Jeremiah 32

CHAPTER XXXII

Jeremiah, now confined for his faithful admonitions, foretells

the fate of the king and city, 1-5.

According to the direction of God, he buys of his cousin

Hanameel a field in Anathoth; the contract, or deed of sale,

being subscribed, sealed, and witnessed, and delivered to

Baruch, together with a duplicate not sealed, who is commanded

to put them into an earthern vessel that they may remain there

for many days, 6-14.

This transaction of the prophet, which is entered and

subscribed in the public register, God constitutes a sign or

pledge of the Jews' return from the Babylonish captivity, and

of their again possessing houses, fields, and vineyards, in

their own land, and by their own right, according to their

tribes and families, 15.

Jeremiah's prayer, in which he recounts God's marvellous acts

towards the children of Israel, and deeply deplores the

lamentable state of the country, and the numerous provocations

which have led to it, 16-25.

After which God is introduced declaring his purpose of giving

up his people into the hands of their enemies, 26-35;

promising, however, to restore them in due time to their

ancient possessions, and to make with them an everlasting

covenant, 36-44.

NOTES ON CHAP. XXXII

Verse 1. The word that came] This prophecy bears its own date:

it was delivered in the tenth year of Zedekiah, which answered to

the eighteenth of Nebuchadnezzar. It appears from 2Ki 25:8, that

the eleventh year of Zedekiah was the nineteenth of

Nebuchadnezzar; and consequently, that the eighteenth of that

monarch must have been the tenth of the Jewish king.

Verse 2. Then the king of Babylon's army besieged Jerusalem] The

siege had commenced the year before, and continued a year after,

ending in the fifth month of the following year; consequently, the

siege must have lasted about eighteen months and twenty-seven

days. See 2Ki 25:18.

Verse 4. And shall speak with him mouth to mouth] He shall be

reduced to a state of the most abject servitude. The slave was

obliged to fix his eyes on every motion of the master whilst

giving his orders, who often condescended to give them only by

dumb signs.

Verse 7. The right of redemption is thine] The law had

established that the estates of a family should never be

alienated. If, therefore, a man through poverty was obliged to

sell his patrimony, the nearest relative had a right to purchase

it before all others, and even to redeem it, if it had been sold

to another. This is what is called the right of goel, or kinsman,

Le 25:25. And in the year of jubilee the whole reverted to its

ancient master Le 25:13.

Verse 8. This was the word of the Lord.] It was by his

appointment that I was to make this purchase. The whole was

designed as a symbolical act, to show the people that there would

be a return from Babylon, that each family should re-enter on its

former possessions, and that a man might safely purchase on the

certainty of this event.

Verse 9. Weighed him the money] It does not appear that there

was any coined or stamped money among the Jews before the

captivity; the Scripture, therefore, never speaks of counting

money, but of weighing it.

Seventeen shekels of silver.] The shekel at this time must have

been a nominal coin; it was a thing of a certain weight, or a

certain worth. Seventeen shekels was the weight of the silver

paid: but it might have been in one ingot, or piece. The shekel

has been valued at from two shillings and threepence to two

shillings and sixpence, and even at three shillings; taking the

purchase-money at a medium of the value of the shekel, it would

amount only to about two pounds two shillings and sixpence. But as

estates bore value only in proportion to the number of years

before the jubilee, and the field in question was then in the

hands of the Chaldeans, and this cousin of Jeremiah was not likely

to come back to enjoy it after seventy years, (nor could he then

have it, as a jubilee would intervene and restore it to the

original family,) and money must now be very scarce and high in

its value, the seventeen shekels might have been a sufficient sum

for a field in those circumstances, and one probably not large in

its dimensions.

Verse 10. I subscribed the evidence] We have here all the

circumstances of this legal act: 1. An offer is made of the

reversion of the ground, till the jubilee, to him who would then

of right come into possession. 2. The price is agreed on, and the

silver weighed in the balances. 3. A contract or deed of sale is

drawn up, to which both parties agreeing, 4. Witnesses are brought

forward to see it signed and sealed; for the contract was both

subscribed and sealed. 5. A duplicate of the deed was drawn,

which was not to be sealed, but to lie open for the inspection of

those concerned, in some public place where it might be safe, and

always to be seen. 6. The original, which was sealed up, was put

in an earthen pitcher, in order to be preserved from accidents. 7.

