1 “O Lord Almighty, God of Israel, a distressed soul and a weary#tn Or “exhausted.” spirit calls#tn Or “has called.” to you. 2 Hear, O Lord, and show mercy, for we have sinned in your sight.#tn Or “before you.” So also in vv. 4, 7. 3 For you sit enthroned#tn The Greek text does not have the word “enthroned.” It has been added in the translation for clarity. forever, but we are perishing forever. 4 O Lord Almighty, God of Israel, hear the prayer of those who have died#tc The Greek text has ton tethnekoton (“those who have died”), but it is possible that the text is corrupt here. Some scholars suspect that the Hebrew word mĕtê (“men”) has been misread as mētê (“the dead”). So, for example, C. A. Moore, The Additions, AB 44, 290. Some of the English translations of v. 4 are based on this emendation (e.g., NRSV, NAB). in Israel and of the descendants#tn Grk “sons.” of those who sinned in your sight, who did not listen to the voice of the Lord their God, for which reason#tn Grk “and.” these misfortunes have clung to us. 5 Do not remember the unrighteous actions of our ancestors, but in this difficult#tn The word “difficult” is not in the Greek text but has been added in the translation for clarity. time remember your power#tn Grk “hand.” and your name. 6 For you are the Lord our God, and we will praise you, O Lord. 7 It is for this reason that you have placed fear for you#tn Grk “your fear.” This is an objective genitive. in our hearts, so that we would call on your name. We will praise you in our captivity,#tn Or “exile.” So also in v. 8. for we have removed from our heart all the unrighteousness of our ancestors who have sinned in your sight. 8 Look! We are today in our captivity where you have scattered us as a reproach, as a curse, and as a punishment#tn The Greek word ophlesin (“punishment”) is found only here in the Septuagint. for all the unrighteous deeds of our ancestors, who departed from the Lord our God.
A Hymn in Praise of Wisdom#sn There is a noticeable change in style between the preceding portion of Baruch and what follows from this point on. Most scholars agree that the remainder of Baruch (3:9–5:9) is written in poetry rather than prose. This feature is reflected in the layout that is adopted in the translation presented above, even though the Göttingen edition of the Greek text does not make such a distinction. There are also differences in the vocabulary and terminology that are found in the two sections. Especially interesting is the variation in titles used for God. While the preceding section prefers “Lord” (or “the Lord our God” or “the Lord Almighty”), the following section prefers words such as “God,” “the Eternal One,” or “the Holy One.”
9 Hear,#tn Or “listen to.” O Israel, commandments of life;
give ear, so as to know understanding.
10 Why is it, O Israel,
why is it that you are in the land of your enemies?
Why is it that#tn The words “Why is it that” are not in the Greek text but have been added in the translation for clarity. you have become old#sn That the people had grown old while in captivity seems to imply that by the time of the writing of this portion of Baruch the exile had already lasted for a considerable period of time. This idea may conflict with the note in Bar 1:2, which suggests that the writing of that portion of the book took place in the early years of the exile. in a land belonging to others,
11 that you have been defiled by the dead,
that you have been reckoned with those in Hades?
12 You have left the fountain#tn Or “spring.” of wisdom.
13 If you had gone in the way of God
you would be dwelling in peace forever.
14 Learn where there is wisdom,
where there is strength, where there is understanding,
so that you may know
where there is longevity and life,
where there is illumination for the eyes and peace.#sn Cf. with v. 14 the similar ideas found in Prov 3:13-18.
15 Who has discovered her#sn The feminine pronoun has for its antecedent wisdom, mentioned in the preceding verse. In what follows wisdom is personified as a wealthy lady whose treasures should be diligently sought after. place,
and who has entered into her treasures?
16 Where are the rulers of the nations
and those who exercise dominion over the beasts of the earth?
17 Where are#tn The words “Where are” are not repeated here in the Greek text, but these words have been supplied twice in the translation for clarity. those who make sport of the birds of the sky
and who treasure up silver and gold
in which people#tn Grk “men.” place their trust,
and there is no end to their acquiring?
18 Where are those who contrived schemes and were anxious over money,#tn Grk “the silver.”
but their deeds have passed into oblivion?#tn Grk “there is no discovery of their works.”
19 These people#tn Grk “they.” have disappeared and gone down to Hades,
and others have arisen in place of them.
20 Younger people have seen the light
and have inhabited the earth,
but they have not known the way of knowledge.
21 Nor have they understood her paths,
nor have they devoted themselves to her.#tn Grk “taken hold of her.”
