Lamentations in Fausset's Bible Dictionary

Hebrew eechah called from the first word "How," etc., the formula in beginning a lamentation (2 Samuel 1:19). These "Lamentations" (we get the title from Septuagint, Greek threnoi, Hebrew kinot) or five elegies in the Hebrew Bible stand between Ruth and Ecclesiastes, among the Cherubim, or Hagiographa (holy writings), designated from the principal one, the Psalms," by our Lord (Luke 24:44). No "word of Jehovah "or divine message to the sinful and suffering people occurs in Lamentations. Jeremiah is in it the sufferer, not the prophet and teacher, but a sufferer speaking under the Holy Spirit. Josephus (c. Apion) enumerated the prophetic books as thirteen, reckoning Jeremiah and Lamentations as one book, as Judges and Ruth, Ezra and Nehemiah. Jeremiah wrote "lamentations" on the death of Josiah, and it was made "an ordinance in Israel" that "singing women" should "speak" of that king in lamentation. So here he writes "lamentations" on the overthrow of the Jewish city and people, as Septuagint expressly state in a prefatory verse, embodying probably much of the language of his original elegy on Josiah (2 Chronicles 35:25), and passing now to the more universal calamity, of which Josiah's sad death was the presage and forerunner. Thus, the words originally applied to Josiah (Lamentations 4:20) Jeremiah now applies to the throne of Judah in general, the last representative of which, Zedekiah, had just been blinded and carried to Babylon (compare Jeremiah 39:5-7): "the breath of our nostrils, the anointed of Jehovah, was taken in their pits, of whom we said, Under his shadow we shall live among the (live securely in spite of the surrounding) pagan." The language, true of good Josiah, is too favorable to apply to Zedekiah personally; it is as royal David's representative, and type of Messiah, and Judah's head, that he is viewed...

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