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The Book of Lamentations

Updated on February 1, 2010

Lamentations is a book of the Old Testament traditionally ascribed to the Prophet Jeremiah. It consists of five independent poems that mourn the destruction of Jerusalem by the Babylonians and the bitter suffering of the Hebrews and that pray for deliverance. In the original Hebrew the first four poems are acrostics; either each verse opens with a letter of the alphabet in consecutive order, or each group of verses uses the same initial letter. In synagogues Lamentations is read on the ninth day of Av, a fast day commemorating the destruction of the Temple in 586 B.C. and in 70 A.D.

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