How to Study Lamentation
There are five laments in this book; each begins a new chapter. Lamentations is written as poetry. Each chapter, except 3, is 22 verses long-a verse for every letter of the Hebrew alphabet. As you read chapter by chapter, note how each lament begins and who or what the lament centers on.
Mark the key words (and their synonyms): how, Zion (Jerusalem, the city), anger (wrath), transgressions (sin, iniquity, wickedness), affliction (afflict), desolate, little ones (children, infants), eyes.
Note the personification of Jerusalem and Judah. Jerusalem is a personified as a woman. The personification is seen in the first lines of Lamentations: "How lonely sits the city...she has become like a widow." List what happened to Jerusalem and why; this is key. Note the emotions, the anguish because of the children, the thoughts and memories she has to deal with.
Carefully observe and list what you learn about God, His character, His judgments, and why He acts as He does. For example 1:5 states that God caused Judah grief because of Judah's sin. God brought about Judah's captivity because of Judah's transgressions.
Lamentations gives a more definitive understanding of what took place during the Babylonian siege of Jerusalem. In the margin of the text, list what you learn. For example, 1:10 says the nations entered the sanctuary, the house of God, where only Jewish priests were to go. Verse 11 reveals there was a famine-people were seeking bread and giving away precious things in order to get it. (You saw this if you studied Jeremiah.)
Determine the theme of each chapter. Write the theme in your Bible next to each chapter number and on Structure of Lamentations.
Complete Structure of Lamentations
Key Words in the NIV and KJV
Key doctrines in Lamentations
God’s judgment of Judah’s sin (1:5, 8, 18, 20; 3:42; 4:6, 13, 22; 5:16; Deut. 28:43; Neh. 9:26; Ps. 137:7; Jer. 14:20; 30:14; 52:28; Ezek. 16:37; Dan. 9:5, 7, 16; Hos. 2:10; Zeph. 3:4; Matt. 23:31)
Hope found in God’s compassion (3:22–24, 31–33; Ps. 30:3–5; Is. 35:1–10; Jer. 30:1–31:40; Ezek. 37:1–28; Hos. 3:5; 14:1–9; Joel 3:18–21; Amos 9:11–15; Mic. 7:14–20; Zeph. 3:14–20; Zech. 14:1–11; Mal. 4:1–6)