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Jeremiah 45

Baruch is Rebuked but also Comforted

45:1 The prophet Jeremiah spoke to Baruch son of Neriah while he was writing down in a scroll the words that Jeremiah spoke to him. 1  This happened in the fourth year that Jehoiakim son of Josiah was ruling over Judah. 2  45:2 “The Lord God of Israel has a message for you, Baruch. 45:3 ‘You have said, “I feel so hopeless! 3  For the Lord has added sorrow to my suffering. 4  I am worn out from groaning. I can’t find any rest.”’”

45:4 The Lord told Jeremiah, 5  “Tell Baruch, 6  ‘The Lord says, “I am about to tear down what I have built and to uproot what I have planted. I will do this throughout the whole earth. 7  45:5 Are you looking for great things for yourself? Do not look for such things. For I, the Lord, affirm 8  that I am about to bring disaster on all humanity. 9  But I will allow you to escape with your life 10  wherever you go.”’”

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1 sn It is unclear whether this refers to the first scroll (36:4) or the second (36:32). Perhaps from the reactions of Baruch this refers to the second scroll which was written after he had seen how the leaders had responded to the first (36:19). Baruch was from a well-placed family; his grandfather, Mahseiah (32:12) had been governor of Jerusalem under Josiah (2 Chr 34:8) and his brother was a high-ranking official in Zedekiah’s court (Jer 51:59). He himself appears to have had some personal aspirations that he could see were being or going to be jeopardized (v. 5). The passage is both a rebuke to Baruch and an encouragement that his life will be spared wherever he goes. This latter promise is perhaps the reason that the passage is placed where it is, i.e., after the seemingly universal threat of destruction of all who have gone to Egypt in Jer 44.

2 tn Heb “[This is] the word/message which Jeremiah the prophet spoke to Baruch son of Neriah when he wrote these words on a scroll from the mouth of Jeremiah in the fourth year of Jehoiakim son of Josiah king of Judah, saying.”

3 tn Heb “Woe to me!” See the translator’s note on 4:13 and 10:19 for the rendering of this term.

4 sn From the context it appears that Baruch was feeling sorry for himself (v. 5) as well as feeling anguish for the suffering that the nation would need to undergo according to the predictions of Jeremiah that he was writing down.

5 tn The words, “The Lord told Jeremiah” are not in the text but are implicit in the address that follows, “Thus you shall say to him.” These words are supplied in the translation for clarity.

6 tn Heb “Thus you shall say to him [i.e., Baruch].”

7 tn Heb “and this is with regard to the whole earth.” The feminine pronoun הִיא (hi’) at the end refers to the verbal concepts just mentioned, i.e., this process (cf. GKC 459 §144.b and compare the use of the feminine singular suffix in the same function GKC 440-41 §135.p). The particle אֶת (’et) is here functioning to introduce emphatically the object of the action (cf. BDB 85 s.v. I אֵת 3.α). There is some debate whether אֶרֶץ (’erets) here applies to the whole land of Israel or to the whole earth. However, the reference to “all mankind” (Heb “all flesh”) in the next verse as well as “anywhere you go” points to “the whole earth” as the referent.

8 tn Heb “oracle of the Lord.”

9 sn Compare Jer 25:31, 33. The reference here to universal judgment also forms a nice transition to the judgments on the nations that follow in Jer 46-51 which may be another reason for the placement of this chapter here, out of its normal chronological order (see also the study note on v. 1).

10 tn Heb “I will give you your life for a spoil.” For this idiom see the translator’s note on 21:9 and compare the usage in 21:9; 38:2; 39:18.

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