Lamentations 5:10
Our skin is as hot as an oven with fever from our hunger.
An Appeal for God's CompassionW. F. Adeney, M. A.Lamentations 5:1-10
Comfortable Directions for Such as have BeenW. Bridge, M. A.Lamentations 5:1-10
Sin's GardenJ. Parker, D. D.Lamentations 5:1-10
Zion's SufferingsLamentations 5:1-10

Bitterness was added to the misery of the Jews when Chaldean slaves - advanced to eminence and power on account of their ability - were placed in authority over them. But there was no choice; resistance was impossible and deliverer there was none, In this respect the condition of the inhabitants of Jerusalem may represent that of sinful, helpless men.

I. A CRUEL BONDAGE. Sinners have yielded themselves up to obey the enemy of their souls, the foe of God. This is

(1) a usurper, who has no right to rule over men;

(2) a tyrant, who with unjust and unreasonable exercise of authority oppresses those beneath his power;

(3) a cruel master, whose service is slavery, whose stripes are many, whose wages are death and destruction.

II. A SEEMINGLY INEVITABLE FATE. The conquered Judaeans had looked hither and thither, in the crisis of their fate, for some friend and helper, but they had looked in vain. Similarly the captive of sin can find no earthly deliverer; his fellow men are his fellow sinners and fellow captives; there is no eye to pity and no hand to save.

III. A SOLITARY BUT SUFFICIENT CONSOLATION AND REFUGE. The restless waves answer their purpose when they toss the imperilled mariner towards the haven of refuge. Affliction and adversity, chains and dungeons, oppressors and torturers, may make the one only Deliverer welcome. The Lord God has revealed himself to us as the Saviour of all men. There is no prison from which he cannot set the captive free; there are no gyves and fetters he cannot strike off; there are no foes from whose hands he cannot rescue and deliver. - T.

Remember, O Lord, what is come upon us.
The prayer opens with a striking phrase — "Remember, O Lord," etc. It cannot be supposed that the elegist conceived of his God as Elijah mockingly described their silent, unresponsive divinity to the frantic priests of Baal, or that he imagined that Jehovah was really indifferent, after the manner of the denizens of the Epicurean Olympus. Nevertheless, neither philosophy nor even theology wholly determines the form of an earnest man's prayers. In practice it is impossible not to speak according to appearances. Though not to the reason, still to the feelings, it is as though God had indeed forgotten His children in their deep distress. Under such circumstances the first requisite is the assurance that God should remember the sufferers whom He appears to be neglecting. The poet is thinking of external actions. Evidently the aim of his prayer is to secure the attention of God as a sure preliminary to a Divine interposition. But even with this end in view the fact that God remembers is enough. In appealing for God's attention the elegist first makes mention of the reproach that has come upon Israel. This reference to humiliation rather than to suffering as the primary ground of complaint may be accounted for by the fact that the glory of God is frequently taken as a reason for the blessing of His people. That is done for His "name's sake." Then the ruin of the Jews is derogatory to the honour of their Divine Protector. The peculiar relation of Israel to God also underlies the complaint of the second verse, in which the land is described as "our inheritance," with an evident allusion to the idea that it was received as a donation from God, not acquired in any ordinary human fashion. A great wrong has been done, apparently in contravention of the ordinance of Heaven. The Divine inheritance has been turned over to strangers. From their property the poet passes on to the condition of the persons of the sufferers. The Jews are orphans; they have lost their fathers, and their mothers are widows. The series of illustrations of the degradation of Israel seems to be arranged somewhat in the order of time and in accordance with the movement of the people. Thus, after describing the state of the Jews in their own land, the poet next follows the fortunes of his people in exile. There is no mercy for them in their flight. The words in which the miseries of this time are referred to are somewhat obscure. The phrase in the Authorised Version, "Our necks are under persecution" (ver. 5), is rendered by the Revisers, "Our pursuers are upon our necks." It would seem to mean that the hunt is so close that fugitives are on the point of being captured; or perhaps that they are made to bow their heads in defeat as their captors seize them. But a proposed emendation substitutes the word "yoke" for "pursuers." The next line favours this idea, since it dwells on the utter weariness of the miserable fugitives. There is no rest for them. The yoke of shame and servitude is more crushing than any amount of physical labour. Finally, in their exile the Jews are not flee from molestation. In order to obtain bread they must abase themselves before the people of the land. The fugitives in the south must do homage to the Egyptians; the captives in the east to the Assyrians. Here, then, at the very last stage of the series of miseries, shame and humiliation are the principal grievances deplored. At every point there is a reproach, and to this feature of the whole situation God's attention is especially directed. Now the elegist turns aside to a reflection on the cause of all this evil. It is attributed to the sins of previous generations. The present sufferers are bearing the iniquities of their fathers. Here several points call for a brief notice. In the first place, the very form of the language is significant. What is meant by the phrase to "bear iniquity"? It is clear that the poet had no mystical ideas in mind. When he said that the children bore the sins of their fathers he simply meant that they reaped the consequences of those sins. But if the language is perfectly unambiguous the doctrine it implies is far from being easy to accept. On the face of it, it seems to be glaringly unjust. We are frequently confronted with evidences of the fact that the vices of parents inflict poverty, dishonour, and disease on their families. This is just what the elegist means when he writes of children hearing the iniquities of their fathers. The fact cannot be disputed. Often as the problem that here starts up afresh has been discussed, no really satisfactory solution of it has ever been forthcoming. We must admit that we are face to face with one of the most profound mysteries of providence. But we may detect some glints of light in the darkness. The law of heredity and the various influences that go to make up the evil results in the case before us work powerfully for good under other circumstances; and that the balance is certainly on the side of good, is proved by the fact that the world is moving forward, not backward, as would be the case if the balance of hereditary influence was on the side of evil. The great unit Man is far more than the sum of the little units men. We must endure the disadvantages of a system which is so essential to the good of man. But another consideration may shed a ray of light on the problem. The bearing of the sins of others is for the highest advantage of the sufferers. It is difficult to think of any more truly elevating sorrows. They resemble our Lord's passion; and of Him it was said that He was made perfect through suffering.

