Baruch (Sixth century b.c.e.) religious scribe and prophet

(Sixth century b.c.e.) religious scribe and prophet

The Bible portrays “Baruch, son of Neriah” as the companion and secretary to Jeremiah, the famous prophet at the time of the Babylonian deportation of Judah (587 b.c.e.).
His dedicated service to Jeremiah brought him into the same ignominy and hardship as his master, though most likely he was born an aristocrat and received the benefit of education. He compiled two scrolls of prophecies, one for the king of Judah, which was burned later, and the other for the possession of Jeremiah. This latter scroll may be the core of the biblical book of Jeremiah. 
                                        Hebrew Bible

Baruch’s role as Jeremiah’s scribe may be why he is cited as author in several sequels to the book of Jeremiah. When Jeremiah was forced to flee from Jerusalem to Egypt (582 b.c.e.) in the aftermath of the Babylonian invasion, Baruch accompanied him. This is the last mentioned abode for Baruch in the Hebrew Bible, though Jeremiah elsewhere in his book promises that Baruch would survive the general turmoil but live the life of a refugee.

                                                      Christian biblical scholar Jerome

According to Christian biblical scholar Jerome, Baruch shared the fate of Jeremiah, who presumably died in Egypt. Later Jewish sources disagree. Rabbinic authorities assume that Baruch went to Babylon. It is here that the deuterocanonical book of Baruch (accepted by Catholic and Orthodox Christians) locates him. This book consists of several distinct parts and is probably an assortment of writings intended to encourage the scattered people of Israel in the centuries following the Babylonian invasion. An even later book called Second Baruch or the Syriac Apocalypse of Baruch (parts of which are accepted by the Syriac Christians) shows the scribe speaking, praying, and writing mainly in the environs of Jerusalem just as the Babylonians are on the verge of conquering Jerusalem.

In this text Baruch overshadows his master. He commands Jeremiah to depart and encourage the exiles in Babylon. Afterward the stage is empty except for Baruch, who dominates the rest of the book with his visions, prayers, and instructions. The focus of Baruch’s ministry in Jerusalem is the training of the surviving elders, but he increasingly addresses larger audiences, first the remaining residents of the city and then the people scattered in the Diaspora. The latter group he reaches through a letter that concludes the book.

The tradition of Baruch survived outside the rabbinic Jewish tradition. Spurious books (parts of books) attributed to Baruch have appeared in many languages, including Latin, Greek, Syriac, Hebrew, and Arabic. Other names for Baruch in Hebrew are Berechiah and Barachel. His name has been found on a clay seal impression, or bulla, reading, “[belonging] to Berechiah, son of Neriah, the scribe,” a relatively rare reference to a biblical person from a contemporary nonbiblical source.

Baruch (Sixth century b.c.e.) religious scribe and prophet Baruch (Sixth century b.c.e.) religious scribe and prophet Reviewed by Ajit Kumar on 7:11 PM Rating: 5

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