Baruch asks a further question about those who face woe and suffering in that time (chapter 52). He falls asleep and has a vision of a cloud coming up from a great sea (chapter 53). The cloud flashes lightning and great water begins to pour out of it. The water alternates between black and bright, finally pouring out a great amount of black water. The lightning grows in intensity and finally occupies the whole world. When he awakes, he asks the Mighty One for an explanation of this dream (chapter 54).
Baruch knows the dream concerns those who are in sin and about to be judged. Verses 19-20 are curious because they teach that Adam is responsible for his own sin and each of us, when we sin, become our own Adam. This is a semi-Pelagian if not Pelagian view of the imputation of sin and quite different than the view of Paul in Romans 5 and 1 Cor. 15:24, in Adam we all sin.
The dream is interpreted by the Lord as encompassing all of the history of Israel in the alternating waters (Chapters 55-74). The great cloud was the length of the days of his world.
- The first black waters – Adam and the first sin (56:5-16).
- The second bright waters – Abraham and his generation, but also the hope of the “world which will be renewed” (57).
- The third black waters – the sins the nation committed in Egypt (58).
- The fourth bright waters – the coming of Moses, Aaron, Miriam, Joshua, and Caleb (59). Moses is said to have been shown all sorts of the “mysteries” of God such as the weight of the winds, the number of the raindrops, the height of the air and the greatness of Paradise along with the worlds to come. This makes Moses into a prototype of the apocalyptic prophet.
- The fifth black waters – the works of the Amorites, which polluted even Israel in those days (60).
- The sixth bright waters – David and Solomon and the building of Zion (61).
- The seventh black waters – The perversion of ideas in the rule of Jereboam (62).
- The eighth bright waters – The righteousness and integrity of Hezekiah (63).
- The ninth black waters – The sins of Manasseh (64-65).
- The tenth bright waters – The purity of the generation of Josiah (66). On account of Josiah “precious glories have been created and prepared.”
- The eleventh black waters – The disaster of the fall of Jerusalem in 586 B.C. (67).
- The twelfth bright waters – The world which is to come when Zion is rebuilt again and the nations will honor Zion, after the fall of many nations (68).
After the twelve waters, Baruch saw some “last black waters” which were blacker than all the others he had seen. These waters are a description of the days which are coming when the “world has ripened and the harvest of seed of the evil ones and the good ones has come . . .” (Chapters 69-72). It is a time when the poor will outnumber the rich, when the wise are silent that the fools speak, the impious will be exalted over the brave. There will be war; those who save themselves from war will die in an earthquake; those who save themselves from the earthquake will die in the fire; those who save themselves from the fire will die in the famine (70:8-9).
3 thoughts on “A Vision of Many Waters – 2 Baruch 52-73”
Reblogged this on Talmidimblogging.
Getting to do 2 Baruch for my presentation was actually so intriguing to read through and learn about. It was interesting to see the writing style and the structure of the writings and how it reflects scripture that we see in our Bible today. I had never thought through the different outlooks of sin entering the world and how it affects the rest of us. Seeing the different views between Paul and Baruch is very eye opening. This section of the vision of the many waters was probably one of the most interesting sections to me. The ideas of dreams or visions have always been of interest for me. I think it is because I love visuals and creative meanings to events and stories. I also think that it gives an interesting outline of all of the events of Israelites throughout the Old Testament, what they were going through as a people, and what they expected to see happen. It is always fascinating to read of the different ways that the people of Israel expected things to end and how they expected things like the Messiah to look like. 2 Baruch 70:9b-10- “…-that all will be delivered into the hands of my Servant, the Anointed One. For the whole earth will devour its inhabitants” I feel like they viewed the Anointed as a warrior or a soldier, but Jesus doesn’t exactly fit that description.