Study 0 From the Book of Lamentations is: Introduction to Lamentations
The book of Lamentations consists of five songs or elegies, the theme of which is the sorrows of Judah and Jerusalem in the siege and destruction of the city. The cause of these calamities is traced to the sin of the people bringing God’s judgment upon them, and the songs contain confessions of sin, statements of faith and hope, and prayer for the restoration of God’s favour.
Tradition from the time of the Lxx has assigned the authorship of the songs to the prophet Jeremiah. In the Hebrew Bible, however, the book is anonymous, and is placed not among ‘The Prophets’, but in the section known as ‘The Writings’. The book certainly has close affinities with Jeremiah. Chapter 1-4 seem to be the work of an eye-witness of Jerusalem’s fall; and if not by Jeremiah himself, may well be the work of one of more of his associates, such as Baruch. Chapter 5 probably dates from a slightly later period.
The songs are written in acrostic form. In chapters 1, 2 and 4 each verse begins with a fresh letter of the Hebrew alphabet in order. In chapter 5 the acrostic form is not followed. This acrostic arrangement is partly an aid to memorization, but also seems intended to give a sense of completeness in confession of sin and grief.