Robert Carroll and Stephen Prickett

in The Bible: Authorized King James Version

Published in print February 1998 | ISBN: 9780192835253
Published online April 2009 |

Series: Oxford World's Classics


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A number of writings are attributed to Jeremiah's scribe, Baruch the son of Neriah, of which this is the only one in the Bible. Dominated by the theme of exile and return, the book mainly consists of public confessions of the sins which caused the people to be deported in the first place. The influence of Deut. 28–32 and Dan. 9: 4–19 is very strong on the confession of sins by the people of Jerusalem (1: 10–22; 2: 1–20). ‘Hear, Israel, the commandments of life: give ear to understand wisdom. How happeneth it, Israel, that thou art in thine enemies’ land, that thou art waxen old in a strange country, that thou art defiled with the dead, That thou art counted with them that go down into the grave? Thou hast forsaken the fountain of wisdom. For if thou hadst walked in the way of God, thou shouldest have dwelled in peace for ever’ (3: 9–13). The poem in 3: 14–4: 4 has connections with Job 28: 12–28 and is similar in many ways to Ecclus. 24. Wisdom is identified with ‘the book of the commandments of God’, the law given to Israel (4: 1–4). The book ends with a lengthy document purporting to be the letter Jeremiah wrote to the deportees in Babylon (6: 1–73; Jer. 29). There is no internal evidence for dating. Some scholars would like to read 1: 2 as an allusion to the sacking of Jerusalem by Antiochus IV (168–164 bce), but the theme of the destruction of Jerusalem, followed by deportation and hopes of restoration, is too general to offer any firm clues. The experience of exile and hopes of the restoration of Jerusalem have been dominant themes of Jewish writings throughout many centuries.

Chapter.  307 words. 

Subjects: Religious Studies ; Biblical Studies

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