Baruch, Book of
One of the Apocryphal or Deutero-canonical books, standing between Jeremiah and Lamentations in the Septuagint, but in the Vulgate (Jerome's Latin Bible, 390-405 A.D.) after these two books.
⇒See also the McClintock and Strong Biblical Cyclopedia.
See underBARUCH for the meaning of the word and for the history of the best-known Biblical. personage bearing the name. Though Jewish traditions link this book with Jeremiah's amanuensis and loyal friend as author, it is quite certain that it was not written or compiled for hundreds of years after the death of this Baruch. According to Jer 45:1 it was in the Jer 4:1-31th year (604 BC) of the reign of Jehoiakim (608-597 BC) that Baruch wrote down Jeremiah's words in a book and read them in the ears of the nobles (English Versions, "princes," but king's sons are not necessarily meant; Jer 36:1-32). The Book of Baruch belongs in its present form to the latter half of the 1st century of our era; yet some modern Roman Catholic scholars vigorously maintain that it is the work of Jeremiah's friend and secretary.
This book and also the Epistle of Jeremy have closer affinities with the canonical Book of Jer than any other part of the Apocrypha. It is probably to this fact that they owe their name and also their position in the Septuagint and in the Vulgate (Jerome's Latin Bible, 390-405 A.D.) The book is apparently made up of four separate parts by independent writers, brought together by an editor, owing it is very likely to a mere accident--each being too small to occupy the space on one roll they were all four written on one and the same roll. The following is a brief analysis of the four portions of the book:
1. Historical Introduction:
Historical Introduction, giving an account of the origin and purpose of the book (Baruch 1:1-14). Baruch 1:1 f tell us that Baruch wrote this book at Babylon "in the fifth month (not "year" as the Septuagint) in the seventh day of the month, what time as the Chaldeans took Jerusalem, and burnt it with fire" (see 2Ki 25:8 ff). Fritzsche and others read: "In the fifth year, in the month Sivan (see 2Ki 1:8), in the seventh day of the month," etc. Um gives the date of the feast Pentecost, and the supposition is that the party who made a pilgrimage to Jerusalem did so in order to observe that feast. According to 2Ki 1:3-14, Baruch read his book to King Jehoiachin and his court by the (unidentified) river Sud. King and people on hearing the book fell to weeping, fasting and praying. As a result money was collected and sent, together with Baruch's book, to the high priest Jehoiakim, (NOTE: So spelled in the canonical books; but it is Joacim or Joachim in Apocrypha the King James Version, and in the Apocrypha the Revised Version (British and American) it is invariably Joakim.) to the priests and to the people at Jerusalem. The money is to be used in order to make it possible to carry on the services of the temple, and in particular that prayers may be offered in the temple for the king and his family and also for the superior lord King Nebuchadnezzar and his son Baltasar (= the Belshazzar of Da 5:1-31).
2. Confession and Prayer:
Confession and prayer (Baruch 1:15 through 3:8) (1) of the Palestinian remnant (Baruch 1:15 through 2:15). The speakers are resident in Judah not in Babylon (Baruch 1:15; compare 2:4), as J. T. Marshall and R. H. Charles rightly hold. This section follows throughout the arrangement and phraseology of a prayer contained in Da 9:7-15. It is quite impossible to think of Daniel as being based on Baruch, for the writer of the former is far more original than the author or authors of Baruch. But in the present section the original passage in Dan is altered in a very significant way. Thus in Da 9:7 the writer describes those for whom he wrote as `the men of Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem and all Israel(ites): those near and those far off, in all the lands (countries) whither thou hast driven them on account of their unfaithfulness toward thee.' The italicized words are omitted from Baruch 1:15, though the remaining part of Da 9:7 is added. Why this difference? It is evident, as Marshall has ably pointed out, that the editor of the section intends to put the confession and prayer of Baruch 1:15 through 2:5 into the mouths of Jews who had not been removed into exile. Ewald (History, V, 208, 6) holds that Da 9:7-9 is dependent on Baruch 1:15 through 2:17. The section may thus be analyzed:
(a) Baruch 1:15-22:
Confession of the sins of the nation from the days of Moses down to the exile. The principle of solidarity (see Century Bible, "Psalms,"II , 21, 195, 215) so governed the thoughts of the ancient Israelites that the iniquities of their forefathers were in effect their own.
