It is not certain who wrote these lamentations. However, most scholars attribute that great work to the prophet, Jeremiah who witnessed the horrible destruction of the great city of Jerusalem and of many of its people. The five poems therein describe the many emotions of the writer as well as those of the surviving exiles.
As the first of those poems began, it was quite evident that there was much distress in the land. Jerusalem was personified as a widow who had lost all. She had depended upon her friends and her gods, but they had all forsaken her and there was no one left for comfort. It was pay-back time for her sins. In her distress, she recognized that the Lord’s hand was against her because she had rebelled against Him. The widow/Jerusalem called upon the Lord to do unto her enemies as they had done to her. She was calling for relief, but there was none to come at that time.
Many times, invading armies would, “add insult to injury” by destroying the temples of worship within the land. That was a demonstration of the power of their gods over those of the defeated. It also implied that the gods of the defeated had defected to the victor.
The writer lamented in sorrow over the vast destruction that had been Jerusalem. Everyone did not mourn. Jerusalem’s jealous neighbors were rejoicing at their calamity. God, in His anger against His people had delivered them up in judgment to their enemies. Even though they had disregarded His laws, the greatest loss to the most devout people was the destruction of the temple of God. As a parent grieves when he must punish a child for wrongdoing, God also grieved for His children. His prophets had spoken His words of warning, but the false prophets through false and deceptive visions had stated that all was well.