Lamentations Lesson 1
“The Wailing Wall of the Bible”
THEME: Jeremiah’s sorrow over the terrible destructions of Jerusalem by the Babylonians and the suffering and sorrow that fell on her people as they were carried away as slaves into captivity are seen throughout this book.
DATE: David’s glorious kingdom was established about 1000 B.C. God’s blessings prevailed for nearly 400 years. The Assyrians had carried away the northern kingdom in 721 B.C. Jerusalem was spared 115 more years before the people’s sin provoked God to release judgment upon them through the nation of Babylon and under the direction and leadership of King Nebuchadnezzar.
WRITER: Jeremiah – The Book of Jeremiah gives us more details of the life, method and work of this Old Testament prophet than we have of any other prophet.
1. He was born a priest, but he became a prophet by the divine call of God. 2. He was called to the prophetic office through a vision. (Jer. 1:1-4) 3. He is presented as one of the grandest men of the Old Testament History. 4. He is referred to as “the son of Hilkiah” to distinguish him from others by the same name and his priestly origin. 5. He was called before his birth. (Jer. 1:5) 6. He was consecrated to God. 7. He was distinguished by his humility and modesty. 8. He labored for more than forty years. 9. Jeremiah sang his song in the minor key. 10. He wished that his head were “waters” and his eyes “a fountain of tears” (Jer. 9:1).
Seven other Jeremiahs are listed in the Bible and are to be distinguished from this great prophet of God.
WRITTEN: In five different poetic sections, all lamenting the tragic destruction of Jerusalem by the Babylonians.
The first, second and fourth poems (ch. 1, 2 and 4) are each twenty-two verses long, the first letter of each corresponding to the letters of the Hebrew alphabet in an acrostic. The third, or center poem (ch. 3) is built on the same principle, except that each letter of the alphabet is repeated three times, totaling sixty-six verses. The fifth poem (ch. 5) drops the acrostic use of the alphabet. This particular section has to do with the fall of Jerusalem and the terrible sufferings connected with her overthrow.
Dr. J. Vernon McGee writes: “The book is filled with tears and sorrow. It is a paean of pain, a poem of pity, a proverb of pathos, a hymn of heartbreak, a psalm of sadness, a symphony of sorrow. It is the Wailing Wall of the Bible.”
THE BOOK: Number in the Bible: 25 of 66 books in the Bible. Number of chapters: 5. Number of verses: 154. Number in the order of writing 3rd of 5 books of major prophecy.
PURPOSE: To unveil the great, loving heart of Jehovah. He chastens them, yet He loves them. God’s sorrow and love are demonstrated through the heart of expressions of Jeremiah. The feelings, deep emotions of sorrow, and humiliation expressed by the mouth-piece of Jehovah, Jeremiah, were produced by the Spirit of Christ in the heart of the prophet.
DIVISIONS: Chapter 1: Jerusalem’s Great Desolation and Sorrow of His People. Chapter 2: What the Lord Has Done. Chapter 3: The Prophet’s Suffering and Distress. Chapter 4: Departed Glory and the Cup of Shame. Chapter 5: Prayer of Hope.
FACTS: We see a picture of the Lord Jesus in Jeremiah’s suffering. The people who rejected and persecuted the prophet portray the religious leaders of Israel who rejected their Messiah. The name “LORD” used in Lamentations is the name “Jehovah.” This name designates the covenant-keeping God, the God of redemption, and therefore is a reflection of the Lord Jesus Christ. In Halley’s Handbook, Lamentations is referred to as a “funeral dirge over the desolation of Jerusalem.” The last chapter of Jeremiah, about the burning of Jerusalem and the beginning of the Babylonian exile, should be read as an introduction to the Book of Lamentations. To this day, throughout the world wherever there are Jews, the Book of Lamentations is read in the synagogues on the ninth day of the fourth month (Jer. 52:6) in remembrance of the destruction of Jerusalem. Someone has said, “This hymn of sorrow is written…every letter with a tear…every word with the sound of a broken heart.” The place where Jeremiah wept his bitter tears outside the city of Jerusalem is the very place where the cross on which Christ was crucified stood 600 years later.
OUTLINE: I. PROVOKING GOD: 1. II. PUNISHMEN FROM GOD: 2. III. PROPHET OF GOD: 3. IV. PEOPLE OF GOD: 4. V. PRAYER TO GOD: 5.
MISCELLANEOUS: ANALYSIS OF THE BOOK OF LAMENTATIONS (Dr. R. G. Lee)
First Poem (Ch. 1): The city represented as a weeping widow mourning in solitude. Second Poem (Ch. 2): The city represented as a veiled woman mourning against ruins. Third Poem (Ch. 3): The city represented as the weeping prophet mourning before Jehovah the Judge. Fourth Poem (Ch.4): The city represented as gold dimmed, changed and degraded. Fifth Poem (Ch. 5): The city represented as a repentant, begging sinner pleading with the Lord.
Dr. Henrietta Mears points out that Lamentations is not all sorrow. Above the clouds of the poet’s weeping over sins of his people, God’s sun is shining (see Lam. 3:22-27). Here the light breaks through to show a shining rainbow across the murky sky. God’s sunshine of grace is always shining above the clouds of sin. This book indicates that God will give “beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness” (Isa. 61:3)
Simply click the “Take the Quiz” Button to the right. Have your KJV Bible with you, and look up the answers to the questions on the quiz. You can then answer the questions from the Bible, (Open Book Test)