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Lamentations
The book is known by the title of EKHAH (“how”) in the Hebrew (Jewish) Bible. The
English book took the name from the Latin version.

The book of Lamentations consists of five poems (each chapter is a separate
poem. Chapters 1-4 are acrostic. Chapters 1,2 & 4 each have 22 verses, each of
which begins with the next letter of the Hebrew alphabet. Chapter 3 has 66 verses,
every three verses begin with the same letter going through the Hebrew alphabet.
Although chapter 5 has 22 verses, it is not acrostic.

Outline
I.        Sorrow and sadness over the fall of Jerusalem & Judah (1:1-22)
     a.        Prophetic predictions fulfilled (1:1-11)
     b.        The cry for sympathy (1:12-17)
     c.        Carried by adversaries into exile (1:18-22)
II.        Desolation and lament of Jerusalem (2:1-22)
     a.        Zion’s judgment is of God (2:1-19)
     b.        A cry to God (2:19-22)
III.        The suffering prophet and the God who never sleeps (3:1-66)
     a.        The man who has seen afflictions (3:1-5)
     b.        God sometimes puts people in dark places (3:5-17)
     c.        Strength and hope perished (3:18,19)
     d.        The cry for God’s notice (3:19-21)
     e.        God who never fails (3:22-36)
     f.        Patient hope and quiet waiting.
     g.        God’s sovereignty (3:37-54)
     h.        Unanswered prayers?
     i.        The great appeal of the prophet (3:55-66)
IV.        The need for help (4:1-22)
     a.        A horrible scene described by Jeremiah of Zion (4:1-12)
     b.        Evils of the leaders (4:13-16)
     c.        Vain help and hope (4:17-20)
     d.        Edom is threatened (4:21)
     e.        Zion is comforted (4:22)
V.        A prayer of complaint (5:1-22)
     a.        Suffers in exile (5:1-21)
                                                                             William Wilder,
             The Living Messages of the Books of the Old Testament

International Standard Bible Encyclopedia

These 5 hymns all refer to the great national catastrophe that overtook the Jews
and in particular the capital city, Jerusalem, through the Chaldeans, 587-586 BC.
The sufferings and the anxieties of the city, the destruction of the sanctuary, the
cruelty and taunts of the enemies of Israel, especially the Edomites, the disgrace
that befell the king and his nobles, priests and prophets, and that, too, not without
their own guilt, the devastation and ruin of the country--all this is described, and
appeal is made to the mercy of God. A careful sequence of thought cannot be
expected in the lyrical feeling and in the alphabetical form. Repetitions are found in
large numbers, but each one of these hymns emphasizes some special feature of
the calamity. La 3:1-66 is unique, as in it one person describes his own peculiar
sufferings in connection with the general calamity, and then too in the name of the
others begins a psalm of repentance. This person did not suffer so severely
because he was an exceptional sinner, but because of the unrighteousness of his
people. These hymns were not written during the siege, but later, at a time when the
people still vividly remembered the sufferings and the anxieties of that time and
when the impression made on them by the fall of Jerusalem was still as powerful as
ever.