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The Megilloth

Song of Solomon
Ecclesiastes
Lamentations
Ruth
Esther
The Megilloth
“Festival Scrolls”
The custom developed of reading one of these
scrolls on each of the five important festivals or
days of religious observance throughout the year.

•Song of Solomon 8th Day of Passover


•Ecclesiastes Feast of Tabernacles
•Lamentations Ninth of Ab
•Ruth Pentecost
•Esther Purim
The Megilloth
Song of Solomon
Passover
This feast was instituted by God to commemorate the
salvation of the Hebrews from Egypt. Before the Israelites
were granted freedom, God sent one final plague: death to
the firstborn. The Lord’s Angel of Death would “pass
over” the home of any family who had faithfully painted
their doorposts with lamb’s blood (see Exodus 12).

Song of Solomon is a love poem that symbolizes the


covenant relationship that Israel entered into with God
after their deliverance from Egypt.
Megilloth Song of Solomon
Structure and Outline

• The Lovers Yearn for Each Other Chap 1—2

• The Shepherdess Dreams Chap 3:1—6:3

• The Lovers Yearn Again Chap 6:4—8:4

• The Marriage is Consummated Chap 8:5—14


Megilloth Song of Solomon
• What Is Song of Solomon?
Exactly “what” Song of Solomon is has been a debate
for quite some time. On the surface, it seems to be a song or
collection of songs expressing the passion of two lovers.
However, probably because of the passionate language, many
have seen it as an allegory for the love of God for His people.
Others have taken it more at face-value and seen it as either
descriptive of a relationship between Solomon and his bride,
a relationship between a simple shepherd and a shepherdess,
or even an attempt by Solomon to come between a shepherd
and his betrothed. Still others see it as a collection of
sensuous love poems. The best way to read Song of Solomon
is simply as it is presented—as a song describing the
relationship between a shepherd and his betrothed.
Megilloth Song of Solomon
• Who Wrote Song of Solomon?
Because the first verse reads, “The Song of Songs,
which is Solomon’s,” many have ascribed authorship to
Solomon—especially in light of 1 Kings 4:32, which says he
penned 1,005 songs. However, several problems exist for
that view. For one thing, those opening words do not
necessarily indicate that Solomon wrote the song, but could
also mean that it was written in his honor. Also, Solomon
initially made a marriage alliance with Pharaoh (1 Kings 3:1),
and Pharaoh’s daughter would not have been a Shulammite
shepherdess. Moreover, because of Solomon’s extensive
sexual exploits, he was hardly a model for marital fidelity (1
Kings 11:3 says he had “700 wives, princesses, and 300
concubines”).
Megilloth Song of Solomon
• Why Was Song of Solomon Written?
Song of Solomon paints a beautiful picture of
God’s intention for human sexuality. Sexual purity
before marriage allows for the true delight of
sexual intimacy that occurs within the marriage
covenant. Ancient Israel would have understood
and taught that passion and desire are natural,
healthy, and celebrated when experienced within
the biblical framework of marital fidelity.
Megilloth Song of Solomon
Scripture References To Marriage
• Man & Woman Created to Reproduce Gen. 1:27—28
• Marriage: God’s First Institution Gen. 2:18—25
• Qualities of an Excellent Wife Prov. 31:10

• Jesus on Marriage and Divorce Matt. 19:3—12


• Paul Teaches on Marriage 1 Cor. 7
• Paul Explains Human Love 1 Cor. 13
• Marriage: Christ and His Church Eph. 5:22—33
• Family Roles and Submission Eph. 6:1—9
• Marriage Is Honorable Heb. 13:4
Megilloth Song of Solomon
The Literal Meaning
The Central Characters
The Beloved
Her Desire for Her Lover 1:2-4
Her Humility and Modesty 1:5-7
Her Faithfulness to Her Lover 2:7
The Lover
His Desire for His Beloved
His Ability to Completely Satisfy
His Faithfulness and Dependability
Temptation
It Offers Another Way
It Is Relentless
Megilloth Song of Solomon
The Spiritual Connotations

