These are the words of the book, which Baruch the son of Neriah, the son of Maasiah, the son of Zedekiah, the son of Hasadiah, the son of Hilkiah, wrote in Babylon, in the fifth year, and on the seventh day of the month, since the time when the Chaldeans took Jerusalem and burnt it with fire. Baruch read the words of this book in the hearing of Jeconiah the son of Jehoiakim king of Judah, and to the ears of all the people who came to hear the book, and in the hearing of the nobles, and of the king’s sons, and in the hearing of the elders, and of all the people, from the lowest to the highest, even of all those who dwelt at Babylon by the river Sud; whereupon they wept, fasted, and prayed before the Lord.
They also made a collection of money according to each man’s ability, and they sent it to Jerusalem to Joachim the high priest, the son of Hilkiah, son of Salom, and to the priests, and to all the people who were with him at Jerusalem, at the same time when he received the vessels of the house of the Lord, which had been carried out of the Temple, to return them into the land of Judah, in the tenth day of the month Sivan, namely, silver vessels, which Zedekiah, the son of Josiah king of Judah, had made. After that, Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon had carried away Jeconiah and the princes and the captives and the mighty men and the people of the land, from Jerusalem and brought them to Babylon.
And they said, “Behold, we have sent you money to buy you burnt offerings and sin offerings and incense, and to prepare you cereal offerings, to offer upon the altar of the Lord our God, and to pray for the life of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, and for the life of Belshazzar his son, that their days on earth may be as the days of heaven. And the Lord will give us strength and lighten our eyes, and we shall live under the shadow of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon and under the shadow of Belshazzar his son, and we shall serve them for many days and find favor in their sight. Pray for us also to the Lord our God, for we have sinned against the Lord our God; and until this day the fury of the Lord and his wrath has not turned from us. And you shall read this book, which we have sent to you, to make confession in the house of the Lord on the feasts and solemn days.
“And you shall say, ‘To the Lord our God belongs righteousness, but to us, confusion of face, as has happened this day, unto those of Judah and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem.’ And to our kings and our princes and our priests and our prophets and our fathers, you shall say: ‘For we have sinned before the Lord, and disobeyed him, and have not heeded the voice of the Lord our God to walk in the commandments which he gave us openly. Since the day that the Lord brought our forefathers out of the land of Egypt, until this present day, we have been disobedient to the Lord our God and we have been negligent in not hearing his voice. Therefore the evils clung to us and also the curse, which the Lord appointed by Moses his servant at the time that he brought our fathers out of the land of Egypt to give us a land that flows with milk and honey, as is clear on this day. Nevertheless we have not heeded the voice of the Lord our God, according to all the words of the prophets, whom he sent to us, but every man followed the imagination of his own wicked heart, to serve strange gods and to do evil in the sight of the Lord our God.
“‘Therefore the Lord has made good his word, which he pronounced against us and against our judges who judged Israel and against our kings and our princes and against the men of Israel and Judah, to bring upon us great plagues, such as never happened under the whole heaven, yet came to pass in Jerusalem, according to the things which were written in the law of Moses, so that a man would eat the flesh of his own son and the flesh of his own daughter. Moreover, he has delivered them to be in subjection to all the kingdoms which surround us, to be as a reproach and a desolation among all the surrounding peoples, where the Lord has scattered them. Thus we were cast down and not exalted because we sinned against the Lord our God and have not been obedient to his voice. To the Lord our God belongs righteousness, but to us and to our fathers open shame, as is clear on this day. For all these plagues have come upon us, which the Lord has pronounced against us, yet have we not prayed before the Lord, so that we might turn, each one from the imaginations of his wicked heart. Therefore the Lord watched over us for evil and the Lord has brought it upon us; for the Lord is righteous in all his works which he has commanded us. Yet we have not hearkened to his voice to walk in the commandments of the Lord which he has set before us.
“‘And now, O Lord God of Israel, who has brought your people out of the land of Egypt with a mighty hand and high arm, and with signs and wonders and great power, and has become renown, as is clear on this day: O Lord our God, we have sinned, we have been ungodly, we have acted unrighteously, in all your ordinances. Let your wrath turn from us, for we are but a few left among the heathen where you have scattered us. Hear our prayers, O Lord, and our petitions, and deliver us for your own sake, and give us favor in the sight of those who have led us away, so that all the earth may know that you are the Lord our God, because Israel and his posterity is called by your name. O Lord, look down from your holy house and consider us; bow down your ear, O Lord, to hear us. Open your eyes and behold, for the dead who are in the graves, whose souls are taken from their bodies, will give to the Lord neither praise nor righteousness; but the soul which is greatly vexed, which goes stooping and feeble, and the eyes which fail, and the hungry soul, will give you praise and righteousness, O Lord. Therefore we do not make our humble supplication before you, O Lord our God, for the righteousness of our fathers and our kings.
