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The Access Bible New Revised Standard Bible, written and edited with first-time Bible readers in mind.

Baruch - Introduction

Baruch is a compilation of several writings attributed to the scribe of Jeremiah (Jer 32.9–15; chs. 36, 45 ). The book was not likely written by Baruch, however, because it exhibits later theological views and is influenced by later literature. It was more than likely composed in Hebrew in Palestine sometime during the second to first centuries BCE.

The book is divisible into four parts: introduction ( 1.1–14 ), penitential prayer ( 1.15–3.8 ), wisdom poem ( 3.9–4.4 ), and Zion * poem ( 4.5–5.9 ). Each of the major sections is indebted to earlier biblical literature. The introduction has affinities with Ezra and Nehemiah. The penitential prayer is similar to Dan 9.4–19 and is perhaps based on it. The wisdom poem, which addresses the problem of finding the wisdom of God, is similar to Sir 24 and Job 28 . The Zion poem has been influenced by Isa 40–66 and Deut 28–32 . Despite many similar motifs, * the parts were probably composed by different authors. For example, the divine name in the introduction and penitential prayer is generally “Lord,” while in the wisdom poem it is “God,” and in the Zion poem, “the Everlasting.”

Although each of the parts of Baruch may pale in comparison to the earlier biblical literature, it provides a valuable insight into the everyday piety of Jews in the second or first century BCE, when it was likely written. The author contrasts the negative view of Israel's past sin with the optimistic vision of the community's returning to a proper praise of God. Penitence is the means of moving from the sinfulness of the past to the obedience and praise of the restored community. The theme of return in the Zion poem provides a celebratory conclusion to the work.

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