Lamentations 5:1-22

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 ancestors gave to us.

Foreign people live in our homes.

3 We are children whose fathers have died.

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 ancestors 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 also sinned against God. 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.

5:9They had no food if they could not plant in their 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.

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 too.

13 They took the young men to make flour for them, like slaves.

Our boys have to carry heavy bags of wood.

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

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.

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

And the young men have stopped their music.

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, so it will be very bad for 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, will be king for ever.

You will always rule us.

20 Tell us why you have forgotten us.

Tell us why you have left us alone for so long.

21 Help us to come back to you, Lord.

Let us be great again, like we were long ago.

22 Please do that, unless you have turned away from us completely.

Do not continue to be angry with us more than we can take.

5:22Jeremiah wants the people to turn back to God. He wants God to forgive his people. If he does, they can be happy again.