BARUCH bâ’ ruk (בָּר֣וּכְ, LXX, Βαρουχ, blessed). 1. Son of Neriah and brother of Seraiah, chamberlain to Zedekiah (Jer 51:59); amanuensis and devoted friend of Jeremiah (Jer 32:12; 36:10). He first appeared as a scribe taking Jeremiah’s dictation in the year 605/4 b.c. when Jehoiakim was king of Judah, and when Nebuchadnezzar, rising rapidly in Neo-Babylon, defeated Egypt at Carchemish and extended his controls to include the declining Israelitish kingdom. Jeremiah dictated his message to Baruch because he was not permitted to enter the Temple and he wanted a message delivered to the people on the fast day. Baruch took the dictated message to Gemariah’s chamber in the upper court at the entry of the New Gate and delivered it there. When Micaiah reported to the Princes what Baruch had read to the people, they wished to have a hearing themselves. Thereupon they ordered Jeremiah and Baruch to hide while they took the scroll to the king. Upon hearing the scroll the king, in unbelief, cut up the scroll and burned it, ordering his men to seize the prophet and his scribe. The men avoided capture by remaining hidden (Jer 36:1-26) where Jeremiah redictated the scroll to Baruch.
Baruch must have served at personal sacrifice for, in that same year, Jeremiah directed a message from Jehovah to Baruch in which the scribe was instructed not to seek great things for himself because Jehovah’s punitive action would bring about a tearing down of what He had built (45:1-5).
The scribe’s activity appears again in 587, during the siege, while Jeremiah was imprisoned in the court of the guard. At the offer of his cousin, the prophet exercised his right of redemption and purchased a property in Anathoth. Jeremiah delivered the deeds which had been witnessed in the court of the guard to Baruch for hiding until the restoration from captivity (32:12-16).
Just after the fall of Jerusalem in 586 b.c. Nebuchadnezzar permitted Jeremiah to choose his and Baruch’s destiny. Jeremiah chose to stay in Jerusalem, but when he warned against going to Egypt, Hoshaiah and Johanan accused him of being influenced by Baruch and took the prophet and his scribe with them into Egypt (43:1-7).
2. Son of Zabbai who aided Nehemiah in rebuilding the Jerusalem walls (Neh 3:20).
3. One of those who set his seal to Nehemiah’s covenant (10:6).
4. Son of Colhozeh, a descendant of Perez of Judah (11:5).
5. For Apocryphal writings under Baruch’s name see Apocrypha.
Bibliography Josephus, Antiq. X. vi. 2; X. ix. 1; J. B. Payne, An Outline of Hebrew History (1954), 189-192.