The book of Lamentations is one of the shortest books in the Old Testament with only 5 chapters and 157 verses that focus on the destruction of Jerusalem by the Babylonians under King Neduchadnezzar, and the subsequent woes as the people are led into captivity and exile.
To lament is to express grief or sorrow. To mourn or weep for a lost individual, group, city or cause perhaps. In this respect the book of lamentations is perhaps on a par with the book of ecclesiastes as it reflects on the judgement of God, and his willingness to ultimately forgive when repentance is forthcoming.
When Lamentations was written:
Most likely written during the time of exile, 587–538 B.C.
Jeremiah the Prophet.
People & Places:
Jeremiah, Judah; Jerusalem; Israel
How lonely sits the city That was full of people!
She has become like a widow, who was once great among the nations!
She who was a princess among the provinces, has become a forced laborer! (Ch.1:1)
Restore us to You, O Lord, that we may be restored;
Renew our days as of old, (Ch.5:21)
The Messianic Link:
The Messiah is captive (Ch.4:20)
Lamentations really carries on where Jeremiah left off, and continues to mourn the loss of Jerusalem and the extent of the punishment that The Lord has put upon them. Jerusalem is laid waste, its people either captured or killed.
In chapter 4 we see the depths of depravation that the siege had brought them to, as it reduced them to the cannibalization of their own children.
Notes & Quotes:
Lamentations is full of mourning for the people of Judah and the city of Jerusalem. The fact is, however, that the people repented after the event; a bit like saying you’re sorry only because you have been caught!
Throughout the book of Jeremiah, the Prophet warned them what was to come if they did not turn from their wicked ways; and in Lamentations we have the inevitable result when they refused.
As mentioned elsewhere, God is the God of many chances—he is also the God of the last chance!