book of the Bible, placed immediately after Jeremiah, to whose author it has been ascribed since ancient times. It was probably composed by several authors. It is a series of five poems mourning the destruction of Jerusalem by Babylon. Each of the the first four poems is an alphabetical acrostic, the third having three verses to the letter, instead of one. The book begins with dirges, followed by a psalm of lament with expressions of trust. The psalm is followed by another dirge expressing grief and longing for divine intervention. It concludes with a lament and a prayer for the restoration of the fortunes of Jerusalem.
See study by D. R. Hillers (rev. ed. 1992). See also bibliography under Old Testament.
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