Lamentations displays a common technique of Hebrew poetry called acrostic. In an acrostic poem, each line or group of lines begins with the next letter of the alphabet. {Lamentations 3:1-66  I AM the man who hath seen affliction by the rod of his wrath.  He hath led me, and brought me into darkness, but not into light. Surely against me is he turned; he turneth his hand against me all the day.  My flesh and my skin hath he made old; he hath broken my bones.  He hath builded against me, and compassed me with gall and travail. He hath set me in dark places, as they that be dead of old.  He hath hedged me about, that I cannot get out: he hath made my chain heavy.  Also when I cry and shout, he shutteth out my prayer.  He hath inclosed my ways with hewn stone, he hath made my paths crooked. He was unto me as a bear lying in wait, and as a lion in secret places.  He hath turned aside my ways, and pulled me in pieces: he hath made me desolate.  He hath bent his bow, and set me as a mark for the arrow.  He hath caused the arrows of his quiver to enter into my reins.  I was a derision to all my people; and their song all the day.  He hath filled me with bitterness, he hath made me drunken with wormwood.  He hath also broken my teeth with gravel stones, he hath covered me with ashes.  And thou hast removed my soul far off from peace: I forgot prosperity.  And I said, My strength and my hope is perished from the LORD:  Remembering mine affliction and my misery, the wormwood and the gall.  My soul hath them still in remembrance, and is humbled in me. This I recall to my mind, therefore have I hope. It is of the LORD’s mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness. The LORD is my portion, saith my soul; therefore will I hope in him.  The LORD is good unto them that wait for him, to the soul that seeketh him. It is good that a man should both hope and quietly wait for the salvation of the LORD. It is good for a man that he bear the yoke in his youth. He sitteth alone and keepeth silence, because he hath borne it upon him.  He putteth his mouth in the dust; if so be there may be hope.  He giveth his cheek to him that smiteth him: he is filled full with reproach. For the LORD will not cast off for ever: But though he cause grief, yet will he have compassion according to the multitude of his mercies.  For he doth not afflict willingly nor grieve the children of men. To crush under his feet all the prisoners of the earth,  To turn aside the right of a man before the face of the most High,  To subvert a man in his cause, the LORD approveth not. Who is he that saith, and it cometh to pass, when the Lord commandeth it not?  Out of the mouth of the most High proceedeth not evil and good? Wherefore doth a living man complain, a man for the punishment of his sins?  Let us search and try our ways, and turn again to the LORD.  Let us lift up our heart with our hands unto God in the heavens.  We have transgressed and have rebelled: thou hast not pardoned.  Thou hast covered with anger, and persecuted us: thou hast slain, thou hast not pitied.  Thou hast covered thyself with a cloud, that our prayer should not pass through. Thou hast made us as the offscouring and refuse in the midst of the people.  All our enemies have opened their mouths against us.  Fear and a snare is come upon us, desolation and destruction.  Mine eye runneth down with rivers of water for the destruction of the daughter of my people.  Mine eye trickleth down, and ceaseth not, without any intermission,  Till the LORD look down, and behold from heaven.
Mine eye affecteth mine heart because of all the daughters of my city.  Mine enemies chased me sore, like a bird, without cause. They have cut off my life in the dungeon, and cast a stone upon me.  Waters flowed over mine head; then I said, I am cut off.  I called upon thy name, O LORD, out of the low dungeon.  Thou hast heard my voice: hide not thine ear at my breathing, at my cry. Thou drewest near in the day that I called upon thee: thou saidst, Fear not. O LORD, thou hast pleaded the causes of my soul; thou hast redeemed my life.  O LORD, thou hast seen my wrong: judge thou my cause.  Thou hast seen all their vengeance and all their imaginations against me.  Thou hast heard their reproach, O LORD, and all their imaginations against me; The lips of those that rose up against me, and their device against me all the day. Behold their sitting down, and their rising up; I am their musick. Render unto them a recompence, O LORD, according to the work of their hands. Give them sorrow of heart, thy curse unto them.  Persecute and destroy them in anger from under the heavens of the LORD.} has 3 verses for each of the Hebrews letters; the other chapters of Lamentations have one verse for each letter. The acrostic technique is common in Arabic and Persian verse, although not in English, which has its own poetic resources.

