for. her folly, wisdom dictates that we inquire concerning the reality of our own cleanliness, faithfulness, and thoughtfulness before God! both as individuals and as churches, (Matthew 15:18; 1 Corinthians 3:16-17).

3. The heathen, who were not permitted to enter the temple for worship (because they were both morally and ceremonially unclean, Deuteronomy 13:1-14) have now entered to plunder its furniture, and the sacred vessels used in the worship of Jehovah, (vs. 10; Jeremiah 51:51; Jeremiah 52:17-20; Psalms 74:4-8).

4. Having already sold their valuables, in an effort to obtain food, verse 11 pictures the inhabitants of Jerusalem as groaning in hunger, (Jeremiah 38:9; Jeremiah 52:6) - evidently just prior to the collapse of resistance in 587 B.C.

a. In misery, Jerusalem cries for Jehovah to behold how abject and despised she has become, (Jeremiah 15:9).

b. Yet, if one listens closely throughout these dirges, he will, many times, hear the voice of the Messiah Himself - identifying Himself with His people in their sin, and suffering divine wrath as a consequence, that they may ultimately be identified with Him in His triumphant righteousness and radiant glory! (1 Corinthians 1:30-31; 2 Corinthians 5:21).

c. Let us carefully observe that He who was sent to call "the lost sheep of the house of Israel" to repentance; wept - over both her desolation and destruction! (Luke 13:34-35; Luke 19:41-44).

Verses 12-22

Vs. 12-22: HER PLEA FOR COMPASSIONATE UNDERSTANDING

First, there is an appeal to those who casually pass by, (vs. 12-17).

1. Though Jeremiah was thinking only of Jerusalem when he wrote, and though our Lord asked no sympathy for Himself, (Luke 23:28), many have seen, in verse 12, an allusion to the Messiah’s making His soul an offering for sin at Calvary.

a. Here is an appeal to the carelessly indifferent: Does the suffering of others mean nothing to you?

1) Will you consider, sympathize and understand that divine judgment upon sin IS REAL? and, thus, abandon your rebellion?

2) Will we not recognize that the very RECORD of such suffering is given for OUR ADMONITION, and benefit?

3) Will we not tremble to recognize that ANOTHER HAS SUFFERED IN OUR STEAD? being wounded and afflicted "for our transgressions" in the day of the Lord’s fierce anger?

b. In fiery indignation the faithful Lord deals with the adversary - even when that proves to be His own faithless people! (vs. 13); He does what is necessary to bring them to the end of themselves!

c. In verse 14 He is pictured as weaving a yoke (of their transgressions) and placing it upon their necks - a symbol of subjugation and slavery; sin always leads to bondage and death!

2. His lover rejected (Isaiah 62:5; Hosea 2:19-20), the Lord has tossed aside the mighty men in whom Jerusalem trusted, and called a solemn assembly for the utter trampling (as in a wine press) of the virgin daughter of Judah, (vs. 15)

a. Note that it is NOT Judah who is being called to a festival; nor is it a festival of praise to God for His bounty in vintage and harvest.

b. ft is her enemies who are here summoned to a festival which is celebrated for THE CRUSHING OF JERUSALEM-her very life being spilled like the blood of the grape gushing from the vats wherein they are trampled! ,

c. It is THE LORD who has done this, through instruments of His own choosing; yet, there is now, no complaint against Jehovah: HIS WAYS ARE RIGHT!

3.Though Zion weeps, and stretches forth her hands in supplication, she finds no one to comfort her in this distress, (vs. 16­-17).

a. The Lord has ordered her neighboring nations to be her adversaries.

b. To them she has been revealed as "unclean"!

4. Yet, she JUSTIFIES THE LORD (declaring Him to be righteous) -for she has rebelled against His voice! (vs. 18a; comp. Psalms 51:4).

a. Prolonged negligence of her covenant-responsibilities have brought upon her the long-threatened destruction of national life as she has known it, (1 Samuel 12:14-15).

b. The judgment that has befallen her is JUST, because it has been administered by a RIGHTEOUS GOD! (Psalms 119:75); this righteousness is the very basis of Judah’s hope.

c. The people of God, in every age, need a sensitive conscience toward God; a readiness to acknowledge our sins; and a consciousness of our utter helplessness apart from His grace!

Then, there Is an appeal to the nations, (vs. 18b-19).

1. How great is Jerusalem’s sorrow - seeing that her children have gone into captivity! (vs. 18b; Deuteronomy 28:15; Deuteronomy 28:32; Deuteronomy 28:41).

2. Though, in her extremity, she appealed to her "lovers" (allies); they dealt falsely with her, (vs. 19a, 2; comp. Job 19:13-19).

3. Having rejected the faithful message of Jeremiah - choosing, rather, to believe the LIES of her false prophets - her priests and elders had died of starvation as they searched for food, (vs. 11; Lamentations 2:20; comp. Deuteronomy 32:21; Deuteronomy 32:24; Jeremiah 14:15).

Finally, there Is an appeal to Jehovah Himself, (vs. 20-22).

1. Jerusalem desires the Lord to behold, with sympathetic understanding, the deep distress of her heart (comp. Jeremiah 4:19-20; Lamentations 2:11); conscious of her grievous rebellion against the Lord, she faces the silent bereavement of the death of her children, (vs. 20; comp. Ezekiel 7:14-18).

2. The daughter of Zion is aware that her enemies now exult in what has befallen her (comp. Psalms 35:15-17; Jeremiah 50:11-13), but expresses confidence that, in a coming day, the Lord will as certainly judge her enemies in like manner, (vs. 21; comp. Isaiah 14:4-7; Isaiah 47:6; Isaiah 47:11; Jeremiah 30:16).

3. Then she directly calls for divine vengeance upon her adversaries (comp. Nehemiah 4:4-5; Psalms 137:7-8), as upon her own transgressions; she sighs, and her heart is faint, (vs. 22).

Bibliographical Information
Garner, Albert & Howes, J.C. "Commentary on Lamentations 1". Garner-Howes Baptist Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/ghb/lamentations-1.html. 1985.
 
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