Lamentations for a Nation in Decline

One of the fascinating and inspiring things about the Bible is the light it sheds on humanity; not just the humans living at the time biblical books were written, but all humans.

Consider the Old Testament Book of Lamentations. The Jewish prophet Jeremiah has traditionally been considered the author of Lamentations, a series of long-form poems expressing great grief after the Babylonian destruction of the city of Jerusalem and its Temple in 587 B.C.

The author mourns Jerusalem, which was “once great among the nations” but “has now become a slave,” plundered and mocked by those who once feared her: “Her foes have become her masters; her enemies are at ease … Her enemies looked at her and laughed at her destruction … The enemy laid hands on all her treasures.”

Israel was not only sacked — she was abandoned by her allies. “All who honored her despise her … Her fall was astounding; there was none to comfort her.”

Why had this happened? Because the Israelites abandoned the laws of God. “The Lord is righteous, yet I rebelled against His command.” Worse, the people were led astray in this by their own leaders’ weakness and venality: “The visions of your prophets were

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