The “able-bodied man,” representing the nation, speaks of his affliction, yet expresses hope (3:1-66)

He describes his present desperate situation

Nevertheless, he is confident that Jehovah will hear his people’s prayers and show mercy.

Lamentations
 Five separate poems
 Each poem stands alone and is not connected or dependent on the other chapters
 Funeral mood for those hearing it in Hebrew because of the dirgelike meter that is simply two lines with
the first with three accented syllables and the second with two. (this is lost in English)
 Acrostics arrangement in each successive lines of the poems or in each chapter. So, there are 22
verses in chapters 1 and 2 corresponding with the 22 Hebrew letters. Each verse is three lines with the
first word of each verse beginning with the appropriate Hebrew letter.
 Chapter 3 has 66 verses on one line each. The first three verses begin with the first letter of the
alphabet; the next three verse begin with the second letter, and so on.
 Chapter 4 has 22 verses of two lines each in acrostic form
 Chapter 5 contains 22 verses, but it is not an acrostic. And, it does not contain the dirgelike meter. This
may suggest broken order, chaos or that all is lost. But, it breaks clearly from the first 4 chapters (or,
poems)
 The purpose for being acrostic is unknown but could be:
o Symbolism of complete, exhaustive expression of grief
o Organized for public recitation at future morning
Besides the loss of their city, temple and society, the Jews also had to deal with the chaos of explaining these
events theologically in line with the Abrahamic Promises and the Mosaic Covenant.

{איכה 3: 1-66 אני האיש אשר ראה סובל על ידי מוט זעמו. הוא הוביל אותי, והביא אותי לתוך החושך, אבל לא אל האור. לבטח נגדי הוא הסתובב. הוא פונה אלי את ידו כל היום.הבשר והעור שלי הזדקנו; הוא שבר את עצמותי. הוא יהוה נגע בי, וחפן אותי בחוצפה ובמצוקה. הוא נתן לי מקומות חשוכים, כמו שהם מתים של זקן. הוא הסתער עלי, שאני לא יכול לצאת: הוא הכין את השרשרת שלי. גם כשאני בוכה וצועקת, הוא מטלטל את התפילה שלי. הוא יהוה את הדרך שלי עם אבן חצובה, הוא עשה את דרכי עקום. הוא היה לי כמו דוב שוכב לחכות, כמו אריה במקומות סודיים. הוא הפנה הצדה את דרכי ומשך אותי לחתיכות: הוא עשה לי שומם. הוא כופף את הקשת שלו והציב אותי כסימן לחץ. הוא גרר את החצים של הרטט שלו להיכנס לתוך המושכות שלי. הייתי ללגלג על כל האנשים שלי;ואת השיר שלהם כל היום. הוא יהוה מילא אותי במרירות, הוא עשה לי שיכור עם סטמבל.הוא גם שבר את שיני באבני חצץ, הוא כיסה אותי עם אפר. והרחקת את נשמתי הרחק מן השלום: אני שוכחת שגשוג. ואני אמרתי, כוחי ותקוותי נספו מן יהוה: לזכור את הנגע שלי ואת האומללות שלי, את הענה ואת החוצפה. הנשמה שלי עדיין הוסיפה אותם לזכרם, והיא נכנעת בתוכי. זה מה שאני זוכר במוחי, ולכן אני מקווה. זה של חסדי יהוה שאנחנו לא נצרכים, כי החמלה שלו נכשל. הם חדשים בכל בוקר: גדול הוא נאמנותך. יהוה הוא חלק שלי, saith נשמתי; ולכן אני מקווה בו. יהוה טוב להם מחכים לו, אל הנשמה המבקשת אותו. טוב כי אדם צריך גם מקווה בשקט לחכות לישועה של יהוה. טוב לגבר שהוא נושא את עול עולמו בצעירותו. הוא יושב לבד שתיקת keepeth, כי הוא יהוה נשא עליו עליו. הוא הניח את פיו באבק; אם כן, אולי תהיה תקווה. הוא נותן לו את הלחי שלו כי smiteth אותו: הוא מלא מלא תוכחה. כי יהוה לא לזרוק לנצח: אבל למרות שהוא גורם צער, אבל יהיה לו חמלה על פי שפע של רחמים שלו. כי הוא לא לסבול מרצון ולא להתאבל על הילדים של גברים. לרמוס תחת רגליו את כל שבויי הארץ, כדי להפנות את זכותו של אדם לפני הפנים של הגבוה ביותר, כדי לחתור אדם בעניינו, יהוה approveth לא. מי הוא שאמר, וזה יבוא לעבור, כאשר אלוהים לא פקודה? מתוך הפה של ההליך הגבוה ביותר לא רע וטוב? מדוע אדם מתלונן, אדם לעונש חטאיו? הבה ננסה וננסה את דרכינו, ונשוב אל יהוה. תנו לנו להרים את הלב שלנו עם הידיים שלנו אל אלוהים בשמים. עשינו חטא ומרדנו: לא סליחה.אתה מכוסה בזעם, ורדף אותנו: אתה נהרג, אתה לא רחמים. אתה מכוסה את עצמך עם ענן, כי התפילה שלנו לא צריך לעבור. אתה עשית אותנו כמו offscouring ו לסרב בקרב העם. כל אויבינו פתחו את פיהם נגדנו. פחד ומלכד באים עלינו, חורבן והרס. העין שלי רץ למטה עם נהרות של מים להרס של הבת של העם שלי.
עין שלי משפיעה על הלב שלי בגלל כל בנות העיר שלי. אויבי שלי רדפו אחרי, כציפור, ללא סיבה. הם ניתקו את חיי בצינוק, והטילו עלי אבן. מים זרמו מעל ראשי; ואז אמרתי, אני מנותקת. קראתי את שמך, יהוה, מן הצינוק הנמוך. שמעת את קולי: לא תסתיר את האוזן על הנשימה שלי, לבכות שלי. אתה הכי קרוב ביום כי קראתי לך: אמרת, אל פחד. הו אלוהים, הפצת את הסיבות לנשמתי; אתה פדת את חיי. הו אלוהים, אתה ראית את הטעות שלי: שופט אתה הסיבה שלי. ראית את כל נקמתם וכל דמיונם נגדי. שמעתם את תוכחתם, יהוה, ואת כל דמיונם נגדי; השפתיים של אלה שהתרוממו עלי, והמכשיר שלהם נגדי כל היום. הנה הישיבה שלהם, ואת העולה שלהם; אני המנגינה שלהם. לתת להם recompence, אלוהים, על פי העבודה של הידיים שלהם. תן להם צער של הלב, קללתך אליהם. לרדוף ולהשמיד אותם בכעס מתחת לשמים של יהוה.

