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Encyclopedia > Baruch ben Neriah

Baruch ben Neriah was a Jewish aristocrat and scribe of the sixth century BCE. He was the disciple, secretary, and devoted friend of the Biblical prophet Jeremiah. He was a son of Neriah, and brother of Seraiah ben Neriah, King Zedekiah of Judah's chamberlain (Jer. li. 59), and, according to Josephus ("Ant." x. 9, § 1), a member of a very distinguished family. That he had ambitions which he had reason for believing he was capable of realizing is suggested by Jeremiah's solemn warning, uttered during the fourth year of Jehoiakim, when Baruch was deciding upon his life-work: "Seekest thou great things for thyself? seek them not" (Jer. xlv. 5). To the teachings and ideals of the great prophet he remained true, although like his master he was at times almost overwhelmed with despondency. He it was who wrote down the first and second editions of Jeremiah's prophecies as they were dictated to him by the prophet (Jer. xxxvi). The supreme test came when he was commanded by his master to read to the people gathered in the temple on a fast day certain of the prophecies of warning (Jer. xxxvi. 1-8). Jeremiah himself was in concealment to avoid the wrath of the unprincipled King Jehoakim, and the task was both difficult and dangerous; but Baruch performed it without flinching. It was probably on this occasion that the prophet gave him the personal message preserved in Jer. xlv. In the final siege of Jerusalem (586 B.C.), Baruch was present with Jeremiah in person and witnessed the purchase by the prophet of his ancestral estate in Anathoth (Jer. xxxii). Josephus states that he continued after the fall of Jerusalem to reside with Jeremiah at Mizpah ("Ant." x. 9, § 1). That his influence with the latter was great is shown by the fact that the people suspected that it was on account of his advice that Jeremiah urged them to remain in Judah after the murder of Gedaliah (Jer. xliii. 3). He was carried with Jeremiah to Egypt, where, according to a tradition preserved by Jerome (on Isa. xxx. 6, 7), he soon died. Two other traditions state that he later went, or was carried, to Babylon by Nebuchadnezzar after the latter's conquest of Egypt. Jews (Hebrew: יהודים, Yehudim) are followers of Judaism or, more generally, members of the Jewish people (also known as the Jewish nation, or the Children of Israel), an ethno-religious group descended from the ancient Israelites and converts who joined their religion. ... The Gutenberg Bible owned by the United States Library of Congress The Bible (Hebrew: תנ״ך tanakh, Greek: η Βίβλος hÄ“ biblos) (sometimes The Holy Bible, The Book, Work of God, The Word, The Good Book or Scripture), from Greek (τα) βίβλια, (ta) biblia, (the) books, is the name used by Jews and Christians for their... A prophet is a person who has directly encountered God, of whose intentions he can then speak. ... Jeremiah Lamenting the Destruction of Jerusalem by Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn. ... Neriah is the father of Baruch, metioned in the Book of Jeremiah of the Hebrew Bible. ... Zedekiah or Tzidkiyáhu (צִדְקִיָּהוּ Righteous of/is the LORD, Standard Hebrew Ẓidqiyyáhu, Tiberian Hebrew á¹¢iḏqiyyāhû; BoM Arabic صدقيا á¹¢idqiyyā) was the last king of Judah. ... Kingdom of Judah (Hebrew מַלְכוּת יְהוּדָה, Standard Hebrew Malḫut YÉ™huda, Tiberian Hebrew Malḵûṯ YÉ™hûḏāh) in the times of the Hebrew Bible, was the nation formed from the territories of the tribes of Judah, Simeon, and Benjamin after the Kingdom of Israel was divided, and was named after Judah... For jer, an alternate spelling for the reduced vowels in Common Slavic, see yer. ... Josephus (c. ... Antiquities of the Jews was a work published by the Jewish historian Flavius Josephus in the year A.D. 93. ... Jerusalem (; Hebrew: Yerushalayim; Arabic: al-Quds; Greek Ιεροσόλυμα) is an ancient Middle Eastern city on the watershed between the Mediterranean Sea and the Dead Sea at an elevation of 650-840 meters. ... This entry incorporates text from Eastons Bible Dictionary, 1897, with some modernisation. ... Mizpah - or Mizpeh, watch-tower; the look-out. ... Gedaliah (Hebrew, meaning made great by God) is any one of several Biblical persons: (1. ... To meet Wikipedias quality standards, this article or section may require cleanup. ... Babylon is the Greek variant of Akkadian Babilu (bāb-ilû, meaning Gateway of the god, translating Sumerian Kadingirra), an ancient city in Mesopotamia (modern Al Hillah, Iraq). ... Nebuchadnezzar was the name of several kings of Babylonia. ...


