The book of Baruch is included in the biblical canon by some churches, including Catholic and Orthodox traditions. Other Christian denominations see this book as extra-canonical (i.e., not included among the authoritative texts of Scripture). Baruch was a scribe of the prophet Jeremiah in the sixth century BCE. But the book of Baruch was written in the Hellenistic era, sometime around the second century BCE. So it’s safe to say it was named in his honor of Baruch, but written by another Jewish scribe.

In this excerpt, the author speaks of “wisdom” or “understanding” (φρόνησις; phronesis). The Greek term is sometimes an equivalent to the Hebrew term for “knowledge” (בִּינָה; binah) and sometimes correlates to “prudence” or “shrewdness” (שֶׂכֶל; sechel). Sometimes Baruch uses the more straightforward term “wisdom” (sofia, σοφία), which is (חָכְמָה; hochmah) in Hebrew. The author speaks of a special kind of insight that one must seek but may not find.

The giants of old (Nephilim) did not have this wisdom. Baruch says that they perished because of “lack of thought” (ἀβουλία; abulia). God alone is the ultimate source of this special insight. And because God loved Israel, he gave “wisdom” to his children as a gift. Since, in Greek and Hebrew, wisdom is a feminine noun, the text often refers to wisdom as “she,” and says that “she” came down to earth and lived with people! (v. 38). Compare this idea with the prologue of John’s Gospel, in which God’s “word” (λόγος; logos) is a “he” who became flesh and dwelled with humanity. This “word” is also described as the “light” (φῶς; phos) that illuminates the world. Is that similar to wisdom?

14. Learn where there is wisdom, where there is strength, and where there is understanding, that you may also know where there is the length of days and life, where there is the light of the eyes and peace. 15. Who has found out her place? Who has come into her treasuries? 16. Where are the princes of the nations and those who ruled the beasts that are on the earth, 17. those who had their pastime with the fowls of the air, and those who hoarded up silver and gold, in which people trust, and of their getting there is no end? 18. For those who diligently sought silver, and were so anxious, and whose works are past finding out 19. They have vanished and gone down to Hades, and others have come up in their place. 20. Younger men have seen the light and lived upon the earth, but they haven’t known the way of knowledge, 21. nor understood its paths. Their children haven’t embraced it. They are far off. 22. It has not been heard of in Canaan, nor has it been seen in Teman. 23. The sons also of Hagar who seek understanding, which are in the land, the merchants of Merran and Teman, and the authors of fables, and the seekers out of understanding—none of these have known the way of wisdom or remembered her paths.

24. O Israel, how great is the house of God! How large is the place of his possession! 25. It is great and has no end. It is high and unmeasurable. 26. Giants were born that were famous of old, great of stature, and experts in war. 27 God didn’t choose these, nor did he give the way of knowledge to them, 28 so they perished because they had no wisdom. They perished through their own foolishness. 29. Who has gone up into heaven, taken her, and brought her down from the clouds? 30. Who has gone over the sea, found her, and will bring her for choice gold? 31. There is no one who knows her way nor any who comprehends her path.

32. But he that knows all things knows her. He found her out with his understanding. He who prepared the earth for all time has filled it with four-footed beasts. 33. It is he who sends forth the light, and it goes. He called it, and it obeyed him with fear. 34. The stars shone in their turns and were glad. When he called them, they said, “Here we are.” 35. They shone with gladness to him who made them. 36. This is our God. No other can be compared to him. 37. He has found out all the way of knowledge and has given it to Jacob, his servant, and to Israel, who is loved by him. 38. Afterward, she appeared upon earth and lived with humanity. (Baruch 3:14-37; Brenton translation, modified)



  1. Yes, the similarities between wisdom and logos are clear and I believe complementary. I am also; however, intrigued by the title of your article. It appears to suggest that wisdom no longer lives with humanity. I feel that way sometimes, but is there anything biblical to suggest that wisdom has 'left the building'?


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