This was delivered by the purchaser into the hands of a third

party, to be preserved for the use of the purchaser, and witnesses

were called to attest this delivery. 8. They subscribed the book

of the purchase, perhaps a town book, or register, where such

purchases were entered. Baruch was a scribe by profession; and the

deeds were delivered into his hands, before witnesses, to be

preserved as above. Perhaps the law, in this case, required that

the instrument should be thus lodged. But, in the present case,

both the deeds, the original and the duplicate, were put into

the earthen pitcher, because the city was about to be burnt; and

if lodged as usual, they would be destroyed in the general

conflagration. See Jer 32:14.

Verse 15. Houses and fields-shall be possessed again] That is,

this is an evidence that the captivity shall not last long:

houses, &c., shall here be possessed again, either by their

present owners or immediate descendants. The young might return;

at least, all under ten years of age: there was no natural

impossibility that they should not live till they should be

fourscore.

Verse 16. I prayed unto the Lord] And what a prayer! What weight

of matter, sublimity of expression, profound veneration, just

conception, Divine unction, powerful pleading, and strength of

faith! Historical, without flatness; condensed, without obscurity;

confessing the greatest of crimes against the most righteous of

Beings, without despairing of his mercy, or presuming on his

goodness: a confession that, in fact, acknowledges that God's

justice should smite and destroy, had not his infinite goodness

said, I will pardon and spare.

Verse 19. Thine eyes are open upon all the ways of-men] Thou art

omniscient, and knowest all things; thou art omnipresent, and

seest all things.

Verse 24. Behold the mounts] The huge terraces raised up to

plant their engines on, that they might throw darts, stones, &c.,

into the city.

Because of the sword, and of the famine, and of the pestilence]

The city was now reduced to extreme necessity; and from the siege

continuing nearly a year longer, we may conclude that the besieged

made a noble defense.

Verse 29. With the houses, upon whose roofs] As it is most

probable that Baal was the sun, they might have chosen the tops

of the houses, which were always flat, with battlements around, to

offer incense and sacrifice to him at his rising, and while he was

in sight above the horizon.

Verse 30. For the children of Israel and the children of Judah

have only done evil] They have all been transgressors from their

earliest history.

For the children of Israel] The ten tribes.

Have only provoked me to anger with the work of their hands]

They have been sinners beyond all others, being excessive

idolaters. Their hands have formed the objects of their

worship.

Verse 33. Though I taught them, rising up early and teaching

them] From the frequent reference to this, we may naturally

conclude that morning preaching prevailed much in Judea.

Verse 37. Behold, I will gather them out of all countries] A

promise often repeated. See Jer 29:14,

and See Clarke on Jer 31:8, &c.

Verse 39. I will give them one heart] And that a clean one.

And one way] And that a holy and safe one: and to have this

clean heart, and to walk in this good way, will be for the good

of them and their children after them. God's blessing is a

profitable inheritance. They shall have but one object of worship,

and one way of salvation; and being saved from sin, idolatry, and

destruction, they must necessarily be happy within and happy

without.

Verse 41. Yea, I will rejoice over them to do them good] Nothing

can please God better than our coming to him to receive the good

which, with his whole heart and his whole soul, he is ready to

impart. How exceedingly condescending are these words of God!

Verse 42. Will I bring upon them all the good that I have

promised] God's word cannot fail. The Jews have never yet received

the good that God has promised. Nothing like the fulfilment of

these promises took place after their return from Babylon;

therefore there remaineth yet a rest for these ancient people of

God; and it is under the Christian dispensation that they are to

have it.

Verse 44. Men shall buy fields for money] This is a reference to

the symbolical purchase mentioned at the beginning of the chapter;

that may be considered by them as a sure sign of their

restoration, not only to the same land, but to their respective

inheritances in that land. This the power of God could alone

perform.

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