(b) Baruch 2:1-5:
God's righteous judgment on the nation in humbling and scattering them.
Confession and prayer (2) of the exiles in Babylon Baruch 2:16 through 3:8. That the words in this section are supposed to be uttered by Babylonian exiles appears from 2:13 f; 3:7 f and from the general character of the whole. This portion of the book is almost as dependent on older Scriptures as the foregoing. Three sources seem in particular to have been used.
(a) The Book of Jeremiah has been freely drawn upon.
(b) Deuteronomic phrases occur frequently, especially in the beginning and end. These are perhaps taken second-hand from Jeremiah, a book well known to the author of these verses and deeply loved by him.
(c) Solomon's prayer as recorded in 1Ki 8:1-66 is another quarry from which our author appears to have dug.
This section may be thus divided:
(i.) Baruch 2:6-12: Confession, opening as the former (see 1:15) with words extracted from Da 9:7.
(ii.) Baruch 2:13 through 3:8: Prayer for restoration.
Baruch 3:1-8 shows more independence than the rest, for the author at this point makes use of language not borrowed from any original known to us. As such these verses are important as a clue to the writer's position, views and character.
In Baruch 3:4 we have the petition: "Hear now the prayer of the dead Israelites," etc., words which as they stand involve the doctrine that the dead (Solomon, Daniel, etc.) are still alive and make intercession to Goal on behalf of the living. But this teaching is in opposition to 2:17 which occurs in the same context. Without making any change in the Hebrew consonants we can and should read for "dead (methe) Israelites" "the men of (methe) Israel." The Septuagint confuses the same words in Isa 5:13.
3. The Praise of Wisdom:
The praise of "Wisdom," for neglecting which Israel is now in a strange land. God alone is the author of wisdom, and He bestows it not upon the great and mighty of this world, but upon His own chosen people, who however have spurned the Divine gift and therefore lost it (Baruch 3:9 through 4:4).
The passage, Baruch 3:10-13 (Israel's rejection of "Wisdom" the cause of her exile), goes badly with the context and looks much like an interpolation. The dominant idea in the section is that God has made Israel superior to all other nations by the gift of "wisdom," which is highly extolled. Besides standing apart from the context these four verses lack the rhythm which characterize the other verses. What is so cordially commended is described in three ways, each showing up a different facet, as do the eight synonyms for the Divine word in each of the 22 strophes in Ps 119:1-176 (see Century Bible, "Psalms,"II , 254).
(1) It is called most frequently "Wisdom."
(2) In Baruch 4:1 it is described as the Commandments of God and as the Law or more correctly as authoritative instruction. The Hebrew word for this last (torah) bears in this connection, it is probable, the technical meaning of the Pentateuch, a sense which it never has in the Old Testament. Compare De 4:6, where the keeping of the commandments is said to be "wisdom" and understanding.
4. The Dependence of This Wisdom Section:
(1) The line of thought here resembles closely that pursued in Job 28:1-28, which modern scholars rightly regard as a later interpolation. Wisdom, the most valuable of possessions, is beyond the unaided reach of man. God only can give it--that is what is taught in these parts of both Baruch and Job with the question "Where shall wisdom be found?" (Job 28:12; compare Baruch 3:14 f, where a similar question forms the basis of the greater portion of the section of Job 38:1-41 f). Wisdom is not here as in Proverbs hypostatized, and the same is true of Job 28:1-28. This in itself is a sign of early date, for the personifying of "wisdom" is a later development (compare Philo, Joh 1:1-51).
