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Lamentations: Oh, Jerusalem!

Structure of Lamentations
First Dirge:
Jerusalem’s desolation, 1
Acrostic poem in 22 verses
Second Dirge:
God’s judgement, 2
Acrostic poem in 22 verses
Third Dirge:
Jeremiah’s response, 3
Acrostic poem in 66 verses
Fourth Dirge:
The Lord’s anger, 4
Acrostic poem in 22 verses
Fifth Dirge:
Remnant’s response, 5
Non-acrostic poem in 22 verses
based on outline by Charles Dyer in Bible Knowledge Commentary, Old Testament

Lamentations is a series of five laments, or funeral dirges; each chapter is a separate lament. A lament was a funeral poem or song written and recited for someone who had just died (cf. 2 Sam. 1:17-27)… Jeremiah was lamenting the tragic “death” of the city of Jerusalem and the results of her demise which were being experienced by the people. Thus he used the form of a funeral lament to convey the feeling of sadness and loss being experienced by the survivors… One key stylistic element that defies translation is the acrostic arrangement of chapters 1-4. An acrostic is a composition in which the first word of each sentence or line, when taken in order, forms a word, a connected group of words, or the regular sequence of the letters of the alphabet. In the Book of Lamentations each of the first four chapters is arranged in an acrostic pattern… Only chapter 5 is not arranged acrostically, though (like chaps. 1-2, and 4) it has 22 verses…

from Bible Knowledge Commentary, Old Testament, pages 1208-1211.
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