Lamentations 5

DateVersionReading Plan
@August 20, 2023ESV (2016)ESV Prophets Plan 2023


  • Restore Us to Yourself, O Lord


The final chapter of Lamentations follows the same acrostic format as the preceding 4 chapters and details the effects of exile on the people. It opens with a plea for the Lord to remember them. To remember in Scripture is never just calling something to mind but involves a corresponding action.

In Lam. 5:2-5, the repetition of “Our”, “We” and “us” underscores that this is a collective lament. The people had “become orphans” and “mothers are like widows” (Lam. 5:3). They could not produce their own goods and were forced to “pay for the water” they drink and the wood they get “must be bought” (Lam. 5:4).

Lam. 5:6 describes how Israel had lost her inheritance and suffered because of her allegiances made with Egypt and Assyria. The policies showed that Israel was placing her trust in man rather than God (Jer. 2:18; Jer. 2:36).

Lam. 5:7 is of how their fathers had sinned but are no more, leaving their descendants to “bear their iniquities”. This speaks to the writings in the Pentateuch in which the Lord does not clear the guilty, “visiting the iniquity of the fathers of children and their children’s children, to the third and fourth generation” (Exodus 34:7)

Lam. 5:8 shows how a great reversal had occurred and that the people were now ruled by slaves (see also Prov. 30:21-23).

Lam. 5-10 are of the famine that burned hot, representing extreme hunger and of the universal suffering of young, old, women and princes alike. Everything had flipped; joy had become sorrow and dancing was turned into mourning (Lam. 5:15). Admission of guilt comes in Lam. 5:16 that their crown had fallen from their head as a result of sin.

A major focus shift happens at Lam. 5:19 and continues for the remainder of the chapter, looking away from worldly suffering to the LORD who reigns forever and endures for all generations. The people plea for the LORD to turn them back to Himself, to restore them and renew their days of old (Lam. 5:21). Only if the LORD restored the people would they enjoy life as it once was.

The final question posed of the LORD was if the His anger was so great that He had completely rejected them. The answer is “No” as He would come to restore them as He had done in the past.


The final chapter of Lamentations continues in the vein of collective woe and suffering of the people in Babylonian exile. Worth noting is that it is not until the end of the chapter that the people turn to the LORD, admitting His sovereignty and imploring for a restoration that only He could bring. This illuminates an all-too-familiar practice among sinful humanity and of our selfish condition.

We want to be our own gods. This is the root of all sin; to carve our own path and to seek prosperity, happiness and fulfillment on our own terms. In a work of His grace, God allows us to endure suffering in order that we would reach the end of ourselves and look to Him; the Source of all joy and blessing. Praise be to God that His mercy is brings us to knees bruised and bloodied with repentance, crushing us with our own sin and of the salvation found only in Him.

Scripture Journal Notes

Commentaries & Resources Used