(W. F. Adeney, M. A.)


1. Remember.

2. Consider.

3. Behold.


1. What is befallen her, captivity; it is not coming, it is already come upon her.

2. Her bright Sun gives not out its rays. Ignominy, like a black cloud, now covers its face.Lessons:

1. God hath thoughts of His people, when they cannot apprehend His purposes. He thinks upon their souls.

2. God's thoughts are affectionate, and hold out help unto His saints. Men many times think of their friends in the day of their distress, yet endeavour not to make their help their comfort, the product of their thoughts, but whom God remembers He relieves (Leviticus 26:44, 45).

3. God's forgetting is an aggravation of the soul's affliction. Questionless, it is the great, yea one of the greatest aggravations of trouble to an afflicted soul, to apprehend itself not to be in the thoughts of God (Psalm 42:9-44:24).(1) They are things of value that we commit to memory (Isaiah 43:4, 26).(2) Special affection is demonstrated by God's remembering (Malachi 3:16, 17).Lessons:

1. God's remembrance ever speaks a Christian's advantage. Whosoever forgets you, let your prayers demonstrate your desires to be in the heart, in the thoughts of God. This was Nehemiah's request, and he made it the very upshot of his prayers (Nehemiah 13:31). Do you likewise. For men may fail us though they think of us, but God will help us if He but have us in His mind (Jeremiah 2:2, 3).

2. They that put us in mind of our friends in misery, are many times instrumental for the alleviating of their sorrow; their excitements may stir up earnest resolves for their freedom, they may become messengers to proclaim their peace, to publish tidings of their salvation. O let us be God's remembrancers, let us expostulate the Church's case with His sacred self, this is our duty (Isaiah 43:26). Let us beseech the Lord —

(1)Not to remember her iniquities (Psalm 79:8).