The Book The Old Testament

• The Lover = Yahweh

• The Beloved = Israel


Megilloth Song of Solomon
The Practical Application

• The Husband Takes the Primary Role in the


Relationship

• Marriage Is Intended As a Visual


Representation of God’s Covenant with Man

• The Final Wedding Has Yet to Take Place


Megilloth Song of Solomon
Key Themes and Theology

• Biblical Perspective of Human Sexuality


• Biblical Insights to Courtship
• Monogamy Within the Marriage Covenant
• Abstinence Before Marriage
The Megilloth
Ecclesiastes
Feast of Tabernacles 7th Month 15th –21st Days
This feast was a celebration of God’s goodness throughout
the year. The people of Israel lived in tents for seven days
to remind themselves how God’s people lived in tents in
the wilderness after escaping Egypt. It symbolizes a future
time of peace and prosperity for God’s people.

Ecclesiastes is a “sermon” emphasizing the manner in


which this life is fleeting and only things done for the
LORD will make a lasting difference.
Megilloth Ecclesiastes
Structure and Outline

• A Litany of Vanities Chap. 1—2

• A Time for Everything Chap. 3:1—8

• More Vanities Chap. 3:9—7:19

• The Heart of the Problem Chap. 7:20—29

• Wise Living Chap. 8—12


Megilloth Ecclesiastes
• What Is Ecclesiastes?
Ecclesiastes is one of the five “Wisdom books” in
the Bible. These books express raw and unrestrained
emotions using beautiful and vivid imagery.
Ecclesiastes, however, is unique in its sober, and even
dark, tone. It comes across as cynical regarding the
meaning of life, frequently repeating the refrain of
“vanity.” However, ultimately the book reveals the
advice of a wise elder who has learned the true
meaning of life and passes on his hopeful message to
others.
Megilloth Ecclesiastes
• Who Wrote Ecclesiastes?
The author of Ecclesiastes is not named. Traditional
Jewish scholarship attributed authorship to Solomon.
However, some see a form of Hebrew from later than
Solomon’s time, and the claim is true that the phrase “son of
David” is at times used to describe his later descendants.
However, those arguments do not rule out Solomonic
authorship, and it seems unlikely that anyone else could fit
the description of a “king in Jerusalem” (1:1) with wisdom
“surpassing all who were over Jerusalem before me” (1:16).
This is especially true in light of God’s own words that
Solomon would have wisdom that no one would ever match
(1 Kings 3:12). Therefore, the best conclusion is that
Solomon is most likely the author, resulting in a date
somewhere near the end of his life, around 931 B.C.
Megilloth Ecclesiastes
• Why Was Ecclesiastes Written?
As with all Wisdom literature, Ecclesiastes
was written to impart wisdom to its readers.
Initially, it was probably delivered orally to a
congregation, and the author’s main purpose is to
show the meaninglessness of living for temporal
things and the joy and contentment of living for
God.
Megilloth Ecclesiastes
The Preacher’s Subject:
“Everything Is Vanity”
(Chap. 1:1—11)

“Vanity” hebel used 35 times


“Evil” used 31 times
“Under the Sun” used 29 times

Chap. 1:3—10 Cyclical Repetition


Chap. 1:3—4, 11 Endless Futility
Megilloth Ecclesiastes
The Preacher’s Sermon:
(Chap. 1:12—10:20)

• What Is Meaningless?
– Personal Pleasures Are Meaningless 2:1
– Worldly Wisdom Is Meaningless 2:12—17
– Life-Long Labor Is Meaningless 2:18—21
• Why Is It Meaningless?
– We Will Be Forgotten 1:11
– We Will Die
Megilloth Ecclesiastes
The Preacher’s Summary:
(Chap. 11—12)

• Remember Your Creator, Yahweh


– Fear God
– Keep His Commandments
• Invest In the Eternal
Megilloth Ecclesiastes
Key Themes and Theology
• Is Life Really Worth Living?
• Humanity Is Created for Eternity
• The tragic, Practical Results of the Fall (Gen. 3)
• There Is Nothing New; It’s All Been Done Before
• Fear God Both in Speech and In Conduct
• Everyone Will Ultimately Face God’s Judgment
The Megilloth
Lamentations
Ninth of Ab
This feast is not one that was instituted by the LORD
at Sinai. Rather it exists to commemorate the
destruction of Jerusalem in 586 BC by Babylon and
Nebuchadnezzar.

