A Critical and Exegetical Commentary on Lamentations by R. B. Salters

By R. B. Salters

For over 100 years overseas severe Commentaries have had a unique position between works in English at the Bible. they've got sought to collect the entire suitable aids to exegesis, linguistic and textual at the very least archaeological, ancient, literary and theological, to assist the reader comprehend the which means of the books of the outdated and New Testaments.

The new commentaries proceed this practice. New proof now on hand, in addition to new tools of research, may be included within the convinced expectation that there'll be a fair better desire for such commentaries within the twenty-first century than there was within the past.

No try has been made to safe a uniform theological or severe method of the biblical textual content: participants were invited for his or her scholarly contrast, no longer for his or her adherence to anybody college of suggestion. it's was hoping that the recent volumes will reach the excessive criteria in their predecessors and give a contribution considerably to the knowledge of the books of the Bible.

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What has happened is that the material for the commemoration has grown over the centuries, some of the vocabulary has been re-used, and the alphabetic acrostic has been imitated and intensified to a greater or lesser degree. Although we cannot prove it, this quasi-imitation was probably at work in the growth of Lamentations. The first author chose to structure his piece as an alphabetic acrostic and to compose in the unbalanced (3:2) rhythm; and the other authors followed in similar vein. 3 looks back on ‘those who mourn in Zion’ (˜wYoxi ylebea)} .

2 and 4 c. 560, ch. 1 between 520 and 444, ch. 5 before 520, and ch. 3 c. 4th–3rd century. 20 See Dobbs-Allsopp (1998, 2-11) for a critique of past attempts at dating Lamentations. 21 Dobbs-Allsopp regards the instinct of M. Löhr (1904 b) to date the book by grappling with the vocabulary and syntax as sound, but the latter’s method is found wanting in some respects. INTRODUCTION 9 We can say very little about the provenance of the poems. 22 The several references to Judah, Jerusalem and Zion, and the complete absence of any specific reference to Babylon, point in the same direction.

In the case of these chapters, we have unique poetic creations, beginning in the style of the dirge and heavy with dirge-like motifs, but which not only focus on the awful situation but which place it in the context of Yahwistic faith. What separates the poems of Lamentations from all other compositions in the Hebrew Bible is that the focus, from the beginning, is on the greatest catastrophe ever to hit the people of Yahweh—the fall of Jerusalem and the destruction of the temple in 586. We cannot emphasise this too much.

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