All the people are charged to hear the book, just as “all the people” heard the renewal of the law in Neh 8
, and in both cases this charge is followed by a long penitential prayer. Baruch also gathers the Temple
vessels to return them to Jerusalem (Ezra 1
). The piety of the exiled community is taken as a model for the Jews of the Diaspora
during the time when the work was written. Zechariah 7.2–5
also indicates that the anniversary of the fall of the Temple was marked by mourning.
The Jews remaining in Jerusalem were enjoined to pray for the life of King Nebuchadnezzar, even though he destroyed the Temple. This is an extension of Jeremiah's advice to live peacefully under Nebuchadnezzar (Jer 29
), but it also reflects the later practice of praying for the Persian king and his children (Ezra 6.10
). Daniel also shows a willingness to live peacefully under Nebuchadnezzar (Dan 1–4
Belshazzar was actually the son of Nabonidus, but Baruch may have been influenced by the text of Dan 5.2
, where the same mistake is found.
Penitential prayer. God's punishment is seen as a result of Israel's sin (Neh 9; Dan 9.4–19
). The pattern of sin/punishment/repentance/salvation found in Deut 28–32
influences this passage and a number of other texts of the period (Jdt 5
The recitation of the mighty acts of God was a standard part of the renewal of the covenant (Ex 19.3–6; Deut 6.12; Josh 24
), but here it is incorporated into the confession of sins. The contrast of God's gracious act and Israel's ungrateful response
is sharply drawn.
The dead who are in Hades cannot praise God (Ps 30.9; 88.10–12
), but the truly penitent worshipper, who is deeply grieved, can.
The author here interweaves a number of passages from Jeremiah (
7.34; 8.1; 24.7; 27.9–12; 31.33; 32.36; 36.30
). Jeremiah's message to serve the king of Babylon is restated, but the author may have in mind here peaceful coexistence with world governments of his or her own time.
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