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for 17sdom.' unto him
ECCLESIASTICUS. c Hefore 6 By an accusation to the king | I ascribe the glory unto him that Before about 200. from an unrighteous tongue my giveth me wisdom.
soul drew near even unto death, 18 For I purposed to do after
which is good ; so shall I not be con-
stretched forth my hands to the hea-
had my heart joined with her from
| 21 My || heart was troubled in [Or, bereis.
| praise him therewith. .
1 24 Wherefore are ye slow, and
money. 13 When I was yet young, or ever 26 Put your neck under the yoke, ! Or, went I || went abroad, I desired wisdom and let your soul receive instruction : openly in my prayer.
she is hard at hand to find.
have gotten unto me much rest.
mercy, and be not ashamed of his
| in his time he will give you your re-
king on an unjust accusation, probably a charge of One, who was Himself also the Lord, and in a peculiar some offence against the state; but whether it was before manner their Lord and Saviour; and that in their prayers a king of Syria or of Egypt that he was accused, is un- they had a respect unto Him, and prayed in His name, certain. Arnald.
calling upon the Lord as the Father of “their Lord Ver. 10. I called upon the Lord, the Father of my Lord, Christ,” Matt. xxvi. 63; John i. 49: and so expecting Most of the interpreters observe, that the second person only to be heard upon His account, and for His sake, in the Trinity is here plainly distinguished from the who was promised by the name of the Lord,” Dan. Father. A very pious and learned prelate (Bp. Beve-ix. 17; for Daniel prays in His name as plainly as we ridge) says, that the author speaks as plainly here of do now, saying, “ Now therefore, O our God, hear the our Lord Christ, as David did when he said, “The Lord prayer of Thy servant, and his supplications, and cause said unto my Lord,” Ps.cx. 1; to which probably he al- Thy face to shine upon thy sanctuary that is desolate, ludes, and plainly gives us to understand, that not only for the Lord's sake;" that is, for the Lord Christ's the Prophets, but all God's faithful people in those days, sake, for no other Lord can possibly be meant there. believed the Lord, the Almighty God, to be the Father of Arnald.
The following Chapters from the Book of Ecclesiasticus are appointed for proper Lessons on Holydays:
CHAP. I. ......... St. Matthias......... ....... Evening. | Chap. XV. ......... St. Peter, ......................Morning. S Annunciation of the Virgin Morn
XIX .........ditto.............................Evening. 11...... Mary, ...
XXI.......... St. James, .................. ..Morning. III........ditto, ... ........Evening. XXII......... ditto.........
... Evening. IV........ St. Mark, ........................Morning. XXIV........ St. Bartholomew, ..........Morning, V..........ditto, ................................Evening.
XXIX. .......ditto,...........................Evening. VII. ...... St. Philip and St. James,......Morning. XXXV...... St. Matthew, ................Morning. IX. ........ ditto,..
........Evening. XXXVIII...ditto,............................ Evening. X.......... St. Barnabas, ........Morning. LI ............ St. Luke,..................... Morning. XII. ...... ditto, .........
B A R U CH.
THE author of this book professes himself to be Baruch; a person of very illustrious birth, and distinguished
by his attachment to Jeremiah, by whom he was employed, as a scribe or secretary, to write his prophecies, and on some occasions to read them to those against whom they were directed. St. Jerome, Grotius, and others, are however of opinion, that the book was not written by Baruch, nor in the Hebrew language; but by some Hellenistical Jew, who assumed the character of Baruch; and that the letter, which forms a part of the book, was fabricated by his own invention. But there is perhaps no sufficient reason to dispute the authenticity of the five first chapters, and the sixth chapter, which is probably spurious, did not originally belong to this book. The Greek version of these five chapters abounds with Hebraisms; and they were probably written in Hebrew, though not now extant in that language, nor ever admitted into the Hebrew canon : because Baruch, however he might have aspired to the prophetick character, and have sought great things for himself, (Jer. xlv. 5, was not endowed with the gift of inspiration ; though he was on one occasion made the subject of a Divine reve
lation, and honoured by a consolatory assurance from God. The author, in consistency with the character of Baruch, whether rightly or falsely assumed, describes himself
as the son of Nerias, and as the grandson of Maasias, who were men of eminence in their country. He affirms that he wrote the book at Babylon in the fifth year, and in the seventh day of the month after the Chaldeans had taken and burnt Jerusalem : by which must be understood the fifth year of the captivity of Jehoiachin, called also Jeconiah, and Coniah; which corresponds with the fifth year of the reign of Zedekiah, and the year of the world 3409; when Baruch accompanied his brother Seraias to Babylon, who was deputed from Zedekiah to solicit the restoration of the sacred vessels of the temple, which had been carried away among the spoil. It has been objected as inconsistent with this account, that Jerusalem is in this book represented as burnt, and in circumstances of distress, greater than should seem to have occurred at the time that Jehoiakim was taken prisoner and slain. But allowing for those aggravations, which are customary in the description of great afflictions, there is no particular in the detail of circumstances, which might not have happened during the siege of Jerusalem in the reign of Jehoiakim ; when the Jews might have seen part of their city burnt, and have suffered from the most cruel extremities of famine.
