Apocryphal Baruch

First Baruch – King James Version

Baruch 1

[1] And these are the words of the book, which Baruch the son of Nerias, the son of Maasias, the son of Sedecias, the son of Asadias, the son of Chelcias, wrote in Babylon,
[2] In the fifth year, and in the seventh day of the month, what time as the Chaldeans took Jerusalem, and burnt it with fire.
[3] And Baruch did read the words of this book in the hearing of Jechonias the son of Joachim king of Juda, and in the ears of all the people that came to hear the book,
[4] And in the hearing of the nobles, and of the king’s sons, and in the hearing of the elders, and of all the people, from the lowest unto the highest, even of all them that dwelt at Babylon by the river Sud.
[5] Whereupon they wept, fasted, and prayed before the Lord.
[6] They made also a collection of money according to every man’s power:
[7] And they sent it to Jerusalem unto Joachim the high priest, the son of Chelcias, son of Salom, and to the priests, and to all the people which were found with him at Jerusalem,
[8] At the same time when he received the vessels of the house of the Lord, that were carried out of the temple, to return them into the land of Juda, the tenth day of the month Sivan, namely, silver vessels, which Sedecias the son of Josias king of Jada had made,
[9] After that Nabuchodonosor king of Babylon had carried away Jechonias, and the princes, and the captives, and the mighty men, and the people of the land, from Jerusalem, and brought them unto Babylon.
[10] And they said, Behold, we have sent you money to buy you burnt offerings, and sin offerings, and incense, and prepare ye manna, and offer upon the altar of the Lord our God;
[11] And pray for the life of Nabuchodonosor king of Babylon, and for the life of Balthasar his son, that their days may be upon earth as the days of heaven:
[12] And the Lord will give us strength, and lighten our eyes, and we shall live under the shadow of Nabuchodonosor king of Babylon, and under the shadow of Balthasar his son, and we shall serve them many days, and find favour in their sight.
[13] Pray for us also unto the Lord our God, for we have sinned against the Lord our God; and unto this day the fury of the Lord and his wrath is not turned from us.
[14] And ye shall read this book which we have sent unto you, to make confession in the house of the Lord, upon the feasts and solemn days.
[15] And ye shall say, To the Lord our God belongeth righteousness, but unto us the confusion of faces, as it is come to pass this day, unto them of Juda, and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem,
[16] And to our kings, and to our princes, and to our priests, and to our prophets, and to our fathers:
[17] For we have sinned before the Lord,
[18] And disobeyed him, and have not hearkened unto the voice of the Lord our God, to walk in the commandments that he gave us openly:
[19] Since the day that the Lord brought our forefathers out of the land of Egypt, unto this present day, we have been disobedient unto the Lord our God, and we have been negligent in not hearing his voice.
[20] Wherefore the evils cleaved unto us, and the curse, which the Lord appointed by Moses his servant at the time that he brought our fathers out of the land of Egypt, to give us a land that floweth with milk and honey, like as it is to see this day.
[21] Nevertheless we have not hearkened unto the voice of the Lord our God, according unto all the words of the prophets, whom he sent unto us:
[22] But every man followed the imagination of his own wicked heart, to serve strange gods, and to do evil in the sight of the Lord our God.


