by John Thomas Lowe
(Woodruff, S.C.)

• (The Book of Baruch (1 Baruch) is one of the additions to the Book of Jeremiah in the Septuagint.
• 2 Baruch (Syriac Apocalypse of Baruch) describes the Babylonian capture of Jerusalem, written to encourage Jews after the destruction of the second Temple.
• (biblical) Any of several Old Testament men, including the transcriber and companion of Jeremiah.
• A book of the Catholic and Eastern Orthodox canon of the Old Testament, considered apocryphal by Protestants.
• A male given name from Hebrew.
Faithful men and women in the Bible looked forward to a heavenly home.

Hebrews 11:13-16 says, "These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off were assured of them, embraced them and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth. For those who say such things declare plainly that they seek a homeland. And truly if they had called to mind that country from which they had come out, they would have had opportunity to return. But now they desire a better, that is, a heavenly country. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for He has prepared a city for them."

BARUCH (Heb. "blessed"), son of Neriah son of Mahseiah, scribe and trusted companion of the Prophet Jeremiah, who set down in writing all the latter's prophecies and may have composed the biographical narrative about Jeremiah (Jer. 36:4). Baruch's brother Seraiah was the quartermaster of Zedekiah (51:59), the last king of Judah. In the fourth year (or possibly the fifth) of the reign of Jehoiakim, Baruch wrote down, at Jeremiah's dictation, all of the Prophet's oracles and read them in the temple court before the entire community, which had assembled for a fast day proclaimed in Kislev of that year. Baruch then read them before the king's ministers (36:4ff.). When the king was informed of these events, he ordered the scroll to be read before him. When he heard the Prophet's message forecasting doom, Jehoiakim tore the scroll, cast it into the fire, and ordered Jeremiah and Baruch to be placed under arrest; they, however, succeeded in hiding from him. Then Jeremiah dictated (for the second time) the contents of the destroyed scroll and added to it (36:32). As a reward for Baruch's loyalty, Jeremiah declared that he would be saved (45:1ff.).

Baruch exerted a significant influence over Jeremiah. In the tenth year of Zedekiah's reign, when Jerusalem was under siege by the Babylonians, Jeremiah bought a field from Hanamel, his uncle's son. He entrusted the deeds of purchase to Baruch, asking him to place them in an earthenware vessel for safekeeping "that they may last for a long time" (32:1–16). The Babylonian commanders released Baruch together with Jeremiah and did not force him to exile to Babylon (40:1–7).

When Gedaliah, son of Ahikam, was killed and the remnant of the population that had escaped exile, fearing the vengeance of Nebuchadnezzar, asked Jeremiah whether they should stay in the country or go down to Egypt, he advised them to remain.
However, they suspected him of acting under Baruch's instigation, thinking that Baruch planned to place them at the mercy of the Babylonian king out of hatred for them. Baruch was then taken along with Jeremiah and the remnant of the population to Egypt.

In The Aggadah (the text recited at the Seder on the first two nights of the Jewish Passover, including a narrative of the Exodus.)
Baruch is believed to be a priest and a prophet and one of the descendants of Rahab. He is identified with Ebed-Melech, the Ethiopian, who saved Jeremiah from the dungeon (Num.,12:1). Five years after the destruction of the Temple, Baruch (with Jeremiah) was taken from Egypt to Babylon, where he died. He is also said to have prophesied there in the second year of the reign of Darius but was unable to return to Judah because of his advanced age. According to this tradition, Ezra was his pupil (Song. 5:5).

In the Middle Ages, the Iraqi Jews possessed several legends about Baruch's grave near that of Ezekiel in Mushid Aʾli. A certain Arab ruler in Baghdad – at the time of the exilarch Solomon – wished to see the graves of Ezekiel and Baruch.
When the grave was opened, Baruch's body was found in a marble coffin, looking alive. It was decided to transport him some distance from Ezekiel's grave, but, after a mile-long journey, the cart stopped and would not move, and he was buried at that spot. Jewish tradition extolled Baruch's piety, and several apocalypses were attributed to him as well as an apocryphal letter.

Baruch came to have considerable importance in apocryphal literature, where several books were attributed to him. Moreover, there are fragments of Baruch and Jeremiatic apocryphal literature among the Dead Sea Scrolls. According to the apocryphal books, he received many visions and revelations of an apocalyptic nature. In 2 Baruch, his assumption is foretold (ii Bar. 25.1, 76:1).
Son of Nerias, friend and secretary of the Prophet Jeremiah. Jeremiah dictated several of his oracles to Baruch (Heb. bārûk, blessed, probably a shortened form of b erûkyâ, blessed of Yahweh), who wrote them on a scroll and then read them before the people in the Temple and later before the authorities; when King Jehoiakim had heard the oracles, he burned the scroll, and Baruch wrote them down a second time at Jeremiah's dictation (Jer 36.4–32). Because of Baruch's loyalty, special blessings were promised to him by Jeremiah (Jer 45.1–5). After the fall of Jerusalem, the Jewish refugees took Jeremiah and Baruch along with them to Egypt (Jer 43.6). According to a tradition recounted by St. Jerome, Baruch died there. He is important because he served Jeremiah and because he is responsible for the biographical portions of that Prophet's Book. Later generations credited him with the deuterocanonical Book of Baruch and two apocryphal books, the Syriac Apocalypse of Baruch and the Greek Apocalypse of Baruch.

Baruch - In the apocryphal literature, several books are attributed to him, and further fragments of such books have been found among the Dead Sea Scrolls.
• The Book of Baruch (1 Baruch) is one of the additions to the Book of Jeremiah in the Septuagint.
• 2 Baruch (Syriac Apocalypse of Baruch) describes the Babylonian capture of Jerusalem, written to encourage Jews after the destruction of the second Temple.
• 3 Baruch (Greek Apocalypse of Baruch) describes Baruch's vision of the seven heavens.
• The Rest of the Words of Baruch (4 Baruch or Paralipomena Jeremiae) is a legendary account of Jeremiah's return from exile and his death

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