1 “So the Lord made good on#tn Or “established” or “confirmed.” his word which he had spoken concerning us, concerning our judges who pass judgment on Israel, concerning our kings, concerning our rulers, and concerning the people#tn Grk “man.” The singular used here in a collective sense (“people”) probably reflects the idiom of a Hebrew text upon which the Greek text is presumably based. of Israel and Judah. 2 Nothing was done under the entire heaven comparable to what he did in Jerusalem,#sn One of the emphases of the book of Baruch is that of the Lord’s sovereignty over the historical events that had recently devastated his people. According to the theology of this book the catastrophe of the exile was due to judgmental actions taken by the Lord himself. Far from being a disaster that Yahweh was unable to prevent through divine intervention, the captivity of Judah was the result of the Lord’s just displeasure with the sins and failures of Israel. in keeping with#tn Or “according to.” the things written in the law of Moses. 3 Certain individuals among us#tn The grammar of the Greek text is a bit difficult here. In the translation v. 3 is presented as a separate sentence, although in the Greek text it is subordinate to v. 2. The infinitival construction tou phagein hemas anthropon seems to indicate a result attached to the preceding verb epoiesen (“he did”), setting forth a desperate consequence of the divine judgments executed upon the people of Judah. consumed#tn Or “ate.” the flesh of their own sons and certain others the flesh of their own daughters.#sn Cannibalism of one’s own offspring is almost unimaginable. But it is mentioned here as an indication of the utter desperation of this oppressed and persecuted people. Such barbaric actions were not unheard of in the ancient world. For a fairly detailed account of an instance of cannibalism during the famine that accompanied the Roman siege of Jerusalem by Titus, see Josephus’ account of the actions of a Jewish woman named Mary, who is said to have roasted and eaten her infant son in order to prevent her own starvation. Josephus records the total shock that such actions produced not only among Jews but even among the Romans. See Josephus, Jewish War, 6.3.3-5. 2:4 The Lord#tn Grk “he.” delivered#tn Or “gave.” them into the hands of all the kings who were all around us, so that we would become a reproach and a waste land among all the people who were all around us, where the Lord had scattered us.#tn Grk “where the Lord scattered them there.” The wording shows the influence of Hebrew. 5 They were debased and not exalted,#tn Grk “below and not above.” That is to say, instead of ruling over others and prospering they were instead subjugated by other nations and reduced to poverty. See Deut 28:13, upon which the statement in Bar 2:5 is predicated. because we had sinned against the Lord our God, in that we paid no attention to his voice.
Prayers of the Community
6 “Righteousness belongs to the Lord our God, but shame of face belongs to us and to our ancestors, to this very day. 7 All these misfortunes that the Lord pronounced#tn Or “spoke.” upon us have come upon us. 8 But we have not entreated the Lord’s favor#tn Grk “face.” by each individual turning from the intentions of his evil heart. 9 The Lord has watched over#tn Or “supervised.” the misfortunes, and he#tn Grk “the Lord.” has brought them upon us, for the Lord is righteous with regard to all his works that he has instructed us to do.#tn Grk “that he commanded us.” 10 Yet we have not listened to his voice to live by#tn Grk “to go in.” the commandments of the Lord, which he set#tn Grk “gave.” before us.
11 “So now, O Lord God of Israel, who brought your people out of the land of Egypt with a strong hand and with signs and wonders and with great power and by your exalted arm, having established#tn Or “made.” for yourself a name, even till this very day, 12 we have sinned, we have committed sacrilege, and we have behaved unrighteously with regard to all your righteous ordinances, O Lord our God! 13 May your wrath be turned away from us, for we have been reduced to few in number among the nations where you have scattered us. 14 Hear, O Lord, our prayer and petition#tn Or “our prayer of petition” (cf. TEV, NAB), if the expression is to be understood as a hendiadys. and rescue us for your own sake. Grant us favor in the presence of those who are opposing us, 15 so that all the earth may know that you are the Lord our God, for your name is identified with#tn Grk “is called over.” Israel and his descendants.