[1] Therefore the Lord hath made good his word, which he pronounced against us, and against our judges that judged Israel, and against our kings, and against our princes, and against the men of Israel and Juda,
[2] To bring upon us great plagues, such as never happened under the whole heaven, as it came to pass in Jerusalem, according to the things that were written in the law of Moses;
[3] That a man should eat the flesh of his own son, and the flesh of his own daughter.
[4] Moreover he hath delivered them to be in subjection to all the kingdoms that are round about us, to be as a reproach and desolation among all the people round about, where the Lord hath scattered them.
[5] Thus we were cast down, and not exalted, because we have sinned against the Lord our God, and have not been obedient unto his voice.
[6] To the Lord our God appertaineth righteousness: but unto us and to our fathers open shame, as appeareth this day.
[7] For all these plagues are come upon us, which the Lord hath pronounced against us
[8] Yet have we not prayed before the Lord, that we might turn every one from the imaginations of his wicked heart.
[9] Wherefore the Lord watched over us for evil, and the Lord hath brought it upon us: for the Lord is righteous in all his works which he hath commanded us.
[10] Yet we have not hearkened unto his voice, to walk in the commandments of the Lord, that he hath set before us.
[11] And now, O Lord God of Israel, that hast brought thy people out of the land of Egypt with a mighty hand, and high arm, and with signs, and with wonders, and with great power, and hast gotten thyself a name, as appeareth this day:
[12] O Lord our God, we have sinned, we have done ungodly, we have dealt unrighteously in all thine ordinances.
[13] Let thy wrath turn from us: for we are but a few left among the heathen, where thou hast scattered us.
[14] Hear our prayers, O Lord, and our petitions, and deliver us for thine own sake, and give us favour in the sight of them which have led us away:
[15] That all the earth may know that thou art the Lord our God, because Israel and his posterity is called by thy name.
[16] O Lord, look down from thine holy house, and consider us: bow down thine ear, O Lord, to hear us.
[17] Open thine eyes, and behold; for the dead that are in the graves, whose souls are taken from their bodies, will give unto the Lord neither praise nor righteousness:
[18] But the soul that is greatly vexed, which goeth stooping and feeble, and the eyes that fail, and the hungry soul, will give thee praise and righteousness, O Lord.
[19] Therefore we do not make our humble supplication before thee, O Lord our God, for the righteousness of our fathers, and of our kings.
[20] For thou hast sent out thy wrath and indignation upon us, as thou hast spoken by thy servants the prophets, saying,
[21] Thus saith the Lord, Bow down your shoulders to serve the king of Babylon: so shall ye remain in the land that I gave unto your fathers.
[22] But if ye will not hear the voice of the Lord, to serve the king of Babylon,
[23] I will cause to cease out of the cites of Judah, and from without Jerusalem, the voice of mirth, and the voice of joy, the voice of the bridegroom, and the voice of the bride: and the whole land shall be desolate of inhabitants.
[24] But we would not hearken unto thy voice, to serve the king of Babylon: therefore hast thou made good the words that thou spakest by thy servants the prophets, namely, that the bones of our kings, and the bones of our fathers, should be taken out of their place.
[25] And, lo, they are cast out to the heat of the day, and to the frost of the night, and they died in great miseries by famine, by sword, and by pestilence.
[26] And the house which is called by thy name hast thou laid waste, as it is to be seen this day, for the wickedness of the house of Israel and the house of Juda.
[27] O Lord our God, thou hast dealt with us after all thy goodness, and according to all that great mercy of thine,
[28] As thou spakest by thy servant Moses in the day when thou didst command him to write the law before the children of Israel, saying,
[29] If ye will not hear my voice, surely this very great multitude shall be turned into a small number among the nations, where I will scatter them.
[30] For I knew that they would not hear me, because it is a stiffnecked people: but in the land of their captivities they shall remember themselves.
[31] And shall know that I am the Lord their God: for I will give them an heart, and ears to hear:
[32] And they shall praise me in the land of their captivity, and think upon my name,
[33] And return from their stiff neck, and from their wicked deeds: for they shall remember the way of their fathers, which sinned before the Lord.
[34] And I will bring them again into the land which I promised with an oath unto their fathers, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and they shall be lords of it: and I will increase them, and they shall not be diminished.
[35] And I will make an everlasting covenant with them to be their God, and they shall be my people: and I will no more drive my people of Israel out of the land that I have given them.