(2) The language in this section is modeled largely on that of Deuteronomy, perhaps however through Jeremiah, which is also especially after chapter 10 Deuteronomic in thought and phraseology. See anteII , 2 (2 1b).
The most original part of this division of the book is where the writer enumerates the various classes of the world's great ones to whom God had not given "wisdom": princes of the heathen, wealthy men, silversmiths, merchants, theologians, philosophers, etc. (Baruch 3:16 ff).
5. Words of Cheer to Israel:
The general thought that pervades the section, Baruch 4:5 through 5:9, is words of cheer to Israel (i.e. Judah) in exile, but we have here really, according to Rothstein, a compilation edited so skillfully as to give it the appearance of a unity which is not real. Earlier Biblical writings have throughout been largely drawn upon. Rothstein (Kautzsch, Die Apokryphen, etc., 213-15) divides the section in the following manner:
(1) Baruch 4:5-9a:
Introductory section, giving the whole its keynote--"Be of good cheer," etc.; 4:7 f follows De 32:15-18.
(2) Baruch 4:9b-29:
A song, divisible into two parts.
(a) Personified Jerusalem deplores the calamities of Israel in exile (Baruch 4:9b-16).
(b) She urges her unfortunate children to give themselves to hope and prayer, amending their ways so that God may bring about their deliverance (Baruch 4:17-29).
(c) Baruch 4:30 through 5:9: A second song, beginning as the first with the words, "Be of good cheer," and having the same general aim, to comfort exiled and oppressed Israel.
In all three parts earlier Scriptures have been largely used, and in particular Deutero-Isaiah has had much influence upon the author. But there do not seem to the present writer reasons cogent enough for concluding, with Rothstein, that these three portions are by as many different writers. There is throughout the same recurring thought "Be of good cheer," and there is nothing in the style to suggest divergent authorship.
(3) The Relation between Baruch 4:36 through 5:9 and Psalter of Solomon 11.
It was perhaps Ewald (Geschichte, IV, 498) who first pointed out the similarity of language and viewpoint between Baruch 4:36 through 5:9 and Psalter of Solomon 11, especially 11:3-8. The only possible explanation is that which makes Baruch 4:36 ff an imitation of Psalter of Solomon 11. So Ewald (op. cit.); Ryle and James (Ps Sol, lxx, ii ff).
Ps Sol were written originally in Hebrew, and references to Pompey (died 48 BC) and to the capture of Jerusalem (63 BC) show that this pseudepigraphical Psalter must have been written in the first half of the 1st century BC. Bar, as will be shown, is of much later date than this. Besides it is now almost certain that the part of Baruch under discussion was written in Greek (see below,IV ) and that it never had a Hebrew original. Now it is exceedingly unlikely that a writer of a Hebrew psalm would copy a Greek original, though the contrary supposition is a very likely one.
On the other hand A. Geiger (Psalt. Sol., XI, 137-39, 1811), followed by W. B. Stevenson (Temple Bible), and many others argue for the priority of Baruch, using this as a reason for giving Baruch an earlier date than is usually done. It is possible, of course, that the Pseudo-Solomon and the Pseudo-Baruch have been digging in the same quarry; and that the real original used by both is lost.
For our present purpose the book must be divided into two principal parts: (1) Baruch 1 through 3:8; (2) 3:9 through 5:9. There is general agreement among the best recent scholars from Ewald downward that the first portion of the book at least was written originally in Hebrew. (1) In the Syro-Hex. text there are margin notes to 1:17 and 2:3 to the effect that these verses are lacking in the Hebrew, i.e. in the original Hebrew text.
