The Agora
The Lamentations of Jeremiah

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Parallel Passages

This is an area of study limited only by the student's own curiosity, ingenuity, and ambition. To pursue links between Scriptures can be fruitful, to a point; but it can readily be pushed beyond that point to become burdensome. Three main examples and a few passing references must suffice to illustrate the Lamentations' relationship with other passages.

First of all, Lamentations is a compilation of five elegies -- poems which reflect affliction, hope and deliverance. (Some briefer examples of the elegy in Hebrew Scriptures are Amos 5:1,2; Isaiah 14:4,5,12; and Ezekiel 19:10-14). Of the five poems: the first, second and fourth are dirges in the strictest sense; the third is a personal lament and prayer and the fifth is a national prayer.

Perhaps the best example of the funeral song is David's lamentation over Saul and Jonathan (2Sa 1:17-27). The quickest examination reveals a number of parallels with the Lamentations:

David's funeral dirge (2Sa 1:17-27)
19. The beauty of Israel
1:6; 2:1
How are the mighty fallen!
1:1; 2:1; 4:1; 5:16
20,21. Lest the daughters (of the Philistines) rejoice...
21. Anointed with oil
22. The blood of the slain
The bow (of Jonathan)
2:4; 3:12
The sword (of Saul)
2:21; 4:9; 5:9
23. Swifter than eagles
Stronger than lions
24. Ye daughters of Israel, weep
1:2, etc
Clothed in scarlet
Ornaments of gold

Psalm 74 is an excellent example of a national lament and prayer, and has extraordinary parallels with Lamentations (so many, in fact, that some expositors have suggested a common authorship):

Psalm 74
1. O God, why hast Thou cast us off forever?
3:31; 5:20,22
Why doth Thine anger smoke...?
2:1,3; 4:16
2,18. Remember...
1:9,11,12,20; 2:20; 5:1
This mount Zion, wherein Thou hast dwelt
2:1,15; 5:18
3. The perpetual desolations
All that the enemies hath done wickedly in the sanctuary
1:10; 4:12
4,5. Thine enemies roar in the midst of Thy congregations
7. They have cast fire into Thy sanctuary
1:13; 2:3; 4:11
8. (Note: the AV's "synagogue" is not, as some claim, a sure sign of post-exilic authorship -- but rather a poor translation of the Hebrew "moed": the same word is translated "congregation" in v 4.)

9. There is no more any prophet
10. O God, how long shall the adversary reproach?
11. Thy right hand

Perhaps Psalm 69 is the best example of a personal lament (as Lamentations 3):

Psalm 69
1. The waters are come in unto my soul
2,14. I sink in deep mire
2,15. The floods overflow me
3. I am weary of my crying
1:2,16; 2:18,19
My throat is dried
Mine eyes fail
2:11; 3:48,49
I wait for my god
5. My sins are not hid from Thee
3:39,42; 5:16
7. I have borne reproach
8. A stranger... an alien...
11. Sackcloth
12. I was the song of the drunkards
15. The pit
3:55; 4:20
16. The multitude of Thy tender mercies
17. Hide not Thy face from Thy servant
I am in trouble
20. I looked... for comforters, but I found none
21. Gall
22-28. Imprecation against enemies
1:21,22; 3:64-66; 4:21,22

Among the other personal laments of Scripture, Psalm 22 may also be noted for its parallels to both Psalm 69 and portions of Lamentations, and for its applicability (along with those two portions of Scripture) to the sufferings of Christ.

Neither should we neglect to mention, in passing, the strong parallels (too diffuse to catalogue and examine here) between Job and Lamentations.

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