16 “O Lord, look down from your holy temple and have regard for us. Incline your ear, O Lord, and listen. 17 Open your eyes and look! For it is not those in Hades who have died, whose spirit has been taken from their physical frames,#tn Grk “inward parts.” Here the word is used in tandem with “spirit” to refer to the body. who will render glory and justice to the Lord.#sn It is noteworthy that this verse does not seem to indicate awareness of a theology of resurrection. See O. Eissfeldt, The Old Testament: An Introduction, 593. In general Baruch has a very limited eschatology. As Harrison observes, “The eschatology of the work shows no interest whatever in immortality or the personage of a Messiah, but is distinctly terrestrial, and envisages the restored fortunes of a chastened, though still material, nation in a renewed homeland.” See R. K. Harrison, Introduction to the Old Testament, 1240-41. 18 Rather, it is the individual#tn Grk “soul.” who is extremely sorrowful,#tn Grk “but the soul that grieves upon the greatness.” Presumably the prepositional phrase epi to megethos (“upon the greatness”) is used adverbially (i.e., “extremely”), but this is not certain. The meaning of the phrase is somewhat elusive, although Moore’s evaluation may be a bit hyperbolic: “None of the ancient versions and no modern scholar has translated this particular clause to anyone’s satisfaction other than his own.” He suspects that the problem is due to textual corruption. See C. A. Moore, The Additions, AB 44, 288. who proceeds with head bowed low in weakened condition, with failing eyesight and impoverished soul, who will render glory and righteousness, O Lord.
19 “For it is not due to any righteous acts of our ancestors or our kings that we are presenting our plea for mercy#tn Or “making our humble supplication.” See J. Lust et al., Lexicon of the Septuagint, 2:231. before you, O Lord our God.#sn The basis of appeal to God for help is predicated here not on any human goodness or intrinsic worth, but entirely on the gracious mercy of Yahweh extended in behalf of his suffering people. As O. C. Whitehouse points out, “This verse exhibits a reaction against the prevalent Jewish doctrine of merit.” See APOT 1:586. 20 For you have sent your angry wrath#tn Grk “your anger and your wrath.” The expression is probably a hendiadys. upon us, just as you said you would#tn Grk “just as you spoke.” through#tn Grk “by the hand of.” your servants the prophets, saying, 21 “Thus says the Lord, ‘Make your shoulders to stoop,#tn Grk “incline your shoulder.” and go to work for#tn Or “serve.” So also in vv. 22, 24. the king of Babylon, and sit in the land that I gave to your ancestors. 22 If you won’t listen to the voice of the Lord to go to work for the king of Babylon,
23 In the cities of Judah and outside#tn Moore (and NAB) renders here the Greek word exothen as “in the streets,” regarding it as a mistranslation of the Hebrew word mehusot (“from the streets”). See C. A. Moore, The Additions, AB 44, 289. Jerusalem I will bring an end
to the sound#tn Grk “voice.” of gladness and to the sound of joyfulness,
to the voice of the bridegroom and to the voice of the bride.
All the land will be barren and uninhabited.#sn Verse 23 is a quotation from Jer 7:34.
24 But we have not listened to your voice, to work for the king of Babylon. You therefore have fulfilled#tn Or “established” or “confirmed.” your words, which you spoke through#tn Grk “by the hand of.” your servants the prophets, to bring the bones of our kings and the bones of our ancestors back from the place where they were deposited.#tn Grk “out of their place.” 25 Now look! Their bones#tn Grk “they.” have been thrown out in the heat of the day and the frost of the night. They died in terrible pain, by famine, by sword, and by plague.#tn Or “pestilence.” 26 And the temple over which your name is called you have reduced#tn Grk “placed.” to what it is today because of the evil of the house of Israel and the house of Judah.
27 “But you have dealt with us according to all your gentleness and according to all your great mercy, O Lord our God. 28 Just as you indicated#tn Grk “spoke.” through#tn Grk “by the hand of.” your servant Moses on the day that you instructed him to write your law before the Israelites,#tn Grk “the sons of Israel.” saying,#sn What follows in vv. 29-35 is a string of Old Testament allusions taken from Deut 28:58, 62; Deut 9:6; 1 Kgs 8:47; Jer 24:7; Lev 26:42; Deut 6:10; Jer 32:37, 38-40; Ezek 36:26-29; Amos 9:15. 29 ‘If you will not obey#tn Grk “hear.” my voice, this great buzzing crowd#tn The Greek word bombesis (“buzzing crowd”) is found only here in the Septuagint. will return to being small in number among the nations where I will scatter them. 30 For I know that they will definitely not listen to me, for they are a stiff-necked people. However, they will come to their senses#tn Grk “return upon their heart.” in the land for their captivity. 31 And they shall know that I am the Lord their God. I will give them a responsive#tn The word “responsive” is not in the Greek text but has been added in the translation for clarity. heart and ears that pay attention.#tn Or “hear.” 32 They will praise me in the land of their captivity, and they will be mindful of my name. 33 They will turn away from their rebelliousness#tn Grk “the backside of their stiffness.” and from their evil deeds, for they will remember the way of their ancestors who sinned before the Lord. 34 And I shall return them to the land which I swore to their ancestors Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and they will have control#tn Or “become master.” over it. I will multiply them, and they will not be diminished. 35 I will establish with them an everlasting covenant, so that I will be their God and they will be my people. I will not again remove my people Israel from the land which I gave to them.’