Baruch Reads His Book to the Jews in Babylon
1 # Jr 36.4 I am Baruch son of Neriah and grandson of Mahseiah, and my ancestors include Zedekiah, Hasadiah, and Hilkiah. I wrote this book in the city of Babylon 2on the seventh day of the month of Ab,#1.2 the month of Ab: Greek “the month”; probably Ab, the fifth month of the Hebrew calendar, from about mid-July to mid-August. This was the anniversary of Jerusalem's capture and destruction (see 2 Kings 25.1-12), and the people of Judah, whether living there or in Babylonia, remembered it by praying and by going without eating to show their sorrow (see Zechariah 7.3). exactly five years after the Babylonians had captured and burned down Jerusalem.#1.2 five years after … Jerusalem: Probably 581 b.c.
3 # 2 K 24.8-17 I read the book to King Jehoiachin#1.3 Jehoiachin: The Greek text has “Jeconiah,” another form of Jehoiachin's name (ruled 598 b.c.). of Judah, son of Jehoiakim, and to everyone who came to listen: 4the government officials and the religious leaders, together with all the people of Israel, both young and old, who lived in Babylon near the Sud River.#1.4 Sud River: Nothing is known about this river.
5After they had listened to me read the book, everyone cried and prayed to the Lord, then went without eating to show their sorrow. 6They collected as much money as they could 7and sent it to Jerusalem for Priest Jehoiakim#1.7 Priest Jehoiakim: Greek “Priest Jehoiakim son of Hilkiah and grandson of Shallum.” and the other priests, as well as for the people living there.
8On the tenth day of the month of Sivan,#1.8 Sivan: The third month of the Hebrew calendar, from about mid-May to mid-June. I got together all the sacred things that had been taken from the Lord's temple in Jerusalem and took them back to Judah. These included the silver things that King Zedekiah of Judah#1.8 King Zedekiah of Judah: Greek “King Zedekiah of Judah, the son of Josiah.” had made 9and that King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylonia#1.9 King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylonia: Ruled 605–562 b.c. had taken from Jerusalem. He brought these to Babylon, along with King Jehoiachin, the important leaders of Judah, the prisoners, and most of the people.
A Letter to the Jews in Jerusalem
10The Jews living in Babylon wrote the following letter for Baruch to take with him to Judah:
Please use the money we are sending to buy animals for sacrifices to please the Lord#1.10 sacrifices to please the Lord: These sacrifices have traditionally been called “burnt offerings” because the whole animal was burned on the altar. A main purpose of such sacrifices was to please the Lord with the smell of the sacrifice, and so in the CEV they are often called “sacrifices to please the Lord.” and sacrifices for sin, as well as to buy incense and to prepare grain offerings. These sacrifices and offerings must be offered on the altar built to honor the Lord our God.
11Pray that King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylonia and his son Belshazzar will live forever, like the heavens above. 12And pray that the Lord will keep our people strong and show us how to be faithful. Then King Nebuchadnezzar and King Belshazzar will be pleased with us and protect us, and in return we will be loyal to them. 13Finally, pray for us—we have sinned against the Lord our God, and he is still angry. 14When you go to the temple during festivals and other religious celebrations to confess your sins to the Lord, be sure to have this book read aloud.
A Prayer To Confess Sins to the Lord
The people also wrote:
15Pray the following prayer when you confess your sins to the Lord:
The Lord our God always does right, but we are deeply ashamed of what we have done. We are the people of Judah and Jerusalem, but all of us, 16including our kings and rulers, our priests and prophets, are guilty. Even our ancestors did what was wrong! 17We have all sinned against the Lord our God. 18We have disobeyed him and have refused to follow the laws he has given. 19In fact, ever since the Lord brought our ancestors out of Egypt, we have been unfaithful and have ignored him. 20#Dt 28.15-68 The Lord rescued our ancestors from Egypt, so that he could give them a land that is rich with milk and honey. He also warned his servant Moses that terrible things would happen, if our ancestors refused to obey the Lord. And so, because they disobeyed him, we are suffering from those curses. 21Even when the Lord's prophets came and told us how the Lord our God wanted us to live, we refused to listen. 22Instead, we did what we wanted and followed our own evil ways—we worshiped other gods and did what the Lord hated.