The book of the Lamentations of Jeremiah.
Counted among the writings.
None on site.
CCEL: Lamentations (Hebrew only).
Swete LXX (Greek only).
Gateway (English only).
HTML Bible: Lamentations (Hebrew and English).
HTML Bible: Lamentations
(Latin Vulgate only).
Zhubert (Greek and English).
Kata Pi BHS: Lamentations (Hebrew and English).
Kata Pi LXX: Lamentations (Greek and English).
Sacred Texts: Lamentations (polyglot).
Lamentations at the OT Gateway.
Lamentations in the Jewish Encyclopedia.
EJW (Peter Kirby).
Lamentations at Kata Pi (Oesterly and Robinson).
Lamentations from the Plymouth Brethren.
Introduction to Lamentations (David Malick).
Outline of Lamentations (David Malick).
Lamentations (David J. A. Clines).
Life and Literature of the Early Period
The book of Lamentations is counted with the prophetical books in our
English Bibles, but in the Jewish scriptures it is one of the writings.
The book was originally written in Hebrew, but the ancient Greek
translation known as the Septuagint
(abbreviated LXX) is also a very important witness to the text.
Peter Kirby (Early Jewish Writings).
Peter Kirby surveys scholars writing on the book of Lamentations:
Geoffrey F. Wood writes: "In 2 Chr 35:25, reference is made to the preservation
of dirges composed by Jeremiah on the death of King Josiah in 609. It is not
strange that later generations saw in this passage a reference to the canonical
Book of Lamentations and thus concluded that Jeremiah was its author. It is
highly questionable, however, whether 2 Chr 35:25 has any relation to canonical
Lam, for nothing in Lam refers to Josiah's death. Lam dwells entirely on disasters
occurring from 597 on. The true author manifests some relationship in style
and spirit to Jeremiah; he was certainly his contemporary. W. Rudolph thinks
he was a political or military figure who perhaps participated in the flight
of Zedekiah (see 4:19)." (The Jerome Biblical Commentary, vol. 1,
Norman K. Gottwald writes: "Lamentations was almost certainly written
in the sixth century B.C. to commemorate the destruction of Jerusalem by the
Neo-Babylonians in 587. The stock of lament language was, by this time, already
richly developed in Israelite religion. Moreover, the genre of lament over a
destroyed city probably owes much in ancient Mesopotamian tradition and practice
that continued unabated until late biblical times." (Harper's Bible
Commentary, p. 647)
J. Alberto Soggin writes: "The work is composed of five laments, one for
each chapter. However, they are not all composed in the same way. Chapters 1-4
are acrostics; but in terms of content, chs. 2; 4; 5 describe the situation
of Jerusalem after the destruction of 587, while ch. 3 belongs to a different
literary genre. It is an individual lament, and it has nothing to do with the
exile. The despair expressed in 1-2; 4-5 is a fairly certain sign that the work
is not far removed in time from the events which it narrates, so that an attribution
to Jeremiah would not be impossible from a historical point of view. The author
was not in fact deported, but is one of the survivors left behind by Nebuchadnezzar
in the ruins of the capital: the details of the description in chs. 2; 4 indicate
this. It would also be impossible to understand 2.9 on the lips of the exiles
among whom Ezekiel worked." (Introduction to the Old Testament,
Samuel Sandmel writes: "Poems 2 and 4 are probably by a single author.
Poem 1 by another, Poem 5 by still another, and Poem 3 by a fourth author. The
latter, which, indeed, is the poem of some 'eyewitness,' begins with the words:
'I am the man who has seen misery from the rod of His wrath.' In other poems,
however, Jerusalem, personified as a woman, is the protagonist." (The
Hebrew Scriptures, p. 304)
James King West writes: "Whether or not the five poems are the work of
a single author is unclear. Different literary forms are evidentfuneral
dirge (most of chs. 1, 2, and 4), individual lament (1:11c ff.; 3:1-39, 52-66),
and communal lament (3:48ff.; 4:17ff.; ch. 5)but are so blended together
within the separate compositions as to constitute no adequate criterion of authorship.
A more significant difference may involve the confessional character of some
passages (e.g., 1:5ff.; 3:22ff.) as compared with the mood of protest in others
(e.g., ch. 5). The Psalter, nevertheless, provides examples of similar fluctuation
within a single psalm. The tradition (Septuagint) which ascribes the poems to
Jeremiah has little to support it. The language and style are unlike those of
the prophet; so too, are the attitudes manifested toward Babylon (1:21ff.; 3:59-66),
Egypt (4:17), King Zedekiah (4:20), and the reason for Judah's fall (5:7)."
(Introduction to the Old Testament, p. 408)