|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
5:17-22 The people of God express deep concern for the ruins of the temple, more than for any other of their calamities. But whatever changes there are on earth, God is still the same, and remains for ever wise and holy, just and good; with Him there is no variableness nor shadow of turning. They earnestly pray to God for mercy and grace; Turn us to thee, O Lord. God never leaves any till they first leave him; if he turns them to him in a way of duty, no doubt he will quickly return to them in a way of mercy. If God by his grace renew our hearts, he will by his favour renew our days. Troubles may cause our hearts to be faint, and our eyes to be dim, but the way to the mercy-seat of our reconciled God is open. Let us, in all our trials, put our whole trust and confidence in his mercy; let us confess our sins, and pour out our hearts before him. Let us watch against repinings and despondency; for we surely know, that it shall be well in the end with all that trust in, fear, love, and serve the Lord. Are not the Lord's judgments in the earth the same as in Jeremiah's days? Let Zion then be remembered by us in our prayers, and her welfare be sought above every earthly joy. Spare, Lord, spare thy people, and give not thine heritage to reproach, for the heathen to rule over them.
Verse 20. - Wherefore dost thou forget us, etc.? The poet does not say," Wherefore hast thou forgotten us?" One of the psalmists, indeed, does go so far (Psalm 74:1); but the poet of this lamentation, with a more tender and trustful reserve, adopts the tense of feeling (the imperfect) in preference to that of fact (the perfect), and asks, "Wherefore dost thou [to my feeling] forget us? Wherefore, if Jehovah's power is still unbroken, does he allow Israel to feel herself forsaken?" The fact is certain, viz. that the land of Israel is desolate, and (the poet seems to imply) desolate for some time already. The interpretation is hypothetical, and, as the last verse will show, the poet cannot bring himself to believe that it can be accurate.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
Wherefore dost thou, forget us for ever,.... Since thou art firm, constant, and unchangeable, and thy love and covenant the same. God seems to forget his people when he afflicts them, or suffers them to be oppressed, and does not arise immediately for their help; which being deferred some time, looks like an eternity to them, or they fear it will ever be so; at least this they say to express their eager desire after his gracious presence, and to show how much they prize it:
and forsake us so long time? or, "to length of days" (d)? so long as the seventy years' captivity; which to be forsaken of God, or to seem to be forsaken of him, was with them a long time.
(d) "in longitudinem dierum", Pagninus, Montanus.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
20. for ever—that is, for "so long a time."
Lamentations 5:20 Parallel Commentaries
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