June 5, 2015: Daily Bible Reading with Commentary for Lamentations
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Author: The prophet, Jeremiah
Date: After 586 BC, the fall of Jerusalem. Exact date unknown.
Context: Each chapter is the book is an eulogy, a funeral poem. In each, Jeremiah laments (get it? Lamentations?) the loss of Jerusalem, the temple of the Lord. Jerusalem was destroyed because they rejected God. God allowed Nebuchadnezzar to destroy His holy city because the people had rejected Him. They had become hypocritical - going to the temple, yet failing to live a lifestyle pleasing to the Lord. In chapter 3, Jeremiah is reflecting upon the past. He predicted the fall of Jerusalem, and now he is among the rubble lamenting its demise. The only bright spots in the book occur in chapter 3, verses 21-24. The Lord had mercy on His people, for if He had not, they would have been wiped from the face of the earth. As you read chapter 4, imagine sitting in the ruins of your city, a city you knew well. Jeremiah is there, in Jerusalem, describing what he sees. The final lament is actually a prayer, a prayer for the Israelites.
World History: Jeremiah was a witness to not only the destruction of Jerusalem following the invasion of Nebuchadnezzar, but also to the city in the days, weeks, and years leading up to the fall of Jerusalem. The siege of Jerusalem lasted approximately 18 months, with conditions in the city constantly deteriorating.