Baruch ben Neriah

Baruch ben Neriah (Hebrew: ברוך בן נריה Bārūḵ ben Nêrîyāh, "'Blessed' (Bārūḵ), son (ben) of 'My Candle is Jah' (Nêrîyāh)"; c. 6th century BC) was the scribe, disciple, secretary, and devoted friend of the Biblical prophet Jeremiah. He is traditionally credited with authoring the deuterocanonical Book of Baruch.[1]


According to Josephus, Baruch was a Jewish aristocrat, a son of Neriah and brother of Seraiah ben Neriah, chamberlain of King Zedekiah of Judah.[2][3]

Baruch became the scribe of the prophet Jeremiah and wrote down the first and second editions of his prophecies as they were dictated to him.[4] Baruch remained true to the teachings and ideals of the great prophet, although like his master he was at times almost overwhelmed with despondency. While Jeremiah was in hiding to avoid the wrath of King Jehoakim, he commanded Baruch to read his prophecies of warning[5] to the people gathered in the Temple in Jerusalem on a day of fasting. The task was both difficult and dangerous, but Baruch performed it without flinching and it was probably on this occasion that the prophet gave him the personal message.[6]

Both Baruch and Jeremiah witnessed the Babylonian siege of Jerusalem of 587–586 BC. In the middle of the siege of Jerusalem, Jeremiah purchased estate in Anathoth on which the Babylonian armies had encamped (as a symbol of faith in the eventual restoration of Jerusalem),[7] and, according to Josephus, Baruch continued to reside with him at Mizpah.[8] Reportedly, Baruch had influence on Jeremiah; on his advice Jeremiah urged the Israelites to remain in Judah after the murder of Gedaliah.[9]

He was carried with Jeremiah to Egypt, where, according to a tradition preserved by Jerome,[10] he soon died. Two other traditions state that he later went, or was carried, to Babylon by Nebuchadnezzar II after the latter's conquest of Egypt.

Baruch's prominence, by reason of his intimate association with Jeremiah, led later generations to exalt his reputation still further. To him were attributed the Book of Baruch and two other Jewish books.[11]



In 1975, a clay bulla purportedly containing Baruch's seal and name appeared on the antiquities market. Its purchaser, a prominent Israeli collector, permitted Israeli archaeologist Nahman Avigad to publish the bulla.[12] Although its source is not definitively known, 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:[13]

Line Transliteration Translation
1 lbrkyhw [belonging] to Berachyahu
2 bn nryhw son of Neriyahu
3 hspr the scribe

In 1996, a second clay bulla emerged with an identical inscription; presumably stamped with the same seal. This bulla also was imprinted with a fingerprint;[14] Hershel Shanks, among others, speculated that the fingerprint might be that of Baruch himself;[15][16] the authenticity of these bullae however has been disputed.ibid.

Scholarly theories

In the second edition of Richard Elliott Friedman's book Who Wrote the Bible?, in which he explained and defended the documentary hypothesis, he put forth the claim that the Deuteronomist, who is generally thought to have either written or edited the books from Deuteronomy to II Kings, was Baruch ben Neriah. He defended this assertion by comparing a number of different phrases in the Book of Jeremiah with phrases in other books. Some reject this claim on the grounds that it goes beyond the evidence.

Religious traditions

Rabbinical literature

Statue of Baruch by Aleijadinho

The rabbis described Baruch as a faithful helper and blood-relative of Jeremiah. According to rabbinic literature, both Baruch and Jeremiah, being kohanim and descendants of the proselyte Rahab, served as a humiliating example to their contemporaries, inasmuch as they belong to the few who harkened to the word of God.[17] A Midrash in the Sifre regarded Baruch as identical with the Ethiopian Ebed-melech, who rescued Jeremiah from the dungeon;[18] and states that he received his appellation Baruch ("blessed") 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.[19] According to a Syriac account, because his piety might have prevented the destruction of the Temple, God commanded him to leave Jerusalem before the catastrophe, so as to remove his protective presence.[20] According to the account, Baruch then saw, from Abraham's oak at Hebron, the Temple set on fire by angels, who previously had hidden the sacred vessels.[21]

The Tannaim are much divided on the question whether Baruch is to be classed among the Prophets. According to Mekhilta,[22] Baruch complained[23] 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,[24] 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;[25] and Baruch could not join the returning exiles by reason of his age.[26]

Christian traditions

Some Christian legends (especially from Syria and Arabia) 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 Israel 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.[27] 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[28] 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. According to the "Recognitiones",[29] 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,[30] an occurrence that, like the translation of Elijah,[31] 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",[32] since, according to the Haggadah, Baruch was a priest; and Maria, the mother of Jesus, was of priestly family.

