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Bible Commentaries
Lamentations 5

Old & New Testament Restoration CommentaryRestoration Commentary

Verses 1-22

Lam 5:1-22

The current distress under

Babylonian Captivity

(Lamentations 5:1-22)

Remember, O Jehovah, what is come upon us: Behold, and see our reproach. Our inheritance is turned unto strangers, Our houses unto aliens. We are orphans and fatherless; Our mothers are as widows. We have drunken our water for money; Our wood is sold unto us. Our pursuers are upon our necks: We are weary, and have no rest. We have given the hand to the Egyptians, And to the Assyrians, to be satisfied with bread (Lamentations 5:1-6).

The inhabitants of Judah that had been left after the Babylonian siege prayed unto Jehovah. They asked Jehovah to look to them and behold their condition. Judah was deprived of property, protection, and they had to buy their water and food from their conquering foes. Judah was continuously pressed into hard labor now that she had been defeated.

Our fathers sinned, and are not; And we have borne their iniquities. Servants rule over us: There is none to deliver us out of their hand. We get our bread at the peril of our lives, Because of the sword of the wilderness. Our skin is black like an oven, Because of the burning heat of famine. They ravished the women in Zion, The virgins in the cities of Judah. Princes were hanged up by their hand: The faces of elders were not honored. The young men bare the mill; And the children stumbled under the wood. The elders have ceased from the gate, The young men from their music. The joy of our heart is ceased; Our dance is turned into mourning. The crown is fallen from our head: Woe unto us! for we have sinned ’(Lamentations 5:7-16).

Judah was not being punished solely for their father s sins, but for her sins, too (cf. Lamentations 5:16). While it was true that the Lord proclaimed His wrath to be poured out due to the sins of Manasseh (cf. 2 Kings 23:26), it was equally true that Judah paid the penalty for their own gross sins (please read Jeremiah 16:11). Further plight of Judah is given. First, they complained that servants (i.e. the Chaldeans) ruled over them as opposed to self government and freedom. Secondly, they had to risk their lives to gain food from’ the wilderness. Thirdly, they were blackened by hunger for want of food. Fourthly, Judah s virgins were raped and the princes of the nation strung up by the hands in death for the public eye to see.

Under such circumstances there is no laughter, humor, joy, nor happiness. Finally, the people of Judah proclaimed, woe unto us! For we have sinned. Surely the purpose of divine wrath had been accomplished in the hearts of God’s people (cf. Lamentations 4:22). The Lord only desired that Judah acknowledge her iniquity, yet for years she refused. Now, after all that Jeremiah had prophecied had come to pass, the people were left without excuse and in shame and humility proclaimed, we have sinned.

For this our heart is faint; For these things our eyes are dim; For the mountain of Zion, which is desolate: The foxes walk upon it. Thou, O Jehovah, abidest for ever; Thy throne is from generation to generation. Wherefore dost thou forget us for ever, [And] forsake us so long time? Turn thou us unto thee, O Jehovah, and we shall be turned; Renew our days as of old. But thou hast utterly rejected us; Thou art very wroth against us(Lamentations 5:17-22).

Interestingly it is noted by those of Judah that the earthly habitation of Jehovah (Zion) had been destroyed, yet Jehovah and His throne abide for ever. A final plea of restoration based upon their turning from their sinful deeds is given. At present, Jehovah had rejected His people in His anger at their sins.

Jeremiah Pleads for Restoration

Questions on Lamentations 5:1-22

Open It

1. If you could help a group of people defeated by war and suffering, what group would you help and how would you help them?

2. If you had the ability to change one thing about your past in order to improve your present circumstances, what change would you make?

Explore It

3. What did the people ask the Lord to do? (Lamentations 5:1)

4. What was the predicament of God’s people? (Lamentations 5:2-18)

5. What were the Jews compelled to do? (Lamentations 5:4-6)

6. What consequences were other generations forced to bear? (Lamentations 5:7-10)

7. How did the poet describe the shamefulness of sin? (Lamentations 5:11-18)

8. What was the attitude of God’s people? (Lamentations 5:15)

9. Why did the Jews face such awful retribution? (Lamentations 5:16)

10. What had become of the Davidic dynasty? (Lamentations 5:17-18)

11. How did the writer describe God’s throne? (Lamentations 5:19)

12. What were the longings of God’s people? (Lamentations 5:20-22)

Get It

13. When you face trouble, at what point do you turn to the Lord for help?

14. What is easy or difficult about facing the consequences of our sin?

15. What previous sins committed by others in your family still affect you now?

16. When was the last time you felt sorrow for sins?

17. What is the value of a penitent attitude?

18. What is your attitude toward the Lord when He disciplines you?

19. Why would God forsake His people?

20. In what ways do you need to be restored to the Lord?

21. What words would you use to describe God’s faithfulness?

Apply It

22. When can you spend some time this week examining your life for sin and seeking God’s forgiveness?

23. What "family sin" or tendency do you want to focus on changing, and what would be one step you could take toward change?

Bibliographical Information
"Commentary on Lamentations 5". "Old & New Testament Restoration Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/onr/lamentations-5.html.
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