Lamentations 5: Prayer over the Disgrace
of Israel & Jerusalem
Comments: Chapter 5 is essentially Jeremiah's prayer
to the Lord, a plea for Him to look again at their state [v.1]
does he plead? [v.2-5] Because
of the state of the Land. This ‘Promised Land' has been given
to others [v.2] and the community of God's people is in total
disarray [v.3], in economic need [v.4] and on the run from the
were they punished? [v.6,7]
Because of their long-term disobedience. In the past they looked
to others for help [v.6] and failed to rely on the Lord and so
are being punished for their sin [v.7].
(again) does he plead? [v.8-18]
Because of the state of the people: slaves [v.8], on the edge
of starvation [v.9,10], their women ravished [v.11], their government
gone [v.12], their young people struggling [v.13], joy has gone
[v.14,15], their king has gone [v.16], they have little hope for
the future [v.17] while the city remains a ruin [v.18].
He concludes by moving away from recounting what now
is, to pleading to the God who he knows is still sovereign [v.19]
but who appears to have left them [v.20] with a plea that He will
restore them to Himself [v.21] unless they have gone too far [v.22].
He leaves it there, hanging in the air, so to speak, pleading
for mercy they do not deserve.]
A plea for the Lord to see their state
LORD, what has happened to us; look, and see our disgrace.
The State of the Land (1)
Our ‘Promised land' has been given to others
has been turned over to strangers, our homes to foreigners.
Our families are broken up
become fatherless, our mothers are widows.
We've been reduced to poverty and economic hardship
must buy the water we drink; our wood can be had only at a price.
We are constantly being chased by our enemies
who pursue us are at our heels; we are weary and find no rest.
The Sin of the Past
We looked to others in the past to help provide for us
to Egypt and Assyria to get enough bread.
But they sinned by not relying on God and so we are being punished
sinned and are no more, and we bear their punishment.
The State of the Land (2)
We are now slaves to slaves, that's how low we have sunk
rule over us, and there is no one to free us from their hands.
Even trying to get food is life-threatening
our bread at the risk of our lives because of the sword in the
We scorch in the desert as we seek food
is hot as an oven, feverish from hunger.
The State of the People
Our women and girls have been violated by the invaders in the
have been violated in Zion, and virgins in the towns of Judah.
Our remaining leaders are either dead or disregarded
have been hung up by their hands; elders are shown no respect.
Our young people struggle to work
men toil at the millstones; boys stagger under loads of wood.
Our government has gone and joy has left our people
are gone from the city gate; the young men have stopped their
gone from our hearts; our dancing has turned to mourning.
The sign of blessing & authority has gone because of our sin
has fallen from our head. Woe to us, for we have sinned!
We feel so low we have little hope for the future
of this our hearts are faint, because of these things our eyes
Our Jerusalem is desolate, the haunt of wild animals
Zion, which lies desolate, with jackals prowling over it.
Further appeal to the Lord
Yet you Oh Lord are still sovereign ruler
LORD, reign forever; your throne endures from generation to generation.
Why have you appeared to have left us for so long?
you always forget us? Why do you forsake us so long?
Please ….. bring us back to yourself, restore us to what once
us to yourself, LORD, that we may return; renew our days as of
… that is unless you have decided to completely abandon us…
you have utterly rejected us and are angry with us beyond measure.
Comments: It is only when you start itemizing all these
things that you catch something more of the awfulness of the catastrophe
that was the taking into exile the people of Jerusalem but, even
more, the destruction of Jerusalem, the city of God, and of the
Temple, the House of God. The prayer pointers in this chapter
highlight just how bad it was. If the previous chapters hadn't
conveyed that sufficiently, this chapter certainly does. Again,
the book needs seeing in historical context so make sure you have
read the Introduction.]