Jeremiah is the author of the Book of Lamentations according to both Jewish and Christian traditions. It was composed after Jeremiah personally witnessed Judah’s downfall and the capture of Jerusalem. He records his great sorrow over the tragedy that befell his country and city, and over the people’s sin that invoked the LORD God’s severe judgment. Jeremiah urges repentance and encourages his people to rely on the sure mercies of God.

Lamentations consists of five poems. Each of the first four is composed as an acrostic of the 22 letters of the Hebrew alphabet. This familiar poetic device indicates that the author is covering his material thoroughly, in a way easy for his audience to understand and remember. The Jewish people read Lamentations every year on the date commemorating the destruction of the LORD God’s temple in Jerusalem.

Lamentations 1

1:1-22 The sorrows of captive Zion

Lamentations 2

2:1-22 Zion under judgment

Lamentations 3

3:1-66 Hope and relief through God’s mercy

Lamentations 4

4:1-22 The punishment of Zion is accomplished

Lamentations 5

5:1-22 Prayer of suffering