Baruch

BARUCH

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Chapter 1

1 These are the words of the book which Baruch the son of Neraiah, son of Mahseiah, son of Zedekiah, son of Hasadiah, son of Hilkiah, wrote in Babylon, 2 in the fifth year, on the seventh day of the month, at the time when the Chaldeans took Jerusalem and burned it with fire. 3 And Baruch read the words of this book in the hearing of Jeconiah the son of Jehoiakim, king of Judah, and in the hearing of all the people who came to hear the book, 4 and in the hearing of the mighty men and the princes, and in the hearing of the elders, and in the hearing of all the people, small and great, all who dwelt in Babylon by the river Sud. 5 Then they wept, and fasted, and prayed before the Lord; 6 and they collected money, each giving what he could; 7 and they sent it to Jerusalem to Jehoiakim the high priest, * the son of Hilkiah, son of Shallum, and to the priests, and to all the people who were present with him in Jerusalem. 8 At the same time, on the tenth day of Sivan, Baruch* took the vessels of the house of the Lord, which had been carried away from the temple, to return them to the land of Judah--the silver vessels which Zedekiah the son of Josiah, king of Judah, had made, 9 after Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon had carried away from Jerusalem Jeconiah and the princes and the prisoners and the mighty men and the people of the land, and brought them to Babylon. 10 And they said: "Herewith we send you money; so buy with the money burnt offerings and sin offerings and incense, and prepare a cereal offering, and offer them upon the altar of the Lord our God; 11 and pray for the life of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, and for the life of Belshazzar his son, that their days on earth may be like the days of heaven. 12 And the Lord will give us strength, and he will give light to our eyes, and we shall live under the protection* of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, and under the protection of Belshazzar his son, and we shall serve them many days and find favor in their sight. 13 And pray for us to the Lord our God, for we have sinned against the Lord our God, and to this day the anger of the Lord and his wrath have not turned away from us. 14 And you shall read this book which we are sending you, to make your confession in the house of the Lord on the days of the feasts and at appointed seasons. 15 "And you shall say: 'Righteousness belongs to the Lord our God, but confusion of face, as at this day, to us, to the men of Judah, to the inhabitants of Jerusalem, 16 and to our kings and our princes and our priests and our prophets and our fathers, 17 because we have sinned before the Lord, 18 and have disobeyed him, and have not heeded the voice of the Lord our God, to walk in the statutes of the Lord which he set before us. 19 From the day when the Lord brought our fathers out of the land of Egypt until today, we have been disobedient to the Lord our God, and we have been negligent, in not heeding his voice. 20 So to this day there have clung to us the calamities and the curse which the Lord declared through Moses his servant at the time when he brought our fathers out of the land of Egypt to give to us a land flowing with milk and honey. 21 We did not heed the voice of the Lord our God in all the words of the prophets whom he sent to us, but we each followed the intent of his own wicked heart by serving other gods and doing what is evil in the sight of the Lord our God.

