Apocrypha: Baruch

Sometime after 587 BC and the destruction of Judea and Jerusalem and Solomon’s Temple, this piece of writing was crafted.  It claims to be written by the Biblical figure Baruch (Jeremiah 43:6).  However the Biblical record has Baruch relocated to Egypt, rather than Babylon as he claims in this writing (1:1).  Baruch also claims to take up a collection for continuing sacrifices and prayers to be made in Jerusalem on behalf of the exiles.  Scripture nowhere mentions this practice and actually claims that all feasts and the cycle of sacrifices and prayers were eliminated during the exile (Lamentations 2:6-7; Era 3:2).

While it’s possible that Baruch was first in Babylon and later in Egypt, or visa versa, it also seems reasonable that this was not written by that Biblical figure but attributed to him.  While this book doesn’t contain anything contrary to Scripture, it does seem to borrow heavily from many of the Old Testament prophets, rendering it derivative to a large extent.

Essentially it’s an acknowledgment of God’s righteous disciplining of his people by allowing them to be conquered and scattered in exile.  It also is a confession of sin and an acknowledgment that it’s their own fault this has happened to them.  It asks God to complete his cycle of discipline now that they have learned their lesson the hard way, and ends with assurances that God will indeed restore his people to their land and heritage.

Again, as with many of the other books of  the Apocrypha, this at best is repetitive.  And while it doesn’t contradict Scripture, it doesn’t really add much of any real value, either.


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