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Lamentations

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Author and Date

Jeremiah

External Evidence

Attributed by early Jewish tradition
Several non-Hebrew manuscripts include attributions to him in their opening lines

Internal Evidence

Similar ideas in both the prophecy and the lament
Jeremiah Lamentations
30:14 1:2
49:12 4:21
9:1, 18 1:16, 2:11
19:9 2:20, 4:10

Style and Structure

A lament—a cry of grief and anguish
Series of 5 dirges
Poetic structure (in Hebrew) gave it an incomplete meter 3+2 beat
dah, dah, dah; dah, dah....
Chapters 1-4 have an acrostic pattern; 5 does not (follows alphabet)
One oddity within that structure: two letters in reverse order in two chapters
Acrostic could have been a mnemonic device
…or a symbol of the complete destruction of the city
1, 2, 4, 5 each have 22 verses; 3 has 66

Chiasm

Chapter 1: Jerusalem’s desolation
Lament and plea for mercy
Chapter 2: God’s judgment
God’s anger, Jeremiah’s grief, his plea
Chapter 3: Jeremiah’s Response
Jeremiah’s affliction, his hope, his prayer
Chapter 4: The Lord’s anger
Before and after the siege, causes of the siege, call for vindication
Chapter 5: Remnant’s Response
prayer for remembrance, …for restoration
That is pretty much the outline

Takeaways

The reality of the penalty of system, national sin
The nation of Israel forgot its roots
Much of this book parallels Deut. 28, the curses for failing to follow the law
The wonderful promise chapter 3:22-24
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