Baruch - Jeremiah's Scribe

In the world of the fake mainstream news media, East becomes West, North becomes South. So it should come as no surprise that, as it relates to Biblical Archaeology, real artifacts would become declared as fake ones.

You tell a lie long enough, back it up with some misconstrued science, convince some Biblical Archaeology websites to spread it all over the internet, and walla, people will buy into just about anything you say.

This is what has been done with the famous Baruch son of Neriah artifacts. The seals once belonging to the prophet Jeremiah's scribe and delivery man.

Baruch son of Neriah bulla

(Illustration: One of the Baruch Son of Neriah Seals)

As the Word of the Lord came to Jeremiah, it was Baruch who penned them, delivered them, and spoke them before the people of Israel.

Baruch writing the words spoken by Jeremiah

(Illustration: Jeremiah Dictating the Word of The Lord to Baruch.)

The first of these seals was discovered back in 1975, while the second was brought to light in 1996. From that time until recently the Baruch artifacts were viewed as authentic. Up until, that is to say, the Fake news generation.

Who was this fake news authority who declared to the world that the Baruch, son of Neriah seals are forgeries? Well, he is a man who has made a name for himself by declaring other Biblical artifacts as fakes. His name is Yuval Goren, who uses his professor title to make everyone believe he is a man of great authority on the topic. 

He was the chief witness in what was billed as the greatest Biblical archaeology forgery trial of all time. Because of his work with his microscope, Goren pronounced the artifact known as the 'James, son of Joseph, brother of Jesus' ossuary was a fake. But because his faulty conclusions were contested by experts in their fields during the actual trial, Goren's fake news was exposed and the trial ended in a fizzle, not a bang. All the men originally charged were found innocent of forgery charges, and Goren's reputation as a credible scholar became severely tarnished. 

But, just like the flu that comes back with a vengeance every so often, Goren returned to disseminate more from his ministry of propaganda and false information.

But this time he has unknowingly proven that the Baruch son of Neriah seals are likely authentic, and not fakes. His undoing is his lack of knowledge regarding the Bible, God's Word.   

You see, Goren concluded that because the Baruch son of Neriah seals were impressed into a different type of clay, as compared to many other clay bullae found in Jerusalem, they must be fakes.

He and his fellow researcher claimed that the Baruch son of Neriah bullae were impressed in what is called Moza Marl clay as compared to many other seals found in Jerusalem which were impressed into Terra Rossa clay. So they concluded that no clay seals found in Jerusalem could be authentic if not made from Terra Rossa soil.

The problem with this logic is that Jeremiah the prophet and his sidekick, Baruch son of Neriah, did not reside in Jerusalem. They visited Jerusalem, but they did not make their homes there. Jeremiah dwelt in the land of Benjamin, and Scripture repeatedly identifies him as being from the city of Anathoth, which is 2 1/2 miles northeast of Jerusalem. And just like Mary's little lamb, wherever Jeremiah went, Baruch was sure to follow.

The Scripture references for this are many, and they are found in the following passages:

Jeremiah 1:1-2 - "The words of Jeremiah the son of Hilkiah, of the priests that were in Anathoth in the land of Benjamin: To whom the word of the LORD came in the days of Josiah the son of Amon king of Judah, in the thirteenth year of his reign."

Jeremiah 29:27 - "Now therefore, why have you not rebuked Jeremiah of Anathoth who makes himself a prophet to you?"

Jeremiah 11:21-23  - Therefore thus says the Lord concerning the men of Anathoth who seek your life, saying, Do not prophesy in the name of the Lord, lest you die by our hand -therefore thus says the Lord of hosts: Behold, I will punish them. The young men shall die by the sword, their sons and their daughters shall die by famine; and there shall be no remnant of them, for I will bring catastrophe on the men of Anathoth, even the year of their punishment.

So as you can see, Jeremiah was known by the people of his day as Jeremiah of Anathoth. And his connection as a priest to the tribe of Benjamin is found below in the following Scripture passages:

Jeremiah 6:1 - O you children of Benjamin, Gather yourselves to flee from the midst of Jerusalem!  Blow the trumpet in Tekoa, And set up a signal-fire in Beth Haccerem; For disaster appears out of the north, And great destruction.

Jeremiah 37:12 - "Then Jeremiah went forth out of Jerusalem to go into the land of Benjamin, to separate himself thence in the midst of the people.

Scripture also clearly states in Jeremiah 32:7 -12 that Baruch son of Neriah was with Jeremiah at Anathoth."Behold, Hanamel the son of Shallum your uncle will come to you, saying, Buy my field which is in Anathoth, for the right of redemption is yours to buy it.  . . . . So I bought the field from Hanamel, the son of my uncle who was in Anathoth, and weighed out to him the moneyseventeen shekels of silver. .  . . and I gave the purchase deed to Baruch the son of Neriah, son of Mahseiah."

Now, what does this prove? And why is this important?

Because there are many artifacts such as pottery jugs and oil lamps uncovered at Anathoth that are made from the same type of clay that Yuval Goren identified as being used in the Baruch son of Neriah bulla seals, Moza clay. And since Jeremiah and Baruch spent most of their daily lives in Anathoth, and the area that the Benjaminites occupied, this confirms the Biblical narrative, turning Goren's main argument upside down.

