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Jeremiah's Secretary

Baruch, from the Hebrew word pronounced baw-rook, meaning blessed, was a son of Neriah of the tribe of Judah. He was a close associate of the prophet Jeremiah. As a scribe (see Lawyers), Baruch was actually the one who wrote Jeremiah's prophecies. Although almost unknown, at least in comparison to Jeremiah, and often described as Jeremiah's "secretary," which he was, Baruch had knowledge and abilities that at least equalled Jeremiah (interestingly, the word secretary originated from a term which meant someone entrusted with secrets)

"Baruch wrote from the mouth of Jeremiah all the words of The Lord"

Baruch is frequently identified as the son of Neriah, of the tribe of Judah. Baruch did Jeremiah's writing for him, after The Lord told Jeremiah what to say:

Secretary

"Then Jeremiah called Baruch the son of Neriah: and Baruch wrote from the mouth of Jeremiah all the words of The Lord, which He had spoken unto him, upon a roll of a book." (Jeremiah 36:4 KJV)

Jeremiah warned of the coming devastation of Judah (see Why Babylon?), but he also spoke of their future return. As an enduring sign of that confidence in God's word, Jeremiah purchased a piece of land from his cousin Hanameel. Baruch wrote the deed of purchase, in effect, acting as a notary public:

"And I gave the evidence of the purchase unto Baruch the son of Neriah, the son of Maaseiah, in the sight of Hanameel mine uncle's son, and in the presence of the witnesses that subscribed the book of the purchase, before all the Jews that sat in the court of the prison. And I charged Baruch before them, saying, Thus saith The Lord of hosts, the God of Israel; Take these evidences, this evidence of the purchase, both which is sealed, and this evidence which is open; and put them in an earthen vessel, that they may continue many days. For thus saith The Lord of hosts, the God of Israel; Houses and fields and vineyards shall be possessed again in this land." (Jeremiah 32:12-25 KJV)

The prophecies given by The Lord to Jeremiah were written by Baruch:

"And it came to pass in the fourth year of Jehoiakim the son of Josiah king of Judah [see Kings of Israel and Judah], that this word came unto Jeremiah from The Lord, saying, Take thee a roll of a book, and write therein all the words that I have spoken unto thee against Israel, and against Judah, and against all the nations, from the day I spake unto thee, from the days of Josiah, even unto this day. It may be that the house of Judah will hear all the evil which I purpose to do unto them; that they may return every man from his evil way; that I may forgive their iniquity and their sin. Then Jeremiah called Baruch the son of Neriah: and Baruch wrote from the mouth of Jeremiah all the words of The Lord, which he had spoken unto him, upon a roll of a book." (Jeremiah 36:1-4 KJV)

It was Baruch who was given to deliver Jeremiah's warnings to the people in the Temple (see Temples, also "My Father's House") while Jeremiah was "shut up":

"And Jeremiah commanded Baruch, saying, I am shut up; I cannot go into the house of The Lord: Therefore go thou, and read in the roll, which thou hast written from my mouth, the words of The Lord in the ears of the people in The Lord's house upon the fasting day: and also thou shalt read them in the ears of all Judah that come out of their cities. It may be they will present their supplication before The Lord, and will return every one from his evil way: for great is the anger and the fury that The Lord hath pronounced against this people. And Baruch the son of Neriah did according to all that Jeremiah the prophet commanded him, reading in the book the words of The Lord in The Lord's house." (Jeremiah 36:5-8 KJV)

Baruch then delivered the same prophesies of Jeremiah to the king's house, (King Jehoiachin, or Johoiakim, was still reigning, King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon hadn't yet installed Zedekiah as king of Judah ) where the warnings were almost heeded by many:

"Then he went down into the king's house ... So Baruch read it in their ears. Now it came to pass, when they had heard all the words, they were afraid both one and other, and said unto Baruch, We will surely tell the king of all these words." (Jeremiah 36:12,15-16 KJV)

The reaction of Johoiakim was different than his advisors; after reading it, Johoiakim burned the scroll that Baruch had written:

"Now the king sat in the winterhouse in the ninth month: and there was a fire on the hearth burning before him. And it came to pass, that when Jehudi had read three or four leaves, he cut it with the penknife, and cast it into the fire that was on the hearth, until all the roll was consumed in the fire that was on the hearth." (Jeremiah 36:22-23 KJV)

The burning of the scroll was the final straw; The Lord had Baruch write another copy of the scroll, which included the destruction of Judah.

"Then the word of The Lord came to Jeremiah, after that the king had burned the roll, and the words which Baruch wrote at the mouth of Jeremiah, saying, Take thee again another roll, and write in it all the former words that were in the first roll, which Jehoiakim the king of Judah hath burned. And thou shalt say to Jehoiakim king of Judah, Thus saith The Lord; Thou hast burned this roll, saying, Why hast thou written therein, saying, The king of Babylon shall certainly come and destroy this land, and shall cause to cease from thence man and beast?"

