Baruch ben Neriah 1528 from the 6th century BC was Biblical prophet Jeremiah¶s scribe, secretary, disciple and a good friend. Jewish historian Josephus says he was of Jewish nobility, a son of Neriah and brother of Seraiah ben Neriah, chamberlain of King Zedekiah of Judah. Prophet Jeremiah's dictated the first and second editions of his prophecies and Baruch was the one who wrote them down.

Just like his master, Baruch was often desperate due to current events and circumstance, yet he remained true to the ideas and teachings of the great prophet. While the rage of King Jehoakim forced Jeremiah into hiding, Baruch was the one to read his prophetic messages of warning at the Temple in Jerusalem to the gathered crowds. That was far from easy or safe. Yet Baruch had no second thoughts nor was he afraid. In 587±586 BC Baruch and Jeremiah became witnesses of the Babylonians laying siege to Jerusalem. Halfway through the siege, Jeremiah purchased himself his ancestors¶ estate in Anathoth - the very one that the Babylonian armies were being encamped on at the time - to make a symbolic statement of his faith in the eventual redemption and deliverance of Jerusalem. According to historian Josephus, Baruch continued to reside with Jeremiah at Mizpah, which Nebuchadnezzar II turned into the administrative centre of what was now known as his Yehud province, under supervision of governor Gedaliah. Baruch was not just a scribe for Jeremiah. He was a friend, a partner in some cases, even an advisor. God could use him thanks to his trust and faith and send him to do Jeremiah's work when the latter was unable to do it personally and influence. Once Gedaliah was murdered, they both encouraged the Jews to remain in Judah despite the looming fear of Babylonian retaliation, but the pleas fell on deaf ears. Both Baruch and Jeremiah were forcefully taken to Egypt. One tradition says he died in Egypt, the other that he was taken to Babylon once Nebuchadnezzar had come, seen and conquered Egypt...

About 400 until in 1975 a coll ction of 250 small se made of burnt clay was als excavated 44 miles sout west of Jerusalem. The seals date back to the time of prophet Jeremiah. They served as an official si nature for individuals and were attached to documents as identifiers of the sender. They have the impressed form of the string, used to bind the the scrolls on the back-side. Four of the seals contained names of Biblical figures mentioned in Jeremiah 36, as people that Baruch knew and associated with. This gives further weight to the suggestion that the Baruch mentioned below is the Baruch of the Bible. First of them is impressed with the following inscription: "Berekhyahu son of Neriyahu the scribe" This is the seal of Baruch son of Neriah. Baruch's full name must have been Berekhyahu. The suffix "yahu" in the ancient Hebrew language is a form of Yahweh. The name "Baruch" means "the blessed.´ "Berekhyahu" means "the blessed of Yahweh." Jeremiah 36:4 reads: ³Then Jeremiah called Baruch the son of Neriah; and Baruch wrote on a scroll of a book, at the instruction of Jeremiah, all the words of the LORD which He had spoken to him."

The remaining three of these seals were impressed with the names of:

A. "Elishama servant of the king", a scribe who served the king from Jeremiah 36:12.

B. "Gemariah, son of Shaphan" Jeremiah 36:11 "Now when Micaiah the son of Gemariah, the son of Shaphan, had heard all the words of the LORD from the book,"

C. µYerahme'el, son of the king.¶ Jeremiah 36:26 "And the king (Jehoiakim) commanded Jerahmeel the king's son, Seraiah the son of Azriel, and Shelemiah the son of Abdeel to seize Baruch the scribe and Jeremiah the prophet, but the LORD hid them."

All of these names can be seen in chapter 36 as people that Baruch knew and associated with (Jeremiah 36:1-19). This gives further weight to the suggestion that the Baruch mentioned on the first seal is the Baruch of the Bible. Baruch is probably also among the first bible characters who has passed on his fingerprint to us: namely the top right (the enlarged section of the photo) section of the seal bears a fingerprint, likely that of a thumb. And Baruch - being a second generation scribe at least, was most likely self-managing his seals, rather than delegating the work to someone else. To find out more about the era of Baruch, visit the Bible Study at B ± B ildi g L g y i Wo ld


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