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The Oxford Bible Commentary Line-by-line commentary for the New Revised Standard Version Bible.

Subject-Matter and Literary Genre.

1.

Baruch is composed of three principal parts, one in prose ( 1:1–3:8 ) and two poetic ( 3:9–4:4, 4:5–5:9 ), reflecting the separate documents that were combined by a later editor. The first part describes Baruch's reading of a book to the exiles in Babylon, to which they respond by sending money, the looted temple vessels, and a communal confession and prayer to Jerusalem. The second part, which is not obviously connected with the first, is a eulogy of Wisdom and has affinities with sapiential literature in both Hebrew and Greek. The third part consists of Zion's consolation of the exiles and an exhortation to Jerusalem in the manner of Isa 40–66 , and to some extent at least answers the concerns of the first part.

2.

Thackeray (1923 ) suggested that Baruch was a compilation that served a liturgical function in a diaspora Jewish community, and he linked it to the seven sabbaths around the ninth of Ab, the fast on which the destruction of the temple was commemorated. While few scholars have accepted his theory, it does at least attempt to explain the association of three such disparate documents. In addition, the first part explicitly provides a communal confession to be read in the temple on behalf of diaspora Jewry, a reversal of the situation in 2 Macc 2:16 , where the Judean Jews instruct the Jews of Alexandria to keep the Feast of Dedication.

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