The Abingdon Old Testament Commentaries series offers compact, critical commentaries on all the books of the Old Testament. In addition to providing fundamental information on and insights into Old Testament writings, these commentaries exemplify the tasks and procedures of careful, critical exegesis so as to assist students of the Old Testament in coming to an informed engagement of the biblical texts themselves. These commentaries are written with special attention to the needs and interests of theology students, but they will also be useful for students in upper-level college or university settings, as well as for pastors and other church leaders.
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?