Benjaminite clay lamp

(Above Photo: Moza Marl clay Oil Lamp, dating to 600 B.C and before, found in the area associated with the tribe of Benjamin to whom Jeremiah served as a priest. Moza clay itself is named after the type of clay found at another Benjaminite site, the Biblical city of Mozah.)

Secondly, Goren provides no proof that the seals were found in Jerusalem. The facts are that the first seal was originally sold to an unknown private collector and purchased from an Antiquities Dealer in East Jerusalem in 1975. But the actual location of where the Baruch seal was found is unknown. Some have tried to speculate that the Baruch seal must have belonged to a collection of bullae uncovered from the "burnt house" in Jerusalem excavated by Yigal Shiloh around this same time. But it is only speculation.

Now even if it that were known to be a fact that the seal was found in Jerusalem, which it is not. There is no way of proving that Baruch's seal ring was impressed into clay in Jerusalem, rather than at Jeremiah the prophet's residence at Anathoth. You see, we have many statements in Scripture that Jeremiah the prophet dictated to Baruch what God had spoken to him, who wrote the words down on a scroll. Afterward, as was his custom, Baruch would seal it, and then was told by Jeremiah to deliver God's message to Jerusalem.

The Scripture verses for this are as follows.

Jeremiah 32:9-10 "So I bought the field from Hanamel, the son of my uncle who was in Anathoth, and weighed out to him the moneyseventeen shekels of silver. And I signed the deed and sealed it, took witnesses, and weighed the money on the scales.

Jeremiah 45:1 "This is the word that Jeremiah the prophet spoke to Baruch son of Neriah when he wrote these words on a scroll at the dictation of Jeremiah in the fourth year of Jehoiakim son of Josiah, king of Judah"

Jeremiah 36:4-6 "Then Jeremiah called Baruch the son of Neriah; and Baruch wrote on a scroll of a book, at the instruction of Jeremiah, all the words of the Lord which He had spoken to him. And Jeremiah commanded Baruch, saying, I am confined, I cannot go into the house of the Lord. You go, therefore, and read from the scroll which you have written at my instruction, the words of the Lord, in the hearing of the people in the Lords house on the day of fasting. And you shall also read them in the hearing of all Judah who come from their cities."

Jeremiah 36:14-18 "Therefore all the princes sent Jehudi the son of Nethaniah, the son of Shelemiah, the son of Cushi, to Baruch, saying, Take in your hand the scroll from which you have read in the hearing of the people, and come. So Baruch the son of Neriah took the scroll in his hand and came to them. And they said to him, Sit down now, and read it in our hearing. So Baruch read it in their hearing. Now it happened, when they had heard all the words, that they looked in fear from one to another, and said to Baruch, We will surely tell the king of all these words. And they asked Baruch, saying, Tell us now, how did you write all these wordsat his instruction? So Baruch answered them, He proclaimed with his mouth all these words to me, and I wrote them with ink in the book.

So it is pretty clear from these passages that Jeremiah would have mostly dictated to Baruch at  Anathoth, and then Baruch was commanded to deliver at least some of the scrolls he wrote to Jerusalem. Likely sealed by Baruch at Anathoth.

We also know that before the Babylonian destruction of Jerusalem that the princes of Israel instructed Jeremiah and Baruch to go into hiding to flee from the wrath of the King of Judah, who was not pleased with the Lord's words of pending judgement upon Israel. (Jer 36:19)

In this undisclosed location, Jeremiah 36:32 states "Then took Jeremiah another scroll,  and gave it to Baruch the scribe, the son of Neriah; who wrote therein from the mouth of Jeremiah all the words of the book which Jehoiakim king of Judah had burned in the fire: and there were added besides unto them many like words."

So according to the Bible itself, the majority of Jeremiah was written outside of the city of Jerusalem.

The next argument Goren makes against the Baruch seals was that they did not undergo the fire from the destruction of Jerusalem when Nebuchadnezzar conquered and burned parts of the city.

Again this is major speculation on his part since we do not know if the clay seals were made before or after this event. Or whether or not the seals were found in Jerusalem, or if the seals were found in any important structure in Jerusalem that the Babylonians burnt down. According to Jeremiah 52:13, Nebuchadnezzar's army burnt down the house of the Lord, the kings house; and all the houses of Jerusalem that belonged to the great, such as princes, scribes, the rich, and those of high rank. Which means there were other structures in Jerusalem that were not burnt to the ground.

We also know that both Baruch and Jeremiah were around after the Babylonian destruction of Jerusalem. They went to the Benjaminite towns of Ramah (Jer 40:1), then to Mizpah (Jer 40:7), and to Gibean (Jer 40:17), then to Chimham near Bethlehem (Jer 40:18), before being taken to Tahpanhes in Egypt (Jer 43:8). Afterwards they would return once again to Israel.

The Biblical Book of Lamentations, which most scholars ascribe to Jeremiah, also describes the sad state of affairs of Jerusalem and its inhabitants after its destruction.

