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BOOK : Lamentations

Description : A cry of anguish for the state of Jerusalem after its destruction

Author: uncertain although ancient tradition suggests Jeremiah

Date written : probably somewhere after 586BC

Chapters : 5


Brief Synopsis:


•  A lament for the broken and desolate city of Jerusalem after it has been burned to the ground by Nebuchadnezzar's armies, and a plea for God's forgiveness.


Outline :


Ch.1 Jerusalem 's Misery and Desolation
Ch.2 The Lord's Anger against His People
Ch.3 Judah 's Complaint--and Basis for Consolation
Ch.4 The Contrast between Zion 's Past and Present
Ch.5 Judah 's Appeal for God's Forgiveness

Key Verses :


What a picture desolation!

1:1 How deserted lies the city, once so full of people!

Once full of life, now empty and still

1:4 The roads to Zion mourn, for no one comes to her appointed feasts.

It was sin that brought this about

1:8 Jerusalem has sinned greatly and so has become unclean.

The anguish for those of us who love Zion is almost too great to bear.

1:16 This is why I weep and my eyes overflow with tears. No one is near to comfort me, no one to restore my spirit. My children are destitute because the enemy has prevailed."

Even our enemies have heard and now rejoice over our shame

1:21 People have heard my groaning, but there is no one to comfort me. All my enemies have heard of my distress; they rejoice at what you have done.

It is because of God's anger over our sin..

2:1 How the Lord has covered the Daughter of Zion with the cloud of his anger

His judgment has destroyed city and temple alike

2:6 He has laid waste his dwelling like a garden; he has destroyed his place of meeting. The LORD has made Zion forget her appointed feasts and her Sabbaths; in his fierce anger he has spurned both king and priest.

I cannot help but weep at the loss of the so-called people of God

2:11 My eyes fail from weeping, I am in torment within, my heart is poured out on the ground because my people are destroyed,

No one survived through this judgment

2:22 As you summon to a feast day, so you summoned against me terrors on every side. In the day of the LORD's anger no one escaped or survived; those I cared for and reared, my enemy has destroyed."

It seems like I am shrouded in darkness, my anguish is so great

3:1 I am the man who has seen affliction by the rod of his wrath. He has driven me away and made me walk in darkness rather than light; indeed, he has turned his hand against me again and again, all day long.

Yet still I will trust in God and will wait upon Him to see what He will do

3:21-26 Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope: Because of the LORD's great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. I say to myself, "The LORD is my portion; therefore I will wait for him." The LORD is good to those whose hope is in him, to the one who seeks him; it is good to wait quietly for the salvation of the LORD.

Repentance is the key to the way back.

3:40-42 Let us examine our ways and test them, and let us return to the LORD. Let us lift up our hearts and our hands to God in heaven, and say: "We have sinned and rebelled and you have not forgiven.

No one believed that God's anger would take Him to these lengths, but it did.

4:11-13 The LORD has given full vent to his wrath; he has poured out his fierce anger. He kindled a fire in Zion that consumed her foundations. The kings of the earth did not believe, nor did any of the world's people, that enemies and foes could enter the gates of Jerusalem . But it happened because of the sins of her prophets and the iniquities of her priests, who shed within her the blood of the righteous.

I have a glimmer of hope. we will be punished but it will not go on for ever.

4:22 O Daughter of Zion, your punishment will end; he will not prolong your exile. But, O Daughter of Edom, he will punish your sin and expose your wickedness.

Therefore I will pray and ask for His mercy.

5:19-22 You, O LORD, reign forever; your throne endures from generation to generation. Why do you always forget us? Why do you forsake us so long? Restore us to yourself, O LORD, that we may return; renew our days as of old unless you have utterly rejected us and are angry with us beyond measure.



Concluding Comments


•  In these chapters there is anguish over the loss of the city of David , Zion , Jerusalem , the dwelling place of God, the heart of God's people.
•  It is a realistic anguish that accepts that it was the ongoing sin of the people of Judah and the rulers in Jerusalem that eventually brought this about.
•  There are little glimmers of hope and a declaration of trust in the Lord, but either the anguish is too great and has submerged it, or the writer doesn't know of the prophetic words from both Jeremiah and Ezekiel that promised that the Lord would bring back His people and restore the city and rebuild the Temple .
•  For the moment, this writer wallows in the anguish of the present and that seems to hinder much hope for the future.


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