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Bible Commentaries
Lamentations 5

Garner-Howes Baptist CommentaryGarner-Howes

Verses 1-10



In this final chapter, which does not follow the acrostic arrangement, one finds a lament which dissolves into a prayer of confession. And, recognizing the eternal sovereignty of God, Judah casts the burden of her sin upon Him - to await His merciful remembrance, and the restoration of fellowship.


1. God’s attention is directed to the pathetic suffering and helplessness of His people in an appeal to His compassion, (vs. 1; comp. Lamentations 3:19; Psalms 44:13-16).

2. Jerusalem, the proud heritage of Israel, has been turned to strangers; their houses occupied by foreigners (vs. 2; Isaiah 1:7; Zephaniah 1:13; contr. Leviticus 20:24).

3. In a metaphorical sense, they consider themselves as orphans, and their mothers as widows, because they have been abandoned by God, their Father (vs. 3; comp. Jeremiah 15:9; Jeremiah 18:21).

4. In their present straits they are required to purchase the very necessities of life from their captors, (vs. 4; Isaiah 1); so heavy is the yoke of bondage upon their necks that they have no rest, (vs. 5; Isaiah 47:6; Nehemiah 9:36-37; comp. Jeremiah 30:8) - very just retribution, since they have rejected the yoke of Jehovah with such stiff necks! (2 Chronicles 30:8; Nehemiah 9:29-30; Isaiah 48:4-6).

5. In an effort to escape conditions which seemed to them intolerable, they have pledged themselves: first to Egypt - at the death of Josiah, (2 Chronicles 36:3-4), and later to Assyria - the Chaldeans, who now ruled the empire once controlled by Assyria, (vs. 6; Jeremiah 2:17-19) -in order to survive!

6. Divine judgment upon the accumulated sins of their fathers has now fallen upon their offspring who follow in their rebellious ways, (vs. 7-10; comp. Jeremiah 14:20; Jeremiah 16:12-13).

a. Thus, they have been brought under the rule of slaves; nor can they find a way of escape! (vs. 8; Zechariah 11:6; comp. Psalms 7:1-2).

b. To seek for their sustenance in the wilderness is to imperil their very lives at the hands of marauding Bedouin (vs. 9; comp. Jeremiah 40:9-12), who have become a steadily increasing menace since the fall of Jerusalem.

c. Under the heat of severe famine, their skin is said to be as black as an oven (vs. 10; comp. Lamentations 4:8; Job 30:30; Psalms 119:81-83).

Verses 11-18


1. As a consequence of Judah’s sin, her women have been shamefully molested in Zion (vs. 11; comp. Isaiah 13:16; Zechariah 14:2); her virgins in the cities of Judah - a common state of affairs, following conquest by an enemy.

2. In an act of wanton cruelty, the princes of Judah were hanged by their hands rather than by their necks; her elders (officials) were dishonored! (vs. 12; comp. Lamentations 4:16).

3. Upon her young men was laid the work of the lowest female slaves (comp. Judges 16:21), while such heavy burdens were forced upon mere children that they sank beneath the load, (vs. 13; comp. Jeremiah 7:18-19).

4. Since righteous judgment is no longer executed in the gates of Jerusalem, verses 14 and 15 give a general description of the exchange of their joy for sorrow; music and dancing for mourning, (comp. Jeremiah 7:34; Jeremiah 25:10; Amos 8:10).

5. It is quite evident that this prayer of lamentation is free from bitterness and resentment against Jehovah; it, rather, recognizes the. righteousness of His judgment upon their sin; (vs.16-18).

a. The fallen crown signifies Judah’s loss of national dignity and authority (Psalms 89:39) through a persistent neglect of her covenant ­obligations!

b. The portrayal of the once-popular city of Zion as now being inhabited by jackals completes the description of her desolation.

c. With faintness of heart (Isaiah 1:5), and dimness of eye (Lamentations 2:11), Judah now cries out: "Woe unto us! for WE HAVE SINNED!" (comp. Isaiah 3:9-11; Hosea 6:1; Hosea 14:4; 1 John 1:9).

Verses 19-22


1. Though the throne of David has been cast down, the throne of Jehovah is eternally secure, (vs. 19).

a. From generation to generation He sits as KING FOREVER! b. In this is Judah’s only hope! (Malachi 3:6). 2. The longing expressed in verse 20 reminds one of David’s anxiety as set forth in Psalms 13 : "How long? forever?"

3. Verse 21 expresses a deep yearning for such reconciliation and renewal as can come only through the Lord’s mercy toward His repentant people, (Psalms 80:3; comp. Jeremiah 31:18; Isaiah 60:20-22).

4. Unless, in His wrath, the Lord has utterly rejected her: Judah will wait for the salvation of Jehovah! nor will she wait in vain, (vs. 22; comp. Isaiah 25:9).

NOTE: The message of this little book is highly relevant to God’s people !n the twentieth century. He has not changed the principles whereby He deals with men and nations. To despise one’s "high calling" and resort to loose living will bring grievous suffering upon men of ANY age.

Since divine election is ALWAYS for the assuming of responsibility, let us be concerned to walk worthy of the vocation wherewith we are called - a walk of faith, motivated by a love that is REAL!

Bibliographical Information
Garner, Albert & Howes, J.C. "Commentary on Lamentations 5". Garner-Howes Baptist Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/ghb/lamentations-5.html. 1985.
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