1How doth the city sit solitary, that was full of people! how is she become as a widow! she that was great among the nations, and princess among the provinces, how is she become tributary!Next Verse 2
The Book of Lamentations (‘Êykhôh, from its incipit meaning "how") is a collection of poetic laments for the destruction of Jerusalem. In the Hebrew Bible it appears in the Ketuvim ("Writings"), beside the Song of Songs, Book of Ruth, Ecclesiastes and the Book of Esther (the Megilloth or "Five Scrolls"), although there is no set order; in the Christian Old Testament it follows the Book of Jeremiah, as the prophet Jeremiah is its traditional author. Jeremiah's authorship is no longer generally accepted, although it is generally accepted that the destruction of Jerusalem by Babylon in 586 BCE forms the background to the poems. The book is partly a traditional "city lament" mourning the desertion of the city by God, its destruction, and the ultimate return of the divinity, and partly a funeral dirge in which the bereaved bewails and addresses the dead. The tone is bleak: God does not speak, the degree of suffering is presented as undeserved, and expectations of future redemption are minimal.
The book is traditionally recited on the fast day of Tisha B'Av ("Ninth of Av"), mourning the destruction of both the First Temple and the Second; in Christianity it is traditionally read during Tenebrae of the Holy Triduum.
"Jeremiah Lamenting the Destruction of Jerusalem" (Rembrandt)
Lamentations consists of five distinct poems, corresponding to its five chapters. The first four are written as acrostics – chapters 1, 2, and 4 each have 22 verses, corresponding to the 22 letters of the Hebrew alphabet, the first lines beginning with the first letter of the alphabet, the second with the second letter, and so on. Chapter 3 has 66 verses, so that each letter begins three lines, and the fifth poem is not acrostic but still has 22 lines. The purpose or function of this form is unknown.
I give you all that I am this day.
Please brush away my weariness,
So that I may be inspired in my work.
Help me to discover new ways to reveal your love to all I meet.
Keep my mind clear and focused on all I need to achieve,
And give me the wisdom to overcome difficulties and find solutions.
I look to you and trust you are with me this day.