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22 May, 2017

Search The Scriptures —Study 4 —Lamentations 4

Study 4 From the Book of Lamentations is: Lamentations 4

1.     Make a list of the statements in this chapter which emphasize the extraordinary severity of the divine judgment.  Notice how all the classes of the community are affected.  What is the particular cause here assigned for so great a calamity? Cf. Je. 23:9-14.
2.     With verse 17, cf. Je. 2:36, 37; 7, 8; and with verse 20, cf. Ps. 146:3, 4; Je. 17: 5, 6.
1.     Verse 6a. Note the variants in mg.
2.     Verse 20. A reference to King Zedekiah; cf. Je. 39:4-7

21 May, 2017

Search The Scriptures —Study 3 — Lamentations 3

Study 3 From the Book of Lamentations is: Lamentations 3

1.     In verses 1-20 the poet, speaking in the name of the community, pours out his heart ‘like water before the presence of the Lord’ (2:19). Notice the change from the minor to the major key at verse 21. What causes it? Do the psalmists’ experiences in Pss. 42:1-5 and 73:16, 17a provide a clue?
2.     Consider how remarkable is the appearance here, in verse 22-42, of such a noble expression of assurance concerning God’s mercies. What aspects of God’s character are most emphasized in these verses, and what should be our attitude of mind an spirit in time of affliction or chastisement? Cf. Joel 2:12-14. Why is it both foolish and wrong for a man to complain and murmur in time of chastisement (verses 37-39)? Cf. Je. 5:19-24; Pr. 19:3.
3.     In verses 43-54 the poet, in the name of the people, again pours out his heart before the Lord and, having done so, is strengthened to pray again, and receives comfort.  What is his prayer (verses 55-66)? What factors in the poet’s situation might lead us not to judge this prayer for requital too harshly?
1.     Verse 20. An alternative reading is, ‘Thou wilt surely remember and bow down to me’ (Gottwald)
2.     Verse 38.  The word ‘evil’ is used here in the sense of misfortune or calamity. Cf. Am. 3:6; Is. 45:7.
3.     Verse 63. Cf. Jb. 30:9

20 May, 2017

Search The Scriptures —Study 2 — Lamentations 2

Study 2 From the Book of Lamentations is: Lamentations 2

Verses 1-9 deal particularly with the devastation of buildings in Judah and Jerusalem, and the rest of the chapter with the sufferings of various classes of the inhabitants.
1.     Try to imagine the desolation here portrayed and the intensity of the people’s sorrow. Cf. 1:12. What is said of God’s right hand in verses 3:4?  Contrast with this such passages as Ex. 15:6, 12: Pss. 63:8; 139:10.
2.     What evidence in this chapter suggests that already the disaster of the judgment is having one of its intended effects? Cf. 2 Ch. 7:13, 14. Are we, as God’s children, as sensitive as we ought to be to His disciplinary dealings?
1.     Verse 2 ‘Habitations’: i.e., country dwelling as opposed to ‘strongholds’.
2.     Verse 4. ‘Tent’ here denote the city.
3.     Verse 6a refers to the Temple. ‘He has broken down his tabernacle like a garden hut’ (Gotwald)
4.     Verse 22a. Instead of summoning worshipers to a festival, God has called together ‘terrors on every side’, so that none of His people escaped. Cf.Is

19 May, 2017

Search The Scriptures —Study 1 — Lamentations 1

Study 1 From the Book of Lamentations is: Lamentations 1
Verses 1-11 depict the covenant people in the guise of a widow.  The second half of the chapter is a lament by the desolate widow herself.
1.     What ingredients make up Jerusalem’s cup of sorrow, e.g., loneliness, bereavement, reversal of fortune, etc.? Make a list of them. How and why had Jerusalem come to such a pass? See especially verse 5, 8, 9, 12, 14, 17, 18, 20; and cf. Heb. 10:29-31; Lv. 26:27-33.
2.     Do you find any note of resentment in this complaint? ‘The sense of tragedy is heightened by the recognition that it was avoidable.’ What is commendable in the attitude of this chapter? Note verse 18, and cf. Ps. 51: 3, 4; Dn. 9:6-8; Rom. 3: 4-6.
1.     Verse 2. ‘Lovers… friend’s i.e., neighboring peoples with whom the had sought alliance. Cf. Je. 30:14
2.     Verse 6. ‘Her princes…’: cf. Je. 39:4, 5.