Saith, keepeth, smiteth, approveth, Recompence

Saith,archaic third person singular present of say. keepeth,Verb. (archaic) third-person singular simple present indicative form of keep. smiteth Verb. (archaic) Third-person singular present simple form of smite. , approveth verb
past tense: approved; past participle: approved , Recompence recompense. :an equivalent or a return for something done, suffered, or given :compensation. offered in recompense for injuries.

(What the author comes to know in chapter 3 is that the Lord prefers to show mercy. It is the Lord’s terrors that are only for a moment. Therefore, the immediate events that he is facing are the anomaly, not the days of grace and mercy. He realizes the Lord had shown great mercy in the past and that He will show great mercy in the future. This, by the way, is exactly what Jesus demonstrated during His earthly ministry. Although He never compromised His message and never glossed over sin, he always welcomed a sinner in need of mercy and forgiveness. And so Lamentations 3 gives us a core truth.)

Let me help you connect with this further. Read through and follow these steps:

1. Close your eyes.

2. Picture yourself standing in the smoking rubble of the ruin of land that has been burned down and fire put out and you’re seeing all the disaster right after the dust settled.

3. Say to yourself, “The Lord’s loving-kindness indeed never cease, for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness.”

Is this exercise crazy? How much more did the author of Lamentations overcome to find hope in this truth? He is at Ground Zero in Jerusalem, his home city is gone, his people are gone, he has seen inexpressible horrors, and he knows that the Lord did it! If this truth rescued him from despair, how much more can it rescue us from the situations that we face?

I am struck by the suddenness of the reversal from despair to hope and the recognition of the preeminence of God’s mercy. I am inclined to believe that the author experienced the presence of the Lord in response to his prayer. He was in a situation that was beyond all logic. To come to him as an “instructor” and say, “Cheer up, God is merciful,” would hardly bring a change of attitude. Such truths as these require the manifested presence of the Lord to carry them. In other words, it was not logic that brought these amazing thoughts into his head and caused such a turn for hope. It was his apprehending the presence and character of the Lord that made it sink in.

