🔼The name Baruch: Summary
- From the verb ברך (barak), to kneel or to bless.
🔼The name Baruch in the Bible
There are three men named Baruch in the Bible, but the best known is the son of Neriah, son of Mahseiah, and faithful friend and amanuensis of the prophet Jeremiah. This Baruch's brother Seraiah also worked for Jeremiah. He delivered a message to unspecified recipients in Babylon (Jeremiah 51:59).
Baruch features in three distinct scenes in the book of Jeremiah. First he appears as the keeper of the deed of a plot of land in Anathoth, that Jeremiah purchased from his nephew Hanamel (32:12). A little later, Jeremiah dictates Baruch a stern message and has Baruch recite it in public. Some well-meaning officials of king Jehoiakim confiscate the scroll and Jehudi delivers it to the king. The king, however, gets so upset that he destroys it and orders Baruch and Jeremiah arrested. The two escape because, as Jeremiah puts it, the Lord hid them (36:26).
Later still Baruch and Jeremiah join a contingent of refugees to Egypt to avoid deportation to Babylon (43:6). In Egypt, Baruch, who is understandably unhappy about the goings on, receives a message of encouragement from God through Jeremiah (46:1).
Baruch is one of the very few players in the Bible whose full name ("Berechiah, son-of-Neriah, the scribe") was found written on a clay tablet from his own time (7th century BC). The Book of Baruch, however, is most probably pseudepigraphal.
The other two Baruchs are:
- A son of Zabbai who worked on the wall after the return from Babylon (Nehemiah 3:30). Nehemiah also mentions a Baruch among the singers of the sealed document (Nehemiah 10:6) but most sources equate him with the son of Zabbai.
- A son of Col-hozeh, who took up residence in Jerusalem after the repairs (Nehemiah 11:5).
🔼Etymology of the name Baruch
The name Baruch comes from the verb ברך (barak), meaning either to kneel or to bless:
The verb ברך (barak) mostly means to bless and sometimes to kneel. But the noun ברך (berek) always means knee, and the noun ברכה (beraka) always means blessing. The opposite of to bless is to curse, or ארר ('arar), which literally means to bind or restrict.
That probably means that the act of blessing had to do with the act of giving someone the freedom to do whatever this person had in their heart to do. The freely moving knee, after all, makes it possible to walk and run and go wherever one wants.
For a meaning of the name Baruch, NOBSE Study Bible Name List, Jones' Dictionary of Old Testament Proper Names, and even BDB Theological Dictionary read Blessed in a rare display of unity.