This book bears the title of Lamentations
, which seems to be taken from 2 Chron. 35:25, and shows sufficiently what is the content of this book, namely, sad complaints, which the prophet makes in his own name, and in the name of the entire church for the miserable destruction of the kingdom of Judah and of the city Jerusalem, together for the very woeful condition of the Jews, who for the most part perished by the sword, the famine and the pestilence.
This book is so stately written in words and stylistic expressions that no writings of all the most eloquent scribes among the Gentiles are or may be compared to it.
There are indeed other lamentations besides these recorded in Scripture, such as 2 Sam. 1:19, etc., about the death of Saul
, and about the destruction of the city of Tyrus
, Ezek. 28:12, but this book of Jeremiah
, speaking of a general calamity which has come upon the people of God, has by itself obtained and kept the name of Lamentations
in a special manner nearly among all people and nations of Christendom. As the Song ofSolomon
alone bears that name, nevertheless there are still more excellent songs in Scripture besides, as Exodus
15, the song of Moses and of the children of Israel, of Miriam
and of the women of Israel for their deliverance and Pharaoh’s
drowning in the Red Sea, as also of Deborah in the book of Judges 5
, and of Hannah
, 1 Samuel
2, and of the holy blessed Virgin Mary
When the prophet Jeremiah
wrote this book, this is uncertain. Some are of the opinion that it was partly written immediately after the death of that pious king Josiah
, after whose death the affairs of the Jews grew daily worse and worse, as appears at 2 Chron. 35:25 and Zech. 12:11. Yet others suppose that it was written after the destruction of the city of Jerusalem and of the temple by the Chaldeans, namely, after that the remaining Jews were carried away in great multitudes out of their own country into bondage to Babel, as the words do continually intimate the same. See Jer. 1:3, etc.; 2:2, etc.
It is such that, having proposed to describe the lamentable condition of the Jewish people and their land, the prophet Jeremiah
begins his complaint with this exclamation: How doth the city sit
, etc. Yet, besides this, he places the people before their eyes their great and manifold sins, and exhorts them to true repentance, prayers for grace, and patience, with trust and expectation for a gracious deliverance.