18 May, 2017

Search The Scriptures —Study 0 — Introduction to Lamentations Book

Study 0 From the Book of Lamentations is: Introduction to Lamentations

The book of Lamentations consists of five songs or elegies, the theme of which is the sorrows of Judah and Jerusalem in the siege and destruction of the city.  The cause of these calamities is traced to the sin of the people bringing God’s judgment upon them, and the songs contain confessions of sin, statements of faith and hope, and prayer for the restoration of God’s favour.
Tradition from the time of the Lxx has assigned the authorship of the songs to the prophet Jeremiah.  In the Hebrew Bible, however, the book is anonymous, and is placed not among ‘The Prophets’, but in the section known as ‘The Writings’. The book certainly has close affinities with Jeremiah. Chapter 1-4 seem to be the work of an eye-witness of Jerusalem’s fall; and if not by Jeremiah himself, may well be the work of one of more of his associates, such as Baruch. Chapter 5 probably dates from a slightly later period.
The songs are written in acrostic form. In chapters 1, 2 and 4 each verse begins with a fresh letter of the Hebrew alphabet in order. In chapter 5 the acrostic form is not followed.  This acrostic arrangement is partly an aid to memorization, but also seems intended to give a sense of completeness in confession of sin and grief.  

17 May, 2017

Search The Scriptures —Study 35 — Jeremiah 51:59 – 52:34

Study 35 From the Book of Jeremiah is: Jeremiah 51:59 – 52:34

With this study, we end the book of Jeremiah. Tomorrow we will start with the book of Lamentations.
1.     51:59-64. Note the date of this incident.  AT the time, Babylon was rising to the height of her power and glory, and Jeremiah was convinced that she would enjoy complete supremacy over the nations. See chapter 28 which belongs to the same year.  How, then, does this commission which Jeremiah gives to Seriah illustrate the truth of Heb. 11:1, that ‘faith is…the conviction of things not seen’?
2.     Chapter 52 is very similar to the 2 Ki. 24:18-25:30. It tells once more the story of the fall of Jerusalem, the destruction of the Temple and the captivity of the people, perhaps to emphasize how complete was the fulfillment of Jeremiah’s words.  For example, compare verse 3 with 7:15; verse 6 with 14:15-18; verses 8:11 with 34:3; verse 13 with 7:14; 9:11; 19:13; 32:28, 29; verse 15 with 16:9-13; 21:9; verses 18, 19 with 27:19-22. See 1:12. Do you believe this, and live by it?
Note. 52:24. ‘The three keepers of the threshold’: denoting three high officials of the Temple who had charge of the three gates.

16 May, 2017

Search The Scriptures —Study 34 — Jeremiah 51: 1-58

Study 34 From the Book of Jeremiah is: Jeremiah 51: 1-58

This chapter may be divided as follows: Babylon’s doom and Israel’s vindication (verses 1-10); summons to the attackers to press home their assault (verses 11-14); The Lord in contrast to idols (verses 15-19); the Lord’s fierce anger against Babylon (verses 20-26); capture of the city (verses 27-33); Israel’s wrong avenged: let her hasten her escape (verses 34-57); summing up God’s judgment upon Babylon (verse 58).
1.     In the time of her prosperity the idols of Babylon seemed powerful and mighty; but now in the hour of her fall how do they appear? See verses 15-19, and cf., 1, 2; Ps. 146: 5-10
2.     What, according to chapters 50 and 51, were the sins of Babylon which called down upon her such terrible vengeance? How far are these sins prevalent in the world today?
1.     Verse 1. Note mg. The Hebrew means literally ‘the heart of those who rise up against me’.
2.     Verse 3a. The Hebrew is difficult. Either it means that the defenders of Babylon need not trouble to fight, for it will be of no avail (cf. verse 30; 31:4; 32:5b); or the text is to be amended, e.g., by omission of the negatives.
3.     Verse 20. A reference to Cyrus, the conqueror of Babylon.
4.     Verse 27. ‘Ararat, Mimi and Ashkenaz’ were three peoples north of Babylonia earlier conquered by the Medes.
5.     Verse 36. ‘Her sea’: perhaps a reference to the great lake Nebuchadrezzar constructed for the defence of the city, or perhaps to the Euphrates.
6.     Verse 55a. ‘Her mighty voice’: i.e., the noise of the great city. Verse 55b refers to the roar of the attackers.
7.     Verse 58c. ‘So ends the toil of nations, ends in smoke, and pagans waste their pains’ (Moffatt).