Baruch's prominence, by reason of his intimate association with Jeremiah, led later generations to exalt his reputation still further. To him were attributed two later Jewish books (see Apocalypse of Baruch). The Apocalypse of Baruch is a Jewish apocryphal or pseudepigraphical text written in the late 1st century CE, after the fall of Jerusalem to the Romans in 70 CE, which seemed to the author to signify the imminent end of the world (the apocalypse). ...

Contents


In rabbinical literature

The rabbis described Baruch as a faithful helper and blood-relation of Jeremiah. Both Baruch and Jeremiah being kohanim and descendants of the proselyte Rahab, they served as a humiliating example to their contemporaries, inasmuch as they belong to the few who harkened to the word of God (Sifre, Num. 78 [ed. Friedmann, p. 20b], and elsewhere; compare also Pesikta xiii. 3b). Baruch is identical with the Ethiopian Ebed-melech, who rescued Jeremiah from the dungeon (Jer. xxxviii. 7 et seq.); and he received his appellation because of his piety, which contrasted with the loose life of the court, as the skin of an Ethiopian contrasts with that of a white person (Sifre, Num. 99). As his piety might have prevented the destruction of the Temple of Jerusalem, God commanded him to leave Jerusalem before the catastrophe, so as to remove his protective presence (Syriac Apoc. Baruch, ii. 1, v. 5). Baruch then saw, from Abraham's oak at Hebron, the Temple set on fire by angels, who previously had hidden the sacred vessels (ib. vi. vii.). Rabbi (Classical Hebrew רִבִּי ribbī;; modern Ashkenazi and Israeli רַבִּי rabbī) in Judaism, means teacher, or more literally great one. The word Rabbi is derived from the Hebrew root-word RaV, which in biblical Hebrew means great or distinguished, (in knowledge). In the ancient Judean schools (and among Sefaradim today) the sages... The position of a Kohens hands when he raises them to bless a Jewish congregation A Kohen (or Cohen, Hebrew priest, pl. ... Rahab, (Heb. ... Jeremiah Lamenting the Destruction of Jerusalem by Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn. ... The Jerusalem Temple (Hebrew: beit ha-mikdash) was the center of Israelite and Jewish worship, primarily for the offering of sacrifices known as the korbanot. ... Abraham (אַבְרָהָם Father/Leader of many, (circa 1900 BCE) Standard Hebrew Avraham, Tiberian Hebrew ; Arabic ابراهيم ; Geez አብርሃም ) is regarded as the founding patriarch of the Israelites whom God chose to bless out of all the families of the earth. ... Mamre, full Hebrew name Elonei Mamre (Oaks of Mamre), is where Abraham built an altar (Genesis 13:18). ... Hebron (Arabic al-Ḫalīl; Hebrew , Standard Hebrew Ḥevron, Tiberian Hebrew Ḥeḇrôn: derived from the word friend) is a town in the Southern Judea region of the West Bank, in the Palestinian Occupied Territories. ...


