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Bible Encyclopedias

Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature

Baruch

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(Heb. Baruk', בָּרוּךְ , blessed; Sept. Βαρούχ, Josephus Βαροῦχος ), the name of three men.

1. The faithful friend of the prophet Jeremiah (Jeremiah 32:12; Jeremiah 36:4 sq.) was of a noble family of the tribe of Judah (Jeremiah 51:59; Baruch 1:1; Joseph. Ant. 10:6, 2; 9, 1), and generally considered to be the brother of the prophet Seraiah, both being represented as sons of Neriah; and to Baruch the prophet Jeremiah dictated all his oracles. (See JEREMIAH).

In the fourth year of the reign of Jehoiachim, king of Judah (B.C. 605), Baruch was directed to write all the prophecies delivered by Jeremiah up to that period, and to read them to the people, which he did from a window in the Temple upon two solemn occasions (Jeremiah 36). He afterward read them before the counsellors of the king at a private interview, when Baruch, being asked to give an account of the manner in which the prophecy had been composed, gave an exact description of the mode in which he had taken it down from the prophet's dictation. Upon this they ordered him to leave the roll, advising that he and Jeremiah should conceal themselves. They then informed the king of what had taken place, upon which he had the roll read to him; but, after hearing a part of it, he cut it with a penknife, and, notwithstanding the remonstrances of his counsellors, threw it into the fire of his winter parlor, where he was sitting. He then ordered Jeremiah and Baruch to be seized, but they could not be found. The Jews to this day commemorate the burning of this roll by an annual fast. (See CALENDAR (JEWISH).)

Another roll was now written by Baruch from the prophet's dictation, containing all that was in the former, with some additions, the most remarkable of which is the prophecy respecting the ruin of Jehoiachim and his house as the punishment of his impious act. This roll is the prophecy of Jeremiah which we now possess. Baruch, being himself terrified at the threats contained in the prophetic roll, received the comforting assurance that he would himself be delivered from the calamities which should befall Judah and Jerusalem (Jeremiah 45). During the siege of Jerusalem Baruch was selected as the depositary of the deed of purchase which Jeremiah had made of the territory of Hanameel, to which deed he had been a witness (Jeremiah 32:12 sq.). B.C. 589. His enemies accused him of influencing Jeremiah in favor of the Chaldaeans (Jeremiah 43:3; comp. 37:13); and he was thrown into prison with that prophet, where he remained till the capture of Jerusalem, B.C. 588

(Joseph. Ant. 10:9, 1). By the permission of Nebuchadnezzar he remained with Jeremiah at Masphatha (Joseph. 1. c.); but in the fourth year of Zedekiah (B.C. 595) Baruch is supposed by some to have accompanied Seraiah to Babylon, when the latter attended Zedekiah with the prophecies contained in Jeremiah, ch. 1 and 51, which he was commanded by Jeremiah to read on the banks of the Euphrates, and then to cast the prophetic roll into the river, with a stone attached to it, to signify the everlasting ruin of. Babylon (Jeremiah 51:61). At least Baruch, in the book which bears his name (in the Apocrypha), is said to have read these prophecies at Babylon, in the hearing of King Jehoiachim and the captive Jews, in the fifth year of the taking of Jerusalem by the Chaldaeans (see below), which must have been the same taking of it in which Jehoiachim was made prisoner; for after the other taking of Jerusalem, in the eleventh year of the reign of King Zedekiah, when the Jews, after their return from Babylon, obstinately persisted in their determination to migrate to Egypt against the remonstrances of the prophet, both Baruch and Jeremiah accompanied them to that country (Jeremiah 43:6; Joseph. Ant. 10:9, 6), from whence there is no account in Scripture of Baruch's return. The rabbins, however, allege that he died in Babylon in the twelfth year of the exile (see Calmet's Preface). Jerome, on the other hand, states, "on the authority of the Jews" (Hebraei tradunt), that Jeremiah and Baruch died in Egypt "before the desolation of the country by Nabuchodonosor" (Comm. in Isaiah 30:6-7, p. 405). Josephus asserts that he was well skilled in the Hebrew language; and that, after the taking of Jerusalem, Nebuzaradan treated Baruch with consideration from respect to Jeremiah, whose misfortunes he had shared, and whom he had accompanied to prison and exile (Ant. 10:9, 1 and 2).

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Bibliography Information
McClintock, John. Strong, James. Entry for 'Baruch'. Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature. https://www.studylight.org/encyclopedias/eng/tce/b/baruch.html. Harper & Brothers. New York. 1870.

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