[1] O Lord Almighty, God of Israel, the soul in anguish the troubled spirit, crieth unto thee.
[2] Hear, O Lord, and have mercy; ar thou art merciful: and have pity upon us, because we have sinned before thee.
[3] For thou endurest for ever, and we perish utterly.
[4] O Lord Almighty, thou God of Israel, hear now the prayers of the dead Israelites, and of their children, which have sinned before thee, and not hearkened unto the voice of thee their God: for the which cause these plagues cleave unto us.
[5] Remember not the iniquities of our forefathers: but think upon thy power and thy name now at this time.
[6] For thou art the Lord our God, and thee, O Lord, will we praise.
[7] And for this cause thou hast put thy fear in our hearts, to the intent that we should call upon thy name, and praise thee in our captivity: for we have called to mind all the iniquity of our forefathers, that sinned before thee.
[8] Behold, we are yet this day in our captivity, where thou hast scattered us, for a reproach and a curse, and to be subject to payments, according to all the iniquities of our fathers, which departed from the Lord our God.
[9] Hear, Israel, the commandments of life: give ear to understand wisdom.
[10] How happeneth it Israel, that thou art in thine enemies’ land, that thou art waxen old in a strange country, that thou art defiled with the dead,
[11] That thou art counted with them that go down into the grave?
[12] Thou hast forsaken the fountain of wisdom.
[13] For if thou hadst walked in the way of God, thou shouldest have dwelled in peace for ever.
[14] Learn where is wisdom, where is strength, where is understanding; that thou mayest know also where is length of days, and life, where is the light of the eyes, and peace.
[15] Who hath found out her place? or who hath come into her treasures ?
[16] Where are the princes of the heathen become, and such as ruled the beasts upon the earth;
[17] They that had their pastime with the fowls of the air, and they that hoarded up silver and gold, wherein men trust, and made no end of their getting?
[18] For they that wrought in silver, and were so careful, and whose works are unsearchable,
[19] They are vanished and gone down to the grave, and others are come up in their steads.
[20] Young men have seen light, and dwelt upon the earth: but the way of knowledge have they not known,
[21] Nor understood the paths thereof, nor laid hold of it: their children were far off from that way.
[22] It hath not been heard of in Chanaan, neither hath it been seen in Theman.
[23] The Agarenes that seek wisdom upon earth, the merchants of Meran and of Theman, the authors of fables, and searchers out of understanding; none of these have known the way of wisdom, or remember her paths.
[24] O Israel, how great is the house of God! and how large is the place of his possession!
[25] Great, and hath none end; high, and unmeasurable.
[26] There were the giants famous from the beginning, that were of so great stature, and so expert in war.
[27] Those did not the Lord choose, neither gave he the way of knowledge unto them:
[28] But they were destroyed, because they had no wisdom, and perished through their own foolishness.
[29] Who hath gone up into heaven, and taken her, and brought her down from the clouds?
[30] Who hath gone over the sea, and found her, and will bring her for pure gold?
[31] No man knoweth her way, nor thinketh of her path.
[32] But he that knoweth all things knoweth her, and hath found her out with his understanding: he that prepared the earth for evermore hath filled it with fourfooted beasts:
[33] He that sendeth forth light, and it goeth, calleth it again, and it obeyeth him with fear.
[34] The stars shined in their watches, and rejoiced: when he calleth them, they say, Here we be; and so with cheerfulness they shewed light unto him that made them.
[35] This is our God, and there shall none other be accounted of in comparison of him
[36] He hath found out all the way of knowledge, and hath given it unto Jacob his servant, and to Israel his beloved.
[37] Afterward did he shew himself upon earth, and conversed with men.


