The Bible in Its Traditions

Baruch 6:1–72

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This is a copy of the letter that Jeremiah sent to those who would be taken captive into Babylon by the king of Babylon, so as to prophesy to them according to the warning he had received about them from God. “Because of the sins which you have sinned before God, you will be carried away into the captivity of Babylon by Nebuchadnezzar, the king of Babylon.

Bar6:1  A copy of an epistle, which Jeremy sent unto them which were to be led captives into Babylon by the king of the Babylonians, to certify them, as it was commanded him of God.

And so, having been taken into Babylon, you will be there many years and for a long time, even to seven generations, yet after this, I will lead you away from there with peace.

Bar6:2  Because of the sins which ye have committed before God, ye shall be led away captives into Babylon by Nabuchodonosor king of the Babylonians.

But now, you will see in Babylon gods of gold and of silver, and of stone and of wood, carried upon shoulders, an awful display for the peoples.

Bar6:3  So when ye be come unto Babylon, ye shall remain there many years, and for a long season, namely, seven generations: and after that I will bring you away peaceably from thence.

See to it, then, that you do not in effect become like these strangers and become afraid, so that in awe you would be carried away into their midst.

Bar6:4  Now shall ye see in Babylon gods of silver, and of gold, and of wood, borne upon shoulders, which cause the nations to fear.

And so, seeing the turmoil, behind you and in front of you, as they are worshiping, say in your hearts, ‘You ought to be adored, O Lord.’

Bar6:5  Beware therefore that ye in no wise be like to strangers, neither be ye and of them, when ye see the multitude before them and behind them, worshipping them.

For my angel is with you. And I myself will examine your souls.

Bar6:6  But say ye in your hearts, O Lord, we must worship thee.

For their tongue is polished by the craftsman, and they themselves are even inlaid with gold and silver, yet they are false and unable to speak.

Bar6:7  For mine angel is with you, and I myself caring for your souls.

And, just like a virgin who loves to decorate herself, so do they take up gold and make designs with it.

Bar6:8  As for their tongue, it is polished by the workman, and they themselves are gilded and laid over with silver; yet are they but false, and cannot speak.

Their gods have crowns of certified gold upon their heads, from which the priests subtract gold and silver, and spend it on themselves.

Bar6:9  And taking gold, as it were for a virgin that loveth to go gay, they make crowns for the heads of their gods.

10  Moreover, they even give from it to prostitutes, and use it to adorn kept women, and when they receive it back from the kept women, they use it to adorn their gods.

Bar6:10  Sometimes also the priests convey from their gods gold and silver, and bestow it upon themselves.

11  But these cannot be freed from rust and moths.

Bar6:11  Yea, they will give thereof to the common harlots, and deck them as men with garments, being gods of silver, and gods of gold, and wood.

12  Although they are covered with a purple garment, they must wipe off their face, because of the dust of the house, which is very great around them.

Bar6:12  Yet cannot these gods save themselves from rust and moth, though they be covered with purple raiment.

13  Yet he who holds a scepter like a man, like the judge of the region, cannot put to death one who sins against him.

Bar6:13  They wipe their faces because of the dust of the temple, when there is much upon them.

14  And though he holds in his hand a sword and an axe, yet he cannot free himself from war and robbers. From this let it be known to you that they are not gods.

Bar6:14  And he that cannot put to death one that offendeth him holdeth a sceptre, as though he were a judge of the country.

15  Therefore, do not fear them. For just as the vessel a man uses becomes useless when broken, so also are their gods.

Bar6:15  He hath also in his right hand a dagger and an axe: but cannot deliver himself from war and thieves.

16  When they are set up in a house, their eyes are full of dust from the feet of those who enter.

Bar6:16  Whereby they are known not to be gods: therefore fear them not.

17  And like one who has offended the king and is surrounded at every door, or like a corpse about to be carried to the grave, so do the priests secure the doors with bars and locks, lest they be plundered by robbers.

Bar6:17  For like as a vessel that a man useth is nothing worth when it is broken; even so it is with their gods: when they be set up in the temple, their eyes be full of dust through the feet of them that come in.