Acrostic Form

Number of Verses

Verse Arrangement

Perfect

22

Triplets

Two letters reversed

22

Triplets

Two letters reversed

66

Singletons

Two letters reversed

22

Doublets

None

22

Singletons

LAMENTATIONS, BOOK OF

lam-en-ta’-shunz,-The Lamentations of Jeremiah:

1. Name:

This is a collective name which tradition has given to 5 elegies found in the Hebrew Canon that lament the fate of destroyed Jerusalem. The rabbis call this little book ‘Ekhah (“how”), according to the word of lament with which it begins, or qinoth. On the basis of the latter term the Septuagint calls it threnoi, or Latin Threni, or “Lamentations.”

2. Form:

The little book consists of 5 lamentations, each one forming the contents of a chapter. The first 4 are marked by the acrostic use of the alphabet. In addition, the qinah (“elegy”) meter is found in these hymns, in which a longer line (3 or 4 accents) is followed by a shorter (2 or 3 accents). In Lamentations 1 and 2 the acrostic letters begin three such double lines; in Lamentations 4, however, two double lines. In Lamentations 3 a letter controls three pairs, but is repeated at the beginning of each line. In Lamentations 5 the alphabet is wanting; but in this case to the number of pairs of lines agrees with the number of letters in the Hebrew alphabet, i.e. 22. In Lamentations 2; Lamentations 3 and 4, the letter `ayin (`) follows pe (p), as is the case in Psalm 34. Lamentations 1, however, follows the usual order.

3. Contents:

These 5 hymns all refer to the great national catastrophe that overtook the Jews and in particular the capital city, Jerusalem, through the Chaldeans, 587-586 B.C. The sufferings and the anxieties of the city, the destruction of the sanctuary, the cruelty and taunts of the enemies of Israel, especially the Edomites, the disgrace that befell the king and his nobles, priests and prophets, and that, too, not without their own guilt, the devastation and ruin of the country-all this is described, and appeal is made to the mercy of God. A careful sequence of thought cannot be expected in the lyrical feeling and in the alphabetical form. Repetitions are found in large numbers, but each one of these hymns emphasizes some special feature of the calamity. Lamentations 3 is unique, as in it one person describes his own peculiar sufferings in connection with the general calamity, and then too in the name of the others begins a psalm of repentance. This person did not suffer so severely because he was an exceptional sinner, but because of the unrighteousness of his people. These hymns were not written during the siege, but later, at a time when the people still vividly remembered the sufferings and the anxieties of that time and when the impression made on them by the fall of Jerusalem was still as powerful as ever.

4. Author:

Who is the author of these hymns? Jewish tradition is unanimous in saying that it was Jeremiah. The hymns themselves are found anonymously in the Hebrew text, while the Septuagint has in one an additional statement, the Hebrew style of which would lead us to conclude that it was found in the original from which the version was made. This statement reads: “And it came to pass, after Israel had been taken away captive and Jerusalem had been laid waste, that Jeremiah sat weeping, and uttered this lamentation over Jerusalem and said.” The Targum also states that Jeremiah was the author. The rabbis and the church Fathers have no doubts on the subject. Jerome (compare on Zechariah 12:11) thinks that 2 Chronicles 35:25 refers to these hymns. The same is said by Josephus (Ant., X, v, 1). If this were the case, then the writer of Chronicles would have regarded La as having been written because of the death of Josiah. But this misunderstanding is not to be ascribed to him. It was easily possible that he was acquainted with lamentations of such a nature, but which afterward were lost. At all events, Jeremiah was by nature adapted to the composition of such elegies, as is proved by his book of prophecies.