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Chapter 2

1 "'So the Lord confirmed his word, which he spoke against us, and against our judges who judged Israel, and against our kings and against our princes and against the men of Israel and Judah. 2 Under the whole heaven there has not been done the like of what he has done in Jerusalem, in accordance with what is written in the law of Moses, 3 that we should eat, one the flesh of his son and another the flesh of his daughter. 4 And he gave them into subjection to all the kingdoms around us, to be a reproach and a desolation among all the surrounding peoples, where the Lord has scattered them. 5 They were brought low and not raised up, because we sinned against the Lord our God, in not heeding his voice. 6 "'Righteousness belongs to the Lord our God, but confusion of face to us and our fathers, as at this day. 7 All those calamities with which the Lord threatened us have come upon us. 8 Yet we have not entreated the favor of the Lord by turning away, each of us, from the thoughts of his wicked heart. 9 And the Lord has kept the calamities ready, and the Lord has brought them upon us, for the Lord is righteous in all his works which he has commanded us to do. 10 Yet we have not obeyed his voice, to walk in the statutes of the Lord which he set before us. 11 "'And now, O Lord God of Israel, who didst bring thy people out of the land of Egypt with a mighty hand and with signs and wonders and with great power and outstretched arm, and hast made thee a name, as at this day, 12 we have sinned, we have been ungodly, we have done wrong, O Lord our God, against all thy ordinances. 13 Let thy anger turn away from us, for we are left, few in number, among the nations where thou hast scattered us. 14 Hear, O Lord, our prayer and our supplication, and for thy own sake deliver us, and grant us favor in the sight of those who have carried us into exile; 15 that all the earth may know that thou art the Lord our God, for Israel and his descendants are called by thy name. 16 O Lord, look down from thy holy habitation, and consider us. Incline thy ear, O Lord, and hear; 17 open thy eyes, O Lord, and see; for the dead who are in Hades, whose spirit has been taken from their bodies, will not ascribe glory or justice to the Lord, 18 but the person that is greatly distressed, * that goes about bent over and feeble, and the eyes that are failing, and the person that hungers, will ascribe to thee glory and righteousness, O Lord. 19 For it is not because of any righteous deeds of our fathers or our kings that we bring before thee our prayer for mercy, O Lord our God. 20 For thou hast sent thy anger and thy wrath upon us, as thou didst declare by thy servants the prophets, saying: 21 "Thus says the Lord: Bend your shoulders and serve the king of Babylon, and you will remain in the land which I gave to your fathers. 22 But if you will not obey the voice of the Lord and will not serve the king of Babylon, 23 I will make to cease from the cities of Judah and from the region about Jerusalem the voice of mirth and the voice of gladness, the voice of the bridegroom and the voice of the bride, and the whole land will be a desolation without inhabitants." 24 "'But we did not obey thy voice, to serve the king of Babylon; and thou hast confirmed thy words, which thou didst speak by thy servants the prophets, that the bones of our kings and the bones of our fathers would be brought out of their graves; * 25 and behold, they have been cast out to the heat of day and the frost of night. They perished in great misery, by famine and sword and pestilence. 26 And the house which is called by thy name thou hast made as it is today, because of the wickedness of the house of Israel and the house of Judah. 27 "'Yet thou hast dealt with us, O Lord our God, in all thy kindness and in all thy great compassion, 28 as thou didst speak by thy servant Moses on the day when thou didst command him to write thy law in the presence of the people of Israel, saying, 29 "If you will not obey my voice, this very great multitude will surely turn into a small number among the nations, where I will scatter them. 30 For I know that they will not obey me, for they are a stiff-necked people. But in the land of their exile they will come to themselves, 31 and they will know that I am the Lord their God. I will give them a heart that obeys and ears that hear; 32 and they will praise me in the land of their exile, and will remember my name, 33 and will turn from their stubbornness and their wicked deeds; for they will remember the ways of their fathers, who sinned before the Lord. 34 I will bring them again into the land which I swore to give to their fathers, to Abraham and to Isaac and to Jacob, and they will rule over it; and I will increase them, and they will not be diminished. 35 I will make an everlasting covenant with them to be their God and they shall be my people; and I will never again remove my people Israel from the land which I have given them."

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Chapter 3

1 "'O Lord Almighty, God of Israel, the soul in anguish and the wearied spirit cry out to thee. 2 Hear, O Lord, and have mercy, for we have sinned before thee. 3 For thou art enthroned for ever, and we are perishing for ever. 4 O Lord Almighty, God of Israel, hear now the prayer of the dead of Israel and of the sons of those who sinned before thee, who did not heed the voice of the Lord their God, so that calamities have clung to us. 5 Remember not the iniquities of our fathers, but in this crisis remember thy power and thy name. 6 For thou art the Lord our God, and thee, O Lord, will we praise. 7 For thou hast put the fear of thee in our hearts in order that we should call upon thy name; and we will praise thee in our exile, for we have put away from our hearts all the iniquity of our fathers who sinned before thee. 8 Behold, we are today in our exile where thou hast scattered us, to be reproached and cursed and punished for all the iniquities of our fathers who forsook the Lord our God.'" 9 Hear the commandments of life, O Israel; give ear, and learn wisdom! 10 Why is it, O Israel, why is it that you are in the land of your enemies, that you are growing old in a foreign country, that you are defiled with the dead, 11 that you are counted among those in Hades? 12 You have forsaken the fountain of wisdom. 13 If you had walked in the way of God, you would be dwelling in peace for ever. 14 Learn where there is wisdom, where there is strength, where there is understanding, that you may at the same time discern where there is length of days, and life, where there is light for the eyes, and peace. 15 Who has found her place? And who has entered her storehouses? 16 Where are the princes of the nations, and those who rule over the beasts on earth; 17 those who have sport with the birds of the air, and who hoard up silver and gold, in which men trust, and there is no end to their getting; 18 those who scheme to get silver, and are anxious, whose labors are beyond measure? 19 They have vanished and gone down to Hades, and others have arisen in their place. 20 Young men have seen the light of day, and have dwelt upon the earth; but they have not learned the way to knowledge, nor understood her paths, nor laid hold of her. 21 Their sons have strayed far from her* way. 22 She has not been heard of in Canaan, nor seen in Teman; 23 the sons of Hagar, who seek for understanding on the earth, the merchants of Merran and Teman, the story-tellers and the seekers for understanding, have not learned the way to wisdom, nor given thought to her paths. 24 O Israel, how great is the house of God! And how vast the territory that he possesses! 25 It is great and has no bounds; it is high and immeasurable. 26 The giants were born there, who were famous of old, great in stature, expert in war. 27 God did not choose them, nor give them the way to knowledge; 28 so they perished because they had no wisdom, they perished through their folly. 29 Who has gone up into heaven, and taken her, and brought her down from the clouds? 30 Who has gone over the sea, and found her, and will buy her for pure gold? 31 No one knows the way to her, or is concerned about the path to her. 32 But he who knows all things knows her, he found her by his understanding. He who prepared the earth for all time filled it with four-footed creatures; 33 he who sends forth the light, and it goes, called it, and it obeyed him in fear; 34 the stars shone in their watches, and were glad; he called them, and they said, "Here we are!" They shone with gladness for him who made them. 35 This is our God; no other can be compared to him! 36 He found the whole way to knowledge, and gave her to Jacob his servant and to Israel whom he loved. 37 Afterward she appeared upon earth and lived among men.

