Lamentations 5

A prayer

5:1In this chapter, Jerusalem's people are praying to God.

1 LORD, please remember the trouble that has happened to us.

Look at us, because we are ashamed.

2 Strangers have taken the land that our fathers gave to us.

Foreign people live in our homes.

3 We are children whose fathers are dead.

Our mothers no longer have husbands.

4 We must pay money for the water that we drink.

We must buy wood for our fires.

5 Our enemies cause us to work like animals.

But the work is too difficult

and they will not let us rest.

6 We gave ourselves to the Egyptians and to the Assyrians,

so that we could get food to eat.

7 Our fathers sinned, but they are dead.

Now we have the troubles that you caused because of them.

You punished us because of their sin.

5:7This does not mean that these people had not sinned against God also. They say that they have in verse 16 below.

8 Slaves now rule us.

And there is nobody to save us from their power.

9 We meet danger when we work in the fields.

Enemies are everywhere and they want to kill us.

10 Our skin feels as if we are burning.

We are so hungry that we are ill.

5:10They had no food if they could not plant in their fields.

11 Enemies do what they want with the women in Zion.

They are cruel to the young women in Judah's cities.

12 They hang our leaders by their hands.

And they are cruel to our old men also.

13 They took the young men to work as slaves.

Those young men make flour for them.

And our boys carry wood.

They fall down under big bags of wood.

14 Our enemies no longer let our old men decide things.

The old men cannot say what is right or fair for us.

And the young men have stopped their music.

5:14Old men always sat together at the city gate to talk about things. When someone did something wrong, people brought them to these older men. They would decide what was fair punishment. That was what they always did in Israel.

15 We are not happy any longer.

Instead, we are very sad,

so we do not dance any longer.

16 And we have no king in Jerusalem any longer.

We have sinned and so very bad things have happened to us.

17 So our bodies feel ill and we feel ill deep inside us.

Our eyes are very tired and we cannot hope for good things any longer.

18 We are so sad because they destroyed Zion's walls and buildings.

Wild animals walk on them now.

19 But you, LORD, are always king.

You will always rule us.

20 Tell us why you have forgotten us.

Tell us why you have left us for so long.

21 Help us to come back to you, LORD.

We really want to make a new start with you.

We were great before our enemies beat us.

We pray that you will make us as great as that again.

22 That could happen unless you have turned away from us completely.

That could happen unless you will continue to be very angry with us.

5:22Not only has their king gone, but also these people will not have another king. Their beautiful city has gone, and all their beautiful things have gone with it. But Jeremiah wants the people to turn back to God. He wants God to forgive his people. If he does, they can be happy again.