Despite the themes of doom and destruction, the primary message of Jeremiah is one of the love and grace of a God who never gives up on those he has called to be his own. The prophet’s life is characterized by suffering, but he points to a new beginning, a new covenant and a new hope, eventually made possible through the unique Suffering Servant. Lamentations powerfully expresses personal and national suffering. Yet, even in these utterances of desperate grief, there are glimpses of hope. Replacing the earlier Tyndale commentary by R. K. Harrison, in this new volume, Hetty Lalleman opens up these fascinating books for today’s readers.
“The imperatives that follow are not the personal opinion of the prophet, but the words of the ‘Lord of hosts’ (nrsv), or Lord Almighty (niv and tniv), titles indicating God’s power and might. He is the one who is in charge, even in a foreign country. He is not bound to one place—neither to Judah nor to Jerusalem.” (Page 218)
“The book does not offer a solution to the problem of suffering. It is not a collection of theoretical essays on the subject of ‘why people suffer’ or ‘why God allows his people to suffer’. Rather, it consists of a series of emotional responses to the disaster of the fall of Jerusalem, the destruction of the temple and the Babylonian exile (although exile is not mentioned much; see 1:3, 18). Lamentations is not an exact description of the disaster of 587 bc, but an intense reaction to it.” (Page 328)
“The last king of Judah before the exile was called Zedekiah, meaning ‘my righteousness (is) the Lord’. The name of the promised, messianic king will be The Lord Our Righteous Saviour (tniv). ‘The Lord Our Righteousness’ (niv) is a better translation. Unlike Zedekiah, this king will live up to his name (for almost identical wording, see 33:14–16).” (Pages 193–194)
“The book of Lamentations consists of long laments (Lamentationes in Latin) over the defeat of Judah and the destruction of Jerusalem and its temple in 587 bc, although this date is not mentioned in the text. The prophet Jeremiah, who witnessed these events first-hand, is often thought to have uttered these laments. And indeed, the Septuagint adds at the beginning of the book that Jeremiah, after Israel had gone into exile and Jerusalem was laid waste, sat down weeping and composed this lament over Jerusalem. The Jewish tradition also regards Jeremiah as the author of Lamentations, despite its different position in the canon in relation to his own book. Lamentations is an anonymous work, so we need to consider the likelihood that Jeremiah was indeed the author.” (Page 320)