Only in modern times has the authorship of these hymns by Jeremiah been seriously called into question; and it is now denied by most critics. For this they give formal and material reasons: The language of these lamentations shows many similarities to the discourses of Jeremiah, but at the same time also many differences. The claim that the alphabetical scheme is not worthy of Jeremiah is a prejudice caused by the taste of our times. Hebrew poets had evidently been making use of such methods for a long time, as it helps materially in memorizing. At the time of the first acute suffering on account of the destruction of Jerusalem, in fact, he would probably not have made use of it. But. we have in this book a collection of lamentations’ written some time after this great catastrophe. The claim has also been made that the views of Jeremiah and those of the composer or the composers of these poems differ materially. It is said that Jeremiah emphasizes much more strongly the guilt of the people as the cause of the calamity than is done in these hymns, which lament the fate of the people and find the cause of it in the sins of the fathers (Lamentations 5:7), something that Jeremiah is said not to accept (Jeremiah 31:29 f). However, the guilt of the people and the resultant wrath of God are often brought out in these hymns; and Jeremiah does not deny (31:29) that there is anything like inherited guilt. He declares rather that in the blessed future things would be different in this respect. Then, too, we are not to forget that if Jeremiah is the author of these patriotic hymns, he does not speak in them as the prophet and the appointed accuser of his people, but that he is at last permitted to speak as he humanly feels, although there is no lack of prophetical reminiscences (of Lamentations 4:21). In these hymns he speaks out of the heart that loves his Jerusalem and his people, and he utters the priestly prayer of intercession, which he was not allowed to do when announcing the judgment over Israel. The fact that he also evinces great reverence for the unfortunate king and his Divinely given hereditary dignity (Lamentations 4:20), although as a prophet he had been compelled to pronounce judgment over him, would not be unthinkable in Jeremiah, who had shown warm sympathies also for Jehoiachim ” Jehoiakim was a king of Judah from 608 to 598 BC. He was the second son of king Josiah (1 Chronicles 3:15) by Zebidah, the daughter of Pedaiah of Rumah.” ( As I live, saith the LORD, though Coniah the son of Jehoiakim king of Judah were the signet upon my right hand, yet would I pluck thee thence;  And I will give thee into the hand of them that seek thy life, and into the hand of them whose face thou fearest, even into the hand of Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon, and into the hand of the Chaldeans. And I will cast thee out, and thy mother that bare thee, into another country, where ye were not born; and there shall ye die. But to the land whereunto they desire to return, thither shall they not return.  Is this man Coniah a despised broken idol? is he a vessel wherein is no pleasure? wherefore are they cast out, he and his seed, and are cast into a land which they know not? 22:24, 28). A radical difference of sentiment between the two authors is not to be found. On the other hand, a serious difficulty arises if we claim that Jeremiah was not the author of Lamentations in the denunciations of Lamentations over the prophets of Jerusalem (2:14; 4:13). How could the great prophet of the Destruction be so ignored if he himself were not the author of these sentiments? If he was himself the author we can easily understand this omission. In his book of prophecies he has spoken exactly the same way about the prophets. To this must be added, that Lamentations 3 forces us to regard Jeremiah as the author, because of the personal sufferings that are here described. Compare especially Lamentations 3:14, 37, 53;, 61, 63. What other person was during the period of this catastrophe the cynosure of all eyes as was the prophet, especially, too, because he was guiltless? The claim that here, not an individual, but the personified nation is introduced as speaking, is altogether improbable, and in some passages absolutely impossible (Lamentations 3:14, 48).

This little book must accordingly be closely connected with the person of Jeremiah. If he himself is the author, he must have composed it in his old age, when he had time and opportunity to live over again all the sufferings of his people and of himself. It is, however, more probable, especially because of the language of the poems, that his disciples put this book in the present shape of uniform sentential utterances, basing this on the manner of lamentations common to Jeremiah. In this way the origin of Lamentations 3 can be understood, which cannot artificially be shaped as his sayings, as in this case the personal feature would be more distinctly expressed. It was probably compiled. from a number of his utterances.

In the Hebrew Canon this book is found in the third division, called kethabhim, or Sacred Writings, together with the Psalms. However, the Septuagint adds this book to Jeremiah, or rather, to the Book of Baruch, found next after Jerusalem. The Hebrews count it among the 5 meghilloth, or Rolls, which were read on prominent anniversary days. The day for the Lamentation was the 9th of Abib, the day of the burning of the temple. In the Roman Catholic church it is read on the last three days of Holy Week.

I love exploring on my own about the bible. Because there is more to the stories of the bible. It is not like a romance novel, it is more like learning of all contents of the bible. All nations. Hearing and reading about the people of the bible and it’s contents of knowing that we have to do to press on towards the goal of eternity. In this life we will see trials, testimony’s even our own. We can make it happen.

Have a awesome day.

Advertisements