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Lamentations 5 New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

Chapter 5

The Community’s Lament to the Lord

Remember, Lord, what has happened to us,
    pay attention, and see our disgrace:
Our heritage is turned over to strangers,
    our homes, to foreigners.
We have become orphans, without fathers;
    our mothers are like widows.
We pay money to drink our own water,
    our own wood comes at a price.
With a yoke on our necks, we are driven;
    we are worn out, but allowed no rest.

We extended a hand to Egypt and Assyria,
    to satisfy our need of bread.[a]
Our ancestors, who sinned, are no more;
    but now we bear their guilt.
Servants[b] rule over us,
    with no one to tear us from their hands.
We risk our lives just to get bread,
    exposed to the desert heat;
10 Our skin heats up like an oven,
    from the searing blasts of famine.

11 Women are raped in Zion,
    young women in the cities of Judah;
12 Princes have been hanged by them,
    elders shown no respect.
13 Young men carry millstones,
    boys stagger under loads of wood;
14 The elders have abandoned the gate,[c]
    the young men their music.

15 The joy of our hearts has ceased,
    dancing has turned into mourning;
16 The crown has fallen from our head:
    woe to us that we sinned!
17 Because of this our hearts grow sick,
    at this our eyes grow dim:
18 Because of Mount Zion, lying desolate,
    and the jackals roaming there!

19 But you, Lord, are enthroned forever;
    your throne stands from age to age.
20 [d]Why have you utterly forgotten us,
    forsaken us for so long?
21 Bring us back to you, Lord, that we may return:
    renew our days as of old.
22 For now you have indeed rejected us
    and utterly turned your wrath against us.


  1. 5:6 Extended a hand: that is, made an alliance. In its state of abjection, Judah was forced to depend on the major powers to the west and the east for subsistence.
  2. 5:8 Servants: the Hebrew word for “servant” is also the word used for an official of relatively high status (servant of the ruler; cf. 2 Kgs 25:24, where the term is used to refer to Babylonian rulers over occupied Jerusalem); the author doubtless intends the double meaning here.
  3. 5:14 The gate: a place of assembly, where city decisions were made and judgment given by the elders and other community leaders; see note on Ru 4:1.
  4. 5:20–22 Unlike most of the laments found in the Book of Psalms, the Book of Lamentations never moves from lament to thanksgiving. It ends with this question still unanswered by God: “Why have you utterly forgotten us?”
New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

Scripture texts, prefaces, introductions, footnotes and cross references used in this work are taken from the New American Bible, revised edition © 2010, 1991, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, Inc., Washington, DC All Rights Reserved. No part of this work may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the copyright owner.

Lamentations 5 New International Version (NIV)

Remember, Lord, what has happened to us;
    look, and see our disgrace.
Our inheritance has been turned over to strangers,
    our homes to foreigners.
We have become fatherless,
    our mothers are widows.
We must buy the water we drink;
    our wood can be had only at a price.
Those who pursue us are at our heels;
    we are weary and find no rest.
We submitted to Egypt and Assyria
    to get enough bread.
Our ancestors sinned and are no more,
    and we bear their punishment.
Slaves rule over us,
    and there is no one to free us from their hands.
We get our bread at the risk of our lives
    because of the sword in the desert.
10 Our skin is hot as an oven,
    feverish from hunger.
11 Women have been violated in Zion,
    and virgins in the towns of Judah.
12 Princes have been hung up by their hands;
    elders are shown no respect.
13 Young men toil at the millstones;
    boys stagger under loads of wood.
14 The elders are gone from the city gate;
    the young men have stopped their music.
15 Joy is gone from our hearts;
    our dancing has turned to mourning.
16 The crown has fallen from our head.
    Woe to us, for we have sinned!
17 Because of this our hearts are faint,
    because of these things our eyes grow dim
18 for Mount Zion, which lies desolate,
    with jackals prowling over it.

19 You, Lord, reign forever;
    your throne endures from generation to generation.
20 Why do you always forget us?
    Why do you forsake us so long?
21 Restore us to yourself, Lord, that we may return;
    renew our days as of old
22 unless you have utterly rejected us
    and are angry with us beyond measure.

New International Version (NIV)

Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

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