The Book of Lamentations
Lamentations is a collection of five poems lamenting the destruction of Jerusalem in 587BC.
After the fall of the northern kingdom of Israel to the Assyrians in 722BC (see Israel falls & the exiles are led to Assyria), the southern kingdom of Judah came increasingly under threat - first from Assyria (see Sennacherib attacks and destroys Lachish), and later from Babylon (see Assyria is conquered by the Babylonians and King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon invades Judah).
Following Zedekiah’s rebellion in 598BC, Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon turned his wrath against Jerusalem, finally capturing the city in July 587BC after a long seige lasting a year and a half (see Jerusalem falls and the exile in Babylon begins).
Over the next few months, the Temple and the royal palace in Jerusalem were destroyed by fire and the city walls were torn down by Nebuzaradan, the commander of the Babylonian imperial guard. All the silver censers and the bronze furnishings from the Temple were confiscated and sent to Babylon.
As well as mourning for the fall and destruction of Jerusalem, the poems in the Book of Lamentations re-state the people’s trust in God and their hope for the future.
Remains of the Pool of Bethesda, Jerusalem
Lament 1:1 “Jerusalem once was full of people, but now the city is empty. Jerusalem once was a great city among the nations, but now she is like a widow. She was like a queen of all the other cities, but now she is a slave.”
Lament 1:3 “Judah has gone into captivity where she suffers and works hard. She lives among other nations, but she has found no rest. Those who chased her caught her when she was in trouble.”
Lament 1:10 “The enemy reached out and took all her precious things. She even saw foreigners enter her Temple. The LORD had commanded foreigners never to enter the meeting place of his people.”
Lament 2:1 “Look how the LORD in his anger has brought Jerusalem to shame. He has thrown down the greatness of Israel from the sky to the earth; He did not remember the Temple, his footstool, on the day of his anger.”
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