In the Eastern Orthodox Church Baruch is venerated as a saint, and as such is commemorated on September 28 (which, for those who follow the traditional Julian Calendar, falls on October 11 of the Gregorian Calendar).

The Catholic Church considers Baruch as a Saint along with other biblical prophets.[33]


Baruch's grave became the subject of later legends. According to a Muslim tradition reported by 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.

Baruch's tomb is a mile away from that of Ezekiel, near Mashhad Ali;[34] and a Jewish rabbinic source reported that a strange plant, the leaves of which are sprinkled with gold dust, grows on it.[35] According to the Syriac Apocalypse of Baruch, he was translated to paradise in his mortal body.[36] The same is stated in Derekh Eretz Zuta (i.) of Ebed-Melech. Those who regard Baruch and Ebed-melech as identical find this deduction is evident.


  1. ^ "Baruch". Catholic Encyclopedia. Retrieved June 27, 2016.
  2. ^ Jer. li. 59
  3. ^ Josephus, "Jewish Antiquities." x. 9, § 1
  4. ^ Jer. xxxvi
  5. ^ Jer. xxxvi. 1-8
  6. ^ Preserved in Jer. xlv
  7. ^ (Jer. xxxii)
  8. ^ Josephus, "Ant." x. 9, § 1
  9. ^ (Jer. xliii. 3)
  10. ^ on Isa. xxx. 6, 7
  11. ^ see Apocalypse of Baruch
  12. ^ Avigad 114-118; Shanks, "Jerahmeel" 58-65
  13. ^ Avigad 118
  14. ^ Shanks, "Fingerprint" 36-38
  15. ^ Goren, Yuval. "Jerusalem Syndrome in Biblical Archaeology". Society of Biblical Literature. Archived from the original on 7 July 2007. Retrieved 2007-06-26.
  16. ^ Rollston, Christopher A.; Vaughn, Andrew G. "The Antiquities Market, Sensationalized Textual Data, and Modern Forgeries: Introduction to the Problem and Synopsis of the 2004 Israeli Indictment". Society of Biblical Literature. Retrieved 2007-06-26.
  17. ^ Sifre, Num. 78 [ed. Friedmann, p. 20b], and elsewhere; compare also Pesikta xiii. 3b
  18. ^ Jer. xxxviii. 7 et seq.
  19. ^ Sifre, Num. 99
  20. ^ Syriac Apoc. Baruch, ii. 1, v. 5
  21. ^ ib. vi. vii.
  22. ^ Bo, end of the introduction
  23. ^ Jer. xlv. 3 et seq.
  24. ^ Meg. 14b
  25. ^ Meg. 16b
  26. ^ Cant. R. v. 5; see also Seder Olam, ed. Ratner, xxvi.
  27. ^ 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.
  28. ^ "Notices et Extraits des MSS. de la Bibliothèque du Roi," ii. 319
  29. ^ iv. 28
  30. ^ "Derek Ere? Zutta," i. end
  31. ^ II Kings ii. 11
  32. ^ Book of the Bee, ed. Budge, p. 90, line 5, London, 1886
  33. ^ The patriarchs, prophets and certain other Old Testament figures have been and always will be honored as saints in all the Church's liturgical traditions. - Catechism of the Catholic Church 61
  34. ^ "Baruch", Jewish Encyclopedia
  35. ^ Gelilot Eretz Yisrael, as quoted in Heilprin's "Seder ha-Dorot," ed. Wilna, i. 127, 128; variant in "Itinerary" of Pethahiah of Regensburg, ed. Jerusalem, 4b
  36. ^ xiii., xxv


External links

3 Baruch

3 Baruch or the Greek Apocalypse of Baruch is a visionary, pseudepigraphic text written some time between the fall of Jerusalem to the Romans in 70 AD and the third century AD. Scholars disagree on whether it was written by a Jew or a Christian, or whether a clear distinction can be made in this era. It is one of the Pseudepigrapha, attributed to the 6th-century BC scribe of Jeremiah, Baruch ben Neriah, and does not form part of the biblical canon of either Jews or Christians. It survives in certain Greek manuscripts, and also in a few Old Church Slavonic ones.