[1] This is the book of the commandments of God, and the law that endureth for ever: all they that keep it shall come to life; but such as leave it shall die.
[2] Turn thee, O Jacob, and take hold of it: walk in the presence of the light thereof, that thou mayest be illuminated.
[3] Give not thine honour to another, nor the things that are profitable unto thee to a strange nation.
[4] O Israel, happy are we: for things that are pleasing to God are made known unto us.
[5] Be of good cheer, my people, the memorial of Israel.
[6] Ye were sold to the nations, not for [your] destruction: but because ye moved God to wrath, ye were delivered unto the enemies.
[7] For ye provoked him that made you by sacrificing unto devils, and not to God.
[8] Ye have forgotten the everlasting God, that brought you up; and ye have grieved Jerusalem, that nursed you.
[9] For when she saw the wrath of God coming upon you, she said, Hearken, O ye that dwell about Sion: God hath brought upon me great mourning;
[10] For I saw the captivity of my sons and daughters, which the Everlasting brought upon them.
[11] With joy did I nourish them; but sent them away with weeping and mourning.
[12] Let no man rejoice over me, a widow, and forsaken of many, who for the sins of my children am left desolate; because they departed from the law of God.
[13] They knew not his statutes, nor walked in the ways of his commandments, nor trod in the paths of discipline in his righteousness.
[14] Let them that dwell about Sion come, and remember ye the captivity of my sons and daughters, which the Everlasting hath brought upon them.
[15] For he hath brought a nation upon them from far, a shameless nation, and of a strange language, who neither reverenced old man, nor pitied child.
[16] These have carried away the dear beloved children of the widow, and left her that was alone desolate without daughters.
[17] But what can I help you?
[18] For he that brought these plagues upon you will deliver you from the hands of your enemies.
[19] Go your way, O my children, go your way: for I am left desolate.
[20] I have put off the clothing of peace, and put upon me the sackcloth of my prayer: I will cry unto the Everlasting in my days.
[21] Be of good cheer, O my children, cry unto the Lord, and he will deliver you from the power and hand of the enemies.
[22] For my hope is in the Everlasting, that he will save you; and joy is come unto me from the Holy One, because of the mercy which shall soon come unto you from the Everlasting our Saviour.
[23] For I sent you out with mourning and weeping: but God will give you to me again with joy and gladness for ever.
[24] Like as now the neighbours of Sion have seen your captivity: so shall they see shortly your salvation from our God which shall come upon you with great glory, and brightness of the Everlasting.
[25] My children, suffer patiently the wrath that is come upon you from God: for thine enemy hath persecuted thee; but shortly thou shalt see his destruction, and shalt tread upon his neck.
[26] My delicate ones have gone rough ways, and were taken away as a flock caught of the enemies.
[27] Be of good comfort, O my children, and cry unto God: for ye shall be remembered of him that brought these things upon you.
[28] For as it was your mind to go astray from God: so, being returned, seek him ten times more.
[29] For he that hath brought these plagues upon you shall bring you everlasting joy with your salvation.
[30] Take a good heart, O Jerusalem: for he that gave thee that name will comfort thee.
[31] Miserable are they that afflicted thee, and rejoiced at thy fall.
[32] Miserable are the cities which thy children served: miserable is she that received thy sons.
[33] For as she rejoiced at thy ruin, and was glad of thy fall: so shall she be grieved for her own desolation.
[34] For I will take away the rejoicing of her great multitude, and her pride shall be turned into mourning.
[35] For fire shall come upon her from the Everlasting, long to endure; and she shall be inhabited of devils for a great time.
[36] O Jerusalem, look about thee toward the east, and behold the joy that cometh unto thee from God.
[37] Lo, thy sons come, whom thou sentest away, they come gathered together from the east to the west by the word of the Holy One, rejoicing in the glory of God.


[1] Put off, O Jerusalem, the garment of mourning and affliction, and put on the comeliness of the glory that cometh from God for ever.
[2] Cast about thee a double garment of the righteousness which cometh from God; and set a diadem on thine head of the glory of the Everlasting.
[3] For God will shew thy brightness unto every country under heaven.
[4] For thy name shall be called of God for ever The peace of righteousness, and The glory of God’s worship.
[5] Arise, O Jerusalem, and stand on high, and look about toward the east, and behold thy children gathered from the west unto the east by the word of the Holy One, rejoicing in the remembrance of God.
[6] For they departed from thee on foot, and were led away of their enemies: but God bringeth them unto thee exalted with glory, as children of the kingdom.
[7] For God hath appointed that every high hill, and banks of long continuance, should be cast down, and valleys filled up, to make even the ground, that Israel may go safely in the glory of God,
[8] Moreover even the woods and every sweetsmelling tree shall overshadow Israel by the commandment of God.
[9] For God shall lead Israel with joy in the light of his glory with the mercy and righteousness that cometh from him.


Lewis Ginzberg –  The Legends of the Jews
“1- At the time of the destruction of the Temple, one of the prominent figures was Baruch, the faithful attendant (65) of Jeremiah. God commanded him to leave the city one day before the enemy was to enter it, in order that his presence might not render it impregnable. On the following day, he and all other pious men having abandoned Jerusalem, he saw from a distance how the angels descended, set fire to the city walls, and concealed the sacred vessels of the Temple. At first his mourning over the misfortunes of Jerusalem and the people knew no bounds. But he was in a measure consoled at the end of a seven days’ fast, when God made known to him that the day of reckoning would come for the heathen, too. Other Divine visions were vouchsafed him. The whole future of mankind was unrolled before his eyes, especially the history of Israel, and he learned that the coming of the Messiah would put an end to all sorrow and misery, and usher in the reign of peace and joy among men. As for him, he would be removed from the earth, he was told, but not through death, and only in order to be kept safe against the coming of the end of all time. (66)

Thus consoled, Baruch addressed an admonition to the people left in Palestine, and wrote two letters of the same tenor to the exiles, one to the nine tribes and a half, the other to the two tribes and a half. The letter to the nine tribes and a half of the captivity was carried to them by an eagle. (67)

Five years after the great catastrophe, he composed a book in Babylon, (68) which contained penitential prayers and hymns of consolation, exhorting Israel and urging the people to return to God and His law.

