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And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. John 8:32


By H. A. (Buster) Dobbs
I.  Introduction.
    A.  The author.
        1.  The human agent by whom this book came is not known with 
            a.  Most of the book was written at a time of calamity for 
            b.  It fits with the destruction of Jerusalem in the days of 
            c.  The references to Egypt and the personal distress and 
                persecution of the writer all point to Jeremiah as the writer 
                of at least a major portion of the book.
            d.  For more information on the life of Jeremiah, see the 
                outline on the written prophecy of Jeremiah.
        2.  The Jews credit the book of Lamentations, at least a major 
            portion of it, to Jeremiah.
        3.  It is possible the book was written by more than one human 
            author and therefore it is not credited to anyone.
            a.  The book bears the marks of inspiration and that points to 
                a superhuman source.
            b.  Though the information came from God the Spirit by 
                revelation, the literary style, vocabulary, and education of 
                the human agent is preserved.
    B.  The background (a brief history of the city of Jerusalem from 
        the time of the conquest of Canaan to the time of Jesus).
        1.  When the Jews took Canaan under the leadership of Joshua, 
            a part of the city was occupied. The Jebusites were not forced 
            out of Jerusalem (Joshua 15:63; Judges 1:21).
        2.  David defeated the Jebusites and made Jerusalem the capital 
            (2 Sam. 2:6; 1 Chron. 11:4).
        3.  In the reign of Rehoboam, son of Solomon, Shishak of Egypt 
            defeated Jerusalem and took away "the treasures of the house 
            of the Lord" (1 Kings 14:25; 2 Chron. 12:2-9).
        4.  During the reign of Amaziah in Jerusalem, Joash of Israel 
            invaded Jerusalem, broke down 600 feet of the wall of the 
            city, and took away "all the gold and silver, and all the vessels 
            that were found in the house of God" (2 Chron. 25:20-24).
        5.  When Zedekiah ruled in Jerusalem, Nebuchadnezzar, king of 
            Babylon, invaded the land and destroyed the city, its wall, and 
            its temple, taking away "all the vessels of the house of God, 
            great and small" (2 Chron. 36:17-22).
        6.  Under Zerubbabel and Ezra the city temple rebuilt and the 
            city restored (Ezra 3:1 to 6:22).
        7.  Antiochus Epiphanes of Syria invaded Jerusalem, destroyed 
            the walls, sacked the city, and desecrated the temple.
        8.  Pompey, a Roman general, in 63 B.C., defeated Jerusalem, 
            tore down the walls and put the Jews under Roman control.
        9.  Under Herod the Great, a vassal of Rome, the city was 
            restored and the temple rebuilt in splendor. This was the 
            temple of Jesus' day.
        10.  Jesus prophesied the destruction of the temple and the city 
             by the Romans (Matt. 24:4-31). To this day the temple and 
             its wall have not been rebuilt.
II.  The Book.
     A.  Introduction.
         1.  The book of Lamentations is five chapters long and 
             expresses sorrow over the destruction of Jerusalem and its 
             temple, and other misfortunes of the Jews.
         2.  The book is a poem in alphabetical style (like the 119th 
             Psalm). Each chapter begins with a different letter of the 22 
             letter Hebrew alphabet, except the third chapter where the 
             first three verses begin with the first letter, the second 
             three with the second letter, and so on through the 22 letter 
             Hebrew alphabet. Each chapter has 22 verses, except the 
             third chapter which, of course, has 66 verses.
     B.  Solitary and ruined (1:1 to 2:22).
         1.  Prophecy fulfilled (1:1-22).
             a.  The city is deserted (1:1-11).
             b.  The people suffer  (1:12-17).
             c.  Jehovah is vindicated (1:18-22).
         2.  Jeremiah grieves over the condition of Jerusalem (2:1-22).
             a.  Jehovah, not Nebuchadnezzar, is the cause of Jerusalem's 
                 grief (2:1-19).
             b.  God's fierce anger is awful (2:20-22).
     C.  The suffering of Jeremiah (3:1-66).
         1.  The faithful mourn their hardship (3:1-21).
         2.  In hope they wait for the salvation of the Lord (3:22-36). 
             a.  The unceasing mercies of God.
             b.  Jehovah is the  secret of hope.
             c.  Suffering is only for a season.
         3.  God is just and his ways are right (3:37-54).
         4.  A prayer for deliverance (3:55-66).
     D.  The people suffer (4:1-22).
         1.  The gold is dimmed (4:1-12).
             a.  The innocent suffer.
             b.  The rich are impoverished.
             c.  Worse than Sodom.
             d.  Features are black as coal.
             e.  To die by the sword is better than to die from hunger.
             f.  Women boil and eat their own children.
             g.  The suffering is unbelievable.
     E.  A pitiful complaint (5:1-22).
         1.  Insult and abuse have been piled on Jerusalem (5:1-18).
         2.  Final appeal to God for the reversal of the judgment 
         3.  After punishment comes restoration.

H. A. "Buster" Dobbs, email:
P. O. Box 690192
Houston, Texas 77269-0192
(281) 469-3540

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