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The Conditional statement in [Jeremiah 5:1] requested proof of יֵ֛שׁ "anyone" (in Jerusalem) [who] מְבַקֵּ֣שׁ אֱמוּנָ֑ה "seeks faith" (other than Jeremiah) to be found in order to stop the destruction of Jerusalem, by נְבֽוּכַדְנֶאצַּ֥ר Nebukadnetsar.

We learn Jeremiah finds Baruk ben-Neriah in [36:4] to write his prophecies from YHVH & to read them to congregates at the Temple.

Baruk fulfills this task in [Jeremiah 36:8] "And Baruk ben-Neriah did according to all that Yirmiyahu the-prophet had commanded him, to read in the book the words of YHVH in the House of YHVH." (וַיַּ֗עַשׂ בָּרוּךְ֙ בֶּן־נֵ֣רִיָּ֔ה כְּכֹ֥ל אֲשֶׁר־צִוָּ֖הוּ יִרְמְיָ֣הוּ הַנָּבִ֑יא לִקְרֹ֥א בַסֵּ֛פֶר דִּבְרֵ֥י יְהֹוָ֖ה בֵּ֥ית יְהֹוָֽה)

Did Baruk's faithfulness & deeds not meet the conditions of Jeremiah 5:1?

  • If Baruk was not writing for Yirmiyahu when [Jeremiah 5:1] was declared, why did Yirmiyahu's discovery of Baruk not meet the conditional terms of [Jeremiah 5:1] to spare Jerusalem's destruction?
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  • What do you mean by the Yirmiyahu's discovery of Baruk? Commented Dec 1, 2021 at 22:44
  • Yirmiyahu was commanded to discover “Timtseu” תִּמְצְא֣וּ or Find anyone seeking faith in Jerusalem, in [Jeremiah 5:1]. - He found Baruk. Commented Dec 2, 2021 at 3:18

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Jer. 5:1 “Roam to and fro through the streets of Jerusalem, And look now and take note. And seek in her open squares, If you can find a man, If there is one who does justice, who seeks truth, Then I will pardon her. 2“And although they say, ‘As the LORD lives,’ Surely they swear falsely.”

God gave a specific parameter about where Jeremiah was to look for someone who sought justice and truth. He said, “Roam through the streets and seek in the open squares.” Jeremiah was surprised to discover that even though God had been punishing people for their sin, they refused to repent.

4Then I said, “They are only the poor, They are foolish; For they do not know the way of the LORD Or the ordinance of their God. 5“I will go to the great And will speak to them, For they know the way of the LORD And the ordinance of their God.” But they too, with one accord, have broken the yoke And burst the bonds.

Jeremiah thought it was just the poor who were so obstinate and foolish, but when he went to the educated leaders, he found that their hearts were just as hardened. This was apparently Jeremiah’s idea to approach them, by the way, and not necessarily sanctioned by God. But in any case, the opportunity for redemption failed and God renewed his threat of judgment. So there was apparently a limited window for Jeremiah to identify the righteous man who would forestall the impending doom.

9“Shall I not punish these people,” declares the LORD, “And on a nation such as this Shall I not avenge Myself...? 12They have lied about the LORD And said, “Not He; Misfortune will not come on us, And we will not see sword or famine. 13“The prophets are as wind, And the word is not in them. Thus it will be done to them!” 14Therefore, thus says the LORD, the God of hosts, “Because you have spoken this word, Behold, I am making My words in your mouth fire And this people wood, and it will consume them. 15“Behold, I am bringing a nation against you from afar, O house of Israel,” declares the LORD. “It is an enduring nation, It is an ancient nation, A nation whose language you do not know, Nor can you understand what they say.

As you indicated, if Baruch were already with Jeremiah at the time the condition was offered, then we have to assume that Baruch, would not have been considered, or that he was not out in the streets or the square to be found. There is another possibility, which is that Baruch in his heart did not seek truth. This is the word that the Lord had for him later.