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Chapter 4

1 She is the book of the commandments of God, and the law that endures for ever. All who hold her fast will live, and those who forsake her will die. 2 Turn, O Jacob, and take her; walk toward the shining of her light. 3 Do not give your glory to another, or your advantages to an alien people. 4 Happy are we, O Israel, for we know what is pleasing to God. 5 Take courage, my people, O memorial of Israel! 6 It was not for destruction that you were sold to the nations, but you were handed over to your enemies because you angered God. 7 For you provoked him who made you, by sacrificing to demons and not to God. 8 You forgot the everlasting God, who brought you up, and you grieved Jerusalem, who reared you. 9 For she saw the wrath that came upon you from God, and she said: "Hearken, you neighbors of Zion, God has brought great sorrow upon me; 10 for I have seen the captivity of my sons and daughters, which the Everlasting brought upon them. 11 With joy I nurtured them, but I sent them away with weeping and sorrow. 12 Let no one rejoice over me, a widow and bereaved of many; I was left desolate because of the sins of my children, because they turned away from the law of God. 13 They had no regard for his statutes; they did not walk in the ways of God's commandments, nor tread the paths of discipline in his righteousness. 14 Let the neighbors of Zion come; remember the capture of my sons and daughters, which the Everlasting brought upon them. 15 For he brought against them a nation from afar, a shameless nation, of a strange language, who had no respect for an old man, and had no pity for a child. 16 They led away the widow's beloved sons, and bereaved the lonely woman of her daughters. 17 "But I, how can I help you? 18 For he who brought these calamities upon you will deliver you from the hand of your enemies. 19 Go, my children, go; for I have been left desolate. 20 I have taken off the robe of peace and put on the sackcloth of my supplication; I will cry to the Everlasting all my days. 21 "Take courage, my children, cry to God, and he will deliver you from the power and hand of the enemy. 22 For I have put my hope in the Everlasting to save you, and joy has come to me from the Holy One, because of the mercy which soon will come to you from your everlasting Savior. * 23 For I sent you out with sorrow and weeping, but God will give you back to me with joy and gladness for ever. 24 For as the neighbors of Zion have now seen your capture, so they soon will see your salvation by God, which will come to you with great glory and with the splendor of the Everlasting. 25 My children, endure with patience the wrath that has come upon you from God. Your enemy has overtaken you, but you will soon see their destruction and will tread upon their necks. 26 My tender sons have traveled rough roads; they were taken away like a flock carried off by the enemy. 27 "Take courage, my children, and cry to God, for you will be remembered by him who brought this upon you. 28 For just as you purposed to go astray from God, return with tenfold zeal to seek him. 29 For he who brought these calamities upon you will bring you everlasting joy with your salvation." 30 Take courage, O Jerusalem, for he who named you will comfort you. 31 Wretched will be those who afflicted you and rejoiced at your fall. 32 Wretched will be the cities which your children served as slaves; wretched will be the city which received your sons. 33 For just as she rejoiced at your fall and was glad for your ruin, so she will be grieved at her own desolation. 34 And I will take away her pride in her great population, and her insolence will be turned to grief. 35 For fire will come upon her from the Everlasting for many days, and for a long time she will be inhabited by demons. 36 Look toward the east, O Jerusalem, and see the joy that is coming to you from God! 37 Behold, your sons are coming, whom you sent away; they are coming, gathered from east and west, at the word of the Holy One, rejoicing in the glory of God.

