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Archive for December 30th, 2011

GO TO PART VI

I. Identifying Lament

a. Definition: It is a poetic cry towards God

b. It comprises the largest group of Psalms, with over sixty laments.[1]

c. It is a Psalm of disorientation.[2]

d. It is mainly distinguished by the content and mood rather than the structure.[3]

e. It is recognized “by expressions of grief, sorrow, fear, anger, contempt, shame, guilt and other dark emotions.”[4]

f. Examples of Laments include Psalms 3-7, 9-10, 12-14, 17, 22, 25-28, 31, 35, 38-43, 52-57, 59, 61, 63-64.

g. It has the following element

i. Invocation, which is the crying out to God in the vocative.[5]

ii. Plea, which is the request and it usually uses an imperative verb in the Hebrew.[6]

iii. Complaint, which reveals the motive of the lament.[7]

iv. Confession of trust in God.[8]

II. Principles in interpreting Lament

a. All the principles in Session Six applies here as well.

b. Identify if it is a communal or individual lament.[9]

c. Try to identify the historical context.[10]

i. Not always easy, especially in the Psalms.

ii. Sometimes you do get some background information such as in the book of Lamentation.

d. Looking for the reason of why the lament was expressed.

i. Key words in English would be “because”, “for”, etc.

ii. Key word in the Hebrew is the word ki.[11]

e. Ask the question, what does this Psalm teach us about God?

i. Laments are not depressing poems, there is a hope expressed in God!

ii. The goal is to find what it is about God that is the basis of the lamenter’s hope.


[1] Gordon Fee and Douglas Stuart., How to Read the Bible for All its Worth, (Grand Rapids: Zondervan), 194.

[2] Keith Essex, Bible Exposition 502 Syllabus, 45.

[3] Tremper Longman III., “Lament” Cracking Old Testament Codes, (Grand Rapids: Baker Book House Company), 198.

[4] Ibid.

[5] Ibid, 200.

[6] Ibid.

[7] Ibid.

[8] Keith Essex, Bible Exposition 502 Syllabus, 45.

[9] Gordon Fee and Douglas Stuart., How to Read the Bible for All its Worth, (Grand Rapids: Zondervan), 194.

[10] Tremper Longman III., “Lament” Cracking Old Testament Codes, (Grand Rapids: Baker Book House Company), 208.

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