Jer. 45: 4“Thus you are to say to him, ‘Thus says the LORD, “Behold, what I have built I am about to tear down, and what I have planted I am about to uproot, that is, the whole land.” 5‘But you, are you seeking great things for yourself? Do not seek them; for behold, I am going to bring disaster on all flesh,’ declares the LORD, ‘but I will give your life to you as booty in all the places where you may go.’”

It does make one wonder if in spite of all the warnings of judgment, Baruch kept seeking great things for himself. Nevertheless, God did at least promise to spare his life apparently for the efforts he had made to help Jeremiah get the word out to those it was intended to reach.

That argument is speculative, of course, and mitigating against it is the Jewish and Christian tradition that describes him as a faithful scribe. He is credited with writing the Book of Baruch which is included in the Deuterocanonicals and quoted by church fathers. It reiterates that the judgment of God came upon Israel because they provoked him to wrath.

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"Run ye to and fro through the streets of Jerusalem, and see now ... if ye can find a man that executes justice..."

So perhaps Baruk was not in Jeruselam right then at that moment. Also we have the message to Baruk; Jeremiah 45.

"..You have said woe is me now! for the Lord has added grief to my sorrow and I fainted in my sighing and I find no rest. Say unto Baruk; ... seek thee great things for yourself? Seek them not, for thy life will I resurve unto thee as a prize wherever you go"

We can see that Baruk was a traveling man, so it's likely that Baruk was just not in Jerusalem in 5:1.

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Taking this passage (Jer 5:1-2) at face value the majority of us let oneself be tempted by create a linkage between it and the Genesis’ account about Sodom (Gen 18:22-32). In both instances, we may imply that God promised to spare those cities if he had find an amount of righteous peoples (at least 10, in the Sodom’s case; just 1, in the Jerusalem’s case) in them.

However, if we dive under the surface of those Bible passages we will discover a major point of difference between them. From the Genesis account we may establish that the inhabitants of Sodom gave no show of sanctity, nor they payed ‘lip service’ to God. We do not spot any attempt – for the inhabitants of Sodom’s part – to justify their behaviour, appealing themselves to the belief they belonging to a ‘holy community’, a kind of ‘Chosen People’.

Very differently, the Israelites of the Jeremiah’s epoch made exactly these claims to try to cover up their misdeeds (before men).

Interestingly (and shockingly), it seems that in the sentence (5:2) “As Jehovah liveth; surely they swear falsely (לשׁקר)”, this last term is an implicit reference to god Baal [see, please, the article “The Deity in the Definite Article: laššāwʼ and related terms for Baʻal in Jeremiah”, by C. Wynand Retief, 2020 (University of The Free State, South Africa), freely downloadable from the web]

If this conclusion is correct, then, those Israelites did swear in the name of Yahweh, but they did think to Baal!


So, God’s invitation implied to search-and-find anyone that was really a truthful man had to be performed among those who payed lip service to Yahweh (Jer 5:2 footnote - in ESV Study Bible – also speaks about “the people [that] pay lip service to God [cf. 2:26-29]), among those who claimed to be part of the Chosen People of God (and, then, sharing themselves to the holiness of the that sacred community).

Baruch, Ebed-Melek, and few others were, instead, some wholesome slaves of Yahweh, serving Him not for the eyes but with heart obedience. Those ones were not included in the set Jeremiah did must perform the God’s search-and-find mission.

John Calvin commented (bold is mine): “As the pious Josiah, Baruch, and Zephaniah lived in Jerusalem at that time, Jeremiah must here mean the mass of the people, the king, his counselors, the false prophets, and the priests, as distinguished from the faithful few, whom God had openly separated from the reprobate people; among the latter not even one just person was to be found (Isa 9:16).” (apud Jamieson - Fausset – Brown’s Commentary)

I hope these information will be useful to you research.

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