He Is the Cry for Yisra'el
A Little Background
Ekah/Lamentations was more than likely written by Yirmeyahu/Jeremiah. He lamented, or mourned, with great sincerity, the fallen conditions of his beloved Yerushalayim/Jerusalem and the Southern Kingdom (Yehudah/Judah). Yirmeyahu/Jeremiah had witnessed the siege of Jerusalem at the hands of King Nevukadretstsar/Nebuchadnezzar, and, when the Bavel/Babylonian army had returned again to Bavel/Babylon, with Yehudim/Judean captives, Yirmeyahu/Jeremiah was witness to the atrocities that befell Yerushalayim/Jerusalem after the siege.
Yirmeyahu's/Jeremiah's laments were for those Yehudi/Jewish captives in Bavel/Babylon; but, for all his moaning and mourning, there was also a great hope given. That hope was that in the midst of the devastation, repentance is necessary for restoration and renewal, and forgiveness can be received. That same hope lives still today. In the midst of all the devastation we live in, day in and day out, there still remains a Blessed Hope of restoration and renewal, and of forgiveness.
There are many Tanak/Old Testament books that contain mournful laments (Tehillim/Psalms and nearly all the books of the Nevi'im/Prophets); but, Ekah/Lamentations is the only book in the Tanak/Old Testament that contains only laments- soleful and soulful laments.
The conditions of Yerushalayim/Jerusalem were quite deplorable after the siege of the Bavels/Babylonians. The entire city was left in destruction and ruins. יהוה had been warning the people, time and time again, through the Nevi'im/Prophets, that if they continued on the course they put themselves on, instead of walking in obedience, they would be punished. And punished they were. In Ekah/Lamentations 2:1-22, we read of the results of יהוה's judgment on Yehudah/Judah and Yerushalayim/Jerusalem.
- Verses 1-2; יהוה destroyed every home in Yehudah/Judah.
- Verse 2; Every standing fortress and wall was broken.
- Verse 4; יהוה's judgment was seen and felt throughout all the land.
- Verse 6; יהוה's Booth/Temple, that once held the splendor of Shlomo/Solomon, was totally destroyed.
- Verses 15-16; The enemies of Yehudah/.Judah were given free reign to destroy and plunder her.
- Verses 21-22; The streets of Yerushalayim/Jerusalem were lined with the dead bodies of the people.
Ekah/Lamentations 4:1-22; 5:13
The people of Yerushalayim/Jerusalem fared even worse than the city itself.
- Verse 4; The children walked around in unquenchable thirst.
- Verse 5; The ones who were once considered rich now found themselves begging in the streets.
- Verses 7-8; The once mighty princes, perfect in dress and appearance, are now unrecognizable in tattered and torn clothing and dirt and grime.
- Verse 10; Mothers killed, cooked, and ate their own children.
- Verses 13-14; The false prophets who dared to speak against יהוה, even as the true prophets were warning the people, are now staggering like blind fools throughout the city, despised by the remaining city inhabitants.
- Lamentations 5:13; The young boys, boys who have yet to become men, are treated severely and harshly.
There is Hope
In all of this death and destruction, Yirmeyahu/Jeremiah never faltered at his post of prayer. Ekah/Lamentations, chapter 5, ends the book of Ekah/Lamentations with the prayer that Yirmeyahu/Jeremiah offered on behalf of the Yehudi/Jewish captives in Bavel/Babylon. He wanted the people to know that there was hope.
- Hope for remembrance. Ekah/Lamentations 5:1--Remember, O יהוה, what has come upon us (The Scriptures, 2014).
- Hope for repentance. Ekah/Lamentations 5:16--The crown has fallen from our head. Woe to us, for we have sinned (The Scriptures, 2014)!
- Hope for recognition of יהוה. Ekah/Lamentations 5:19--You, O יהוה, remain forever, Your throne from generation to generation (The Scriptures, 204).
- Hope for renewal. Ekah/Lamentations 5:21--Turn us back to you, O יהוה, and let us turn back, renew our days as of old (The Scriptures, 2014).
A Quick Comparsion
Ekah/Lamentations 3:21-23--This I recall to my mind, therefore I wait: The loving-commitments of יהוה! For we have not been consumed, for His compassions have not ended. They are new every morning, great is your trustworthiness (The Scritpures, 2014).
This is one of the greatest Scriptural passages regarding the faithfulness of יהוה found in Ekah/Lamentations. Though Yirmeyahu/Jeremiah mourned for his countrymen and for his country, He knew יהוה would be faithful to keep His promises, even though יהוה had to first dictate a punishment.
This verse can be compared with Timotiyos Bet/2 Timothy 2:11-13; Trustworthy is the word: For if we died with Him, we shall also live with Him. If we endure, we shall also reign with Him. If we deny Him, He also shall deny us. If we are not trustworthy, he remains trustworthy, it is impossible for Him to deny Himself (The Scriptures, 2014).
יהוה will always be faithful to us- faithful in blessing us and faithful in dictating our punishments. He is the Elohim/G-d of mercy; but, He is also the Elohim/G-d of justice.
יהוה is fully love!
In Yehezqel/Ezekiel, He is the call from sin.
Yehezqel/Ezekiel received his call into prophetic ministry while he was a captive in Bavel/Babylon. He had for himself a dual role; he was a prophet-priest, as well as, a watchman for the people. Just as Yirmeyahu/Jeremiah, Yehezqel/Ezekiel speaks to the helplessness that the Yisra'el-ites find themselves in; but, also of the hope of restoration for them and their homeland.
Bring us Back by Joshua Aaron
Aaron, Joshua. (n.d.). Bring Us Back [Video file]. Retrieved July 22, 2018, from YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v7lHsoascJY
The Scriptures, 2009 Edition. (2014). Republic of South Africa: Institute for Scripture Research.