Book summary

Lamentations contains five poems that express intense sadness for Jerusalem’s destruction. The writer acknowledges that this destruction was God’s judgment on Judah for centuries of rebellion, but also acknowledges that God is merciful and compassionate to those that put their hope in him. The writer finishes with a note of repentance and hope for restoration.

Chapter 1 — Jerusalem’s misery

How deserted lies the city,
once so full of people!
How like a widow is she,
who once was great among the nations!
She who was queen among the provinces
has now become a slave.

Bitterly she weeps at night,
tears are on her cheeks.
Among all her lovers
there is no one to comfort her.
All her friends have betrayed her;
they have become her enemies. (Lam. 1:1-2)

Chapter 2 — God’s wrath

How the Lord has covered Daughter Zion
with the cloud of his anger!
He has hurled down the splendor of Israel
from heaven to earth;
he has not remembered his footstool
in the day of his anger.

Without pity the Lord has swallowed up
all the dwellings of Jacob;
in his wrath he has torn down
the strongholds of Daughter Judah.
He has brought her kingdom and its princes
down to the ground in dishonor. (Lam. 2:1-2)

Chapter 3 — God’s mercy and faithfuless

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. (Lam. 3:22-23)

Chapter 4 — Punishment for sin

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. (Lam. 4:11)

Chapter 5 — Confession and prayer for restoration

Woe to us, for we have sinned! (Lam. 5:16)
Restore us to yourself, Lord, that we may return;
renew our days as of old
unless you have utterly rejected us
and are angry with us beyond measure. (Lam. 5:21-22)