In the Septuagint, the Lamentations are prefixed with the words, "And it came to pass that after Israel had been carried away captive, and Jerusalem made desolate, Jeremiah sat weeping, and lamented this lament over Jerusalem and said...."
In this brief Book of Lamentation the spirit of the man is strikingly revealed. There is no exultation over the fulfilment of his predictions, and there is a twofold loyalty manifest throughout, first to God in the confession of sin, and then to his people in the expression of their sorrow.
In this first poem there are two clearly defined movements. The first (verses Lam 1:1-11) describes the desolation of the city, as to her relationships with other nations, and as to her internal condition, declaring the cause to be that "she hath grievously sinned." Under the figure of a widow sitting solitary, the prophet describes the city. "She that was great" has "become tributary," and is loverless and comfortless. Within, her desolation is overwhelming. The Temple is deserted, and her beauty has departed. With great care the prophet sets forth the cause of her diction. She had "grievously sinned," and has forgotten her latter end; and the prophet ends this description of the desolation by identifying himself with the sorrow and the sin in the words, "See, O Lord, and behold; for I am become vile."
In the second movement (verses Lam 1:12-22) the city, personified, bewails her diction, appealing to the passer-by, and describing her sorrow; then confesses the justice of the desolation which has overtaken her, crying to Jehovah for sympathy and deliverance.