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Chapter 5

1 Take off the garment of your sorrow and affliction, O Jerusalem, and put on for ever the beauty of the glory from God. 2 Put on the robe of the righteousness from God; put on your head the diadem of the glory of the Everlasting. 3 For God will show your splendor everywhere under heaven. 4 For your name will for ever be called by God, "Peace of righteousness and glory of godliness." 5 Arise, O Jerusalem, stand upon the height and look toward the east, and see your children gathered from west and east, at the word of the Holy One, rejoicing that God has remembered them. 6 For they went forth from you on foot, led away by their enemies; but God will bring them back to you, carried in glory, as on a royal throne. 7 For God has ordered that every high mountain and the everlasting hills be made low and the valleys filled up, to make level ground, so that Israel may walk safely in the glory of God. 8 The woods and every fragrant tree have shaded Israel at God's command. 9 For God will lead Israel with joy, in the light of his glory, with the mercy and righteousness that come from him.

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Chapter 6

1 *A copy of a letter which Jeremiah sent to those who were to be taken to Babylon as captives by the king of the Babylonians, to give them the message which God had commanded him. 2 Because of the sins which you have committed before God, you will be taken to Babylon as captives by Nebuchadnezzar, king of the Babylonians. 3 Therefore when you have come to Babylon you will remain there for many years, for a long time, up to seven generations; after that I will bring you away from there in peace. 4 Now in Babylon you will see gods made of silver and gold and wood, which are carried on men's shoulders and inspire fear in the heathen. 5 So take care not to become at all like the foreigners or to let fear for these gods* possess you, when you see the multitude before and behind them worshiping them. 6 But say in your heart, "It is thou, O Lord, whom we must worship." 7 For my angel is with you, and he is watching your lives. 8 Their tongues are smoothed by the craftsman, and they themselves are overlaid with gold and silver; but they are false and cannot speak. 9 People* take gold and make crowns for the heads of their gods, as they would for a girl who loves ornaments; 10 and sometimes the priests secretly take gold and silver from their gods and spend it upon themselves, 11 and even give some of it to the harlots in the brothel. They deck their gods* out with garments like men--these gods of silver and gold and wood, 12 which cannot save themselves from rust and corrosion. When they have been dressed in purple robes, 13 their faces are wiped because of the dust from the temple, which is thick upon them. 14 Like a local ruler the god* holds a scepter, though unable to destroy any one who offends it. 15 It has a dagger in its right hand, and has an axe; but it cannot save itself from war and robbers. 16 Therefore they evidently are not gods; so do not fear them. 17 For just as one's dish is useless when it is broken, so are the gods of the heathen, * when they have been set up in the temples. Their eyes are full of the dust raised by the feet of those who enter. 18 And just as the gates are shut on every side upon a man who has offended a king, as though he were sentenced to death, so the priests make their temples secure with doors and locks and bars, in order that they may not be plundered by robbers. 19 They light lamps, even more than they light for themselves, though their gods* can see none of them. 20 They are* just like a beam of the temple, but men say their hearts have melted, when worms from the earth devour them and their robes. They do not notice 21 when their faces have been blackened by the smoke of the temple. 22 Bats, swallows, and birds light on their bodies and heads; and so do cats. 23 From this you will know that they are not gods; so do not fear them. 24 As for the gold which they wear for beauty--they will not shine unless some one wipes off the rust; for even when they were being cast, they had no feeling. 25 They are bought at any cost, but there is no breath in them. 26 Having no feet, they are carried on men's shoulders, revealing to mankind their worthlessness. 27 And those who serve them are ashamed because through them these gods are made to stand, lest they fall to the ground. If any one sets one of them upright, it cannot move itself; and if it is tipped over, it cannot straighten itself; but gifts are placed before them just as before the dead. 28 The priests sell the sacrifices that are offered to these gods* and use the money; and likewise their wives preserve some with salt, but give none to the poor or helpless. 29 Sacrifices to them may be touched by women in menstruation or at childbirth. Since you know by these things that they are not gods, do not fear them. 30 For why should they be called gods? Women serve meals for gods of silver and gold and wood; 31 and in their temples the priests sit with their clothes rent, their heads and beards shaved, and their heads uncovered. 