Al-Nukhailah Mosque

An-Nukhailah Mosque (Arabic: مسجد النخيلة‎) is an historic Shi'ite Islam mosque in the town of Al Kifl, Iraq. The mosque is a complex which contains the Dhu'l Kifl Shrine (Arabic: مرقد نبي الله ذي الكفل‎), which is believed to be the tomb of the prophet Dhul-Kifl, who is considered to be Ezekiel.

Apocalypse of Baruch

The Apocalypse of Baruch are two different Jewish pseudepigraphical texts written in the late 1st/early 2nd century AD/CE, after the fall of Jerusalem to the Romans in 70 AD, though attributed to Baruch ben Neriah (c. 6th century BC).

Syriac Apocalypse of Baruch or 2 Baruch is named for the fact that it predominantly survives in Syriac manuscripts

Greek Apocalypse of Baruch or 3 Baruch predominantly survives in Greek manuscripts


The Semitic root B-R-K has the original meaning of "to kneel down", with a secondary meaning "to bless".In Islamic mysticism, Barakah (Arabic: بركة‎) is a concept of spiritual presence or revelation.

The cognate Hebrew term is Berakhah (בְּרָכָה) "benediction, blessing".

Baruch (Hebrew: בָּרוּךְ, Modern: Barukh, Tiberian: Bārûḵ, "blessed") is a Biblical Hebrew given name, most notably the name of

Baruch ben Neriah, aide to the prophet Jeremiah.

The Arabic masculine given name Mubarak is the Arabic stem III passive participle, mubārak (مبارك), meaning "blessed (one)".

The given name Barack of US president Barack Obama is derived from the same root. However, Bārak بارك is not a given name in Standard Arabic.

The Arabic given name derived from the root B-R-K is Mubarak ( مبارك "blessed (one)"). However, it appears that the variant Bārak has a tradition as a masculine given name in Islamic parts of Sub-Saharan Africa.

Book of Baruch

The Book of Baruch, occasionally referred to as 1 Baruch, is a deuterocanonical book of the Bible in some Christian traditions. In Judaism and most forms of Protestant Christianity, it is considered not to be part of the Bible. It is named after Baruch ben Neriah, Jeremiah's scribe, who is mentioned at Baruch 1:1, and has been presumed to be the author of the whole work. It contains reflections on the theology and history of Israel, discussions of wisdom, and addresses to residents of Jerusalem and the Diaspora. Some scholars propose that it was written during or shortly after the period of the Maccabees.Although the earliest known manuscripts of Baruch are in Greek, linguistic features of the first parts of Baruch (1:1-3:8) have been proposed as indicating a translation from a Semitic language.Although not in the Hebrew Bible, it is found in the Septuagint, in the Eritrean/Ethiopian Orthodox Bible, and also in Theodotion's Greek version. Jerome excluded both the Book of Baruch and the Letter of Jeremiah from the Vulgate Bible; but both works were introduced into Latin Vulgate bibles sporadically from the 9th century onwards; and were incorporated into the Sixto-Clementine Vulgate edition. In the Vulgate it is grouped with the prophetical books which also include Isaiah, Jeremiah, Lamentations, Ezekiel, Daniel, and the Twelve Minor Prophets. In the Vulgate, the King James Bible Apocrypha, and many other versions, the Letter of Jeremiah is appended to the end of the Book of Baruch as a sixth chapter; in the Septuagint and Orthodox Bibles chapter 6 is usually counted as a separate book, called the Letter or Epistle of Jeremiah.

Chronological list of Old Testament Saints

A list of people in the Old Testament revered within the Catholic Church as Saints

Dalua of Tibradden

Saint Dalua of Tibradden (Irish: Do-Lúe, Latin: Daluanus), also called Dalua of Craoibheach, was an early Irish saint who is said to have been a disciple of St. Patrick. He founded a church that became known as Dun Tighe Bretan (Tibradden) which is located today in the townland of Cruagh, Co. Dublin.

Great martyr

Great Martyr or Great-Martyr (Greek: μεγαλομάρτυς or μεγαλομάρτυρ, megalomartys or megalomartyr, from megas, "great" + "martyr") is a classification of saints who are venerated in the Eastern Orthodox Church and those Eastern Catholic Churches which follow the Rite of Constantinople.

