Lamentations - The Desolate City

  • The author of Lamentations is unnamed in the book, but internal and external evidence is consistently in favor of Jeremiah.
  • The historical background of Lamentations can be found in the book of Jeremiah. It was written soon after Jerusalem’s destruction (Jeremiah 39-52) at the beginning of the exile, somewhere around 586 B.C. Jeremiah probably wrote the book before he was taken captive to Egypt by his disobedient countrymen (Jeremiah 43:1-7).
  • Lamentations is perhaps the saddest book of the Old Testament. It was penned by the mourning prophet Jeremiah after the fall of Jerusalem. His sorrow is obvious in his vivid descriptions of the defeat, destruction, and desolation of Jerusalem.
  • There appear to be three themes that run through the five chapters of this book:

     1.   Mourning over Jerusalem’s holocaust.

     2.   Confession of sin and acknowledgment of God’s righteous judgment.

     3.   Hope in God’s future restoration of His people.

  • Defeat, slaughter, and ruination, which had been promised for so long and were frequently ignored, were now being carried out by the brutal Babylonians. Yet as the prophet was heartbroken, he paused to proclaim a ringing testimony of deep faith in the goodness and mercy of God.
  • In the face of death and destruction, with life seemingly coming apart at the seams, Jeremiah turned tragedy into a triumph of faith.
  • The weeping prophet Jeremiah is a type of Christ who wept over the same city six centuries later (Matthew 23:37-38). Like Christ, Jeremiah identified himself personally with the plight of Jerusalem and with human suffering caused by sin.
  • Lamentations includes elements that typify Christ’s life and ministry as the Man of Sorrows who was acquainted with grief. He was afflicted, despised, and derided by His enemies.

A suggested outline for the five chapters of this book:

  1. Destruction of Jerusalem (chapter 1).
  2. Anger of God (chapter 2).
  3. Prayer for mercy (chapter 3).
  4. Siege of Jerusalem (chapter 4).
  5. Prayer for restoration (chapter 5).