(2)Not to continue her distress (Psalm 74:2).Israel's freedom from thraldom hath been the product of God's remembering (Exodus 6:5, 6). O let us rather beseech Him to think of —(1) Her former prosperity (Psalm 25:6; Psalm 89:49, 50). Men commiserate them in penury that have lived in plenty.(2) Her present afflictions (Psalm 132:1; Job 10:9; Isaiah 64:10-12). The Church's sorrows make her an object of pity in the Lord's thoughts.(3) His Covenant for mercy to His people in distress (Psalm 74:20, 21; Jeremiah 14:21; 2 Chronicles 7:14; Psalm 50:15).(4) Her enemies for execution of Divine justice (Psalm 137:7).(5) The sadness of her spirit to speak cheering to her heart (Psalm 106.). Relief is the best remembrance of a friend.

3. Fervency must accompany our prayers. This interjective particle denotes the vehemency, the earnestness of her desire (Genesis 17:18; Deuteronomy 5:29; 2 Samuel 23:15; Job 6:8). Want of mercy with sense of misery will make the soul cry O unto its God. Christians, be not like glowworms, fiery in appearance and cold when you come to the touch; take heed of lukewarmness, Laodicea's temper; remember that as prayer is set out by wrestling, which is the best way for prevailing (Genesis 32:26; Hosea 12:4), so under the law the sweet perfumes in the censers were burnt before they ascended; for believers' prayers go up in pillars of smoke, perfumed with myrrh, to the throne of God (Song of Solomon 4:6). Therefore get spiritual fire into your hearts, as fast as you can kindle and inflame your affections, that they may flame up in devout and religious ascents to the Lord Himself. Sometimes "Lord" will not serve your turn, you must go with "O Lord" unto your God.

4. We must only have recourse to God in distress. The Church's affliction is now become to her the school of devotion. Where should we make our addresses, but where we may find relief?

5. Heavy sorrows make Christians moderate in their desires. She doth not desire the Lord forthwith to cause the fulgent and glorious beams of prosperity to shine upon her, or immediately by some heavy judgment upon her enemy, to complete her own delivery, she only calls for a memento, a remembrance, some thoughts of her unto her God. That great sufferings make Christians modest and moderate in their demands. Beggars in their extremest exigence cry not for pounds but pence. A little relief goes far in the apprehension of a distressed soul.

6. Grievous miseries may fall upon God's precious saints.

7. God eyes our particular exigence. The original denotes such a consideration as is conjoined with seeing and looking upon. The eye presenting the object to the thoughts, makes the deeper impress upon the spirit. When God takes the Church's sorrows into His thoughts, He looks down from heaven to see the particulars of her distress.

8. Prayer the means to get a reflex from God.

9. As reproach is heavy so it quickens the prayers of saints. The saints are not hopeless under the greatest evils, they sing not the doleful ditty of accursed Cain, they despair not of Divine hope, and therefore because they conceive hope of favour, they betake themselves unto fervent prayer (Job 13:15; Proverbs 14:32; Psalm 27:12, 13).

10. Sense of misery would have God to make present supply. Equity in the Lord's administration of justice, hath ever been their encouragement, as for appeal, so for this request unto Himself (Jeremiah 12:1-3). Learn what to do when the wicked with the most violent evils are stinging and piercing your very souls.(1) Present your troubles, your reproaches upon your bended knees in the Lord's presence (Psalm 69:19, etc.).(2) Plead mercies and promises for yourselves (Daniel 9:15-17; 1 Kings 8:5-7).(3) Multiply prayers for your enlargement (Nehemiah 4:4, 5; Joel 2:17). 11. Christians are gradual, they have their ascents in their earnest prayers. Remember, consider, behold. As God goes out gradually in giving out the dispensations of Divine goodness, so His people in their afflictions, when they are most earnest petitioners, are gradual in their prayers (Psalm 41:4; Psalm 106:4, 5; Daniel 9:19).

(D. Swift.)

