Lamentations 5

Prayer for Restoration

1 Yahweh, remember what has happened to us. Look, and see our disgrace![a]
2 Our inheritance has been turned over to strangers, our houses to foreigners.
3 We have become orphans, fatherless; our mothers are widows.
4 We must pay for the water we drink; our wood comes at a price.
5 We are closely pursued; we are tired, and no one offers us rest.
6 We made a treaty with[b] Egypt and with Assyria, to get enough food.
7 Our fathers sinned; they no longer exist, but we bear their punishment.
8 Slaves rule over us;[c] no one rescues [us] from their hands.
9 We secure our food at the risk of our lives because of the sword in the wilderness.
10 Our skin is as hot[d] as an oven from the ravages of hunger.
11 Women are raped in Zion, virgins in the cities of Judah.
12 Princes are hung up by their hands; elders are shown no respect.
13 Young men labor at millstones;[e] boys stumble under [loads of] wood.
14 The elders have left the city gate, the young men, their music.
15 Joy has left our hearts; our dancing has turned to mourning.
16 The crown has fallen from our head.[f] Woe to us, for we have sinned.[g]
17 Because of this, our heart is sick; because of these, our eyes grow dim:[h]
18 because of Mount Zion, which lies desolate [and has] jackals prowling in it.[i]
19 You, Lord, are enthroned forever; Your throne endures from generation to generation.[j]
20 Why have You forgotten us forever,[k] abandoned us for [our] entire lives?
21 Lord, restore us to Yourself, so we may return;[l] renew our days as in former times,
22 unless You have completely rejected us and are intensely angry with us.

Lamentations 5 Commentary

Chapter 5

The Jewish nation supplicating the Divine favour.

Verses 1-16 Is any afflicted? Let him pray; and let him in prayer pour out his complaint to God. The people of God do so here; they complain not of evils feared, but of evils felt. If penitent and patient under what we suffer for the sins of our fathers, we may expect that He who punishes, will return in mercy to us. They acknowledge, Woe unto us that we have sinned! All our woes are owing to our own sin and folly. Though our sins and God's just displeasure cause our sufferings, we may hope in his pardoning mercy, his sanctifying grace, and his kind providence. But the sins of a man's whole life will be punished with vengeance at last, unless he obtains an interest in Him who bare our sins in his own body on the tree.

Verses 17-22 The people of God express deep concern for the ruins of the temple, more than for any other of their calamities. But whatever changes there are on earth, God is still the same, and remains for ever wise and holy, just and good; with Him there is no variableness nor shadow of turning. They earnestly pray to God for mercy and grace; Turn us to thee, O Lord. God never leaves any till they first leave him; if he turns them to him in a way of duty, no doubt he will quickly return to them in a way of mercy. If God by his grace renew our hearts, he will by his favour renew our days. Troubles may cause our hearts to be faint, and our eyes to be dim, but the way to the mercy-seat of our reconciled God is open. Let us, in all our trials, put our whole trust and confidence in his mercy; let us confess our sins, and pour out our hearts before him. Let us watch against repinings and despondency; for we surely know, that it shall be well in the end with all that trust in, fear, love, and serve the Lord. Are not the Lord's judgments in the earth the same as in Jeremiah's days? Let Zion then be remembered by us in our prayers, and her welfare be sought above every earthly joy. Spare, Lord, spare thy people, and give not thine heritage to reproach, for the heathen to rule over them.

Footnotes 12

Chapter Summary


In this chapter are reckoned up the various calamities and distresses of the Jews in Babylon, which the Lord is desired to remember and consider, La 5:1-16; their great concern for the desolation of the temple in particular is expressed, La 5:17,18; and the chapter is concluded with a prayer that God would show favour to them, and turn them to him, and renew their prosperity as of old, though he had rejected them, and been wroth with them, La 5:19-22.

Lamentations 5 Commentaries

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