Supplication


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supplication Lamentations
Outline of Lamentations1
I.  LAMENTATIONS 1
A. Complaint made to God and request for his mercy   1:1-11
B. Complaint made to friends   1:12-17
C. Appeal to God   1:18-22

II.  LAMENTATIONS 2
A. Anger of God as the cause   2:1-9
B. Sorrow of Zions children   2: 10-19
C. Complaint is made to God   2: 20-22

III.  LAMENTATIONS 3
A. Gods displeasure and the fruits of it   3:1-20
B. Words of comfort to Gods people   3:21-36
C. Duty prescribed in this afflicted state   3:37-41
D. The complaint renewed   3:42-54
E. Hope in God and to wait for his salvation   3:55-66

IV.  LAMENTATIONS 4
A. Injuries and indignities done to those who used to be respected   4:1, 2
B. Effects of the famine by the siege   4:3-10
C. Sacking of Jerusalem   4:11, 12
D. Acknowledges the sins   4:13-16
E. Gives up all as doomed to utter ruin   4:17-20
F. Foretells the destruction of Edomites   4:21, 22

V. LAMENTATIONS 5
A. Representation of the present calamitous state of Gods people in their captivity   5:1-16
B.  Protestation of their concern for Gods sanctuary   5:17, 18
C.  Supplication to God and expostulation with him for return of mercy   5:19-22.

Lamentations, written by the prophet Jeremiah, is a poem mourning the passing of Judah by the Babylonians in 586 B.C.E. (Bailey, 82) through siege and battle.  Prior to the destruction, Jeremiah had warned or rather prophesized that Judah must change its ways or suffer the consequence of the Lords wrath.  Before the Babylonians destroy the city of Jerusalem, Jeremiah warns the people to live by the laws of Babylon and even wrote the warning down to be presented to the people and even to the King.  The King, who was placed on the throne by Egypt, in anger, burns the paper and has Jeremiah thrown in jail.  While in Jail, Jeremiah continues to spread his warning to the people (Book of Jeremiah, Holy Bible Authorized King James Version (KJV)) in hopes that they will change their ways, to no avail.  
The Babylonians come in and lay siege to the city of Jerusalem and after a time the inhabitants of the city succumb.  The survivors are either exiled or go into hiding and leave the area into Egypt where they continue to think about what they have lost and to live without losing their cultural or religious ways.  
The book of Lamentations is written in five chapters in an acrostic style poem based off of the Hebrew alphabet.  Chapters one, two, four and five are written one long verse per letter of the alphabet leaving us with 22 verses, and chapter three is written with three short verses for each letter of the alphabet leaving us with 66 verses.  The chapters one, two, four and five are written in a form that paints a picture of the utter destruction of Jerusalem, and the desolation of its inhabitants.  
The author uses colorful speech and many analogies to impart upon the reader the full scope of damage done to the city.  For example Lamentations 1:6 tells us that the daughter of Zions beauty has departed and her princes are become like harts that find no pasture and are with out strength before the enemy.  To paraphrase or in layman terms, that after the destruction the men pined with sorrow and had no courage against the enemy (Geneva Study Bible, 1599).  Another verse, Lamentations 1:17, Jeremiah compares Jerusalem to a menstrual woman among them.  Jeremiah is making a reference to Leviticus 15:19 when a woman is separated from her husband due to her pollution and abhorred for a time, he is actually telling us that after the destruction there was none to comfort Jerusalem.  Jeremiah is continually referring to Jerusalem as the daughter of Zion, a nearby mountain or hill, and when he explains that Zion spread out her hands, he means that Jerusalem tried to get aid from nearby cities or perhaps prior allies, yet found none.  The friends that she, Zion, thought she had were no more, as they shunned her as the woman in the passage mentioned above.
The language used in these poems is Hebrew; much is lost in the translation of the works into any language therefore no way to capture the essence of the words and the thoughts behind them.  The chapters mentioned above, even in its translation, come ... more

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Of Gods And Romans

         
           
History of the Roman Republic/Empire
October 27, 2000


Of Gods and Romans

The Romans during the time of their Republic relied on their advanced technology, social structure, leadership and politics to achieve as much as they did. To these people, their gods affected all of these factors and the relationships mankind had with them. The contractual relationship between mankind and the gods involved each party in giving, and in return receiving services. The Romans believed that spirits residing in natural and physical objects had the power to control the processes of nature, and that man could influence these processes by symbolic action. The first is a primitive form of religious creed; the second a type of magic.
The services by which the Romans hoped to influence the forces that guided their lives were firmly established in ritual - the ritual of prayer and the ritual of offering. In either case, the exact performance of the rite was essential. One slip, and you had to go back to the beginning and start again. The very multiplicity of deities caused problems, as did the gender of some of them: 'wether you be god or goddess' was a common formula in Roman prayers.
The motivations of the sacrifices are what of interest. Most of the time, sacrifices took place for purification, supplication, or celebration. The purification ritual was one that was performed before battle (285). Asking for a deed to be done was very popular as well. One usually asked for victory and good fortune in battle (20). Celebration is the event that seems to be the most spectacular of all. Whether it is in joy of an enemies' death, such as Mithridates (201), the end of illness of a leader like Pompey (218), or simply the merriment that comes after large victory, we see this in Caesar's winnings in Gaul (264). Some sacrificial events took place in order to ask forgiveness and appeasement for defeat of a religious enemy (90 - 91).
Any sacrificial routine was elaborate and messy. The head of the victim was sprinkled with wine and bits of sacred cake made from flour and salt. Then its throat was cut and it was disemboweled to ensure there was nothing untoward about its entrails. If there was, it was not only a bad omen, but the whole process had to be repeated with a fresh animal until it came out right. The vital organs were burnt upon the altar and the carcass cut into pieces and eaten on the spot, or else laid aside. Then the priest, wearing something over his face to shut out evil influences from his eyes, would say prayers, speaking under his breath, while a flute was played to drown any ill-omened noise. Any unintentional deviation from the prescribed ritual meant not only a new sacrifice, but also an additional one to absolve the error. In high occasions, on which a replay of the entire ceremony might be an embarrassment, a sacrifice was performed as a matter of course on the pervious day, to cover for any potential errors during the main ceremony. Multiple sacrifices were commonplace: the word hecatomb, which derives from the Greek, means the sacrifice of a hundred head of oxen.
There was a distinction between signs that were solicited and those that appeared without invitation. At many times, an individual would see an omen that gave him/her confidence to continue a current course of action (52) other incidences produced warnings to change one's itinerary (55, 74 - 75). The more startling or unexpected the sign, for instance a sudden flash of lightning or an epileptic fit on the part of a member of an assembly, the more seriously it was taken. It was not unknown for an interested party to throw a feigned fit in order to obstruct proceedings. Lightning which appeared while auspices were being taken was good news, but not so if it came otherwise. Certain omens such as scorpions fighting (55), sacrificing an animal that does not appear to have a heart (303), or bizarre natural occurrences (74 - 75) were signs of disaster. The gods also produced omens through the actions of men. When a child expressed a particular talent or a ... more

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