“‘For you have sent out your wrath and indignation upon us, as you have spoken by your servants the prophets, saying, “Thus says the Lord, ‘Bow down your shoulders to serve the king of Babylon; so shall you remain in the land which I gave to your fathers. But if you will not hear the voice of the Lord, to serve the king of Babylon, I will cause to cease, out of the cites of Judah and from without Jerusalem, the voice of mirth and the voice of joy, the voice of the bridegroom and the voice of the bride, and the whole land shall be desolate of inhabitants.’” But we would not heed your voice to serve the king of Babylon; therefore you have made good the words that you spoke by your servants the prophets, namely, that the bones of our kings and the bones of our fathers should be taken out of their place. And, lo, they are cast out to the heat of the day and to the frost of the night, and they died in great miseries by famine, by sword, and by pestilence, and the house which is called by your name you have laid waste, as is clear on this day, because of the wickedness of the house of Israel and the house of Judah. O Lord our God, you have dealt with us according to all your goodness and all your great mercy, just as you spoke by your servant Moses in the day when you commanded him to write the law before the children of Israel, saying, “If you will not hear my voice, surely this very great multitude shall be turned into a small number among the nations where I will scatter them. For I knew that they would not hear me, because they are a stiff-necked people, but, in the land of their captivity, they shall remember themselves, and shall know that I am the Lord their God, for I will give them a heart, and ears to hear, and they shall praise me in the land of their captivity and think upon my name, and repent from their stiff neck and from their wicked deeds; for they shall remember the way of their fathers, who sinned before the Lord. And I will bring them again into the land which I promised with an oath to their fathers, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and they shall be lords of it; and I will increase them and they shall not be diminished. And I will make an everlasting covenant with them to be their God and they shall be my people; and I will no longer drive my people of Israel out of the land which I have given them.”’”
“‘O Lord Almighty, God of Israel, the soul in anguish, the troubled spirit, cries to you. Hear, O Lord, and have mercy because you are merciful, and have pity upon us because we have sinned before you. For you endure for ever and we perish utterly. O Lord Almighty, you God of Israel, hear now the prayers of the dead Israelites and their children, who have sinned before you and not heeded the voice of you, their God, and as a result these plagues cling to us. Remember not the iniquities of our forefathers, but think upon your power and your name now at this time. For you are the Lord our God, and you, O Lord, will we praise. And for this reason you have put your fear into our hearts, to the intent that we should call upon your name and praise you in our captivity, for we have called to mind all the iniquity of our forefathers who sinned before you. Behold, we are still this day in our captivity, where you have scattered us as a reproach and a curse, and to be subject to payments, according to all the iniquities of our fathers who departed from the Lord our God.
“‘Hear, Israel, the commandments of life; listen, to understand wisdom. How has it happened, Israel, that you are in your enemies’ land, that you have grown old in a strange country, that you are defiled with the dead, that you are counted with those who go down into the grave? You have forsaken the fountain of wisdom. For if you had walked in the way of God, you would have dwelled in peace for ever. Learn, where is wisdom, where is strength, where is understanding, so that you may know also where is length of days and life, where is the light of the eyes and peace. Who has found out her place? Or who has come into her treasures? What has become of the princes of the heathen and such as ruled the beasts upon the earth, those who had their pastime with the fowls of the air and those who hoarded up silver and gold, wherein men trust, and made no end of their acquiring? For those who wrought in silver, and who were so careful, and whose works are unsearchable, they have vanished and gone down to the grave, and others have come up in their places. Young men have seen light and dwelt upon the earth, but the way of knowledge they have not known, nor understood the paths of it, nor laid hold of it; their children were far off from that way. It has not been heard of in Canaan, neither has it been seen in Teman. The Hagarenes, who seek wisdom on the earth, the merchants of Meran and Teman, the authors of fables and seekers of understanding; none of these have known the way of wisdom or remembered her paths. O Israel, how great is the house of God? And how large is the place of his possession? It is great and has no end! It is high and immeasurable! There were the giants, famous from the beginning, who were of such great stature and of such expertise in war. The Lord did not choose these, neither did he give them the way of knowledge, but they were destroyed because they had no wisdom, and they perished through their own foolishness. Who has gone up into heaven, and obtained her, and brought her down from the clouds? Who has gone over the sea, and found her, and will bring her for pure gold? No man knows her way, nor understands her path. But he who knows all things knows her and has found her with his understanding: he who prepared the earth forevermore, who has filled it with four-footed beasts, he who sends forth light and it goes, who calls it again and it obeys him with fear. The stars shine in their watches and rejoice. When he calls them, they say, “Here we are!” And so with cheerfulness they show light to him who made them. This is our God, and no other shall stand in comparison with him. He has founded all the way of knowledge, and has given it to Jacob his servant and Israel his beloved. Afterward, he revealed himself upon the earth, and conversed with men.