1. Probably there is nothing like this chapter in all the elegies of the world. For what is there here more than elegy? There is a death deeper than death. Here is a prayer that never got itself into heaven. Blessed be God, there are some prayers that never get higher than the clouds. Look at it. Behold how internally rotten it is. "Remember, O Lord, what is come upon us" (ver. 1). No man can pray who begins in that tone. There is not one particle of devotion in such an utterance. "What is come upon us." It is a falsehood. It is putting the suppliant into a wrong position at the very first. So long as men talk in that tone they are a long way from the only tone that prevails in heaven. — "God be merciful to me a sinner." "Consider, and behold our reproach" (ver. 1). How possible it is for penitence to have a lie in the heart of it; how possible it is for petitions addressed to heaven to be inspired by the meanest selfishness! Note well the inventory which is particularised by these persons, who are very careful to note all that they have lost. Read the bill; it is a bill of particulars: "Our inheritance is turned to strangers, our houses to aliens" (ver. 2). Here is material dispossession. If the inheritance had been retained, would the prayer have been offered? Probably not. "We are orphans and fatherless, our mothers are as widows" (ver. 8). Here is personal desolation. If the fathers had lived, would the prayers have been offered? "We have drunken our water for money; our wood is sold unto us" (ver. 4). Here is social humiliation. The emphasis is upon the pronoun, "Our" water, the water that we have in our own gardens, water taken out of the wells which our own fathers did dig. What an awful lot! what a sad doom! If it had been otherwise, where would the prayer have been? where would the confession, such as it is, have been? "Our necks are under persecution; we labour, and have no rest" (ver. 5). Here is a sense of grievous oppression. "Servants have ruled over us" (ver. 8). Here is an inversion of natural position. The greater the man, the greater the ruler, should be the law in social administration. Let me have a great man to direct me, superintend me, and revise my doings, and it shall be well with me at eventide. Some kings have been slaves; some noblemen have been servants. We are only speaking of the soul that is a slave, and whenever the slave mounts his horse he gallops to the devil.

2. Read this chapter and look upon it as a garden which sin has planted. All these black flowers, all these awful trees of poison, sin planted. God did not plant one of them. It is so with all our pains and penalties. It is so with that bad luck in business, with that misfortune in the open way of life. We are reaping what has been sown by ourselves or by our forerunners. It is quite right to remember our ancestors in this particular. It is quite true that our fathers have sinned, and that we in a sense bear their iniquities, and cannot help it, for manhood is one; but it is also true that we ourselves have adopted all they did. To adopt what Adam did is to have sinned in Adam and through Adam. We need not go behind our own signature; we have signed the catalogue, we have adopted it, and therefore we have to account for our own lapse in our own religion.

3. Wondrous it is how men turn to God in their distresses. The Lord said it would be so — "In their affliction they will seek Me early." So we have God in this great plaint, and what position does God occupy in it? He occupies the position of the only Helper of man. "Remember, O Lord, what is come upon us." Then comes the cry for old days: "Renew our days as of old." There is a sense in which the old days were better than these. What is that peculiar religious fascination which acts upon the mind and leads us back again into the nursery? We cry for the days of childhood, when we were unconscious of sin, when we played in the wood, when we gathered the primroses, when we came back from bird nesting and summer joys. Oh, that these days would come back again all their blueness, in all their simple joyousness! Sometimes the soul says, "Renew our days as of old" — when our bread was honest. Since then we have become tradesmen, merchants, adventurers, gamblers, speculators, and now there is not a loaf in the cupboard that has not poison in the very middle of it. We are richer at the bank, but we are poorer in heaven. God pity us! "Renew our days as of old" — when our prayers were unhindered, when we never doubted their going to heaven and coming back again with blessings; when we used to pray at our mother's knee we never thought that the prayer could fail of heaven. Oh, for the old child days, when God was in every flower and in every bird, and when all the sky was a great open Bible, written all over in capitals of love! The old days will not come. Still we can have a new youth; we can be born again. That is the great cry of Christ's Gospel "Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again" — and thus get the true childhood.

(J. Parker, D. D.)

