Sometimes called the Lamentations of Jeremiah, this book it is generally considered possible that it may have been written by the prophet Jeremiah.
The book consists of five poems written in the immediate aftermath of the destruction of Jerusalem by the forces of Babylon and the carrying off of much of the population into captivity.
The poems are in slightly different forms:
Chapters 1, 2 & 4 are in the form of a funeral dirge. Rather than being a dirge for an individual, they are dirges for the nation as a whole.
Chapter 3 is an individual lament by the author
Chapter 5 is a community lament.
A lamentation is a cry of pain, it is a response to circumstances that challenge our sense of safety and purpose.
Lamentations begins by acknowledging the magnitude of the current suffering. It then turns to the past and acknowledges the power of God and the fact that the nation had become an enemy of God because it had turned away from him and that this was the cause of their destruction. There is a small bit of hope at the end that God will not exile the people forever, but the majority of the book is confession and repentance.
Bible Challenge Reading:
Read Lamentations on April 12 & 13 - it will be an appropriate preparation for Holy Week.