THE LAMENTATIONS OF JEREMIAH
This book is really a poem, being written in that form in the original. The writer is Jeremiah the prophet, and the occasion for the writing is the overthrow of Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon. While Jeremiah himself felt the burden of the situation, it also gives one an insight into the heart of God, Who though He must chasten His people for their sins, so loved that
He also grieved because of their sad plight, which was caused by their punishment.We are told that in the original manuscript the poem is written in the form of an acrostic, every verse beginning with a letter of the Hebrew alphabet in regular order.
The first, second, and fourth chapters contain twenty-two verses each, according to the letters of the alphabet; the third chapter has three successive verses beginning with the same letter, making sixty-six in all.
All the verses in each chapter are nearly of the same length. In chapter three, each three verses is a triplet forming only three lines in the original, each one beginning with its particular letter of the alphabet, IE. three lines with a, three lines with b, etc. The fifth chapter is not an acrostic.
The book of Lamentations divides naturally into five parts,
each chapter being an expression of grief because of a specific condition then
The first two chapters describe the calamities of the siege of Jerusalem and the great slaughter of young men and maidens. So awful was the condition that small babies were killed and used as food by the starving people. The fourth chapter reverts to the same theme as in one and two, bemoaning the ruin of Zion, and the hardships, which were borne by the king’s household who had lived so delicately before that. Chapter five is a prayer for those who had gone into captivity, that God would remember them and look upon their reproach.
Someone has said that so great was the grief of Jeremiah for
his people and their land that every letter was written with a tear, and every
word was the cry of a broken heart. Yet, in it all he remembers (Ch.5:19) that a
covenant keeping God reigns forever.