Generally speaking, a Great Martyr is a martyr who has undergone excruciating tortures—often performing miracles and converting unbelievers to Christianity in the process—and who has attained widespread veneration throughout the Church. These saints are often from the first centuries of the Church, before the Edict of Milan. This term is normally not applied to saints who could be better described as hieromartyrs (martyred clergy) or protomartyrs (the first martyr in a given region).


Jeremiah, also called the "weeping prophet", was one of the major prophets of the Hebrew Bible (Old Testament). According to Jewish tradition, Jeremiah authored the Book of Jeremiah, the Books of Kings and the Book of Lamentations, with the assistance and under the editorship of Baruch ben Neriah, his scribe and disciple.

Greater detail is known about Jeremiah's life than for that of any other prophet. However, no biography of him can be written, as there are few facts available.Judaism considers the Book of Jeremiah part of its canon, and regards Jeremiah as the second of the major prophets. Christianity also regards Jeremiah as a prophet, and he is quoted in the New Testament. Islam also considers Jeremiah a prophet, and his narrative is given in Islamic tradition.

Jeremiah 36

Jeremiah 36 is the thirty-sixth chapter of the Book of Jeremiah in the Hebrew Bible or the Old Testament of the Christian Bible. It is numbered as Jeremiah 43 in the Septuagint. This book contains prophecies attributed to the prophet Jeremiah, and is one of the Books of the Prophets. This chapter records the burning of a scroll of Jeremiah's prophecy by Jehoiakim and the remaking of another scroll by Jeremiah with the help of Baruch the scribe.

Judas Barsabbas

Judas Barsabbas was a New Testament prophet and one of the 'leading men' in the early Christian community in Jerusalem at the time of the Council of Jerusalem in around 50 A.D.

He is mentioned in Acts 15:22, where he and Silas are described as a "leading men among the brothers" (NIV). Judas and Silas were delegated the task of accompanying Paul and Barnabas to Antioch and delivering the Council's letter resolving the controversy surrounding gentile circumcision.Acts 15:32 further describes Judas and Silas as prophets, and says that they "said much to encourage and strengthen the believers." After a stay in Antioch, Judas returned to Jerusalem whereas Silas remained in Antioch.

List of ancient Near Eastern scribes

This is a list of Near Eastern scribes. Besides the common clay tablet used in Mesopotamia, cylinder seals, stelas, reliefs, etc. are other commonly used mediums of the Near Eastern scribes.

List of sofers

A List of sofers, (or the female soferet).

Major prophet

The Major Prophets is a grouping of books in the Christian Old Testament, but not occurring in the Hebrew Bible. These books are centred on a prophet, traditionally regarded as the author of the respective book. The term "major" refers only to their length, in distinction to the Twelve Minor Prophets, whose books are much shorter and grouped together as a single book in the Hebrew Bible.

The books, in order of their occurrence in the Christian Old Testament, are:

Book of Isaiah

Book of Jeremiah

Book of Lamentations (in the Ketuvim (Writings) section of the Tanakh, ascribed to Jeremiah)

Book of Baruch (not in Protestant Bibles, ascribed to Baruch ben Neriah, scribe of Jeremiah)

Letter of Jeremiah (Chapter 6 of Baruch in most Catholic Bibles, its own book in Eastern Orthodox Bibles)

Book of Ezekiel

Book of Daniel (in the Ketuvim of the Hebrew Bible).In the Hebrew Bible the Books of Isaiah, Jeremiah and Ezekiel are included among the Nevi'im (Prophets) but Lamentations and Daniel are placed among the Ketuvim (Writings). Baruch (including the Letter of Jeremiah) is not part of the Hebrew Bible.


Mehseiah is a minor figure in the Hebrew Bible, the grandfather of Baruch ben Neriah and father of Neriah. According to the Talmud, he was a prophet.

Michael of Synnada

Michael of Synnada (Michael the Confessor) (died 818) was a bishop of Synnada from 784. He represented Byzantium in diplomatic missions to Harun al-Rashid and Charlemagne. He was exiled by Emperor Leo V the Armenian because of his opposition to iconoclasm. Honored by the Orthodox and Roman Catholic churches, his feast day is May 23.

Seraiah ben Neriah

Seriah ben Neriah was a Jewish aristocrat of the sixth century BCE. He was the son of Neriah and the brother of Baruch ben Neriah, the disciple of the biblical prophet Jeremiah.

Seriah served as chamberlain of King Zedekiah of Judah.

Table of prophets of Abrahamic religions

This is a table containing prophets of the modern Abrahamic religions.

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