Introduction to the Book of Lamentations

Introduction to the Book of Lamentations - Crouch 1...

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Crouch 1 Introduction to the Book of Lamentations Many people when first introduced to the book of Lamentations often ask where the book’s name comes from. The Hebrew title of the book is ‘ ekah, which means “how.” Fittingly, the first word in 1:1 is “How.” And the same for 2:1 and 4:1. The title Lamentations, however, deals with the nature of the book. It comes from the Jewish traditional title of qinot, or Lamentations. It was given this title in the Greek Septuagint and Latin Vulgate. It can also be translated as wailings from the Greek word threnoi . The book does not identify Jeremiah as its writer but depends on the Greek Septuagint’s preface that identifies him as the writer. He most likely wrote the book while still I Jerusalem soon after the destruction or in Egypt while in captivity. It also says in II Chronicles 35:25: “Then Jeremiah chanted a lament for Josiah. And all the male and female singers speak about Josiah in their lamentations to this day. And they made them an ordinance in Israel; behold, they are also written in the Lamentations.” Most people feel comfortable identifying Jeremiah as the author because of the similar writing styles with his own book Jeremiah and because of the same time periods. See for example the similarities in the passages: Lamentations 1:2 and Jeremiah 30:14; Lamentations 1:16; 2:11 with Jeremiah 9:1, 18; Lamentations 2:20/4:10 and Jeremiah 19:9; Lamentations 4:21 and Jeremiah 49:12. Since Jeremiah was most likely an eyewitness of the cities destruction it would make sense that he would be a strong candidate to write about it. Now, most scholars would agree that the date of composition lay between 586 and 538 B.C. We do not know when Jeremiah died, but we have a good idea that if he was born in 643 B.C. it is probable the earlier years of captivity would be the time he would have written the book. Since there are many vivid references used we can assume the
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Crouch 2 book was written close to when the city was destroyed. Something I found interesting was that the exact order of the laments is unknown. Most scholars seem to think it should be 2, 4, 5, and 1, while 3 is unknown. The canon’s ordering doesn’t necessarily mean that
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This note was uploaded on 04/23/2008 for the course ACCOUNTING 386 taught by Professor Collins during the Spring '08 term at York NE.

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Introduction to the Book of Lamentations - Crouch 1...

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