1* She is the book of the precepts of God,
the law that endures forever;
All who cling to her will live,
but those will die who forsake her.a
2Turn, O Jacob, and receive her:
walk by her light toward splendor.b
3Do not give your glory to another,
your privileges to an alien nation.
4Blessed are we, O Israel;
for what pleases God is known to us!c
III. BARUCH’S POEM OF CONSOLATION*
A. Baruch Addresses Diaspora
5Take courage, my people!
Remember, O Israel,
6You were sold to the nations
not for destruction;
It was because you angered God
that you were handed over to your foes.d
7For you provoked your Makere
with sacrifices to demons and not to God;
8You forgot the eternal God who nourished you,
and you grieved Jerusalem who nurtured you.
9She indeed saw coming upon you
the wrath of God; and she said:
B. Jerusalem Addresses Neighbors
“Hear, you neighbors of Zion!
God has brought great mourning upon me,
10For I have seen the captivity
that the Eternal One has brought
upon my sons and daughters.
11With joy I nurtured them;
but with mourning and lament I sent them away.
12Let no one gloat over me,
a widow, bereft of many;
For the sins of my children I am left desolate,
because they turned from the law of God,f
13and did not acknowledge his statutes;
In the ways of God’s commandments they did not walk,
nor did they tread the disciplined paths of his justice.
14“Let Zion’s neighbors come—
Remember the captivity of my sons and daughters,
brought upon them by the Eternal One.
15He has brought against them a nation from afar,
a nation ruthless and of alien speech,
That has neither reverence for old age
nor pity for the child;g
16They have led away this widow’s beloved sons,
have left me solitary, without daughters.
C. Jerusalem Addresses Diaspora
17What can I do to help you?
18The one who has brought this evil upon you
must himself deliver you from your enemies’ hands.h
19Farewell, my children, farewell;
I am left desolate.
20I have taken off the garment of peace,
have put on sackcloth for my prayer of supplication;
while I live I will cry out to the Eternal One.i
21“Take courage, my children; call upon God;
he will deliver you from oppression, from enemy hands.j
22I have put my hope for your deliverance in the Eternal One,
and joy has come to me from the Holy One
Because of the mercy that will swiftly reach you
from your eternal Savior.
23With mourning and lament I sent you away,
but God will give you back to me
with gladness and joy forever.k
24As Zion’s neighbors lately saw you taken captive,
so shall they soon see God’s salvation come to you,
with great glory and the splendor of the Eternal One.l
25“My children, bear patiently the wrathm
that has come upon you from God;
Your enemies have persecuted you,
but you will soon see their destruction
and trample upon their necks.*
26My pampered children have trodden rough roads,
carried off by their enemies like sheep in a raid.n
27Take courage, my children; call out to God!
The one who brought this upon you will remember you.o
28As your hearts have been disposed to stray from God,
so turn now ten times the more to seek him;
29For the one who has brought disaster upon you
will, in saving you, bring you eternal joy.”p
D. Baruch Addresses Jerusalem
30Take courage, Jerusalem!
The one who gave you your name will console you.q
31Wretched shall be those who harmed you,
who rejoiced at your downfall;
32Wretched shall be the cities where your children were enslaved,
wretched the city that received your children.r
33As that city rejoiced at your collapse,s
and made merry at your downfall,
so shall she grieve over her own desolation.
34I will take from her the rejoicing crowds,
and her exultation shall be turned to mourning:
35For fire shall come upon hert
from the Eternal One, for many a day,
to be inhabited by demons for a long time.*
36Look to the east, Jerusalem;
see the joy that comes to you from God!u
37Here come your children whom you sent away,
gathered in from east to west
By the word of the Holy One,
rejoicing in the glory of God.
* [4:1–4] The poem ends with the identification of Wisdom and Torah, as in Sir 24:22–23; cf. also Dt 4:5–8.
* [4:5–5:9] The poet addresses the exiles (vv. 5–9a), and then Zion personified is introduced, speaking to the nations and mourning the loss of her children (vv. 9b–16). She then addresses the exiles (vv. 17–29). Finally (4:30–5:9) the poet issues three calls to Jerusalem (4:30, 36; 5:5): she will see her children returning (4:22, 36–37; 5:5).
* [4:25] Trample upon their necks: a sign of victory over the enemy (cf. Ps 44:6; Is 14:25). The Israelites considered their enemies to be God’s enemies as well.
* [4:35] Deserts and desolate places were looked upon as the habitation of demons; cf. Tb 8:3; Lk 11:24.
a. [4:1] Dt 4:6–8; Prv 8:35–36; Sir 24:22.
d. [4:6] Jgs 2:14; Is 50:1; 52:3.
e. [4:7–8] Dt 32:13–18; 1 Cor 10:20.
g. [4:15] Dt 28:49–50; Jer 5:15; 6:22–23.
s. [4:33–34] Is 13:20–22; 47:1–11; Jer 50:13.