Counted among the prophets=

The Tannaim are much divided on the question whether Baruch is to be classed among the Prophets. According to Mekita (Bo, end of the introduction), Baruch complained (Jer. xlv. 3 et seq.) because the gift of prophecy had not been given to him. "Why," he said, "is my fate different from that of all the other disciples of the Prophets? Joshua served Moses, and the Holy Spirit rested upon him; Elisha served Elijah, and the Holy Spirit rested upon him. Why is it otherwise with me?" God answered him: "Baruch, of what avail is a hedge where there is no vineyard, or a shepherd where there are no sheep?" Baruch, therefore, found consolation in the fact that when Israel was exiled to Babylonia there was no longer occasion for prophecy. The Seder Olam (xx.), however, and the Talmud (Meg. 14b), include Baruch among the Prophets, and state that he prophesied in the period following the destruction. It was in Babylonia also that Ezra studied the Torah with Baruch. Nor did he think of returning to Judea during his teacher's lifetime, since he considered the study of the Torah more important than the rebuilding of the Temple (Meg. 16b); and Baruch could not join the returning exiles by reason of his age (Cant. R. v. 5; see also Seder Olam, ed. Ratner, xxvi.). The Mishnah (Hebrew משנה, Repetition) is a major source of rabbinic Judaisms religious texts. ... Joshua or Yehoshúa (יְהוֹשֻׁעַ Yeho/YHVH is help/saves/delivers, Standard Hebrew YÉ™hošúaÊ¿, Tiberian Hebrew YÉ™hôšuªʿ) is a Biblical character, much of whose life is described in the Book of Joshua. ... Moses or Móshe (מֹשֶׁה, Standard Hebrew, Tiberian Hebrew Mōšeh, Arabic موسى MÅ«sa, Geez ሙሴ Musse) was a son of Amram and his wife, Jochebed, a Levite. ... In various religions, most notably Trinitarian Christianity, the Holy Spirit (also called the Holy Ghost; in Hebrew רוח הקודש Ruah haqodesh) is the third Person of the Holy Trinity. ... Elisha (אֱלִישַׁע My God is salvation, Standard Hebrew EliÅ¡aÊ¿, Tiberian Hebrew ʾĔlîšaÊ¿) was the son of Shaphat of Abel-meholah; he became the attendant and disciple of Elijah (1 Kings 19:16-19). ... Elijah (אֱלִיָּהוּ Whose/my God is the Lord, Standard Hebrew Eliyyáhu, Tiberian Hebrew ʾĔliyyāhû), also Elias (NT Greek Ἠλίας), is a prophet of the Hebrew Bible or Old Testament. ... The Talmud (תלמוד) is a record of rabbinic discussions of Jewish law, ethics, customs, legends, and stories, which Jewish tradition considers authoritative. ... For other uses of this name, see Ezra (disambiguation). ... Desert hills in southern Judea, looking east from the town of Arad Judea or Judaea (יהודה Praise, Standard Hebrew , Tiberian Hebrew ) (Greek: Ιουδαία) is a term used for the mountainous southern part of the historic Land of Israel (Hebrew: ארץ ישראל Eretz Yisrael), an area now divided between Israel and the West Bank, and... Torah () is a Hebrew word meaning teaching, instruction, or law. It is the central and most important document of Judaism revered by Jews through the ages. ...


