The Message of Lamentations
The destruction of Jerusalem by the Babylonians in 587 BC is the likely setting for the book of Lamentations. This was the most traumatic event in the whole of Old Testament history, with its extreme human suffering, devastation of the ancient city, national humiliation, and the undermining of all that was thought to be theologically guaranteed like the Davidic monarchy, the city of Zion, and the temple of the God of Israel.
It is out of that unspeakable pain that Lamentations speaks, in poetry of astonishing beauty and intricacy, though soaked in tears.
If we neglect this book, says Chris Wright, we miss the challenge and reward of wrestling with the massive theological issues that permeate it. How can suffering be endured alongside faith in an all-loving, good God? Even if these events are recognized and accepted as God's judgment, has not the flood of brutality and evil gone beyond all bounds? If anarchy, death and destruction stalk the land, can the center of Israel?s faith in the covenant God of faithfulness and mercy hold?
In this Bible Speaks Today volume, Wright shows that as Christian readers we must not, and cannot, isolate Lamentations from the rest of the Bible; and equally, that we should not read the rest of the Bible without Lamentations. We must still let it speak for itself, as a book for today.
"The Message of Lamentations by Christopher Wright (Bible Speaks Today; IVP) is a powerful, evocative commentary, which brings to life the message and implications of this unsettling, poetic book. Wright expounds the text carefully, interprets the book in light of the whole canon, asks how it points to Christ, and pushes us to consider the place of lament in our lives."
"This compact volume in the BST series makes the reading of Lamentations accessible and achievable for the ordinary reader. Background details of history and Hebrew poetry are clearly and briefly explained to assist the reader to understand and appreciate the text. . . . It would be an excellent resource for a study group or sermon series."
"Wright skillfully teases out the various textures in Lamentations, pointing out its particularities and peculiarities. His approach is scholarly enough to delight Seminarians and academics, while being simple enough to benefit busy pastors and Bible Study leaders. The book can be used for personal study, and is geared to facilitate group study. Not only is it affordable, but it affords Christian readers a wealth of deep, thought-provoking substance that will likely bring them to fall on their knees and lift their faces in astonishment and worshipful wonder. I strongly recommend the book!"
"(Wright's) brief commentary on Lamentations is a welcome contribution to the study of this obscure book. . . .The style used for the commentary is very readable and at times convicting. While Wright is offering an accurate exposition of the text, he also wants to challenge his readers with the content of this disturbing book."
1. No Comforter (1:1-22)
2. In the Day of God's Anger (2:1-22)
3. Hope in the Pit of Despair (3:1-66)
4. It Is Finished (4:1-22)
5. Restore Us to Yourself (5:1-22)