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My Synopsis - Apocrypha: Book of Baruch

A Message to a Conquered People

Baruch is the eighth book found in the Apocrypha. Upon my research, I discovered that there are actually four books of Baruch, with the first book being found among the apocryphal books of the Old Testament. The other three books are classified as pseudepigrapha. Pseudepigrapha is defined as certain writings (other than the canonical books and the Apocrypha) professing to be biblical in character. Canonical is defined as those books which have been authorized, recognized, and accepted by the Roman Church and make up the Bible. An example of this would be the books we now have in the Tanak/Old and Brit Chadasha/New Testament of the Bible. The fourth book of Baruch is actually titled The Letter of Jeremiah or the Epistle of Jeremiah. Some may classify this book as a separate book or as the sixth chapter of the first book of Baruch. The King James Version (KJV) of the Apocrypha calls the sixth chapter, The Epistle of Jeremiah, furthermore, one will discover only the first book of Baruch in the KJV Apocrypha and none of the other books of Baruch. This synopsis will only deal with the first Book of Baruch.

We find out who Baruch is in the first chapter of the first book of Baruch in the first verse:

Verse 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.

We not only find out who Baruch is in the first verse, but we also discover that Baruch wrote the words of this book that were given by the Prophet Jeremiah. However, it doesnt stop there. If one continues to read the first chapter, we discover something else very significant:

Verses 3 - 4: 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, and in the hearing of the nobles, and of the kings 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.

Please note that King Jechonias did evil in the sight of YAHUAH according to all that his father, King Joachim, had done (Jeremiah 24: 8-17).

The words must have been so powerful and heart touching because verse 5 of the same chapter lets us know that the people, both of high and low esteem, wept, fasted, and prayed before the Most High YAHUAH!

I also discovered in my study of the book of Baruch, that Baruch was a well-known scribe (in todays terms, a secretary) for the Prophet Jeremiah. Jeremiah 36: 4 confirms this. Because the Prophet Jeremiah was confined in prison and could not go to the House of YAHUAH, he commanded Baruch to go and read from the scroll which Baruch had transcribed the words of Jeremiah on Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement) in the hearing of Judah that they may repent and turn from their evil way. Baruch did as he was commanded to do (Jeremiah 36: 5-8). If one continues to read Jeremiah 36, one will see that Baruch read the scroll which contained the words of Prophet Jeremiah in several other places as well.

We also read about Baruch in Jeremiah 32, Jeremiah 45: 1-5.

Also, the second verse of the first chapter of Baruch can be compared with 2 Kings 25: 8 of the KJV. As one continues to study and read the book of Baruch, one will discover a lot of parallelism and confirmations.

There are several divisions in the book of Baruch: I. II. III. IV. V. Prayer of the Exiles (1:1 - 3:8) Praise of Wisdom in the Torah (3:9 - 4:4) Jerusalem Encourages Her Captive Children: Israel (4:5 - 4:29) Jerusalem Encouraged: The Captivity is about to End (4:30 - 5:9) The Letter/Epistle of Jeremiah against Idolatry (6:1 - 72)

The central theme of the book of Baruch is Israels disobedience to YAHUAH and the need to repent and turn back to YAHUAHs commandments, statutes, judgments, and ordinances. Once again, Israel transgressed against YAHUAH and took on the ways of the heathen. They were now in captivity. This takes us to the Letter of Jeremiah, the sixth chapter of the Book of Baruch in the KJV Apocrypha. Jeremiahs letter or epistle dealt solely with idolatry. Some scholars say two things about this letter (1) it is misleading, and (2) it was not written by the Prophet Jeremiah. I cannot say rather or not this letter was indeed written by him, but one thing does come to mind and that is Mitsvah/Commandment number one: Exodus 20: 3 You shall have no other mighty ones/g-ds before me. This is exactly what the Letter of Jeremiah deals withworshipping other mighty ones. This is forbidden by YAHUAH. We are not to do this! Centrally, what the Letter of Jeremiah dealt with is that no other mighty ones were to be put before YAHUAH. Israel was definitely guilty of this. No other mighty one/g-d could not do what the true and only ALMIGHTY ONE YAHUAH could do. None could compare to Him then and none can compare to Him now!

1 Kings 18: 20 40 comes to mind. Lets take a minute and look at a verses 25 -29 for a minute.

And Elijah said unto the prophets of Baal, Choose you one bullock for yourselves, and dress it first; for you are many; and call on the name of your g-ds, but put no fire under. And they took the bullock which was given them, and they dressed it, and called on the name of Baal from morning even until noon, saying, O Baal, hear us. But there was no voice, nor any that answered. And they leaped upon the altar which was made. And it came to pass at noon, that Elijah mocked them, and said, Cry aloud: for he is a g-d; either he is talking, or he is pursuing, or he is on a journey, or perhaps he is sleeping, and must be awakened. And they cried aloud, and cut themselves after their manner with knives and lancets, till the blood gushed out upon them. And it came to pass, when midday was past, and they prophesied until the time of the offering of the evening sacrifice, that there was neither voice, nor any to answer, nor any that regarded.

In my opinion, this settles my doubt about the Letter of Jeremiah! What is your take?

This concludes the synopsis of the Book of Baruch. It is brief but contains the main key points. I find this short book to be very intriguing and inspirational. It really hit home with me, especially the Letter of Jeremiah. I also learned how important it is to obey YAHUAH in all that we say and do. Furthermore, I learned that the Tanak as well as the Brit Chadasha confirms a lot of what we read in this small but packed with so much information apocryphal book. I encourage others to read this book and glean from it as much as possible so that our lives can be pleasing in the eyes of Our Creator, YAHUAH.

Shalum Family