18  They light candles to them, and in great number, and still they are unable to see, for they are like logs in the house.

Bar6:18  And as the doors are made sure on every side upon him that offendeth the king, as being committed to suffer death: even so the priests make fast their temples with doors, with locks, and bars, lest their gods be spoiled with robbers.

19  It is truly said that the creeping things, which are of the earth, gnaw their hearts, and yet when these devour them and their garments, they do not feel it.

Bar6:19  They light them candles, yea, more than for themselves, whereof they cannot see one.

20  Their faces are made black by the smoke that is made in the house.

Bar6:20  They are as one of the beams of the temple, yet they say their hearts are gnawed upon by things creeping out of the earth; and when they eat them and their clothes, they feel it not.

21  Over their bodies and over their heads fly owls and swallows and birds, and similarly, even cats.

Bar6:21  Their faces are blacked through the smoke that cometh out of the temple.

22  From this you should understand that they are not gods. Therefore, neither should you fear them.

Bar6:22  Upon their bodies and heads sit bats, swallows, and birds, and the cats also.

23  Furthermore, the gold which they have is shiny, but unless someone wipes off the rust, they will not shine. And even when they were molten, they did not feel it.

Bar6:23  By this ye may know that they are no gods: therefore fear them not.

24  They acquire all kinds of costly things, yet there is no breath in them.

Bar6:24  Notwithstanding the gold that is about them to make them beautiful, except they wipe off the rust, they will not shine: for neither when they were molten did they feel it.

25  Without feet, they are carried upon shoulders, showing their unworthiness to all men. And so, may those who worship them be confounded.

Bar6:25  The things wherein there is no breath are bought for a most high price.

26  Because of this, if they fall to the ground, they do not get up by themselves; and if someone sets it upright, they will not stand firm on their own; yet, just like the dead, offerings are placed next to them.

Bar6:26  They are borne upon shoulders, having no feet whereby they declare unto men that they be nothing worth.

27  The priests themselves sell their sacrifices, and they spend it wastefully; and, in like manner, their wives take part of it, never sharing anything with the sick or the beggars.

Bar6:27  They also that serve them are ashamed: for if they fall to the ground at any time, they cannot rise up again of themselves: neither, if one set them upright, can they move of themselves: neither, if they be bowed down, can they make themselves straight: but they set gifts before them as unto dead men.

28  Fertile and menstruous women contaminate their sacrifices. And so, knowing from this that they are not gods, you should not fear them.

Bar6:28  As for the things that are sacrificed unto them, their priests sell and abuse; in like manner their wives lay up part thereof in salt; but unto the poor and impotent they give nothing of it.

29  For what reason are they called gods? It is because the women serve before the gods of silver and gold and wood,

Bar6:29  Menstruous women and women in childbed eat their sacrifices: by these things ye may know that they are no gods: fear them not.

30  and the priests sit in their houses, with torn garments, and their heads and beards shaven, and nothing on their heads.

Bar6:30  For how can they be called gods? because women set meat before the gods of silver, gold, and wood.

31  But they roar, shouting out to their gods, just as at a feast for the dead.

Bar6:31  And the priests sit in their temples, having their clothes rent, and their heads and beards shaven, and nothing upon their heads.

32  The priests take away the garments of their gods, and clothe their wives and their sons.

Bar6:32  They roar and cry before their gods, as men do at the feast when one is dead.

33  And whether they endure evil from someone, or good, they are not able to repay it. They can neither establish a king, nor remove him.

Bar6:33  The priests also take off their garments, and clothe their wives and children.

34  Similarly, they can neither give riches, nor avenge evil. If anyone makes a vow to them, and does not keep it, they cannot require it.

Bar6:34  Whether it be evil that one doeth unto them, or good, they are not able to recompense it: they can neither set up a king, nor put him down.

35  They cannot free a man from death, nor rescue the weak from the strong.

Bar6:35  In like manner, they can neither give riches nor money: though a man make a vow unto them, and keep it not, they will not require it.

36  They cannot restore sight to the blind, nor free a man from need.

Bar6:36  They can save no man from death, neither deliver the weak from the mighty.