(2) There are many linguistic features in this first part which are best explained on the supposition that the Greek text is from a Hebrew original. In Baruch 2:25 the Septuagint English Versions of the Bible apostole at the end of the verse means "a sending of." The English Versions of the Bible ("pestilence") renders a Hebrew word which, without the vowel signs (introduced late) is written alike for both meanings (d-b-r). The mistake can be explained only on the assumption of a Hebrew original. Similarly the reading "dead Israelites" for "men of Israel" (= Israelites) in 3:4 arose through reading wrong vowels with the same consonants, which last were alone written until the 7th and 8th centuries of our era.off, in all the lands (countries) whither thou hast driven them on account of their unfaithfulness toward thee.' The italicized words are omitted from Baruch 1:15, though the remaining part of Da 9:7 is added. Why this difference? It is evident, as Marshall has ably pointed out, that the editor of the section intends to put the confession and prayer of Baruch 1:15 through 2:5 into the mouths of Jews who had not been removed into exile. Ewald (History, V, 208, 6) holds that Da 9:7-9 is dependent on Baruch 1:15 through 2:17. The section may thus be analyzed:
Frequently, as in Hebrew, sentences begin with Greek kai (= "and") which, without somewhat slavish copying of the Hebrew, would not be found. The construction called parataxis characterizes Hebrew; in good Greek we meet with hypotaxis.
The Hebrew way of expressing "where" is put literally into the Greek of this book (Baruch 2:4,13,29; 3:8). Many other Hebrew idioms, due, it is probable, to the translator's imitations of his original, occur: in "to speak in the ears of" (Baruch 1:3); the word "man" (anthropos) in the sense "everyone" (Baruch 2:3); "spoken by thy servants the prophets" is in Greek by "the hand of the servants," which is good Hebrew but bad Greek Many other such examples could be added.
There is much less agreement among scholars as to the original language or languages of the second part of the book (Baruch 3:9 through 5:9). That this part too was written in Hebrew, so that in that case the whole book appeared first in that language, is the position held and defended by Ewald (op. cit.), Kneucker (op. cit.), Konig (Ein), Rothstein (op. cit.) and Bissell (Lange). It is said by these writers that this second part of Baruch equally with the first carries with it marks of being a translation from the Hebrew. But one may safely deny this statement. It must be admitted by anyone who has examined the text of the book that the most striking Hebraisms and the largest number of them occur in the first part of the book. Bissell writes quite fully and warmly in defense of the view that the whole book was at first written in Hebrew, but the Hebraisms which he cites are all with one solitary exception taken from the first part of the book. This one exception is in Baruch 4:15 where the Greek conjunction holi is used for the relative ho, the Hebrew 'asher having the meaning of both. There seems to be a Hebraism in 4:21: "He shall deliver thee from .... the hand of your enemies," and there are probably others. But there are Hebraisms in Hellenistic Greek always--the present writer designates them "Hebraisms" or "Semiticisms" notwithstanding what Deismann, Thumb and Moulton say. In the first part of this book it is their overwhelming number and their striking character that tell so powerfully in favor of a Hebrew original.
(3) The following writers maintain that the second part of the book was written first of all in Greek: Fritzsche, Hilgenfeld, Reuss, Schurer, Gifford, Cornill and R. H. Charles, though they agree that the first part had a Hebrew original. This is probably the likeliest view, though much may be written in favor of a Hebrew original for the whole book and there is nothing quite decisively against it. J. Turner Marshall (Hastings Dictionary of the Bible, I, 253) tries to prove that Baruch 3:9 through 4:4 was written first in Aramaic, the rest of the book (4:5 through 5:9) in Greek But though he defends his case with great ability he does not appear to the present writer to have proved his thesis. Ewald (op. cit.), Hitzig (Psalmen2, II, 119), Dillmann, Ruetschi, Fritzsche and Bissell were so greatly impressed by the close likeness between the Greek of Baruch and that of the Septuagint of Jeremiah, that they came to the conclusion that both books were translated by the same person. Subsequently Hitzig decided that Baruch was not written until after 70 AD, and therefore abandoned his earlier opinion in favor of this one--that the translator of Baruch was well acquainted with the Septuagint of Jeremiah and was strongly influenced by it.