Their descendents#tn Grk “sons.” have gone far away from her#tc The feminine singular pronoun “her,” referring to wisdom, is supported by some Greek manuscripts and versional witnesses (e.g., the Syriac and part of the Armenian). Other witnesses have “their,” referring to people. The context seems to call for a reference to wisdom. Many English translations follow the singular reading (e.g., RSV, NRSV, NAB, NJB). path.
22 She was neither heard of in Canaan
nor seen in Teman.#sn Teman is mentioned in v. 22 and again in the following verse. Some scholars think that two different locations are in view, even though the Greek spelling for the city name is identical in the two verses. In Moore’s understanding, for example, the first reference is to the Edomite city that was renown for its wisdom (cf. Jer 49:7; Obad 8-9). The second occurrence Moore takes to be a reference to a different city located in Arabia some 200 miles north-northeast of Medina and 250 miles southeast of Aqaba. However, such a distinction makes better sense in a putative Hebrew text of Baruch, where the spellings of the city-names would be slightly different, than it does in the Greek text, where the identity of spelling would no doubt lead to the assumption that only one city was in view here. But see C. A. Moore, The Additions, AB 44, 299.
23 The descendents#tn Grk “sons.” of Hagar who seek after understanding on the earth,
the merchants of Merran and Teman,
the tellers of tales#tn Or “author of fables.” This word is used only here in the Septuagint. and those who seek after understanding
have not known the way of wisdom
nor have they been mindful of her paths.
24 O Israel, how great is the house of God;#sn Here God’s “house” is not spatially restricted to a particular structure or site; rather, it is comprehensive and includes the totality of the created order, as v. 25 seems to suggest.
how extensive#tn Or “far-stretching.” This word is used only here in the Septuagint. the area that belongs to him!#tn Grk “the place of his acquisition.”
25 It is huge and has no boundary,
high and without measure.
26 The giants#sn Cf. Gen 6:1-4; Wisdom 14:6; Sirach 16:7. who were famous#tn Or “renown.” in days gone by,#tn Or “of old” or “in a distant time.”
who were tall#tn The Greek word eumegethes (“tall”) is found in the Septuagint only here and 1 Sam 9:2. and skilled in battle,
were born there.
27 But God did not choose these individuals,
nor did he grant them the way of understanding.
28 They perished for lack of insight,
they perished on account of their recklessness.#tn Or “indecision.” The Greek word aboulia (“recklessness”) is used in the Septuagint only here and in Prov 14:17.
29 Who has ascended into heaven and taken her
and brought her down out of the clouds?
30 Who has traversed the sea and found her
and will acquire#tn Or “carry away.” her at the cost of choice gold?
31 One who knows her way
or who ponders#tn Or “lays to heart.” her path is not to be found.
32 But the one who knows all things knows her;
he found her by his understanding.
The one who created the earth for all time
filled it with four-footed animals.
33 The one who sends the light and it goes forth;
he called it, and in trembling#tn Or “shimmering.” So C. A. Moore, The Additions, AB 44, 301. it obeyed him.
34 The stars shined forth in their watches and were glad.
35 He summoned#tn Or “called.” them, and they said, “We are ready!”
They shined with gladness for the one who made them.
36 This is our God.
No other being can#tn Or “will.” be classed with him.
37 He found out all the way of understanding,
and he gave her to Jacob his servant
and to Israel who is his beloved.#tn Grk “the one having been loved by him.”
38 Afterward she#tn Although there is a certain amount of ambiguity in this statement, the unexpressed subject antecedent of the verb “appeared” probably should be understood to be wisdom, personified here along the lines of Proverbs 8. Many English translations use the pronoun “she” for the subject, understanding wisdom to be the referent (e.g., RSV, NRSV, NAB, NJB). TEV actually supplies the word “Wisdom.” The subject of the verb could (less likely) be understood to be God, and in some of the ancient versions (e.g., Syriac) a pronoun is supplied that is unquestionably masculine rather than feminine. Such an understanding of the verse was preferred by some of the Church fathers, who interpreted this passage as predictive of the incarnation of Jesus. Along this same line the verse was used by some patristic writers against the Arians so as to demonstrate the preexistence and deity of Christ. This assumed Christology probably played a role in the acceptance of Baruch as a canonical writing in some Christian circles, as Metzger suggests. See B. M. Metzger, The Apocrypha, 94. The grammatical ambiguity of the verse has thus given rise to speculation about its theological significance. As Moore points out, “No other verse in I Baruch has been more commented upon or has created more controversy than this one, . . . .” See C. A. Moore, The Additions, AB 44, 301. However, for good reason many modern scholars think that this verse may in fact be a later gloss added to the text of Baruch by a Christian scribe. appeared on the earth
and lived#tn The Greek word synanastrepho (“to live among”) is found in the Septuagint only here and in Gen 30:8 and Sir 41:5. among human beings.#sn Grk “men.”