37  They will not have mercy on the widow, nor do good to orphans.

Bar6:37  They cannot restore a blind man to his sight, nor help any man in his distress.

38  Their gods of wood, and of stone, and of gold, and of silver, are like stones from the mountain; and those who worship them will be confounded.

Bar6:38  They can shew no mercy to the widow, nor do good to the fatherless.

39  In what way, then, is it to be supposed or said that they are gods?

Bar6:39  Their gods of wood, and which are overlaid with gold and silver, are like the stones that be hewn out of the mountain: they that worship them shall be confounded.

40  For even the Chaldeans themselves do not honor these, who, when they hear about a mute, unable to speak, they offer him to Bel, asking from him that he may speak,

Bar6:40  How should a man then think and say that they are gods, when even the Chaldeans themselves dishonour them?

41  as if these, who are unable to move, would be able to perceive. And even they themselves, when they shall understand this, will abandon them, for, having come to their senses, they do not consider them to be gods.

Bar6:41  Who if they shall see one dumb that cannot speak, they bring him, and intreat Bel that he may speak, as though he were able to understand.

42  Yet the women, wrapped in cords, sit by the roads, burning olive-stones.

Bar6:42  Yet they cannot understand this themselves, and leave them: for they have no knowledge.

43  And when any one of them, having been attracted by someone passing by, would sleep with him, she reproaches her neighbor because she was not found worthy, as she was, nor was her cord broken.

Bar6:43  The women also with cords about them, sitting in the ways, burn bran for perfume: but if any of them, drawn by some that passeth by, lie with him, she reproacheth her fellow, that she was not thought as worthy as herself, nor her cord broken.

44  But all things that occur with them are false; in what way, then, is it to be considered or said that they are gods?

Bar6:44  Whatsoever is done among them is false: how may it then be thought or said that they are gods?

45  Yet they have been made by the workmen and the goldsmiths. They will be nothing else but what the priests want them to be.

Bar6:45  They are made of carpenters and goldsmiths: they can be nothing else than the workmen will have them to be.

46  For the artisans themselves, who make them, do not exist for a long time. So then, can these things, which have been made by them, be gods?

Bar6:46  And they themselves that made them can never continue long; how should then the things that are made of them be gods?

47  Yet they have bequeathed falsehoods and disgrace after this to the future.

Bar6:47  For they left lies and reproaches to them that come after.

48  For when they are overcome by battle or evil, the priests consider among themselves where they may hide themselves with them.

Bar6:48  For when there cometh any war or plague upon them, the priests consult with themselves, where they may be hidden with them.

49  Therefore, why would they be perceived to be gods, who can neither free themselves from war, nor rescue themselves from evils?

Bar6:49  How then cannot men perceive that they be no gods, which can neither save themselves from war, nor from plague?

50  For, in as much as they are only wood, inlaid with gold and silver, so let it be known henceforth, by all nations and kings, that they are false; because it has been revealed that they are not gods, but the work of men’s hands, and there is no work of God in them.

Bar6:50  For seeing they be but of wood, and overlaid with silver and gold, it shall be known hereafter that they are false

51  For this reason, then, it has been accepted that they are not gods, but are works of the hands of men, and no work of God is in them.

Bar6:51  And it shall manifestly appear to all nations and kings that they are no gods, but the works of men’s hands, and that there is no work of God in them.

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52  Who then may not know that they are no gods?

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52  They have not raised up a king in the region, nor will they give rain to men.

Bar6:53  For neither can they set up a king in the land, nor give rain unto men.

53  They will not discern a judgment for anyone, nor will they free a region from injury, because they can do nothing, like crows in the middle of heaven and earth.

Bar6:54  Neither can they judge their own cause, nor redress a wrong, being unable: for they are as crows between heaven and earth.

54  And, indeed, when there happens to be a fire in the house of these gods of wood, silver, and gold, the priests will certainly run away and save themselves, but these will truly be burned up like logs in the midst of it.

Bar6:55  Whereupon when fire falleth upon the house of gods of wood, or laid over with gold or silver, their priests will flee away, and escape; but they themselves shall be burned asunder like beams.