This book Baruch read to King Jeconiah and the whole people on a day of prayer and penitence. On the same occasion a collection was taken up among the people, and the funds thus secured, together with the silver Temple vessels made by order of Zedekiah after Jeconiah had been carried away captive, were sent to Jerusalem, with the request that the high priest Joakim and the people should apply the money to the sacrificial service and to prayers for the life of King Nebuchadnezzar and his son Belshazzar. Thus they might ensure peace and happiness under Babylonian rule. Above all, they were to supplicate God to turn away His wrath from His people.

Baruch sent his book also to the residents of Jerusalem, and they read it in the Temple on distinguished days, and recited the prayers it contains. (69)

Baruch is one of the few mortals who have been privileged to visit Paradise and know its secrets. An angel of the Lord appeared to him while he was lamenting over the destruction of Jerusalem and took him to the seven heavens, to the place of judgment where the doom of the godless is pronounced, and to the abodes of the blessed. (70)

He was still among the living at the time in which Cyrus permitted the Jews to return to Palestine, but on account of his advanced age he could not avail himself of the permission. So long as he was alive, his disciple Ezra remained with him in Babylonia, for “the study of the law is more important than the building of the Temple.” It was only after the death of Baruch that he decided to gather together the exiles who desired to return to the Holy Land and rebuild the Temple in Jerusalem. (71)


The piety of Baruch and the great favor he enjoyed with God were made known to later generations many years after his death, through the marvellous occurrences connected with his tomb.

Once a Babylonian prince commanded a Jew, Rabbi Solomon by name, to show him the grave of Ezekiel, concerning which he had heard many remarkable tales.

The Jew advised the prince first to enter the tomb of Baruch, which adjoined that of Ezekiel.

Having succeeded in this, he might attempt the same with the tomb of Ezekiel, the teacher of Baruch. (72)

In the presence of his grandees and his people the prince tried to open the grave of Baruch, but his efforts were fruitless. Whosoever touched it, was at once stricken dead.

An old Arab advised the prince to call upon the Jews to gain entrance for him, seeing that Baruch had been a Jew, and his books were still being studied by Jews. The Jews prepared themselves by fasts, prayers, penitence, and almsgiving, and they succeeded in opening the grave without a mishap.

Baruch was found lying on marble bier, and the appearance of the corpse was as though he had only then passed away. (73) The prince ordered the bier to be brought to the city, and the body to be entombed there.

He thought it was not seemly that Ezekiel and Baruch should rest in the same grave.

But the bearers found it impossible to remove the bier more than two thousands ells from the original grave; not even with the help of numerous draught-animals could it be urged a single step further.

Following the advice of Rabbi Solomon, the prince resolved to enter the bier on the spot they had reached and also to erect an academy there. These miraculous happenings induced the prince to go to Mecca. There he became convinced of the falseness of Mohammedanism, of which he had hitherto been an adherent, and he converted to Judaism, he and his whole court.

Near the grave of Baruch there grows a species of grass whose leaves are covered with gold dust. As the sheen of the gold is not readily noticeable by day, the people seek out the place at night, mark the very spot on which the grass grows, and return by day and gather it. (74)

Not less famous is the tomb of Ezekiel, at a distance of two thousand ells from Baruch’s. It is overarched by a beautiful mausoleum erected by King Jeconiah after Evil-merodach had released him from captivity. The mausoleum existed down to the middle ages, and it bore on its walls the names of the thirty-five thousand Jews who assisted Jeconiah in erecting the monument.

It was the scene of many miracles. When great crowds of people journeyed thither to pay reverence to the memory of the prophet, the little low gate in the wall surrounding the grave enlarged in width and height to admit all who desired to enter.

