Book review: Lamentations: A Pastoral and Contextual Commentary

Reviewed by Martin Paterson

Mission Round Table Vol. 17 No. 2 (May-Dec 2022): 13

Delving deeply into the raw emotions and awful situations faced by the people of God in Jerusalem during the exile may not be the most popular source of ideas for teaching or preaching. Even so, it may prove to be one of the greatest means of presenting Christ to a hurting world. Villanueva’s stand-out contribution in this commentary is the way he faithfully handles the text while also reading it in light of the tragic circumstances of typhoon Yolanda in the Philippines.

This short book follows a simple structure. There is a helpful introduction to the work, laying out details regarding the style of lament literature, such as the use of different voices. Following on, each chapter of Lamentations receives exegetical comment, guiding the reader along the process of learning to lament tragedy and the impact of sin. Villanueva is to be commended for his clear and careful handling of the text. He highlights the ongoing nature of lament and how the movement from isolation to community is part of the healing process. He also provides clear parameters about the goal of lament—“the lament that is acceptable to God flows from an honest heart that longs to be restored to God” (70).

No matter what our context, people are hurting under the abuse or injustices that have crossed the paths of their lives. People are similarly hurting as a result of the sin that they pursue and the brokenness of creation. Now may be the time for Bible teachers and cross-cultural workers to hear, embrace, and communicate the message of Lamentations. This commentary is a commendable guide toward that end.


A Pastoral and Contextual Commentary

Federico Villanueva .

Carlisle: Langham, 2016 ISBN 978-1-78368-191-4. 113 pp.  






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