New European Commentary


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Jeremiah 45:1 The message that Jeremiah the prophet spoke to Baruch the son of Neriah, when he wrote these words in a book at the mouth of Jeremiah, in the fourth year of Jehoiakim the son of Josiah, king of Judah, saying- The reference is to the words written in the roll or scroll of Jer. 36:1. The book of Jeremiah isn't chronological but thematic; here, the theme which continues from Jer. 44 is that of Baruch, who went with Jeremiah to die with the apostate Jews in Egypt.

Jeremiah 45:2 Thus says Yahweh the God of Israel, to you, Baruch-
God's word to Baruch begins with a quotation from Baruch's own feelings (:3).

Jeremiah 45:3 You said, Woe is me now! For Yahweh has added sorrow to my pain; I am weary with my groaning and I find no rest-
In the historical record of Jer. 36, Baruch appears to just do what Jeremiah tells him in writing the record of Jeremiah's words. But this led him to risk death. The "pain" was how he like Jeremiah felt the pain of the condemned people; but he experienced additional "sorrow", reflected in his restless groaning, perhaps related to fear of imprisonment and death for his work in transcribing the prophecies. The Father was comforting Baruch that He knows human words, even those said quietly in frustration. But even in that 'finding no rest' he was fellowshipping Israel's experiences for breaking the covenant, such was his identity with them (s.w. Dt. 28:65).

Jeremiah 45:4 You shall tell him, Thus says Yahweh: Behold, that which I have built will I break down, and that which I have planted I will pluck up; and this will be so in the whole land-
Jeremiah's words had the power to break down and pluck up; and indeed the words he had transcribed would come about. There was no way to stop that; the time for changing outcomes had passed.

Jeremiah 45:5 Do you seek great things for yourself? Don’t seek them; for, behold, I will bring evil on all flesh, says Yahweh; but your life will I give to you for a prey in all places where you g
o- Baruch, the faithful scribe of Jeremiah 36, had to be reminded later to stop seeking great things for himself. His life would be to him "for a prey", literally, as booty taken from a conquered city. This was and is the great paradox- that surrender, acceptance of defeat, was the great spiritual victory. Moving to Egypt to live with a condemned group of Jews, with only further suffering to look forward to, meant resigning all material hopes. Clearly Baruch had his eye upon "great things" for himself, and he seems to have been upset that now he was never going to achieve them. But all such material things were to be destroyed in the day of evil upon "all flesh"; the one thing which would survive that was his life. His life, a life with God in it, was what he would salvage; and a life like that is worth losing everything material in order to gain. This is the same promise as made to Ebedmelech in Jer. 39:18. LXX "and you shall find your life" is alluded to in the Lord's promise that he who loses his life [or risks losing it] for the Lord's sake shall find it (Mt. 10:39; 16:25). The reward for Baruch and Ebedmelech was not just that they would save their physical life, but that they would find their true life. They thereby stand representative of us all.