Coffman Commentaries on the Old and New TestamentJEREMIAH 45
GOD'S PROMISE TO BARUCH
This small chapter has a personal message from the Lord to Baruch. Its appearance in the Book of Jeremiah at this place could be either by design or by accident, as the chapters in this wonderful prophecy do not appear to be organized, in any consistent pattern. Keil stated that, chronologically, it belongs after Jer. 36;F1 and Green located it a little more exactly as coming between Jer. 36:8 and Jer. 36:9.F2 Neither the question of exactly when Jeremiah wrote these words, nor how they came to be placed where they appear is of any special importance.
In any case, it forms an excellent appendix to the portion of Jeremiah dealing with Jeremiah's relationship to Judah, being also a good introduction to the prophecies against the nations which appear immediately afterward.
Several writers whom we have consulted make statements about Baruch which we cannot accept. One writer said that, "He was noted for the influence which he had upon Jeremiah"; but the only evidence of anything like that came from the lips of those consummate liars who led that expedition to Egypt, and we find ourselves unable to believe a single word which they said. Still others seem to believe that Baruch himself may have composed sections of the prophecy. We do not believe that is correct, for every account we have of Baruch's writing states that he did so "at the mouth of Jeremiah." Baruch was not the prophet; that honor belonged to Jeremiah.
THE PROMISE TO BARUCH
The word that Jeremiah the prophet spake unto Baruch the son of Neriah, when he wrote these word in a book at the mouth of Jeremiah, in the fourth year of Jehoiakim the son of Josiah, king of Judah, saying, Thus saith Jehovah, the God of Israel, unto thee, O Baruch: Thou didst say, Woe is me now! for Jehovah hath added sorrow to my pain; I am weary with my groaning, and I find no rest. Thus shalt thou say unto him, Thus saith Jehovah: Behold, that which I have built will I break down, and that which I have planted I will pluck up; and this in the whole land. And seekest thou great things for thyself? seek them not; for, behold, I will bring evil upon all flesh, saith Jehovah; but thy life will I give unto thee for a prey in all places whither thou goest.
In the fourth year of Jehoiachim
(Jeremiah 45:1). This prophecy is dated 604 B.C. when the first roll (`these words') was written (Jer. 36:ff).F3
I am weary with my groaning
(Jeremiah 45:3). There were three grounds, probably, for Baruch's discouragement: (1) he was overwhelmed with the prophet's words on the seriousness of the peoples' sin and the shattering consequences of it; (2) he had probably already suffered some indignities because of his association with the `prophet of doom,' and may have anticipated more to come; and (3) he saw his own personal air castles of ambition and advancement come crashing down around him.F4
And this in the whole land
(Jeremiah 45:4). God's reply reveals that when a whole society is being destroyed, there will certainly be hardship and disaster for many individuals, and warns Baruch to give up his thoughts of ambition and self-advancement. They could not come in that situation where God was plucking up and tearing down the kingdom of Israel.
But thy life will I give unto thee for a prey in all places whither thou goest
(Jeremiah 45:5). Nevertheless would bless his faithful children, not with the prosperity and peace for which they longed; but he would grant them life, when all around them were perishing. What a precious gift is life, under whatever conditions!
For a prey
(Jeremiah 45:5). This means that God will allow Baruch to escape with his life, as in Jer. 21:9; Jer. 28:2, and Jer. 39:18.F5 However, the words, In all places whither thou shalt go, are somewhat ominous, indicating that, Baruch will be obliged to avoid destruction by flight, but that God will thereby save his life.F6
The discerning comment of Albert Barnes is a fitting conclusion to my comments on this little chapter.
"The long catalog of calamities pronounced against Israel by Jeremiah made a painful impression upon Baruch's mind. He was ambitious, of noble birth, being the grandson of Maaseiah the governor of Jerusalem during the times of Josiah; he was a scribe and probably looked forward to high office of state. This short prophecy commands Baruch to give up his ambitions and to be satisfied with being able to escape with his life. When the last memorials of Jeremiah's life were added to the history of the fall of Jerusalem, Baruch added this chapter in his old age; and then, being humbled by the weight of years, and by the sorrows of private and public ,disasters, he probably read this little chapter with far different feelings from those which he had when first Jeremiah revealed to him what the Lord had prophesied concerning his faithful scribe."F7
Footnotes for Jeremiah 45
1: C. F. Keil, Keil-Delitzsch's Old Testament Commentaries (Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company), p. 173.
2: Broadman Bible Commentary (Nashville: Broadman Press, 1971), p. 183.
3: H. Wheeler Robinson, Jeremiah, p. 492.
4: Broadman Bible Commentary (Nashville: Broadman Press, 1971), p. 183.
5: C. F. Keil, Keil-Delitzsch's Old Testament Commentaries (Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company), p. 273.
7: Barnes' Notes (Grand Rapids: Baker Book House), p. 254.