Lamentations 5 was apparently written in Judah some time after the fall of Jerusalem. Only the people of no use to Babylon were left in the land, and this poem reflects the hardships they faced. It was a difficult life. “Our pursuers are at our necks; We are worn out, there is no rest for us”. There is continual fear and pressure from the oppressors. There is no rest or peace, only more pain and suffering. And while the judgment is based on choices each made, there is no question that leaders and fathers were contributors to their plight.
“Our fathers sinned, and are no more; It is we who have borne their iniquities”. In the prior chapters, we learned that leaders led the people astray. Here we find that fathers also sinned and led their kids to grow up with the wrong understanding of God and what He demands. There was misguided efforts as their fathers followed leaders who tried to keep the nation alive by seeking help from Egypt and Assyria, but they actually brought the nation to ruin. When things get tough we need to run to God, not from him!
Conditions in Judah are terrible. The people have to search the barren country regions for food, and in doing so they risk death from desert bandits . Life is tough. “The joy of our hearts has ceased; Our dancing has been turned into mourning”. They can hardly remember the good old days. They do understand why things are as they are. “ Woe to us, for we have sinned”! Sin carries a price, always. And the people of Judah were paying a severe price. “Because of this our heart is faint, Because of these things our eyes are dim”.
In a final desperate plea, the people cry to the sovereign ruler of the world not to reject them but to bring them back to himself. “You, O Lord, rule forever; Your throne is from generation to generation”. They ask that he restore their nation and give them the happiness they once enjoyed. “Restore us to You, O Lord, that we may be restored; Renew our days as of old”. God is eternal and unchangeable, and they are his people; surely he will not forget them . He doesn’t, and we’ll see in future books of the Bible that God restores them and brings them back together again.