Jeremiah Chapter 45: God’s Message to Baruch

Dec 26th, 2009 | By | Category: Jeremiah, Verse by Verse --Studies led by Br. Frank Shallieu (Click on Book name)

Jeremiah Chapter 45: God’s Message to Baruch

Jer. 45:1 The word that Jeremiah the prophet spake unto Baruch the son of Neriah, when he had written these words in a book at the mouth of Jeremiah, in the fourth year of Jehoiakim the son of Josiah king of Judah, saying,

Jer. 45:2 Thus saith the LORD, the God of Israel, unto thee, O Baruch;

Jer. 45:3 Thou didst say, Woe is me now! for the LORD hath added grief to my sorrow; I fainted in my sighing, and I find no rest.

It is interesting that chapter 45 consists of only five verses. This separate treatment is certainly in order, for a radical change of time from 601 BC is involved. The message was originally given to Baruch about 19 years before the destruction of Jerusalem, or 24 years earlier, in the fourth year of Jehoiakim. Way back there, God had instructed Jeremiah in regard to his friend Baruch. Of course Jeremiah conveyed this personal message to Baruch. Ezra would have had a good reason for collating the chapters in this out-of-time-sequence fashion.

Baruch was taking dictation from Jeremiah about the destruction of Jerusalem and the desolation of the land for 70 years. (The 70 years began in 606 BC, after the remnant of vinedressers had fled to Egypt.) Baruch had said, “Woe is me now! for the LORD hath added grief to my sorrow; I fainted in my sighing, and I find no rest.” Why was Baruch grieved back there when he was taking Jeremiah’s dictation? He had had a personal grievance because the whole land would become desolate and despoiled and because his own personal goods would be lost. In other words, he was concerned and troubled about the future and how it would affect him. This thinking was in Baruch’s heart, and he had probably expressed it to Jeremiah, his friend and mentor. Therefore, God now had a message for Jeremiah to give to Baruch.

Jer. 45:4 Thus shalt thou say unto him, The LORD saith thus; Behold, that which I have built will I break down, and that which I have planted I will pluck up, even this whole land.

Notice that God builds up and breaks down, and He plants seed and uproots seed, with the one preceding the other. Verse 4 ends on an unhappy note, for when one builds, he expects to dwell in the building, and when one plants, he expects to benefit from the fruits of the seed. Instead there would be a complete reversal of hope.

Baruch had many sorrows. He had to read the dictation when Jeremiah was in prison. Added to his personal sufferings and persecutions was the realization that he would lose all of his possessions. God said, “I planted all—everything is mine—and I will destroy it, but you will escape with your life. However, in whatever place you go, you will not be able to accumulate goods: in Jerusalem, near Bethlehem, in Egypt, or in Babylon.” Baruch had been a man of means.

As we had read earlier, when Jeremiah told the remnant of vinedressers that the Lord’s answer was to stay in Judah and not go to Egypt, they made the accusation “Baruch put you up to this.” For them to make this statement shows that Baruch went to Egypt with the vinedressers after Gedaliah was assassinated.

The people considered Baruch responsible, as well as Jeremiah, so both were persecuted. As stenographer, Baruch recorded and had the record of the whole Book of Jeremiah. When he went to Babylon, the scrolls were put in the temple archives. Years later, with the permission of a subsequent king, they were removed from the archives. Cyrus, king of Persia, issued the decree for Jews to return to the homeland, and still later Ezra got the “books,” or scrolls, and collated them. In the process, the Lord used Ezra to give the time frame and make slight amendments to tie the record together. For example, there was no city of Rameses in Moses’ day, but Ezra added that name so that future generations would understand the reference.

As we continue, we will find some points about human character that we have to battle in our own heart. No matter how favored the Lord may be with each of us as individuals in the truth, we have to watch and safeguard motives.

Even though Baruch faithfully recorded Jeremiah’s words, some of them, such as the coming 70-year desolation, did not sink in. Secretly, he had thoughts that were somewhat similar to those of the remnant, who wanted to sojourn in Egypt and then return to the former situation in Judah. The motive he entertained was a little negative. However, since the Lord chose Baruch to be allied with Jeremiah, we know that his character was noble, even though certain dangers existed. When a person associates himself with others, he may harbor all kinds of secret motives that could be dangerous, such as money, popularity, influence, and recognition.

Evidently, the Lord saw that Baruch’s positive traits outweighed his negative ones. He did a good work in assisting Jeremiah and also provided needed companionship.

Q: Does Baruch represent the Great Company?

A: That seems to be the case.

Jer. 45:5 And seekest thou great things for thyself? seek them not: for, behold, I will bring evil upon all flesh, saith the LORD: but thy life will I give unto thee for a prey in all places whither thou goest.

What “great things” did Baruch seek for himself? Presumably he wanted to preserve his wealth and position in life, but God said, “Do not seek these things, for my determination is to bring evil upon all flesh. I will not cater to your personal whims. However, I will spare your life wherever you go. You should be content to be taken into Babylonian captivity.”

Comment: God said, “Thy life will I give unto thee for a prey in all places [plural] whither thou goest.” Here is a clue that Baruch’s life was spared not only in Egypt but also in Babylon.

Reply: Yes, verse 5 informs us that Baruch was in Egypt and that his life would be spared by his being taken captive to Babylon. With Jeremiah, the account is intentionally silent for various reasons, but we believe that he, too, went to Babylon.

Comment: The phrase “for a prey” indicates possession. Baruch was not to look for temporal rewards, for destruction would come on Judah and Jerusalem at the hands of Nebuchadnezzar, but God did give him his life for a possession.

Comment: Baruch is a good type of the Great Company. God was saying, “Do not trust in earthly things, for they will perish, but if you serve me faithfully, I will give you your life.”

Comment: God was trying to impress upon Baruch the gift of life, and that is what the Great Company will realize after the feet members go off the scene. They will be grateful for God’s mercy in granting spiritual life for washing their robes in the great tribulation (Rev. 7:14).

Reply: Baruch was honored in that his life was spared, but he was not particularly praised.

(1981-1983 and 1998-2004 Studies)

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