Lamentations and Songs of Solomon: A Study in Contrast
Lamentations and Songs of Solomon are both poetic books in the Hebrew Bible; however, whereas Lamentations is a lament poem, the Songs of Solomon is more of a love poem. Nonetheless, the two complement each other, providing a number of crucial insights about love, God, sin, and the destruction of God's relationship with the church. This text demonstrates how the two books complement each other in providing insights for daily Christian living.
Analysis of Lamentations and the Songs of Solomon
Lamentations and Songs of Solomon are the two final poetic works dealt with in this course. Neither fits perfectly into the confines of psalm or wisdom poetry; however, both include elements of the same. The main difference between the two is that they focus on two different aspects of life -- love and death. The Song of Solomon presents itself as a love poem signifying the joy and beauty of love; Lamentations, on the other hand, signifies cessation of existence -- it presents the sad funeral song sung by the exiles from Babylon following Jerusalem's destruction. The subsequent subsections detail the structural differences between the two books, and provide a comprehensive analysis of how the two complement each other to provide insights on daily living.
Differences in Genre and Structure between Lamentations and Songs of Solomon
Genre: as I mentioned earlier on, both books fall in the poetry genre; however, whereas the Songs of Solomon is love poetry, Lamentations works better as a form of lament poetry, consisting...
The drama is characterized by three major characters -- the shepherd, her lover, and the Shulammite girl. The term 'shepherd' is used figuratively for the lover because of the way he takes tender care of his flock (the beloved) (Brenner, 1989). The love poems focus on a number of aspects in the relationship between the shepherd and his beloved -- verses 1 to 5 of chapter 1, for instance, present a poem describing the beloved's beauty, while verses 5 to 6 present the beauty of the love that the shepherd and his maiden share.
Lamentations, on the other hand, is a lament poem, with the typical features of a lament including an expression of the individual's distress, a call to God for help, a description of the disaster, a cry for God's deliverance, and the worshipper's vow to God. In verses 8 and 18 of chapter 8, the worshipper expresses guilt over his sins, and vows to seek daily the signs of God's faithfulness and love if He grants him forgiveness and restoration (Huey, 1993).
The structure of the Songs of Solomon can be summarized as follows:
i) The superscription (1:1) -- 'Solomon's most excellent love song'
ii) The Courtship -- this is covered in 1: 2 through to verse 3:5. The first part of courtship focuses on the beginning of the love between the shepherd and his maiden (1: 2-11), covering how the two long for each other (1: 2-4), the maiden's insecurities (1: 5-8), and Solomon's praise for the maiden's beauty (1: 9-11). The second part of courtship (1: 12-3:5) focuses on the growth of the love between the two lovers, including their admiration for each other (1: 12-2: 7) and the pain of separation (3: 1-5).
It is through the process of death and rebirth that the knowledge is gained which will finally liberate the individual being from the central cause of all suffering itself - the cycle of death and birth. Essentially, it is only through knowledge that this can be achieved in most Buddhist schools of thought. The rationale behind the importance of reincarnation as a process that is required to escape the centrality
Furthermore, when groups began people naturally turned to the group leader for direction and advice. It would be accurate to state that most of the relating was to the group leader at that point. However, by exercising linking behavior, I was able to get the group members to look to each other for understanding and help. Initially, I had to point out when people were saying things that would indicate