Once a prince vowed to give a colt to the grave of the prophet, if but his mare which had been sterile would bear one. When his wish was fulfilled, however, he did not keep his promise. But the filly ran a distance equal to a four days’ journey to the tomb, and his owner could not recover it until he deposited his value in silver upon the grace.

When people went on long journeys, they were in the habit of carrying their treasures to the grave of the prophet, and beseeching him to let none but the rightful heirs remove them thence. The prophet always granted their petition.

Once when an attempt was made to take some books from the grave of Ezekiel, the ravager suddenly became sick and blind. For a time a pillar of fire, visible at a great distance, rose above the grave of the prophet, but it disappeared in consequence of the unseemly conduct of the pilgrims who resorted thither.

Not far from the grave of Ezekiel was the grave of Barozak, who once appeared to a rich Jew in a dream. He spoke: “I am Barozak, one of the princes who were led into captivity with Jeremiah. I am one of the just. If thou wilt erect a handsome mausoleum for me, thou wilt be blessed with progeny.” The Jew did as he had been bidden, and he who had been childless, shortly after became a father. (75)

Information on Baruch From EarlyChristianWritings

J. Alberto Soggin writes: “The mention of Jehoiachin and the fact that temple worship appears to be functioning (2.26) has suggested to some scholars that the exile mentioned is that of 597, so that the fifth year would be 593, and therefore a little while after the events narrated in Jer. 27:28. Difficulties begin when we try to see whether, and when, Baruch was in Babylon; there is nothing to support this, and the information that we have tells against this theory. In Jer. 43.5f. Baruch still appears at his master’s side, even after the fall of Jerusalem in 587, and it seems most probable that he was deported with Jeremiah to Egypt. A rabbinic tradition, Seder ‘olam rabba’ 26, reports that after conquering Egypt, Nebuchadnezzar freed Jeremiah and Baruch and brought them back to their native land, but this is a legendary element and therefore has no bearing on our narrative. Another strange feature is the note contained in 1.6-11, that some of the sacred vessels were handed back in Babylon and were sent to Jerusalem: this happened to the bulk of the material brought back in the second half of the sixth century, but that was a result of the edict of Cyrus and the liberation of Judah. In 1.1 Belshazzar again appears as son of Nebuchadnezzar, an error which we already find in Dan. 5.2 (unless we understand the word in the widest sense possible, as ‘successor’). There are also other elements than the two indicated which show links with Daniel (cf. 1.15-20; 2.1-3, 7-14, 16-19 and Dan. 9.7-11.18). Now since Baruch is clearly fragmentary, whereas Daniel is relatively a unity apart from the dichotomy between 1-6 and 7-12 and the difference in language, it is logical to suppose that the former is dependent on the latter and that at least the first part of Baruch is to be connected with Daniel rather than with Jeremiah and his Baruch.” (Introduction to the Old Testament, pp. 458-459)

Aloysius Fitzgerald comments on the ostensible date of 582 CE for Baruch: “There are, however, good reasons for assigning a much later date to these various parts. First, certain things indicate that the account it presents is not history in the sense that the narratives of Kgs are history. Consequently, the indications of the date of composition in the book itself must be viewed in this light. The historical books know nothing of the return of the sacred vessels (1:8-9), and the source of the accounts seems obvious enough. There is a contradiction between the prayer itself, which presumes that the Temple is in ruins (2:26), and the introduction, which presumes that the Temple is standing and that the normal worship is carried on there (1:14). Belshazzar is not the son of Nebuchadnezzar (1:11-12), who destroyed Jerusalem, but of Nabonidus, the last Chaldean king. This confusion could not have existed at the time when the prayer is said to have been written, although this telescoping of history, also found in Dn 5:1, seems to have been a commonplace in later Jewish tradition. The letter of Jeremiah is clearly post-exilic. The Babylon described in the prayer is not the great city of Nebuchadnezzar (6:14, 48-49). The idolatry against which the Jews are warned seems to be that of the Gk period. In any case, if the letter were really written by Jeremiah to the Jews going to Babylon in 587, it would be difficult to explain why it was not included in the definitive edition of Jer that itself dates from the post-exilic period. Perhaps a more precise indication of the date of composition is contained in 6:2, where Jeremiah’s prediction of a 70-year exile (Jer 25:12; 29:10) has become a prediction of seven generations of exile. If 40 years or so (Num 32:13) are assigned to a generation, a writer of the Gk period would be holding out to his fellow Jews, for whom the conditions of the Exile still existed, the promise of speedy assistance from God. Some older exegetes tended to see in Nebuchadnezzar and Belshazzar pseudonyms for Vespasian and Titus, and they regarded the destruction of Jerusalem described in 1:2 as the destruction of AD 70. On this basis, they variously dated Bar sometime after that date. But it is impossible to imagine a pious Israelite urging his fellow Jews to pray for Vespasian and Titus (1:11).” (The Jerome Biblical Commentary, pp. 614-615)