Lamentations is believed to have been written by the


prophet Jeremiah. It is a book containing laments
(poems/songs expressing deep sorrow/ regret) over the
destruction of God’s holy city.
Megilloth Lamentations
Structure and Outline
• Jerusalem’s Destruction Chapter 1
and Cry for Help
• The Anger of God and Chapter 2
Need for Help
• Enduring Suffering and Chapter 3
Confidence in God
• The Extent and End Chapter 4
of Their Suffering
• Plea for Restoration Chapter 5
Megilloth Lamentations
• What Is Lamentations?
The book of Lamentations is a collection of five
laments, which are simply songs or poems expressing
grief or regret. Laments can be both individual and
corporate, and Lamentations contains both. The name
of the book in Hebrew is “How?” which is the first
word of the book as well as the first word of chapters 2
and 4: “How lonely sits the city . . .” (1:1); “How the
Lord in his anger has set the daughter of Zion under a
cloud!” (2:1); “How the gold has grown dim . . .” (4:1).
The first four chapters are acrostics, meaning that each
line or segment of lines begins with a successive letter
of the Hebrew alphabet. This aids in memorization.
Megilloth Lamentations
• Who Wrote Lamentations?
The author of Lamentations is anonymous.
Hebrew tradition teaches that Jeremiah is the author,
especially since he was an eyewitness to the fall of
Jerusalem and he was known to write at least one earlier
lament (2 Chronicles 35:25). On the other hand,
Lamentations was written to be used in worship in
Jerusalem, and Jeremiah was taken captive to Egypt.
Moreover, since neither the books of Jeremiah nor
Lamentations claim that Jeremiah wrote it, the best
position is probably to consider Lamentations an
anonymous work. It would have been composed
sometime after Jerusalem fell in 586 B.C. and before the
restoration of temple worship in 516 B.C.
Megilloth Lamentations
• Why Was Lamentations Written?
Lamentations expresses sorrow for the
devastation of the fall of Jerusalem as well as grief
over the sin that led to the destruction. The
sinfulness of the people, and the righteous anger
of God are confessed, as is the never ending love of
God. To this day, it is read publicly on the ninth day
of the Jewish month of Ab to commemorate the
final destruction of the temple by the Romans in 70
A.D. Laments help God’s people understand
suffering and find hope in the God who is always
faithful.
Megilloth Lamentations
Key Themes and Theology

• God Is Just In How He Treats Sin


• Grieve Over Sin But Look Toward Hope
• Sin Causes Suffering and Strife
• God’s Punishment Is For Redemptive Purposes
The Megilloth
Ruth
Pentecost
This feast marked the completion of the grain harvest
season which began with the Firstfruits. The term
Pentecost is translated “fiftieth day.”
Christian theology teaches that Firstfruits foreshadows the
resurrection of Jesus (Easter). If this is so, then Pentecost,
which occurred 50 days later, forshadows the giving of the
Holy Spirit of God to His church.
Ruth is the story of a Moabite widow who becomes the
great-grandmother of Israel’s greatest king: David.
Megilloth Ruth
Structure and Outline
• Introduction of Characters Chap. 1:1—5
• A Story of Redemption Chap. 1:6—4:12
– Naomi and Ruth Return to Bethlehem
– Ruth in Boaz’s Field
– An Unusual Marriage Proposal
– Boaz Redeems Ruth
• Conclusion Chap. 4:13—21
– Naomi’s New Family
– David’s Genealogy
Megilloth Ruth
• What Is Ruth?
The book of Ruth is named after its main
character, a Moabite widow who becomes the
great grandmother of David. Interestingly, Ruth’s
mother-in-law, Naomi, is as prominent as Ruth in
the book, even speaking much more frequently.
However, Ruth is considered the primary figure
because of the focus on her loyalty and character
as well as her place in the royal lineage.
Megilloth Ruth
• Who Wrote Ruth?
The author of the book of Ruth is
anonymous. Jewish tradition holds that Samuel
wrote the book, but that is unlikely since Samuel
died before David became king, and the book
seems to be written after the establishment of
David’s kingship. Therefore, Ruth was likely written
sometime after 1010 B.C. (the approximate year
David became king) by someone using oral and/or
written sources. The events of the book take place
during the period of the judges (see 1:1).
Megilloth Ruth
• Why Was Ruth Written?
The book of Ruth seems to have a two-fold
purpose:
First, it speaks to God’s character. Through the
unfolding of events, God’s sovereignty is on display in
that He is the One who orchestrated circumstances in
order to carry out His divine plan. Moreover, He is
seen as kind and gracious in caring for and meeting the
needs of two struggling widows.
Second, the book is important in explaining the
ancestry of David.
NaomiElimelech Salmon Rahab?
I I I
OrpahChilion Mahlon RuthBoaz
I
Obed
I
Jesse
I
David
Megilloth Ruth
Key Themes and Theology