55  Yet they cannot withstand a king and war. In what way, then, is it to be considered or accepted that they are gods?

Bar6:56  Moreover they cannot withstand any king or enemies: how can it then be thought or said that they be gods?

56  These gods of wood and stone, inlaid with gold and silver, can free themselves neither from thieves nor from robbers; whoever is stronger than they are,

Bar6:57  Neither are those gods of wood, and laid over with silver or gold, able to escape either from thieves or robbers.

57  will take up these things, the gold and the silver, and the garments which cover them, and will get away; neither will they be able to help themselves.

Bar6:58  Whose gold, and silver, and garments wherewith they are clothed, they that are strong take, and go away withal: neither are they able to help themselves.

58  Therefore, it is better to be a king displaying his power, or a useful vessel in a house, about which he who owns it will boast, or a door in the house, which keeps safe what is inside, than to be these gods of falsehood.

Bar6:59  Therefore it is better to be a king that sheweth his power, or else a profitable vessel in an house, which the owner shall have use of, than such false gods; or to be a door in an house, to keep such things therein, than such false gods. or a pillar of wood in a palace, than such false gods.

59  For the sun, and the moon, and the constellations, though they are brilliant and have been sent forth to be useful, are obedient.

Bar6:60  For sun, moon, and stars, being bright and sent to do their offices, are obedient.

60  Similarly, the lightning, when it appears and is evident, and, in like manner, the wind blowing in every region,

Bar6:61  In like manner the lightning when it breaketh forth is easy to be seen; and after the same manner the wind bloweth in every country.

61  and the clouds, when God orders them to make their rounds over the whole world, each carries out what was commanded.

Bar6:62  And when God commandeth the clouds to go over the whole world, they do as they are bidden.

62  Furthermore, the fire, having been sent from above so that it may consume mountains and woods, does what it has been instructed to do. Yet these are not similar, neither in splendor, nor in power, to any one of them.

Bar6:63  And the fire sent from above to consume hills and woods doeth as it is commanded: but these are like unto them neither in shew nor power.

63  From this, it should neither be supposed, nor said, that they are gods; since they are neither able to give judgment, nor to accomplish anything for men.

Bar6:64  Wherefore it is neither to be supposed nor said that they are gods, seeing, they are able neither to judge causes, nor to do good unto men.

64  And so, knowing that they are not gods, therefore, have no fear of them.

Bar6:65  Knowing therefore that they are no gods, fear them not,

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65  For they can neither curse kings, nor bless them.

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66  Besides, they show no signs in heaven to the nations; they neither shine like the sun, nor give light like the moon.

Bar6:67  Neither can they shew signs in the heavens among the heathen, nor shine as the sun, nor give light as the moon.

67  Beasts are better than they are, for they can flee under a covering, and so protect themselves.

Bar6:68  The beasts are better than they: for they can get under a cover and help themselves.

68  Therefore, in no way is it clear to us that they are gods; because of this, you should not fear them.

Bar6:69  It is then by no means manifest unto us that they are gods: therefore fear them not.

69  For just as a scarecrow in a cucumber field protects nothing, so are their gods of wood, and silver, and inlaid gold.

Bar6:70  For as a scarecrow in a garden of cucumbers keepeth nothing: so are their gods of wood, and laid over with silver and gold.

70  They are just the same as a white thorn in a garden, on which all the birds sit; they are even like a corpse thrown out into the darkness, just so are these gods of wood, and inlaid gold, and inlaid silver.

Bar6:71  And likewise their gods of wood, and laid over with silver and gold, are like to a white thorn in an orchard, that every bird sitteth upon; as also to a dead body, that is east into the dark.

71  By the purple, and likewise the Royal purple, moth-eaten garments upon them, you will then know that they are not gods. And finally, they themselves are consumed and will be a disgrace in the region.

Bar6:72  And ye shall know them to be no gods by the bright purple that rotteth upon them: and they themselves afterward shall be eaten, and shall be a reproach in the country.

72  Better is the just man who has no such images, for he will be far from disgrace.”

Bar6:73  Better therefore is the just man that hath none idols: for he shall be far from reproach.