Baruch's grave

Baruch's grave became the subject of later legends. According to a tradition reported by numerous sources, including Petachiah of Ratisbon, an Arabian king once ordered it to be opened; but all who touched it fell dead. The king thereupon commanded the Jews to open it; and they, after preparing themselves by a three days' fast, succeeded without a mishap. Baruch's body was found intact in a marble coffin, and appeared as if he had just died. The king ordered that it should be transported to another place; but, after having dragged the coffin a little distance, the horses and camels were unable to move it another inch. The king, greatly excited by these wonders, went with his retinue to Muhammad to ask his advice. Arrived at Mecca, his doubts of the truth of the teachings of Islam greatly increased, and he and his courtiers finally accepted Judaism. The king then built a "bet ha-midrash" on the spot from which he had been unable to move Baruch's body; and this academy served for a long time as a place of pilgrimage. Also called Petachiah ben Yakov, Moses Petachiah, or Petachiah of Regensburg; Bohemian rabbi of the late twelfth and early thirteenth centuries. ... The Arabs (Arabic: عرب ) are a large and heterogeneous ethnic group found throughout the Middle East and North Africa. ... Venus de Milo, front. ... Binomial name Equus caballus Linnaeus, 1758 nugget For other uses, see Horse (disambiguation). ... Species Camelus bactrianus Camelus dromedarius A camel is either of the two species of large even-toed ungulate in the genus Camelus, the Dromedary (single hump) and the Bactrian Camel (double hump). ... For other people named Muhammad, see Muhammad (disambiguation). ... This article is about the city in Saudi Arabia. ... Islam (Arabic: ; ) is a monotheistic religion based on the Quran. ... Judaism is the religion of the Jewish people with around 15 million followers as of 2006 [1]. It is one of the first recorded monotheistic faiths and one of the oldest religious traditions still practiced today. ... Yeshiva or yeshivah (Hebrew: ישיבה pl. ...


Baruch's tomb is a mile distant from that of Ezekiel, near Mashhad Ali; and a strange plant, the leaves of which are sprinkled with gold dust, grows on it ("Gelilot Ereẓ Yisrael," as quoted in Heilprin's "Seder ha-Dorot," ed. Wilna, i. 127, 128; variant in "Itinerary" of Pethahiah of Regensburg, ed. Jerusalem, 4b). According to the Syriac Apocalypse of Baruch, he was translated to paradise in his mortal body (xiii., xxv.). The same is stated in "Derek Ereẓ Zuṭṭa" (i.) of Ebed-Melech, and since, as shown above, Baruch and Ebed-melech were held to be identical, the deduction is evident. Ezekiel the Prophet of the Hebrew Scriptures is depicted on a 1510 Sistine Chapel fresco by Michelangelo. ... Syriac ( Suryāyā) is an Eastern Aramaic language that was once spoken across much of the Fertile Crescent. ...


In Arabic-Christian legend

The Arabic-Christian legends identify Baruch with Zoroaster, and give much information concerning him. Baruch, angry because the gift of prophecy had been denied him, and on account of the destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple, left Palestine to found the religion of Zoroaster. The prophecy of the birth of Jesus from a virgin, and of his adoration by the Magi, is also ascribed to Baruch-Zoroaster (compare the complete collection of these legends in Gottheil, in "Classical Studies in Honor of H. Drisler," pp. 24-51, New York, 1894; Jackson, "Zoroaster," pp. 17, 165 et seq.). It is difficult to explain the origin of this curious identification of a prophet with a magician, such as Zoroaster was held to be, among the Jews, Christians, and Arabs. De Sacy ("Notices et Extraits des MSS. de la Bibliothèque du Roi," ii. 319) explains it on the ground that in Arabic the name of the prophet Jeremiah is almost identical with that of the city of Urmiah, where, it is said, Zoroaster lived. However this may be, the Jewish legend mentioned above (under Baruch in Rabbinical Literature), according to which the Ethiopian in Jer. xxxviii. 7 is undoubtedly identical with Baruch, is connected with this Arabic-Christian legend. As early as the Clementine "Recognitiones" (iv. 27), Zoroaster was believed to be a descendant of Ham; and, according to Gen. x. 6, Cush, the Ethiopian, is a son of Ham. It should furthermore be remembered that, according to the "Recognitiones" iv. 28), the Persians believed that Zoroaster had been taken into heaven in a chariot ("ad cœlum vehiculo sublevatum"); and according to the Jewish legend, the above-mentioned Ethiopian was transported alive into paradise ("Derek Ereẓ Zuṭṭa," i. end), an occurrence that, like the translation of Elijah (II Kings ii. 11), must have taken place by means of a "vehiculum." Another reminiscence of the Jewish legend is found in Baruch-Zoroaster's words concerning Jesus: "He shall descend from my family" ("Book of the Bee," ed. Budge, p. 90, line 5, London, 1886), since, according to the Haggadah, Baruch was a priest; and Maria, the mother of Jesus, was of priestly family. Zoroaster, in a popular Parsi Zoroastrian depiction. ... This article is about Jesus of Nazareth. ... Magi (Μάγοι) were Zoroastrian astrologer-priests from ancient Persia. ... A Christian is a follower of Jesus Christ. ... The term Virgin Mary has several different meanings: Mary, the mother of Jesus, the historical and multi-denominational concept of Mary Blessed Virgin Mary, the Roman Catholic theological and doctrinal concept of Mary Marian apparitions shrines to the Virgin Mary Virgin Mary in Islam, the Islamic theological and doctrinal concept...


