Lamentations 5:8

Slaves rule over us, and there is no one to free us from their hands.

When did it happen?

  • Lamentations, as Psalms or Proverbs, is a poetic book, and its language or expressions should not be taken (very) literally. Have you tried reading the verse in context ? – Lucian Jun 7 at 10:05

Gill offers this explanation:

Servants have ruled over us.
"the sons of Ham, who were given to be servants to the sons of Shem, they have ruled over us;''

Alternatively, from the literary perspective, Jeremiah might have used the term slaves as some unworthy persons.

Jeremiah 39:3

Then all the officials of the king of Babylon came and took seats in the Middle Gate: Nergal-Sharezer of Samgar, Nebo-Sarsekim a chief officer, Nergal-Sharezer a high official and all the other officials of the king of Babylon.

This verse includes people of high-born and possibly people of low-born who were servants/slaves of Nebuchadnezzar.

When did slaves rule over the Israelites?

It happened after the Fall of Jerusalem. Note the plural slaves. There were different authority levels of rulers. Some of these rulers were unworthy people according to Jeremiah.


The Babylonean society knew 4 levels in hiearchy

  1. The King
  2. Awilu (upper class, oligarchy)
  3. Mushkenu (lower free class)
  4. Wardu (slaves)

It describes the very low hierarchy of the Hebrew captives in Baylon. Slaves were the lowest in hierarchy. Now, if it is right what Lam 5:8 states, the state of the Hebrew captives was lower than the one of the slaves; slaves were appearently authorised to command or supervise them.

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