Jeremiah lamentations
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JEREMIAH & LAMENTATIONS. JEREMIAH. AUTHOR. Jeremiah; name means “The Lord throws” 626 BC-586 BC Death: Uncertain; may have been stoned Commanded not to marry or have kids (16:1-4) Prophet of Doom; Only had a few friends. Secretary: Baruch (36:4-32)

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JEREMIAH & LAMENTATIONS

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AUTHOR

  • Jeremiah; name means “The Lord throws”

  • 626 BC-586 BC

  • Death: Uncertain; may have been stoned

  • Commanded not to marry or have kids (16:1-4)

  • Prophet of Doom; Only had a few friends.

  • Secretary: Baruch (36:4-32)

  • Self-critical; timid by nature (1:6; 10:24)

  • Confesses; often makes startling statements (12:1; 15:18)


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BACKGROUND

  • Time of storm and stress for nations

  • Nabopolassar of Babylon took up rule in 626 (year of Jeremiah’s call)

  • King Josiah (Jeremiah’s friend) dies in battle in 609 BC.

  • New king Jehoiakim hates Jeremiah: sent to prison and persecution

  • Later, the king Zedekiah also mistreated Jeremiah at times; though at end of Z. life, made treaty with Jeremiah (38:14-27)

  • Jeremiah under house arrest until 586 (38:28)

  • Over 70, joins those who fled to Egypt (43:4-7)

  • Thus called the “weeping prophet”


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THEOLOGICAL THEMES AND MESSAGE

  • Shows contempt for false prophets

  • Prophesied against own people, though loved them and prayed for them

  • Judgment—pervasive theme; though offered “repentance” as answer

  • Called Judah to submit to Babylon; seen as a traitor (but actually a patriot)

  • God as ultimate

  • God is concerned about individuals

  • God’s judgment would not be the final word. Mercy and covenant faithfulness would win. God wold make new covenant with his people (31:31-34)


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LITERARY FEATURES

  • Longest book in the Bible (by words)

  • Prose: lofty and lyrical

  • Repetition: “sword, famine, and plague”

  • Use of symbolism



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AUTHOR & DATE

  • Anonymous

  • Written while in Exile

  • If by Jeremiah, at the very end of his life (586-516)


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LITERARY FEATURES

  • Poetic

  • 1st, 2nd, 4th, and 5th laments all have 22 verses (reflecting Hebrew Alphabet)

  • 3rd lament—33 line units, each beginning with the successive Hebrew letter


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ITEMS OF INTEREST

  • Only Bible book that consists solely of Laments

  • Orthodox Jews read it aloud every 9th day of Ab (destruction of Temple)

  • Many read it each week at the Western Wall in Jerusalem

  • Roman Catholics read it on the last 3 days of Holy Week


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THEMES AND THEOLOGY

  • Recites horrors of devastation:

    • Wholesale devastations and slaughter against kings and commoners alike

    • Starving mothers reduced to cannibalism

    • Ceremony and Worship came to an end

  • Wrestles with nature and ways of God:

    • Humans only instruments; God destroyed the city

    • Due to sin and covenant-breaking

    • Must acknowledge sin (in midst of weeping)

    • Ends with appeal for restoration

    • Middle of book: focuses on Goodness of God (3:21f)


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