The book of Jeremiah is Prophetic Oracle and Narrative History, although not completely in chronological order. The prophet Jeremiah wrote it sometime during his ministry about 626-586 B.C. Key personalities are the many kings Judah, Baruch, Ebdemelech, King Nebuchadnezzar, and the Rechabites. Its purpose was to warn of the destruction that they were about to face and to urge Judah to return and submit to God. Jeremiah was a priest who God calls to be His prophet. Jeremiah identifies their sins and treachery, as he wants them to realize the serious condition of their sinful ways. He then gives prophecies of the coming king and the New Covenant that would be made. • In chapters 1-10, God calls Jeremiah and proclaims, “I have put My words in your mouth” (1:9). Jeremiah condemns Judah for their sins and attacks their faithlessness, obviously angry over their blatant sin. • Chapters 11-28, Jeremiah warned of the destruction that would be poured out on Judah. He writes about God’s hard dispense of holy anger. At one point God says, “I will not listen when they call to Me because of their disaster” (12:14). A lot of the wickedness that angered God was the constant worship of false idols and gods, and the sacrifices they were burning to them. • From chapters 29-38, Jeremiah writes about the New Covenant and the hope that God would bring when He delivers them after the captivity. King Zedekiah who did not heed his warning throws Jeremiah into prison and then into a cistern. Nevertheless, Jeremiah warned that the King would fall into the hands of the King of Babylon. • Chapters 39-52, Jeremiah records the events of the fall of Jerusalem in 586 B.C. As many prophets had announced in the past, the Empire of Babylon indeed laid siege to Jerusalem and the land of Judah. This completes the exile of both kingdoms, the Northern Kingdom in 722 B.C. and now the Southern Kingdom in 586 B.C. As Jeremiah had declared in 37:17, King Zedekiah was captured and his son murdered in his presence, he was blinded, bound and dragged off to Babylon in captivity. • In chapter 50, God promises to rescue His nation from captivity. In verse 17-18 God declares, “Israel is a scattered flock, the lions have driven them away. The first one who devoured him was the king of Assyria, and the last one who has broken his bones is Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon. Therefore thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel: Behold, I am going to punish the king of Babylon and his land, just as I punished the king of Assyria.” The capital of Assyria was destroyed so severely it was not discovered until the 19th century A.D.
The book of Zechariah is Narrative History, Prophetic, and Apocalyptic in the genre. It is a post-exilic book, meaning it was written after (post) the return from captivity (exile) in Babylon. The prophet Zechariah wrote chapters 1-8 approximately 520-518 B.C. (Before the temple completed), and then wrote chapters 9-14 approximately 480 B.C. (After the temple is completed). Zechariah is among the most precisely dated books in the Bible. Key personalities are Zechariah, Zerubbabel, and Joshua. The purpose of this book is that Zechariah wrote to encourage the remnant, who had recently returned from exile. Their faith in God was weak and they were not motivated to build the temple. They needed to learn and conform to the law of God again. • In chapters 1-8, Zechariah recorded his visions, encouraged the people to reinstate the priesthood, and other religious laws that were forgotten during the 70-year exile. Zechariah gives great hope and encouragement about the coming Messiah Jesus Christ, who will set up His throne and rule as the mighty Branch, the High Priest, who will offer up the perfect sacrifice for the sins of the world. “Then say to him, ‘Thus says the LORD of hosts, “Behold, a man whose name is Branch, for He will branch out from where He is; and He will build the temple of the LORD. “Yes, it is He who will build the temple of the LORD, and He who will bear the honor and sit and rule on His throne. Thus, He will be a priest on His throne, and the counsel of peace will be between the two offices” (6:12-13). • Chapters 9-14 are difficult passages to understand, many are prophetic and apocalyptic. Zechariah writes judgment against the neighboring enemies. Most importantly he declared the first coming of the Messiah who would be mounted on a donkey (9:9), His betrayal (11:12), and His crucifixion (12:10). Finally, he writes about the Second Coming of Jesus Christ descending from heaven the same way He had left in Acts 1:11, in the clouds. “In that day His feet will stand on the Mount of Olives, which is in front of Jerusalem on the east; and the Mount of Olives will be split in its middle from east to west by a very large valley, so that half of the mountain will move toward the north and the other half toward the south” (14:4).
The book of Song of Solomon is a large love poem filled with smaller poems of different kinds. Solomon is the author and he wrote it sometime during his reign 970-930 B.C. It is a story of a bridegroom who is in love with his bride. Key personalities are King Solomon, the Shulammite girl, and friends. The story greatly emphasizes the sanctity of marriage and that it is designed, blessed, and consecrated in the eyes of the Lord. The purpose of “Song of Songs”, as it is also called, is a picture of God’s love for His people. Although there is explicit sexual content, it is a book in which we can learn the depths of God’s authentic love for us and what should be in the sacredness of marriage. • In chapters 1-3, Solomon writes of the courtship and engagement of the Beloved (Solomon) and the Lover (Shulammite girl), “My beloved responded and said to me, ‘Arise, my darling, my beautiful one, and come along” (2:10). • Chapters 3-4, we read of the marriage ceremony of the bride to the bridegroom, “Go forth, O daughters of Zion, and gaze on King Solomon with the crown with which his mother has crowned him on the day of his wedding” (3:11). • Chapters 5-8, are the relationship between the husband and wife and the power of their love, “Many waters cannot quench love, nor will rivers overflow it; if a man were to give all the riches of his house for love, it would be utterly despised” (8:7).