The cries of Lamentations’ writings detail the sufferings of Israel’s people when taken away as captives by Babylon. “How solitary sits the city that was full of people!… all Zion gates are desolate… all her people groan and sigh seeking for bread; should and shall women eat the fruit of their own bodies, the children whom they have tended and swaddled with their hands?” (Lamentations 1,2).
Calamity had come to the city of Jerusalem-Judah and its people for their sins were grave before the Lord. Israel had been warned by Moses when yet in the wilderness of the consequences if they deviated from obeying the commandments of the Lord. The prophets also warned them of the coming judgment if they continued in their idolatry. But Israel’s heart was hard toward the Lord. “Jerusalem has grievously sinned; therefore, she has become an unclean thing and has been removed…her filthiness was in and on her skirts; she did not consider her final end (1:8a,9a).
In 589 BC Nebuchadnezzar II laid siege to Jerusalem; In 587 BC the culmination of the destruction of the city and temple happened. The Jewish people were then deported to Babylon, including Daniel and his friends, who God used mightily to change the heart of the King; He used Daniel to serve as prophet for the Jewish nation. God, in His love and mercy, allowed seventy years of captivity for the Jewish nation for having failed to keep seventy Sabbath years. It is written in the book of Leviticus that a Sabbath year comes every seventh year: But in the seventh year there shall be a Sabbath of solemn rest for the land, a Sabbath to the Lord, you shall neither sow your field nor prune your vineyard. What grows of itself in your harvest you shall not reap and the grapes on your uncultivated vine you shall not gather, for it is a year of rest to the land…and you shall number seven sabbaths or weeks of years for you, seven times seven years, so the total time of the seven weeks of years shall be forty-nine years (Lev. 25: 4-8). The number seventy is embed in the prophecy of Daniel chapter 9:24: Seventy weeks [of years, or 490 years] are decreed upon your people and upon your holy city to finish and put an end to transgression, to seal up and make full the measure of sin to purge away and make expiation and reconciliation for sin to bring in everlasting righteousness… When the disciples asked YAHSHUA how many times should one forgive, He gave them the answer found in the period of 490 years given the Jewish people in the prophecy of Daniel, illustrating the validity of Daniel’s prophecy’s time frame given them for forgiveness.