A Funeral Dirge Over the Desolation of Jerusalem
letter is Jeremiah's sorrow over the city he had done his best to save. As he
laments there is a hope that the city would rise again from it ruins (3:21,31,
32) Jerusalem did rise again and gave its name to the capital of a Redeemed
World of Eternal Glory (Hebrews 12:22; Revelation 21:2) Now we call this
"new Jerusalem'' heaven.
Appendage to Jeremiah
last chapter of Jeremiah should be read as an introduction to this book. The
Septuagint (the Greek translation to the Old Testament) gives this prefix:
"And it came to pass, after Israel was led into captivity and Jerusalem was
laid waste, that Jeremiah sat weeping, and lamented this lamentation over
Jerusalem and said..."
Hebrew Old Testament this book does not follow the prophet Jeremiah as in our
Bible. It is in the group called "Haigiographa'' or "Writings"
These books include Song of Solomon, Ruth, Lamentations, Ecclesiastes, and
books were on separate rolls, because they were read at different feasts. This
book of Lamentations, to this day, throughout the world, wherever there are
Jews, is read in the synagogues, on the 9th day of the 4th month. (Jeremiah
name of the place, just outside the north wall of Jerusalem, where tradition
says, Jeremiah wept bitter tears and composed this sorrowful elegy. This grotto
is under the knoll that is now called "Golgotha" the self-same hill on
which the cross of Jesus Christ stood. Thus the suffering prophet wept where
later the suffering Savior died.
book consists of five poems, four of which are acrostic, that is, each verse
begins with a letter of the Hebrew alphabet, in alphabetic sequence. (An
example of an English acrostic might be the spelling of the word
"arithmetic" a rat in the house might eat the ice cream!)
alphabetic Acrostic is a favorite form of Hebrew poetry, adopted to help the
memory. Psalm 119 is also an alphabetic acrostic of the Hebrew alphabet.
chapters 1,2,4 there are 22 verses in each, one verse to a letter. In chapter 3
there were 3 verses to each letter making 66 in all. Chapter 5 has 22 verses,
but not in alphabetic order.
book must have been composed in the three months between the burning of
Jerusalem and the departure of the remnant to Egypt (Jeremiah 39:2; 41:1, 18;
43:7) during which the seat of government was at Mizpah (Jeremiah 40:8) probably
a number of copies were made: some taken to Egypt, others sent to Babylon, for
the captives to memorize and sing.
not easy to give a subject to each chapter. The same ideas, in different
wording, run through all the chapters: horrors of the siege; desolate ruins; all
due to Zion's sins.
stunned, dazed, heart broken, weeps with grief inconsolable. Special emphasis of
this chapter is that the people brought the catastrophe upon themselves by their
sins... (verses 5, 8, 9, 14, 18,
20, 22 ) Although specific sins are not mentioned the general feeling and though
is present in these verses. The captivity and destruction of Jerusalem is the
direct result of Judah’s sin against the Holy One.
devastation of Jerusalem is attributed to the Anger of God. (verse 1, 2, 3, 4,
6, 21, 22) Jerusalem situated on a high mountain surrounded by other mountains,
was, for physical situation, the most beautiful city then known, ''the
perfection of beauty" (verse 15) Even when compared to Babylon, Nineveh,
Thebes and Memphis, which were built on river plains Jerusalem was a far more
Moreover, Jerusalem was the city of God’s special care, chosen of Him for a unique mission, the main channel for God's dealings with men, most favored and highly privileged city in all the world, beloved of God in an exceptional way, and under His special protection. This is why Jeremiah weeps as he does all of this is no more.
was so well fortified that it was generally believed to be impregnable (4:12)
But this City of God had become worse than Sodom (4:6). That the God of Love is
also a God of Wrath is a teaching that is stated and illustrated again and again
throughout the Bible.
this chapter, Jeremiah seems to be complaining that God had ignored him and his
prayers (verse 8). God ''had covered Himself with a cloud that no prayer could
pass through" (verse 44) Though complaining, Jeremiah justifies God,
acknowledging that they deserved worse (verse 22) The high point of the book is
found in chapter three, verses 21-39.
this chapter teaches us is that hope in God cannot be based on human merit. Sins
cannot be expiated by suffering. A full confession of guilt and an unreserved
plea for pardon are needed if there is to be an escape from the consequences of
having transgressed and rebelled against the Lord
the people refused to turn to the lord, He poured out His anger on the
rebellious nation. The devastation and destruction will end only when the Lord
from heaven looks down and sees a change of heart (verses 40-51).
same time, let there be no doubt that God be moved by a penitent appeal to His
mercy to forgive and to heal the wounds He inflicted. Deliverance is as certain
as if it had been already come to pass. In order to awaken faith in God's
promises, the poet Jeremiah lets an unnamed person appear on the scene and
testify how the Lord heard his cry from the depths of the pit (verses 52-57).
that in espousing his cause God's honor is at stake. He is bold enough to insist that the Lord pursue...and
destroy His assailants (verse 58-66).
4 & 5
Suffering of the Siege
and summarized. Jeremiah could not keep his mind off the horrors of the siege,
cries of starving children (2:11, 12, 19, 4:4), women boiling their babies for
food (2:20; 4:10)
spite of its horrible sufferings, Jeremiah failed to learn its lesson. After the
captivity Jerusalem was rebuilt, and in Jesus' day had again become a great and
powerful city, and climaxed its sin by crucifying the Son of God. Then followed
its eradication by the armies of Rome in 70 AD. Hebrews 13 points to the fact
that Christ out shines this once glorious city.