IV. Date or Dates.
It is important to distinguish between the date of the completion of the entire book in its present form and the dates of the several parts which in some or all cases may be much older than that of the whole as such.
1. The Historical Introduction:
Baruch 1:1-14 was written after the completion of the book expressly to form a prologue or historical explanation of the circumstances under which the rest of the book came to be written. To superficial readers it could easily appear that the whole book was written by one man, but a careful examination shows that the book is a compilation. One may conclude that the introduction was the last part of the book to be composed and that therefore its date is that of the completion of the book. Reasons will be given (see below) for believing that 4:5 through 5:9 belongs to a time subsequent to the destruction of Jerusalem and its temple in 70AD . This is still more true of this introduction intended as a foreword to the whole book.
2. Confession and Prayer:
The following points bear on the date of the section Baruch 1:15 through 3:8, assuming it to have one date:
(1) The generation of Israelites to which the writer belonged were suffering for the sins of their ancestors; see especially Baruch 3:1-8.
(2) The second temple was in existence in the writer's day. Baruch 2:26 must (with the best scholars) be translated as follows: "And thou hast made the house over which thy name is called as it is this day," i.e. the temple--still in being--is shorn of its former glory. Moreover though Da 9:7-14 is largely quoted in Baruch 1:15 through 2:12, the prayer for the sanctuary and for Jerusalem in Da 9:16 is omitted, because the temple is not now in ruins.
(3) Though it is implied (see aboveII , 2, (1)) that there are Jews in Judah who have never left their land there are a large number in foreign lands, and nothing is said that they were servants of the Babylonian king.
(4) The dependence of Baruch 2:13 through 3:8 on Deuteronomy, Jer and 1Ki 8:1-66 (Solomon's prayer) shows that this part of the book is later than these writings, i.e. later than say 550 BC. Compare Baruch 2:13 with De 28:62 and Jer 42:2.
(5) The fact that Da 9:7-14 has influenced Baruch 1:15 through 2:12 proves that a date later than Daniel must be assumed for at least this portion of Baruch. The temple is still standing, so that the book belongs somewhere between 165 BC, when Daniel was written, and 71 AD, when the temple was finally destroyed.
Ewald, Gifford and Marshall think that this section belongs to the period following the conquest of Jerusalem by Ptolemy I (320 BC). According to Ewald the author of Baruch 1:1 through 3:8 (regarded as by one hand) was a Jew living in Babylon or Persia. But Daniel had not in 320 BC been written. Fritzsche, Schrader, Keil, Toy and Charles assign the section to the Maccabean age--a quite likely date. On the other hand Hitzig, Kneucker and Schurer prefer a date subsequent to 70 AD. The last writer argues for the unity of this section, though he admits that the middle of chapter 1 comports ill with its context.
3. The Wisdom Section Baruch 3:9 through 4:4:
It has been pointed out (see above,II , 3) that Baruch 3:10-13 does not belong to this section, being manifestly a later interpolation. The dependence of this Wisdom portion on Job 28:1-28 and on Deuteronomy implies a post-exilic date. The identification of Wisdom with the Torah which is evidently a synonym for the Pentateuch, argues a date at any rate not earlier than 300 BC. But how much later we have no means of ascertaining. The reasons adduced by Kneucker and Marshall for a date immediately before or soon af ter the fall of Jerusalem in 70 AD have not convinced the present writer.
4. Words of Cheer Baruch 4:5 through 5:9:
The situation implied in these words may be thus set forth:
(1) A great calamity has happened to Jerusalem (Baruch 4:9 f). Nothing is said proving that the whole land has shared the calamity, unless indeed this is implied in Baruch 4:5 f.
(2) A large number of Jerusalemites have been transported (Baruch 4:10).
(3) The nation that has sacked Jerusalem and carried away many of its inhabitants is "shameless," having "a strange language, neither reverencing old men nor pitying children" (Baruch 4:15).
(4) The present home of the Jerusalemites is a great city (Baruch 4:32-35), not the country.
