The book of Lamentations is a series of poems about the troubles
which came upon Israel when Jerusalem was overthrown by the
Babylonians in 586BC. The city and the temple lay in ruins.
The writer of the book was probably Jeremiah who saw
all the horrible results of the Babylonian invasion. He knew
that those things had happened because of Israel's sins. The
book is also a prophecy of further desolation to come on Israel.
The words of chapter 1 tell vividly the plight of the Jews,
who were to be despised and rejected by the world, just as
God had been despised and rejected by His people.
Chapter 2 shows that Israel's sins had brought their troubles.
Chapter 3 has a more hopeful section - right at the centre
of the book - showing that God will show mercy to His people.
Chapter 4 looks back to better days and chapter 5 is a prayer
to God for His forgiveness and aid.
The book of Lamentations was written in an acrostic
form. Chapters 1,2 and 4 have 22 verses, each verse beginning
with a letter of the Hebrew alphabet, in order, from aleph
to tau. Chapter 3 has 66 shorter verses, and groups
of three verses start with the same letter. Chapter
5, although it also has 22 verses, does not follow an alphabetical
The lamentations about God and His people are reflected in
the sorrows and sufferings of Christ. He "bore the yoke
in his youth" (3:27) and "gave his cheek to the
smiters" (3:30) for the transgressions of others (Isaiah