So there are some chapters of Jeremiah and all of Lamentations that were definitely written by Baruch after the destruction of Jerusalem, once again overthrowing the fake news being spewed by Goren and his sidekick Arie.

Goren and Arie in their article then begin to go into what Jesus would call "Straining at a Gnat." They begin to nitpick how the seal was impressed into the clay, how the string was attached to the seal, and what type of material the cord was made out of.  As if a prophet of God and his scribe, living outside Jerusalem, would need to use the proper protocols and materials as the well-to-do scribes in Jerusalem in order for them to deliver God's message.  

Unfortunately, there are even some conservative Biblical Archaeology websites that have brought into this scholarly fake news research. One of them declared the Baruch clay seals as forgeries and called them "Piltdown Bulla" referring to the famous Piltdown Man Skull that fooled evolutionists into thinking they found a missing link skull before it was proven to be a fake.

But Goren has been proven wrong about seals in the past. As I have mentioned at the opening of this article. Goren took part in what was supposed to be the forgery trial of the century. Among the artifacts that they implicated as forgeries were almost 200 seal impressions on clay, including two "Baruch, son of Neriah the Scribe" seals, which we are discussing here, and others such as the "Hezekiah son of Ahaz king of Judah" clay seals.

Goren implied that they were forgeries on account of the presence of fluoride in the water which he claimed was used to make the clay.

But years later, in 2015, Goren would be proven wrong when Israeli archaeologists digging near the Southern Wall of the Temple Mount in Jerusalem discovered another Hezekiah seal. It was identical to the ones previously held by private collectors which Goren held as forgeries, which means all the Hezekiah seals in question are now deemed to be authentic.

Hezekiah Bulla

(Illustration: Hezekiah Bulla Seal)

In a similar fashion in Jesus' day, many a scholar and scribe claimed Jesus was a phony, not authentic, a false prophet, and not the real messiah whom God had promised to send. Enamored with their lofty positions, they ignored what the Scriptures had to say. Therefore they came to a faulty conclusion about Christ. The words and opinions of men, no matter their title or scholarly credentials, cannot stand against the Word of the Lord which makes all His mockers look foolish.

The Greatest Words written down by Baruch Son of Neriah concerning Christ.

Behold, the days are coming, declares the Lord, when I will raise up for David a righteous Branch, and He shall reign as king and deal wisely, and shall execute justice and righteousness in the land.  In His days Judah will be saved, and Israel will dwell securely. And this is the name by which he will be called: THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS. Jeremiah 23:56

"In those days and at that time I will cause a righteous Branch of David to spring forth; and He shall execute justice and righteousness on the earth. In those days Judah will be saved and Jerusalem will dwell in safety; and this is the name by which He will be called: THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS." Jeremiah 33:15-18

The Righteous One, who was without sin, died for the unrighteous.

"For He has made Him who knew no sin, to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him." 2 Corinthians 5:21

The Just One died for the ungodly. 

"For when we were still without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. For scarcely for a righteous man will one die; yet perhaps for a good man someone would even dare to die. But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us." Romans 5:6-8

This article on Baruch son of Neriah is taken from our book series "Bible Believer's Archaeology" which can be downloaded for your ebook reader by visiting our resource download page by Clicking Here.


Sources used in compiling data and illustrations for this article:

The Holy Bible, Author: The Lord God. Scripture is taken from the New King James Version unless noted.

Illustrations: Pen and Ink Reproductions taken from photographs of "Baruch son of Neriah". Artist: John Argubright - copyright © 1997-(current year)

Art: "Jeremiah Dictating to Baruch." - 'Dore Bible Illustrations (1891) Artist: Gustave Dore, Publisher: Bedford Clarke Publishers.

Illustration: Pen and Ink Reproductions taken from photographs of  "Hezekiah Bulla Seal" Artist: John Argubright - copyright © 1997-(current year)

Photo: Oil Lamp - Iron Age II - Oil lamp from prophet Jeremiah period. Found in the area of the tribe of Benjamin to whom the prophet Jeremiah served as a priest. In the private collection of John Argubright purchased from an Antiquities dealer in Jerusalem. copyright © 2022

A Group of Hebrew Bullae from the City of David - YIGAL SHILOH - Israel Exploration Journal, Vol. 36, No. 1/2 (1986), pp. 16-38

Article - The Authenticity of the Bullae of Berekhyahu Son of Neriyahu the Scribe. Authors  Yuval Goren & Eran Arie. © 2014 American Schools of Oriental Research. BASOR 372 (2014): 147-58.  In this article, the authors use many faulty assumptions and come to the wrong conclusion that the Baruch son of Neriah seals are forgeries.

Article - Antiguo Oriente - Volumen 14, 2016  pp. 99-136  "Reconsidering the Authenticity of the Berekyahu Bullae: A Rejoinder " by Peter G. Van Der Veen, Robert Deutsch, and Gabriel Barkley.  In this article, the authors conclude that the arguments presented by Goren and Arie, who declared the Baruch son of Neriah seals to be forged, are faulty and do not stand up to scholarly scrutiny.

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