"Therefore thus saith The Lord of Jehoiakim king of Judah; He shall have none to sit upon the throne of David: and his dead body shall be cast out in the day to the heat, and in the night to the frost. And I will punish him and his seed and his servants for their iniquity; and I will bring upon them, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and upon the men of Judah, all the evil that I have pronounced against them; but they hearkened not." (Jeremiah 36:27-31 KJV)

While many use the verse above, "he shall have none to sit upon the throne of David," as supposed proof that the throne of David ended at that time, that is not what the Scriptures mean. Apart from the fact that King Jehoiakim was succeeded by King Zedekiah, it was speaking of only that time. Although Zedekiah would also be killed, and all of his royal sons would be killed, that throne and line of David would survive, centuries before Jesus Christ was born. That is not a matter of interpretation, that is what the Bible also says, right in Jeremiah, to explain the meaning fully - as long as the sun shines, meaning without end, there would be an actual descendant of David upon that throne, again, centuries before Christ was born:

"Thus saith The Lord; If ye can break My covenant of the day, and My covenant of the night, and that there should not be day and night in their season; Then may also My covenant be broken with David My servant, that he should not have a son to reign upon his throne" (Jeremiah 33:20-21 KJV)

When the Babylonians returned and completed the devastation of their nation and Jerusalem (see also Temple Mount Treasures and Raiders Of The Lost Ark), some of the people of Judah fled to Tahpanhes, in disobedience to The Lord's command to surrender, not flee. The leaders forced a number of people to go with them against their will, including Jeremiah and Baruch, and the king's daughters who survived the slaughter of their father and their brothers:

"Even men, and women, and children, and the king's daughters, and every person that Nebuzaradan the captain of the guard had left with Gedaliah the son of Ahikam the son of Shaphan, and Jeremiah the prophet, and Baruch the son of Neriah. So they came into the land of Egypt: for they obeyed not the voice of The Lord: thus came they even to Tahpanhes [see Fact Finder question below]." (Jeremiah 43:6-7 KJV)

Baruch did seem to become discouraged for a time, but that is perhaps understandable; they witnessed the complete destruction of their nation. But Jeremiah encouraged Baruch with the Word of God, about how Baruch would survive and travel to many places with a "prey" of Judah (the original Hebrew word translated as "prey," pronounced shaw-lawl, means booty, or something taken away):

"The word that Jeremiah the prophet spake unto Baruch the son of Neriah, when he had written these words in a book at the mouth of Jeremiah, in the fourth year of Jehoiakim the son of Josiah king of Judah, saying, Thus saith The Lord, the God of Israel, unto thee, O Baruch; Thou didst say, Woe is me now! for The Lord hath added grief to my sorrow; I fainted in my sighing, and I find no rest. Thus shalt thou say unto him, The Lord saith thus; Behold, that which I have built will I break down, and that which I have planted I will pluck up, even this whole land. And seekest thou great things for thyself? seek them not: for, behold, I will bring evil upon all flesh, saith The Lord: but thy life will I give unto thee for a prey in all places whither thou goest" (Jeremiah 45:1-5 KJV)

Baruch's fate is not recorded in the Bible. Some believe that he died in Egypt, where he is last specifically recorded in the Scriptures. Others believe that he died in Babylon, during the coming completion of the Babylonian captivity that he was given to record, having been taken there from Jerusalem after returning from Egypt, although Baruch and Jeremiah are not identified in the verses that describe the return of some after the devastation of Tahpanhes (see the Fact Finder question below):

"Yet a small number that escape the sword shall return out of the land of Egypt into the land of Judah, and all the remnant of Judah, that are gone into the land of Egypt to sojourn there, shall know whose words shall stand, mine, or theirs." (Jeremiah 44:28 KJV)

Others believe, based on references (some fanciful, some factual) in secular history about them, that Baruch and Jeremiah, and others of their party, including the king's daughters (the "prey" that was taken away, as recorded in the Scriptures above) who were not killed with the king's sons (with the survival of the king's daughters plainly stated in the Scriptures, that royal line of David was obviously not annihilated, as many incorrectly believe by ignoring, not only Jeremiah 33:20-21 as stated above, but also the God-commanded royal heritage principle "If a man die, and have no son, then ye shall cause his inheritance to pass unto his daughter," Numbers 27:8 KJV) travelled to a distant land where the physical throne of David was transplanted and has existed right to this day - awaiting the arrival of its ultimate Heir at The Return Of Jesus Christ

Fact Finder: Why did some of the people of Judah flee to Tahpanhes in Egypt?
See Tahpanhes


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