“‘This is the book of the commandments of God and the law that endures for ever. All those who keep it shall come to life, but such as leave it shall die. Turn you, O Jacob, and take hold of it; walk in the presence of its light so that you may be illuminated. Give not your honor to another, nor the things which are beneficial for you to a strange nation. O Israel, happy are we, for the things which are pleasing to God are made known to us. Be of good cheer, my people, the memorial of Israel. You were sold to the nations, not for destruction, but because you moved God to wrath; thus you were delivered to the enemies. For you provoked him who made you, by sacrificing to devils and not to God.
“‘You have forgotten the everlasting God, who brought you up, and you have grieved Jerusalem, who nursed you. For when she saw the wrath of God coming upon you, she said, “Hearken, O you who dwell around Zion. God has brought upon me great mourning. For I saw the captivity of my sons and daughters, which the Everlasting brought upon them. With joy I nourished them, but sent them away with weeping and mourning. Let no man rejoice over me, a widow and forsaken of many; for by the sins of my children, I am left desolate, because they departed from the law of God. They knew not his statutes, nor walked in the ways of his commandments, nor trod in the paths of discipline in his righteousness. Let those who dwell around Zion approach and remember the captivity of my sons and daughters, which the Everlasting has brought upon them. For he has brought a nation upon them from afar, a shameless nation and of a strange language, who neither reverenced old man, nor pitied child. These have carried away the dear beloved children of the widow, and left her who was alone desolate without daughters. But how can I help you? For he who brought these plagues upon you will deliver you from the hands of your enemies. Go your way, O my children, go your way, for I am left desolate. I have put off the clothing of peace and put upon me the sackcloth of my prayer; I will cry to the Everlasting in my days. Be of good cheer, O my children, cry to the Lord, and he will deliver you from the power and hand of the enemies. For my hope is in the Everlasting, that he will save you; and joy has come to me from the Holy One, because of the mercy which shall soon come to you from the Everlasting our Savior. For I sent you out with mourning and weeping, but God will give you to me again with joy and gladness for ever. Just as now the neighbors of Zion have seen your captivity, so shall they soon see your salvation from our God, which shall come upon you with the great glory and brightness of the Everlasting. My children, suffer patiently the wrath which has come upon you from God, for your enemy has persecuted you, but shortly you shall see his destruction and shall tread upon his neck. My delicate ones have gone rough ways and were taken away as a flock caught by the enemies. Be of good comfort, O my children, and cry to God, for you shall be remembered by him who brought these things upon you. For as it was your mind to go astray from God, so then, being returned, seek him ten times more. For he who has brought these plagues upon you shall bring you everlasting joy with your salvation.”
“‘Take a good heart, O Jerusalem, for he who gave you that name will comfort you. Miserable are those who afflicted you and rejoiced at your fall. Miserable are the cities which your children served; miserable is she who received your sons. For, just as she rejoiced at your ruin and was glad of your fall, so shall she be grieved for her own desolation. For I will take away the rejoicing of her great multitude, and her pride shall be turned into mourning. For fire shall come upon her from the Everlasting, long to endure, and she shall be inhabited by devils for a great time. O Jerusalem, look about you toward the east and behold the joy that comes to you from God. Lo, your sons approach, whom you sent away, they come gathered together from the east to the west by the word of the Holy One, rejoicing in the glory of God.’”
“‘Put off, O Jerusalem, the garment of mourning and affliction, and put on the wholesomeness of the glory that comes from God for ever. Cast around you a double garment of the righteousness which comes from God, and set a diadem on your head of the glory of the Everlasting. For God will reveal your brightness to every country under heaven. For your name shall be called by God for ever: “The peace of righteousness” and “The glory of God’s worship.” Arise, O Jerusalem, and stand on high and look about toward the east and behold your children, gathered from the west to the east by the word of the Holy One, rejoicing in the remembrance of God. For they departed from you on foot and were led away by their enemies, but God brings them to you exalted with glory, as children of the kingdom. For God has appointed that every high hill and embankment of long duration shall be cast down, and the valleys filled up, to make the ground level so that Israel may go safely in the glory of God, moreover, even the woods and every sweet-smelling tree shall overshadow Israel by the commandment of God. For God shall lead Israel with joy in the light of his glory with the mercy and righteousness which comes from him.’”
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