It is probable that Baruch was more immediately commissioned by Jeremiah to utter at Babylon those prophe.
cies which were intrusted to Seraias, Jer. li. 59–64; and that he actually did read to Jehoiachin, and others whom they concerned, those prophecies contained in the fiftieth and fifty-first chapters of Jeremiah, which promised deliverance to the Jews from their captivity, and the future destruction of Babylon; though when Baruch speaks of having read the words of this book to the people by the river Sud, chap. i. 4, he seems to allude only to the epistle that forms the chief subject of this book, which was sent from Jehoiachin and his associate captives at Babylon, to Joachim the son of Chilcias and the people at Jerusalem; for Baruch, being probably employed to compose the letter, may well be conceived to have read it to the king and the nobles for their approbation.
The captives, who appear to have been tutored by affliction to a sense of their own unworthiness, and to have
felt a pious satisfaction at the success of the deputation of Seraias, sent back with the sacred vessels a collection of money to purchase burnt offerings and incense for the altar of the Lord; and accompanied it with a letter to their countrymen, in which they expressed their sentiments of humility and repentance, and their confident hopes of that restoration, which the Prophets had encouraged them to expect, and which prefigured the future glories of Jerusalem.
The letter, which after the short historical preface begins at the 10th verse of the first chapter, contains a con
fession which the captives recommended to their brethren, to be used upon solemn days. It exhorts them to pray for the life of Nebuchadnezzar, who had complied with their request, and had possibly been indulgent to the captives ; to acknowledge that God's judgments were righteous, and that by their own disobedience they had provoked the accomplishment of those curses, which God had threatened, and which they then experienced ; and lastly, to supplicate His mercies with sorrow and contrition. This prayer was probably used also by the captives themselves; and the sentiments, which it contains, were similar to those which Daniel
and Nehemiah continued to inculcate during and after the captivity. This book was not received as canonical by the Jews, or the primitive Church of Christ, though it is cited with
respect by many of the earlier writers: it is not mentioned in the catalogue of St. Austin, nor in that of the council of Carthage: it is expressly excluded, with the rest of the Apocryphal books, from the catalogue received from their ancestors by the Greek church : and the members of the Council of Trent were more perplexed, and deliberated longer, about the admission of Baruch, than of any other of the Apocryphal books; and they were withheld from rejecting it only by the consideration, that parts of it were read in the service of the church.
Apocrypha. Many ancient writers have cited Baruch under the name of Jeremiah ; not that they believed that what we now
possess under the name of Baruch was actually composed by Jeremiah, but that they considered Baruch as a disciple of the Prophet; and imagined perhaps, that the epistle in the last chapter of his book was really written by Jeremiah, to whose canonical works it was formerly joined. In the Romish church the book is read at the feast of Pentecost under the name of Jeremiah : but many of the Romanists do not scruple to deny its authority.
The letter which constitutes the sixth chapter of this book, is in some editions of the Greek, and in the Arabick,
which is translated from the Greek, subjoined to the Lamentations. It is omitted by Theodoret in his Commentary, and is not to be found in several Greek manuscripts, nor in any of the Hebrew copies of Jeremiah's writings. It is probably a spurious work, and is rejected as such by St. Jerome; though cited by St. Cyprian and others, as an epistle of Jeremiah, and supposed by some to be alluded to by the author of the second book of the Maccabees, chap. ii. 1, 2; who however only speaks of Jeremiah's general exhortations against idolatry. The letter certainly never was in the Jewish canon. It was probably fabricated by some writer, who had studied the character and writings of Jeremiah ; and it contains judicious and spirited strictures against idolatry, of
which the vanity is forcibly exposed. Baruch, after the execution of his commission, appears to have returned to Jerusalem ; where, in conjunction
with Jeremiah, he encountered much persecution, Jer. xliii. 3; and witnessed the total destruction of Jerusalem. After this he was drawn by Johanan, with Jeremiah and the remnant of Judah, into Egypt, Jer. xliii. 5-7; from which country he probably never returned: though some pretend that he went a second time to Babylon, and died there about the year of the world 3428. Dr. Gray. ..
people, from the lowest unto the
Jews there wept at the reading of it. 7 at Babylon by the river Sud.