Our inheritance is turned to strangers, our houses to aliens.
I. IT IS A SORE AFFLICTION AND MATTER OF GREAT LAMENTATION FOR A MAN TO BE DRIVEN FROM HIS HOUSE AND HABITATION. His house and habitation is the meeting place of all his outward comforts; the seat and centre and receptacle of all those outward blessings that he doth enjoy in this world. As a man's house is the nest where all these eggs are laid, and therefore when a man is driven from thence, the meeting place of all his outward comforts, surely it must be an exceeding sad thing and very lamentable. To say nothing of the reproach that doth come thereby, or of the violence that doth come therewith; it is the judgment threatened, threatened against the wicked, and those that are most ungodly. The contrary is often promised unto God's people (Isaiah 65:21, 22, 23). On the contrary, when God threatens evil to a place and people, this is the evil that He denounceth; that He will drive them from their houses and habitations, and that others shall be brought into them (Deuteronomy 15:28, 29, 30). Now is it nothing for a man to go up and down under the wounds of a threatening? Again, a man loseth many, if not most of his opportunities of doing good and receiving. So long as a man is at home, and hath a habitation to resort unto, he may pray, read, meditate, sing, and have a little church and heaven on earth. He may there receive strangers, for which many have been blest. There he may exercise good duties, the only way unto heaven and happiness. When he is thrust out, and strangers brought in, he doth therefore lose many of these opportunities; and therefore how justly may he take up this lamentation and say, Have pity, have pity upon me, oh, all my friends, for the hand of the Lord hath touched me.

II. GOD SUFFERS HIS OWN PEOPLE AND DEAR CHILDREN MANY TIMES TO FALL INTO THIS CONDITION. Our Saviour Christ Himself, who bare our sins, had not whereon to lay His head. The apostle tells us (Hebrews 11) that many saints wandered up and down the world in woods and caves, of whom the world was not worthy. They did not only wander, and were removed from their own houses; but, as observes, they were not quiet even in the woods: they did not only want their own house in the city, but they wanted a quiet seat in the wilderness. Four especial causes there are, or occasions, as Musculus observes, whereby men have been driven from their houses and habitations. First, war. Secondly, famine. Thirdly, inhumanity, cruelty, exaction of evil men and magistrates. Fourthly, want of liberty in the matter of religion: and in all these respects God's people have been driven from their houses.

III. WHY DOTH GOD SUFFER THIS TO BEFALL HIS OWN PEOPLE; THAT HIS OWN SERVANTS AND DEAREST CHILDREN SHOULD BE DRIVEN OUT OF THEIR HOUSES AND HABITATIONS? In general it is for their good. Hereby first a man may be, and is, if godly, emptied of that slime and filth that did lie within him. The sea water, though it be exceeding salt, and very brackish, yet if it run through several earths, the brackishness is lost thereby, as we find in all sweetest springs which, as philosophers say, come from the sea, and lose the saltness of the sea water by running through the earths: and in experience if you take water, though it be salt in your hand, yet if you cause it to pass through divers earths it will lose that saltness: so that though there may be much saltness and brackishness in the spirits of men, yet if the Lord by His providence cause them to pass through divers earths, it is a special means to lose that brackish, brinish disposition, and to grow more quiet, sweet, and savoury. Again, thereby sometimes the saints, though unwillingly, are carried from greater judgments that are coming upon the places where they dwell and live. Thereby also truth and knowledge is carried and scattered into other places, many shall run to and fro, "and knowledge shall be increased," etc: Thereby a man is fitted and prepared for God's own house, and those revelations and manifestations that God hath to communicate to him concerning the house of God. A man is never more fit to see the beauty of God's house, than when he is driven from his own.

