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Article Info:
published: 3/31/13
updated: 2/27/14

Baruch



Who was Baruch?

In the Hebrew Bible or Christian Old Testament, Baruch was the son of Neriah and brother of Seraiah, King Zedekiah's chamberlain (Jeremiah 51:59 ). He was the devoted friend (Jeremiah 32:12 ), the amanuensis (Jeremiah 36:4 , Jeremiah 36:32 ) and faithful attendant (Jeremiah 36:10 ; Josephus, Ant , X, vi, 2) of the prophet Jeremiah.

He seems to have been of noble family (see Ant , X, ix, 1; compare Jeremiah 51:59 ; Baruch 1:1). He was also according to Josephus a man of unusual acquirements (Ant. , X, ix, 1). He might have risen to a high position and seemed conscious of this, but under Jeremiah's influence (see Jeremiah 45:5 ) he repressed his ambition, being content to throw in his lot with the great prophet whose secretary and companion he became. Jeremiah dictated his prophecies to Baruch, who read them to the people (Jer 36).

The king (Jehoiakim) was greatly angered at these prophecies and had Baruch arrested and the roll burnt. Baruch however rewrote the prophet's oracles. In the final siege of Jerusalem Baruch stood by his master, witnessing the purchase by the latter of his ancestral estate in Anathoth (Jer 32). According to Josephus (Ant. , X, ix, 1) he continued to reside with Jeremiah at Mizpah after the fall of Jerusalem. Subsequent to the murder of Gedaliah, he was accused of having unduly influenced Jeremiah when the latter urged the people to remain in Judah - a fact which shows how great was the influence which Baruch was believed to have had over his master (Jeremiah 43:3 ).


He was carried with Jeremiah to Egypt (Jeremiah 43:6 ; Ant , X, ix, 6), and thereafter our knowledge of him is merely legendary. According to a tradition preserved by Jerome (on Isaiah 30:6 f) he died in Egypt soon after reaching that country. Two other traditions say that he went, or by Nebuchadnezzar was carried, to Babylon after this king conquered Egypt. The high character of Baruch and the important part he played in the life and work of Jeremiah induced later generations still further to enhance his reputation, and a large number of spurious writings passed under his name, among them the following: ( a ) The APOCALYPSE OF BARUCH (which see); (b ) The Book of Baruch; (c ) The Rest of the Words of Baruch; (d ) The Gnostic Book of Baruch; (e ) The Latin Book of Baruch, composed originally in Latin; (f ) a Greek Apocalypse of Baruch belonging to the 2nd century of our era; (g ) another Book of Baruch belonging to the 4th or 5th century.

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Source

IBSE, "Isaac" (in the public domain) with minor edits.



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