Lamentations 5

5 O Lord, [earnestly] remember what has come upon us! Look down and see our reproach (our national disgrace)!

2 Our inheritance has fallen over to strangers, our houses to foreigners.

3 We have become orphans and fatherless; our mothers are like widows.

4 We have had to pay money to drink the water that belongs to us; our [own] wood is sold to us.

5 Our pursuers are upon our necks [like a yoke]; we are weary and are allowed no rest.

6 We have given the hand [as a pledge of fidelity and submission] to the Egyptians and to the Assyrians [merely] to get food to satisfy [our hunger].

7 Our fathers sinned and are no more, and [a]we have borne their iniquities.(A)

8 Servants and slaves rule over us; there is none to deliver us out of their hands.(B)

9 We get our bread at the peril of our lives because of the sword of the wilderness [the wild Arabs, who may attack if we venture into the fields to reap our harvests].

10 Our skin glows and is parched as from [the heat of] an oven because of the burning heat of [the fever of] famine.

11 They ravished the women in Zion, the virgins in the cities of Judah.

12 They hung princes by their hands; the persons of elders were not respected.

13 Young men carried millstones, and boys fell [staggering] under [burdens of] wood.

14 The elders have ceased from [congregating at] the city’s gate, the young men from their music.

15 Ceased is the joy of our hearts; our dancing has turned into mourning.

16 The crown has fallen from our head [our honor is brought to the dust]! Woe to us, for we have sinned!

17 Because of this our hearts are faint and sick; because of these things our eyes are dim and see darkly.

18 As for Mount Zion, which lies desolate, the jackals prowl over it!

19 But You, O Lord, remain and reign forever; Your throne endures from generation to [all] generations.

20 Why do You forget us forever? Why do You forsake us so long?

21 Turn us to Yourself, O Lord, and we shall be turned and restored! Renew our days as of old!—

22 Or have You utterly rejected us? [b]Or are You exceedingly angry with us [still]?


  1. Lamentations 5:7 Fathers and sons alike are responsible for the calamity that has befallen Jerusalem. The truth of the matter is: this generation too deserved their punishment. “Woe to us, for we have sinned! Because of this our hearts are faint and sick; because of these things our eyes are dim and see darkly” (Lam. 5:16, 17).
  2. Lamentations 5:22 “The Book of Lamentations, like so many of even the saddest of the psalms, does in fact end with the language of hope, a hope that is so little apparent on the first reading of the conclusion to Lamentations that in many Hebrew manuscripts the words of Lam. 5:21 are repeated at the end, right after Lam. 5:22, so that its words of hope and restoration rather than the somber ending of “Or are You exceedingly angry with us [still]?” may be the last to fall upon the ear. A similar expedient is used in the case of Ecclesiastes, Isaiah, and Malachi” (The Cambridge Bible). See also footnote on Jer. 52:34.

Cross references

  1. Lamentations 5:7 : Isa. 65:7; Jer. 16:11-12; 31:29; Ezek. 18:2-4.
  2. Lamentations 5:8 : Neh. 5:15.

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