The author is unknown though Greek versions name Jeremiah. If not Jeremiah, then the author must at least have been a contemporary of the prophet and was also an eye-witness to the destruction of Jerusalem.

588-520 BC

1. The First Lament. Jerusalem is alone, deserted, mourning; the people gone; the temple defiled and destroyed. God has judged and punished her for her sin. Now, at last, she cries out to him. Lamentations 1:1-22. B.C.
2. The Second Lament. The writer sees the outpouring of God’s anger: the starving children; the slaughter; the ruin of city and sanctuary. He hears the taunts of old enemies gloating over the fate of Jerusalem. Let her call out to God to look, and pity. Lamentations 2:1-22.
3. The Third Lament. We see the agony of the nation focussed in the experience of one individual. In the darkness, crushed and battered to the point where all hope dies, faith still rekindles at the thought of God in all his love and mercy. Lamentations 3:1-66.
4. The Fourth Lament. The writer recalls the city’s former glory - and the horrors of siege. The cries of starving children; wizened faces; shrivelled bodies; never to be forgotten. The sins of everyone have brought the city down. And Edom – the old arch-enemy - gloats, not knowing that her punishment is yet to come. Lamentations 4:1-22.
5. The Fifth Lament. The writer vividly depicts defeat: the loss of freedom, loss of land, loss of respect; rape and cruelty; forced labour; near-starvation. And all because of sin. He prays to God for restoration. Lamentations 5:1-22.