• God is Sovereign and Faithful


• The Concept of the “goel” (Kinsman Redeemer)
• Family Is Important
The Megilloth
Esther
Purim
Purim is derived from the Persian word for “lot” and
recalls how Haman cast lots to determine the best day
to carry out his plan of Jewish genocide. This feast
commemorates the salvation of Israel from Haman by
Queen Esther. Purim is more of a nationalistic
holiday than a religious festival like the other feasts.
Esther helps explain this festival and helps to
ensure its continued observance for future
generations.
Megilloth Esther
Structure and Outline
• The Introduction Chapters 1—2
– Queen Vashti Is Out
– Queen Esther Is In
– Mordecai Stops an Assassanation
• The Plot Chapters 3:9—19
– Haman’s Plan/ Esther’s Intervention
– Mordecai Honored/ Haman Destroyed
– The Jews Saved/ Enemies Killed
• The Conclusion Chapters 9—10
– Purim Established
– Mordecai’s Rule
Persian Empire at Time of Esther
Megilloth Esther
• What Is Esther?
Esther is the name of the central figure
in the book. It tells the story of a Jewish girl
who became queen of Persia and with the
help of her cousin/ guardian, Mordecai,
saved her people from extermination. As a
result of the deliverance the Jews
experienced, the Feast of Purim was
established and is celebrated until this day.
Megilloth Esther
• Who Wrote Esther?
The author of Esther is anonymous. However,
because it was written by someone with interest in
Jewish affairs as well as knowledge of Persian
customs and court records, many believe the
author was Mordecai. Moreover, since it reflects
the writing of the time of the events, it was
probably written during the reign of Ahasuerus,
also known as Xerxes I (486-465 B.C.) or soon
thereafter.
Megilloth Esther
• Why Was Esther Written?
Esther was written to explain the origin of the
Feast of Purim, a feast still celebrated every
February/March with the book of Esther being read in
its entirety. Even more significant is that the book
displays God’s divine providence in the protection and
deliverance of His people. Interestingly, however, the
book never mentions God directly. This has caused
some Jews throughout history to question its inclusion
in Scripture. Nevertheless, it was recognized as
Scripture by Jews since before the time of Jesus, and it
was widely accepted by the early church. God’s hand is
clearly seen throughout the events it records.
Megilloth Esther
• The Feast of Purim
“Purim” is derived from the Persian word for
“lot” and recalls how Haman cast lots to determine the
best day to carry out his plan of Jewish genocide. It is
a festival of joy as opposed to many other Jewish
feasts which recall difficult moments in Jewish history.
Modern celebrations generally occur on one day
(preceded by a day of fasting). On this day, the book
of Esther is read in its entirety and people exchange
gifts, give to the poor, performing plays and carnivals.
The Feast of Purim is by nature a more nationalistic
holiday (like Hanukkah) than religious like the festivals
prescribed in the Torah (Passover, Pentecost, etc.).
Megilloth Esther
Key Themes and Theology

• The Sovereignty and Providence of God


• God Can Use Anyone For His Great Plans
• Man’s Responsibility to Ensure the Welfare of
Others
• Those Who Oppose God Will See Utter
Destruction