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Who wrote the book of Lamentations? Who was the author of Lamentations?

author of Lamentations

In the Hebrew Bible, the book of Lamentations was originally named ekah, meaning “Alas!”—an expression of shock or bewilderment at a tragic event. Later translators gave the book its current title. Lamentations was written in the aftermath of the Babylonian exile, as the opening line states, “Jerusalem, once so full of people, is now deserted. She who was once great among the nations now sits alone like a widow. Once the queen of all the earth, she is now a slave” (‭‭Lamentations ‭1:1‬, ‭NLT‬‬). This sets the tone of despair and struggle. Lamentations is similar to the book of Job in that it explores the question of suffering. However, while Job tackles the suffering of the innocent, Lamentations focuses on the consequences of sin. We don’t live in a conquered Jerusalem, but we are familiar with the consequences of breaking God’s law. Broken marriages, poverty, high crime rates, and moral decline are some examples of the lamentable effects of sin.

‬‬‬‬ There is no internal claim to authorship within Lamentations, but Jewish and Christian tradition holds that the prophet Jeremiah wrote it, which is why it is placed alongside Jeremiah in the Old Testament. The Septuagint also notes Jeremiah as the author, further bolstering the traditional attribution. The historical context of Lamentations aligns with Jeremiah’s life and times, and the tone of both books is similar.

Jeremiah, the author of Lamentations, was an eyewitness to the Babylonian invasion of Jerusalem. He saw the siege, the plundering, and the destruction of the city, including the demolition of Solomon’s temple, which had stood for 400 years. In response to such devastation, Jeremiah wrote passages such as these, which have earned him the title “the weeping prophet”:

My eyes fail from weeping,
I am in torment within;
my heart is poured out on the ground
because my people are destroyed,
because children and infants faint
in the streets of the city.
(Jeremiah 2:11)


All our enemies have opened their mouths
wide against us.
We have suffered terror and pitfalls,
ruin and destruction.
Streams of tears flow from my eyes
because my people are destroyed.
(Jeremiah 3:46–48)

Jeremiah, the author of Lamentations, was a poet of some note. The book is divided into five separate poems, which now form the five chapters of the book. In the original Hebrew, the poems are acrostic; that is, each line starts with a succeeding letter of the Hebrew alphabet. Despite its dark themes, in the midst of the lament, there is hope. In the center of the book is Lamentations 3:22–25: “‭‭The faithful love of the Lord never ends! His mercies never cease. Great is his faithfulness; his mercies begin afresh each morning. I say to myself, ‘The Lord is my inheritance; therefore, I will hope in him!’ The Lord is good to those who depend on him, to those who search for him” (NLT).

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Who wrote the book of Lamentations? Who was the author of Lamentations?
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This page last updated: March 12, 2024