32 They howl and shout before their gods as some do at a funeral feast for a man who has died. 33 The priests take some of the clothing of their gods* to clothe their wives and children. 34 Whether one does evil to them or good, they will not be able to repay it. They cannot set up a king or depose one. 35 Likewise they are not able to give either wealth or money; if one makes a vow to them and does not keep it, they will not require it. 36 They cannot save a man from death or rescue the weak from the strong. 37 They cannot restore sight to a blind man; they cannot rescue a man who is in distress. 38 They cannot take pity on a widow or do good to an orphan. 39 These things that are made of wood and overlaid with gold and silver are like stones from the mountain, and those who serve them will be put to shame. 40 Why then must any one think that they are gods, or call them gods? Besides, even the Chaldeans themselves dishonor them; 41 for when they see a dumb man, who cannot speak, they bring him and pray Bel* that the man may speak, as though Bel* were able to understand. 42 Yet they themselves cannot perceive this and abandon them, for they have no sense. 43 And the women, with cords about them, sit along the passageways, burning bran for incense; and when one of them is led off by one of the passers-by and is lain with, she derides the woman next to her, because she was not as attractive as herself and her cord was not broken. 44 Whatever is done for them is false. Why then must any one think that they are gods, or call them gods? 45 They are made by carpenters and goldsmiths; they can be nothing but what the craftsmen wish them to be. 46 The men that make them will certainly not live very long themselves; how then can the things that are made by them be gods? 47 They have left only lies and reproach for those who come after. 48 For when war or calamity comes upon them, the priests consult together as to where they can hide themselves and their gods. * 49 How then can one fail to see that these are not gods, for they cannot save themselves from war or calamity? 50 Since they are made of wood and overlaid with gold and silver, it will afterward be known that they are false. 51 It will be manifest to all the nations and kings that they are not gods but the work of men's hands, and that there is no work of God in them. 52 Who then can fail to know that they are not gods? * 53 For they cannot set up a king over a country or give rain to men. 54 They cannot judge their own cause or deliver one who is wronged, for they have no power; they are like crows between heaven and earth. 55 When fire breaks out in a temple of wooden gods overlaid with gold or silver, their priests will flee and escape, but the gods* will be burnt in two like beams. 56 Besides, they can offer no resistance to a king or any enemies. Why then must any one admit or think that they are gods? 57 Gods made of wood and overlaid with silver and gold are not able to save themselves from thieves and robbers. 58 Strong men will strip them of their gold and silver and of the robes they wear, and go off with this booty, and they will not be able to help themselves. 59 So it is better to be a king who shows his courage, or a household utensil that serves its owner's need, than to be these false gods; better even the door of a house that protects its contents, than these false gods; better also a wooden pillar in a palace, than these false gods. 60 For sun and moon and stars, shining and sent forth for service, are obedient. 61 So also the lightning, when it flashes, is widely seen; and the wind likewise blows in every land. 62 When God commands the clouds to go over the whole world, they carry out his command. 63 And the fire sent from above to consume mountains and woods does what it is ordered. But these idols* are not to be compared with them in appearance or power. 64 Therefore one must not think that they are gods nor call them gods, for they are not able either to decide a case or to do good to men. 65 Since you know then that they are not gods, do not fear them. 66 For they can neither curse nor bless kings; 67 they cannot show signs in the heavens and* among the nations, or shine like the sun or give light like the moon. 68 The wild beasts are better than they are, for they can flee to cover and help themselves. 69 So we have no evidence whatever that they are gods; therefore do not fear them. 70 Like a scarecrow in a cucumber bed, that guards nothing, so are their gods of wood, overlaid with gold and silver. 71 In the same way, their gods of wood, overlaid with gold and silver, and like a thorn bush in a garden, on which every bird sits; or like a dead body cast out in the darkness. 72 By the purple and linen* that rot upon them you will know that they are not gods; and they will finally themselves be consumed, and be a reproach in the land. 73 Better therefore is a just man who has no idols, for he will be far from reproach.

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