Without Baruch, would he have the Book of Jeremiah?
Certainly we would have fewer of the prophet’s words and know little if anything about his life. Chapters 26-45 are narratives attributed to Jeremiah’s friend, confidant, disciple, and scribe—not just a secretary but a skilled professional training in writing.
Baruch enabled Jeremiah to fulfill God’s direction:
Take a scroll and write on it all the words I have spoken to you against Israel, Judah, and all the nations, from the day I first spoke to you, in the days of Josiah, until today. Perhaps, when the house of Judah hears all the evil I have in mind to do to them, they will turn back each from his evil way, so that I may forgive their wickedness and their sin. (Jeremiah 36:2-3)
Baruch recorded the words on a scroll and took the scroll to the temple. Jeremiah had been banned from entering the sacred space—possibly because of his temple sermon. Through the window of an upper room, he read Jeremiah’s words to a crowd gathered for a feast day. He later read the scroll again to court officials, who kept the scroll but urged Baruch and Jeremiah to go into hiding. One official read the scroll to princes and King Jehoiakim, who cut it off in strips and burned it even as the official continued reading, then ordered the arrest of the prophet and scribe.
In hiding, Jeremiah again dictated to Baruch all the words on the first scroll “and many others of the same kind in addition.” They both witnessed the Babylonian siege of Jerusalem, 87-586 B.C. Historians and Bible scholars debate what happened
next. Conflicting traditions maintain that he went into exile with Jeremiah to Egypt, where he died, or that he later lived and wrote in Babylon. The Book of Baruch, accepted as canonical by Catholics, is attributed to the scribe.
Baruch 3:9-15 is the sixth reading of the Easter vigil:
Hear, Israel, the commandments of life:
listen, and know prudence!
How is it, Israel,
that you are in the land of your foes,
grown old in a foreign land,
Defiled with the dead,
counted among those destined for Hades?
You have forsaken the fountain of wisdom!
Had you walked in the way of God,
you would have dwelt in enduring peace.
Learn where prudence is,
where strength, where understanding;
That you may know also
where are length of days, and life,
where light of the eyes, and peace.
Who has found the place of wisdom?
Who has entered into her treasuries?