Background of Lamentations
The book is traditionally read in the context of the destruction of Jerusalem in 586 B.C.E. Prophets such as Jeremiah announced the Babylonian invasion as the judgment of God. Lamentations speaks from within that judgment. Some interpreters have suggested that the specific date for the composition of the book should remain open, not because such a setting is implausible, but to move away from reading the book as a report on the destruction. The book, in their view, assumes such a setting for the prayers it expresses, but the emphasis is on praying, not reporting.