The Book of Lamentations, and widows

How lonely sits the city that was full of people!

She has become like a widow…

Lamentations 1: 1a

 I have read this before, but this time it was different.

Since the last ‘post’ on this blog, I became a widow.

(In an online thesaurus, the only alternatives provided for widow were ‘dowager’, and ‘relict’.) According to ‘‘ the origin of ‘relict’ is from…

1525–35; Medieval Latin relicta  widow, noun use of feminine of Latin relictus,  past participle of relinquere  to relinquish.

The other widows/widowers I know would agree with me that we did not relinquish willingly. Our spouses were ‘torn away’.

But it makes reading that first part of Lamentations totally different, having experienced the pain of becoming a widow.Tears

She weeps bitterly in the night, and her tears are on her cheeks;

Lamentations 1: 2a

(For most who have suffered significant loss, they are either shocked with no tears, or full of tears ‘at the drop of a hat’. It is a very emotional experience either way.)

The city of Jerusalem is personified as a woman. Now she is a widow.

If you look back through the history, Israel and Judah were supposed to look to God for protection and sustenance.

trust God

Sustenance was easier… the people needed the rains – the early rains, and the latter rains, to grow their crops, refill their cisterns. Most of the rain fell in half the year, and had to be preserved for the dry season. (No turning on taps, for these people.)

The first rain of the rainy season—the “early rain”—usually came mid-October through early November. This rain softened the ground and facilitated the germination of seeds and the growth of crops. The latter rain came, before the harvest, from early March to April. This rain contributed to maturation of the crop. Therefore, rain was enormously important to Israelite life and was considered a gift from God (Deut. 11:14; Jer. 5:24; Matt. 5:45). The lack of rain was often seen as an expression of divine disfavor, a result of the sins and rebelliousness of the people (e.g., Jer. 3:3).

Copied from Images of the Holy Spirit

Relying on God for protection seems to have been much harder for the two nations. InsteadEgyptian gods came with treaties of relying on God, they made treaties with surrounding nations. Described by God as ‘lovers’.

(Ancient treaties often meant accepting other gods.)

She has none to comfort her among her lovers. All her friends have dealt treacherously with her; they have become her enemies.

Lamentations 1:2 b

Her allies had deserted her, she was conquered,  as it says in verse 5 Her adversaries have become her masters…

Devastated, stunned, lonely with no comforter, Jerusalem is best described by the writer of Lamentations as a widow.

Experiences certainly change how we perceive God’ word.



7 thoughts on “The Book of Lamentations, and widows

  1. Patty B

    I am so sorry – my heart aches with you, its has been a year for me and when someone called me a widow (in a nice way – something we were discussing in bible study) it threw me, I do not feel like a widow. I never thought about my husband being torn away from me, but that is truth. May God comfort you and give you strength like He has done and still is doing for me. {Hugs}

    • William Struse

      The Courage to Cross

      If today was the last day I walked beside you on this earth.
      If today was the last day I shared your love and mirth.
      If today was the last day we could share a common goal.
      If today was the last day we two, were one whole.

      Then tomorrow would be rich with memories and though
      Of an uncommon love which patience and care had wrought.
      Through life’s pleasures and perils, and life’s passions and pains
      A Love that is wise, unconquered, unselfish remains.

      These memories and thoughts of the past we shared, as threads of thought we trace.
      Through successes and failures of the life we had, the passing time and matter can’t erase.
      When tomorrow comes that bittersweet road still remains to be challenged and crossed.
      A road called: the Blessing of Love Remembered and the Pain and Sorrow When Lost.
      I hope that with time, that remembrance, of the blessing of love will grow stronger,
      Even though the pains and the sorrows of its loss, I know, will continue to linger.

      When that day comes I know, I must face the future with courage, controlling my fear.
      My fear, of the loneliness and loss; those memories my broken heart can see so clear.
      I can only hope that with time I am noble and wise enough this love to share.
      That I might, in some way, make the sorrow of those who remain easier to bare.

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