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The Apocryphal Old Testament Collection of the most important non-canonical Old Testament books designed for general use.

Chapter XLVIII

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Text Commentary

1And after the seventh day I prayed before the Mighty One and said,2

O my Lord, thou dost summon the times to come to thee, And they stand before thee: Thou dost cause the power of the ages to pass away, And they do not resist thee: Thou dost arrange the course of the seasons, And they obey thee. 3 Thou alone knowest for how long the generations will endure, And thou revealest not thy mysteries to many. 4 Thou makest known the might of fire, And thou weighest the lightness of the wind. 5 Thou dost explore the limit of the heights, And scrutinize the depths of darkness. 6 Thou dost decree the number of those who pass away and of those who are preserved, And thou preparest an abode for those who are to be. 7 Thou dost remember the beginning thou hast made, And forgettest not the destruction that is to be. 8 With frightening and formidable signs thou dost command the flames, And they change into spirits. 1 Or ‘winds’. And with a word thou dost quicken that which was not, And with thy mighty power thou holdest back that which not yet has come. 9 Thou dost instruct created things by thy understanding, And thou teachest the spheres to minister in their orders. 10 Armies innumerable stand before thee, And minister in their orders quietly at thy nod. 11 Hear thy servant, And give ear to my petition. 12 For we are born to live only for a little while, And very soon we go away. 13 But with thee hours are like an age, And days as generations. 14 Be not therefore angry with man, for he is nothing, And take no account of our deeds, for what are we? 15 For lo, it is by thy gift that we come into the world, And we do not leave it by our own decision. 16 For we said not to our parents, Give us birth, Nor did we send to Sheol and say, Receive us. 17 How then can our strength withstand thy wrath, Or how can we endure thy judgement? 18 Protect us in thy compassion, And in thy mercy help us. 19 Behold the little ones that are subject to thee, And save all those that draw near to thee; And destroy not the hope of our people And cut not short the times of our aid. 20 For this is the nation 2 Text ‘until’. thou hast chosen, And these are the people without equal in thine eyes. 21 But I now will speak before thee, And tell thee what is in my mind. 22 In thee do we trust, for lo, thy law is with us, And we know we shall not fall so long as we keep thy statutes. 23 For all time are we blessed in this at least, That we have not mingled with the Gentiles. 24 For we are all one famous people, Who have received one law from the only One; And the law which is with us will help us, And the matchless wisdom which is in our midst will sustain us.

25And after I had prayed and said these things I was much exhausted.

26And he answered and said to me,

Your prayer has been plain enough, Baruch, And all your words have been heard. 27 But my judgement claims what is due to it, And my law exacts its rights. 28 In accordance with your own words will I answer you, And in accordance with your prayer will I speak to you.

29For the truth is, he that has become corrupt is not at all: 3 Charles described the text here as ‘unintelligible’. he has done evil so far as he could do anything; and he has neither pondered 4 Lit. ‘remembered…accepted’. my goodness nor understood 4 Lit. ‘remembered…accepted’. my patience. 30But you will indeed be taken up, 5 See n.1 to chap. xlvi. as I have already told you. 31And that time I have also told you about will come, and the time of distress begin: it will come and pass by with a sudden fury, creating havoc through the vehemence of its onset. 32And in those days all the inhabitants of the earth will lean upon one another, 6 Lit. ‘rest against each other’. Charles would emend ‘be moved one against another’. because they are unaware that my judgement has come upon them.33

For there will not be found many wise at that time, And the prudent will be but few; And even those possessed of knowledge will keep silent. 34 And there will be many rumours and numerous idle tales, And uncanny things will be seen to happen, And not a few predictions will pass from mouth to mouth: Some of them will prove unfounded, And some will be confirmed. 35 And honour will be turned to shame, And strength fall into disrepute: Confidence will disappear, And beauty will become an object of contempt. 36 And many will say to others at that time, Where has discretion hidden itself, And where has wisdom fled for refuge? 37 And while they are meditating on these things, Those who had thought nothing of themselves will be seized by envy, And the even-tempered man will become a prey to passion: Many will be stirred up by anger to their mutual hurt, And they will raise up armies to shed each others' blood, And in the end they will perish all together. 38 And it will come to pass at that very time, That it will be apparent to all that the times are changing, Because in all those times they polluted themselves And oppressed the poor; And each one of them went his own way, And remembered not the law of the Mighty One. 39 Therefore a fire shall consume their thoughts, And in the flame shall the plans they have made be tested; For the Judge will come and will not delay. 40 Each one of the earth's inhabitants knew when he was sinning, But because of their pride they would not recognize 7 Lit. ‘they did not know’. my law. 41 But many will then weep bitterly Over the living more than over the dead.

42And I answered and said, O Adam, What was it that you did to all your posterity? And what should be said to Eve who first listened to the serpent? 43For all this multitude is going to corruption: innumerable are those whom the fire will devour.

44,45Yet again I will speak in thy presence. Thou, O Lord, my Lord, knowest what is in thy creature. 46For thou didst of old command the dust to produce Adam; and thou knowest the number of those who have been born from him, and how much they have sinned before thee – those who have been born and have not confessed thee as their creator. 47And, so far as all these are concerned, their end will convict them, and thy law, which they have transgressed, will requite them on thy day.

48But now let us leave aside the wicked and inquire about the righteous. 49And I will recount their blessedness and proclaim 8 Lit. ‘and not be silent in celebrating’. the glory that is reserved for them. 50For without question, just as in this transitory world in which you live, you have for a little while endured much toil, so in that world, to which there is no end, you will receive great light. 9 According to Charles verses 48–50 are a fragment of an address delivered by Baruch to the people, and not to God. He found another fragment of this same address (originally preceding 48–50 here) in liv. 16–18, and yet another (following 48–50) in lii. 5–7.

Notes:

1 Or ‘winds’.

2 Text ‘until’.

3 Charles described the text here as ‘unintelligible’.

4 Lit. ‘remembered…accepted’.

5 See n.1 to chap. xlvi.

6 Lit. ‘rest against each other’. Charles would emend ‘be moved one against another’.

7 Lit. ‘they did not know’.

8 Lit. ‘and not be silent in celebrating’.

9 According to Charles verses 48–50 are a fragment of an address delivered by Baruch to the people, and not to God. He found another fragment of this same address (originally preceding 48–50 here) in liv. 16–18, and yet another (following 48–50) in lii. 5–7.

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