Sixth century BC scribe served prophet Jeremiah
By Patricia Kasten
Compass Associate Editor
|An Advent series on Catholic Social Teaching|
When: Sixth century, B.C., at the time of the fall of Jerusalem in 586 B.C.
Name means: "Blessed"
Background: Born to a noble house, Baruch was not a prophet, but the faithful scribe of Jeremiah. Some Rabbinic literature says he was a relative of Jeremiah. His brother was chamberlain to King Zedekiah, the last king of Judah and a puppet king of Babylon.
Message: As noted, Baruch was not a prophet, but a messenger, nonetheless. It was he who wrote the first draft of Jeremiah's prophecies about the restoration of Jerusalem, even as it was about to be invaded. At Jeremiah's direction, Baruch read this prophecy in the Temple. King Jehoiakim was so enraged that he seized the scroll of the prophecy and had it
destroyed. Baruch later wrote a second and more detailed one, which became the Book of Jeremiah. He remained with Jeremiah during the siege of Jerusalem and after the destruction of the Temple, and finally joined Jeremiah in exile in Egypt. He either died there, or in Babylon after Nebuchadnezzar invaded Egypt.
This Sunday's reading: Bar 5:1-9. The fifth chapter is considered the true ending of this book, with Chapter Six as a later edition. Chapter Five expresses words of consolation to Jerusalem, which has been destroyed - a destruction which Baruch witnessed.