David A. deSilva writes: “As with several other texts of the Apocrypha, we cannot be precise about the date of Baruch nor about the history of its compilation. If originally written in Hebrew, most of its constituent parts could easily predate the Hellenization crisis of 175-166 B.C.E. and would derive from Palestine or perhaps a Jewish community in the eastern Diaspora. If 1:1-14 was written as an introduction to an earlier prayer (1:15-3:8), the historical error of 1:11 probably would best be explained as a datum learned from Daniel, thus dating that introduction to a time after 164 B.C.E. If 1:1-3:8 was all part of a single work, then the whole would then postdate Daniel. The different hands responsible for the Greek translation of Baruch between 1:1-3:8 and 3:9-5:9 suggest that, whatever the origin of 3:9-5:9, it was not actually added to Baruch until the late second century or early first century B.C.E.” (Introducing the Apocrypha, p. 205)

Daniel J. Harrington writes: “Most likely, the narrative framework and the three major parts were composed in Hebrew. The evidence for this hypothesis was laid out by J. J. Kneucker in Das Buch Baruch (1879), in which a reconstruction of the original Hebrew text was attempted and explained in great detail. Although Kneucker convinced most scholars that 1:1-3:8 reflected a Hebrew original, there was resistance to the idea that the last two parts (3:9-4:4; 4:5-5:9) were written in Hebrew. But D. G. Burke’s Poetry of Baruch (1982) seems to have established that those two sections also were composed in Hebrew. The criteria used in establishing Hebrew as the original language include the poetic style, the reliance on parallelism, the clarity gained by retroversion (i.e., retranslation) into Hebrew, and the occasional instances where the Greek translator may have misunderstood the Hebrew original.” (Harper’s Bible Commentary, p. 855)

James King West writes: “There is some evidence that the work actually comes from at least three authors. The most obvious division occurs between the propse of 1:1-3:8 and the poetry in 3:9-5:9, but there appear also to be two distinct poems in this latter section: a celebration of Wisdom in 3:9-4:4 and a promise of restoration to Jerusalem in 4:5-5:9. The changes in style and the striking difference in the names for God (“Lord,” “Lord God,” “Lord Almighty, God of Israel” in 1:1-3:8; and “God,” “the Holy One,” “the Everlasting,” “Everlasting Savior” in 3:9-5:9), along with subtle changes in point-of-view, makes the separate authorship of these two parts fairly certain. Between the two poems, however, there is also reflected a difference in circumstance and interest which suggests that the poem on Wisdom, 3:9-4:4, may have been interpolated at a later time. Although the prose section, especially 1:14-3:8, shows considerable dependence on Jeremiah, the final poem of encouragement, 4:5-5:9, is highly reminiscent of II Isaiah. There is little to go on in attempting to fix a date for any of the material in this work. It could have been written in any of several periods during the last three centuries of our era.” (Introduction to the Old Testament, p. 454)

Daniel J. Harrington writes: “The question of originality is associated with the obvious use of biblical sources in each main part. The prayer echoes the language found in Daniel 9, while the poem about wisdom is based on Job 28, and the poem of consolation uses material from Isaiah 40-66. The language, images, and ideas are deeply rooted in the Hebrew Bible. What did the author(s) or editor(s) hope to achieve by reformulating these biblical models? Are we to dismiss the work as lacking originality? Or does the very combination of classic themes—sin, exile, repentance, and return—in several different genres and from several different perspectives itself constitute an original contribution?” (Invitation to the Apocrypha, pp. 100-101)

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