IV. WHAT SHALL WE DO, THAT IF IT SHALL PLEASE THE LORD TO DRIVE US OUT OF OUR HOUSES AND HABITATIONS AS WELL AS OUR BRETHREN, WE MAY BOTH PREPARE FOR IT, AND SO CARRY THE MATTER, AS WE MAY BE PATIENTLY AND SWEETLY SUPPORTED IN THAT ESTATE? By way of preparation, for the present, before that condition come, and the Lord grant it may never come, be sure of this, that you make good your interest in God Himself, clear up your evidence for heaven, your assurance of God in Christ. Learn now before the rainy day come to be dead unto all the world. The man that is dying is senseless, not affected with the cries of his children, wife, and friends that stand round about him; though they weep and wring their hands, he is not stirred, why? because being a dying man he is dead to them; and if you be dead to your houses, liberties, and estates aforehand, you will be able to buckle and grapple with that condition: so it was with Paul who died daily. Be sure of this also, that you take heed now of all those things that may make your condition uncomfortable then. There are three things that will make that condition very uncomfortable: pride, wanton abuse of your creature comforts, and unwillingness to lay them out in the case of God. But in case this evil feared should come, and who knows how soon it may? then some things are to be practised, and some things considered. By way of practice. If it pleased the Lord to bring you or me or any of us into this sad condition, first humble yourselves, accept of the punishment of your iniquity, kiss the rod, and say, the Lord is righteous in all that is come upon you; so did Daniel (Daniel 9:6). Then be sure you bless and praise the Lord for that little that you have left; and if nothing be left, praise God for others that are free from your condition. Again, by way of consideration. Though such a condition as this be exceeding sad and very lamentable, yet consider this, that it is not any new thing that doth befall you, but such as befalls the saints and best of God's servants. Consider the way that God takes ordinarily to bring His people to mercy. He seldom brings them. to any. mercy but He brings them about by the way of the contrary misery. Consider seriously with yourselves what that is which you leave, what the cause is that you do leave it for, and who it is you do leave it with: you leave your house, your habitation, your land, your riches, which shortly would leave you, whose wings are like the wings of an eagle, strong to fly again; you leave it for your God, your country, your religion. And is that lost which you do lose for truth? Is there any loss in losing for Jesus Christ? If you would have comfort and supportance in that condition, consider seriously and much how God hath dealt with His people that have been thus served and used. And if you look into Scripture, you shall find that He still hath provided for them, given them favour in the places where they have come, and brought them back again from those places into which they have been scattered. He hath provided for them.

(W. Bridge, M. A.)

Assyrians, Egyptians, Jeremiah
Assyria, Egypt, Mount Zion, Zion
Black, Burning, Famine, Feverish, Gloweth, Heat, Heated, Hot, Hunger, Oven, Raging, Skin, Terrible
1. A complaint of Zion in prayer unto God.

Dictionary of Bible Themes
Lamentations 5:10

     4829   heat
     5182   skin
     5321   furnace
     5435   ovens

Whether an Angel Needs Grace in Order to Turn to God?
Objection 1: It would seem that the angel had no need of grace in order to turn to God. For, we have no need of grace for what we can accomplish naturally. But the angel naturally turns to God: because he loves God naturally, as is clear from what has been said ([543]Q[60], A[5]). Therefore an angel did not need grace in order to turn to God. Objection 2: Further, seemingly we need help only for difficult tasks. Now it was not a difficult task for the angel to turn to God; because there was no obstacle
Saint Thomas Aquinas—Summa Theologica

Man's Inability to Keep the Moral Law
Is any man able perfectly to keep the commandments of God? No mere man, since the fall, is able in this life perfectly to keep the commandments of God, but does daily break them, in thought, word, and deed. In many things we offend all.' James 3: 2. Man in his primitive state of innocence, was endowed with ability to keep the whole moral law. He had rectitude of mind, sanctity of will, and perfection of power. He had the copy of God's law written on his heart; no sooner did God command but he obeyed.
Thomas Watson—The Ten Commandments

The book familiarly known as the Lamentations consists of four elegies[1] (i., ii., iii., iv.) and a prayer (v.). The general theme of the elegies is the sorrow and desolation created by the destruction of Jerusalem[2] in 586 B.C.: the last poem (v.) is a prayer for deliverance from the long continued distress. The elegies are all alphabetic, and like most alphabetic poems (cf. Ps. cxix.) are marked by little continuity of thought. The first poem is a lament over Jerusalem, bereft, by the siege,
John Edgar McFadyen—Introduction to the Old Testament

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