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Commentary » Lamentations 5:7-Lamentations 5:18 » Family-Times.net
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Joy Was Replaced by Sadness And Mourning

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In 1838, on the night when the slaves were set free in Jamaica, a large mahogany coffin was made and a grave was dug. Into that coffin the liberated slaves threw the reminders of their former life of slavery-whips, torture irons, branding irons, coarse frocks and shirts, large ha … More


Judah’s forefathers, now dead, grievously disobeyed God and passed on to their descendants the penalty of their transgressions (v. 7). Although the people now are not innocent they do recognize the previous generations’ sins and their effect. Babylon appointed cruel taskmasters who forced the people of Judah into slavery and to submit to them (v. 8). The severe conditions and scarcity of food prompted the people to take desperate means for survival (vv. 9-10).

The people are now ruled by those who were formerly servants, and they must risk their lives to obtain their daily food. Probably the sword they had to brave was carried by the bands of roving desert Bedouins through whose area the people of Judah had to travel in order to buy bread. It is evident that slavery, peril and famine has transformed Judah’s order into chaos. Women were ravished (v. 11), princes slain (v. 12), elders dishonored (vv. 12-14) and young people enslaved (vv. 13, 14).

Joy is turned into mourning (vv. 14-18). The gate was not only for conducting public affairs, but was also a place of assembly for social entertainment. All public meetings and enjoyment have been suspended. Judah has fallen from her position of honor and power among the nations. She recognizes the cause as sin. This sorrow culminates in the realization that Mount Zion lies in desolation. The holy mount on which the house of God stood is now desolate and overrun by wild animals.


I want to be quick to recognize sin in my life and confess it before I become a slave to it.

Lamentations 5:7-18 (English Standard Version)

Our fathers sinned, and are no more; and we bear their iniquities. Slaves rule over us; there is none to deliver us from their hand. We get our bread at the peril of our lives, because of the sword in the wilderness. Our skin is hot as an oven with the burning heat of famine. Women are raped in Zion, young women in the towns of Judah. Princes are hung up by their hands; no respect is shown to the elders. Young men are compelled to grind at the mill, and boys stagger under loads of wood. The old men have left the city gate, the young men their music. The joy of our hearts has ceased; our dancing has been turned to mourning. The crown has fallen from our head; woe to us, for we have sinned! For this our heart has become sick, for these things our eyes have grown dim, for Mount Zion which lies desolate; jackals prowl over it.

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