Evidence of historiocity

In 1975, a bulla purportedly containing Baruch's seal and name appeared on the antiquities market. Its purchaser, a prominent Israeli collecter, permitted Israeli archaeologist Nahman Avigad to publish the bulla.[1] Its source is not definitively known but it has been identified as coming from the "burnt house" excavated by Yigal Shiloh. The bulla is now in the Israel Museum. It measures 17 by 16 mm, and is stamped with an oval seal, 13 by 11 mm. The inscription, written in the ancient Hebrew alphabet reads: Bulla can refer to: The English anime name of Bra, a Dragon Ball GT character. ... Archaeology or sometimes in American English archeology (from the Greek words αρχαίος = ancient and λόγος = word/speech) is the study of human cultures through the recovery, documentation and analysis of material remains, including architecture, artefacts, biofacts, human remains, and landscapes. ... The road sign The Shrine of the Book The Israel Museum in Jerusalem, was founded in 1965 as Israels national museum. ...

lbrkyhw (Belonging to Berechiah)
bn nryhw (son of Neriah)
hspr (the scribe) [2]

In 1996, a second clay bulla emerged with an identical inscription; presumably it had been stanped with the same seal. This bulla also was imprinted with a fingerprint; Herschel Shanks, among others, speculated that, while it was impossible to prove, the fingerprint might be that of Baruch himself. A fingerprint is an impression normally made by ink or contaminants transferred from the peaks of friction skin ridges to a relatively smooth surface such as a fingerprint card. ...


Some commentors have questioned the authenticity of both bullae.[3][4]


Notes

  1.   Avigad 114-118; Shanks, "Jerahmeel" 58-65.
  2.   Avigad 118.
  3.   Shanks, "Fingerprint" 36-38

Resources

  • Nahman Avigad, "Jerahmeel & Baruch," Biblical Archaeology Review 42.2 (1979). 114-118.
  • Hershel Shanks, "Jeremiah's Scribe and Confidant Speaks from a Hoard of Clay Bullae," Biblical Archaeology Review 13.5 (1987) 58-65.
  • Shanks, Hershel. “Fingerprint of Jeremiah’s Scribe.” Biblical Archeology Review 2 (1996): 36-38.
  • "The Seal of Seraiah," Eretz Israel 14 (1978, Ginsberg festschrift) 86-87.

This article incorporates text from the public domain 1901-1906 Jewish Encyclopedia. The Biblical Archaeology Review (illuminating archaeology and the Bible) is the organ of the non-denominational Bible Archaeology Society which has been combining the excitement of archaeology and the latest in Bible scholarship since 1974 [1]. The Societys founder and editor-in-chief is Hershel Shanks. ... The public domain comprises the body of all creative works and other knowledge—writing, artwork, music, science, inventions, and others—in which no person or organization has any proprietary interest. ... The Jewish Encyclopedia was an encyclopedia originally published between 1901 and 1906 by Funk and Wagnalls. ...


 
 

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