lll and prayed before the Lord. 1 Or, and
2 In the fifth year, and in the son of Chelcias, son of Salom, and to
of this book in the hearing of Jecho-ceived the vessels of the house of the || Or, Joacim. nias the son of || Joachim king of Lord, that were carried out of the
Juda, and in the ears of all the peo- | temple, to return them into the land
4 And in the hearing of the nobles, Sivan, namely, silver vessels, which
Chap. I. ver. 1. And these are the words of the book, fourth year of his reign, which was the fifth of the cap&c.] It begins abruptly, as if it were a continuation tivity of Jeconiah, to solicit from Nebuchadnezzar the of some former work : but the connective particle is vessels which had been carried away from the temple often to be observed in the beginning of the historical of the Lord. Baruch accompanied his brother on this books of the Hebrews. By “book” we are to under-mission, and on the tenth day of Sivan, which corresstand the letter, ver. 14, which Baruch wrote from the ponds in part with our May, they obtained restitution captives at Babylon to the Jews who remained in Judea of the vessels. It was then that the captives remitted Arnald.
their collection, and wrote the following letter. Cal2. In the fifth year, and in the seventh day of the month,] i met. The name of the month is not specified: it probably
silver vessels, which Sedecias - had made,] Inmeans the month Cisleu, corresponding partly with stead of the golden ones, which Solomon had put in November, the same month in which Jerusalem was the house of the Lord, and which Nebuchadnezzar had taken five years before. Dr. Gray.
carried away. To supply their place, Zedekiah made 4.- by the river Sud.] The commentators either take the silver vessels, which Seraias appears to have now no notice at all, or give no satisfactory account, of this obtained. Jeremiah had declared, that the golden vesriver. Some suppose it to be a name for the Euphrates. sels should not be soon brought again, chap. xxvii. 16; Arnald.
and the most valuable were not restored till the expira3. At the same time when he received the vessels &c.] tion of the captivity, Dan. v. 2; Ezra i. 7. Arnald, Dr. Seraias brother of Baruch was sent by Zedekiah, in the Gray.
I th had carried awale || cap- our F For we
1. Or, prisoners.
is, a meat offering.
10 And they said, Behold, we have not hearkened unto the voice of the sent you money to buy you burnt Lord our God, to walk in the comofferings, and sin offerings, and in- mandments that he gave us openly:
cense, and prepare ye + manna, and 19 Since the day that the Lord mincha, that offer upon the altar of the Lord our brought our forefathers out of the
| land of Egypt, unto this present day,
unto us, and the curse, which the
13 Pray for us also unto the Lord ened unto the voice of the Lord our
imagination of his own wicked heart,
| Babylon made, and sent in that book unto a Chap. 2. 6. 15 And ye shall say, a To the Lord the brethren in Jerusalem.
our God belongeth righteousness, but THEREFORE the Lord bath
nd fehall servef Balthylon, si
10. — manna,] This is a corrupt reading, as the mar- beginning of the fourth, recounts the great privileges gin intimates. Arnald.
and advantages which the Jews enjoyed above other - and offer upon the altar of the Lord our God ;] nations, in that they had the knowledge of the law of See Dr. Blayney's note on Jer. xli. 5.
the Most High, and, through the direction of the only 11 - Balthasar his son,] Belshazzar, here intended, true wisdom, were made acquainted with the means a was the grandson of Nebuchadnezzar. See Dan. v. 2, real happiness, life, and peace. From thence to the end and the note there.
of the fifth chapter, is an exhortation to a sincere re12. — and we shall serve them many days,] The wish pentance, and to leave their evil ways by a speedy conand prayer of the Jews is, not that they might “serve version, with a promise, on that condition, of a deliverNebuchadnezzar and his family many days," but that ance from the captivity under which they groaned, that if, according to their melancholy prospect, they should the power of their enemies should be subdued, and continue so to serve them, they might “ find favour in their haughtiness turned into mourning. This pleasing their sight," and their servitude in the land of their prospect takes up the remainder of the letter, in which captivity might be easy, or at least tolerable. Arnald. the author has many beautiful turns and lively strokes,
15. And ye shall say, &c.] The “book” or letter and is transported, even to a degree of rapture, in the sent by the captives at Babylon properly begins here. thoughts of the agreeable change. In particular, the It may be divided into three parts. In the first, which happy times of the Gospel are spoken of with such ends at chap. iii. 8, they acknowledge their unworthiness, assurance and clearness, as have given occasion to some and the justice of God's dealings with them; they en- to suspect interpolations in several places, the descrip, treat His forgiveness of their sins past, and repeat the tions being too clear and explicit for the darkness of warning and threats of the Prophets, whose words and those times : especially chap. iii. 37. It is easy to ou reproofs they had notwithstanding rejected: the second serve, with respect to the supplicatory part of part, which begins at ver. 9 of the third chapter, to the prayer, that much of it is borrowed from Daniel, and