Published May 2003
Each volume consists of four parts:
-- an introduction that addresses the key issues raised by the writing; the literary genre, structure, and character of the writing; the occasional and situational context of the writing, including its wider social and historical context; and the theological and ethical significance of the writing within these several contexts
-- a commentary on the text, organized by literary units, covering literary analysis, exegetical analysis, and theological and ethical analysis
-- an annotated bibliography
-- a brief subject index
Bergant's commentary opens to students and pastors the visceral poetry of Lamentations, a book that plumbs the depth of biblical Israel's despair over the destruction of Jerusalem. The security of Jerusalem signaled divine protection of the whole nation, so Jerusalem's destruction was perceived as a sign that God had abandoned the entire people. The book of Lamentations is a cry to God for mercy. The horrors detailed within its five short chapters reveal the extent of human cruelty and the resiliency of the human spirit to endure such cruelty. Unlike many biblical books, Lamentations ends on an unresolved note. Will God eventually hear the cry of the people? Will God, as in days gone by, step in with mercy and salvation?