Now the above details do not answer to any dates in the history of the nation except these two: (a) 586 BC, when the temple was destroyed by the Babylonians; (b) 71 AD, when the temple was finally destroyed by the Romans. But the date 586 BC is out of the question, and no modern scholar pleads for it. We must therefore assume for this portion of the book a date soon after 70 AD. In the time of Pompey, to which Graetz assigns the book, neither Jerusalem nor the temple was destroyed. Nor was there any destruction of either during the Maccabean war. In favor of this date is the dependence of Baruch 4:36 ff on Psalter of Solomon 11 (see above,II , 5, (3)).
Rothstein (in Kautzsch) says that in this section there are at least three parts by as many different writers. Marshall argues for four independent parts. But if either of these views is correct the editor has done his work exceedingly well, for the whole harmonizes well together.
Kneucker, author of the fullest Commentary, endeavors to prove that the original book consisted of Baruch 1:1 f plus 3a (the heading) plus 3:9 through 5:9, and that it belongs to the reign of Domitian (81-96 AD). The confession and prayer in 1:15 through 3:8 were written, he says, somewhat earlier and certainly before 71 AD, and as a separate work, being inserted in the book by the scribe who wrote 1:4-14.
The most important versions are the following. It is assumed in the article that the Greek text of the book up to Baruch 3:8 is itself a translation from a Hebrew text now lost. The same remark may be true of the rest of the book or of a portion of it (see above,III ).
There are two versions in this language: (1) The Vulgate (Jerome's Latin Bible, 390-405 A.D.) which is really the Old Latin, since Jerome's revision was confined to the Hebrew Scriptures, the Apocrypha being therefore omitted in this revision. This version is a very literal one based on the Greek It is therefore for that reason the more valuable as a witness to the Greek text. (2) There is a later Latin translation, apparently a revision of the former, for its Latinity is better; in some cases it adopts different readings and in a general way it has been edited so as to bring it into harmony with the Vatican uncial (B). This Latin version was published in Rome by J. Maria Caro (died circa 1688) and was reprinted by Sabatier in parallel columns with the pre-Jeromian version noticed above (see Bibliotheca Casinensis, I, 1873).
There are also in this language two extant versions: (1) The Peshitta, a very literal translation, can be seen in the London (Walton's) Polyglot and most conveniently in Lagarde's Libr. Apocrypha. Syriac., the last being a more accurate reproduction. (2) The Hexapla Syriac translation made by Paul, bishop of Telle, near the beginning of the 7th century AD. It has been published by Ceriani with critical apparatus in his beautiful photograph-lithographed edition of the Hexapla Syriac Bible.
There is a very literal translation to be found in the London Polyglot, referred to above.
For editions of the Greek text see under APOCRYPHA. Of commentaries the fullest and best is that by Kneucker, Das Buch Baruch (1879), who gives an original German rendering based on a restored Hebrew original. Other valuable commentaries are those by Fritzsche (1851); Ewald, Die Propheten2, etc. (1868), III, 251-82 (Eng. translation); The Prophets of the Old Testament, V, 108-37, by Reusch (1855); Zockler (1891) and Rothstein (op. cit.); and in English, Bissell (in Lange's series edited by D. S. Schaff, 1880); and Gifford (Speaker's Comm., 1888). The S.P.C.K. has a handy and serviceable volume published in the series of popular commentaries on the Old Testament. But this commentary, though published quite recently (my copy belongs to 1894, "nineteenth thousand"), needs strengthening on the side of its scholarship.
Arts. dealing with introduction occur in the various Bible Dictionaries (Smith's Dictionary of the Bible, Westcott and Ryle; Hastings, Dictionary of the Bible (five volumes), J. T. Marshall, able and original; Encyclopedia Biblica, Bevan, rather slight). To these must be added excellent articles in Jewish Encyclopedia (G. F. Moore), and Encyclopedia Biblica (R. H. Charles).
T. Witton Davies