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The word that came to Jeremiah from the LORD in the tenth year of Zedekiah king of Judah, which was the eighteenth year of Nebuchadrezzar.
Tenth year. The siege of Jerusalem had already begun in the 10th month of the 9th year of Zedekiah (Jeremiah 39:1; 2 Kings 25:1).
For then the king of Babylon's army besieged Jerusalem: and Jeremiah the prophet was shut up in the court of the prison, which was in the king of Judah's house.
Jeremiah ... was shut up in the court of the prison - i:e., in the open space occupied by the guard, whence he was not allowed to depart, but where any of his friends might visit him (Jeremiah 32:12; Jeremiah 38:13; Jeremiah 38:28). Marvellous obstinacy, that, at the time when they were experiencing the truth of Jeremiah's words in the pressure of the siege, they should still keep the prophet in confinement (Calvin). The circumstances narrated (Jeremiah 32:3-5) occurred at the beginning of the siege, when Jeremiah foretold the capture of the city (Jeremiah 32:1; Jeremiah 34:1-7; Jeremiah 39:1). He was at that time put into free custody in the court of the prison. At the raising of the siege by Pharaoh-hophra, Jeremiah was on the point of repairing to Benjamin, when he was cast into "the dungeon," but obtained leave to be removed again to the court of the prison (Jeremiah 37:12-21). When there he urged the Jews, on the second advance of the Chaldeans to the siege, to save themselves by submission to Nebuchadnezzar (Jeremiah 38:2-3); in consequence of this the king, at the instigation of the princes, had him cast into a miry dungeon (Jeremiah 38:4-6); again he was removed to the prison court at the intercession of Ebed-melech, a courtier (Jeremiah 32:7-13), where he remained until the capture of the city (Jeremiah 32:28), when he was liberated, (Jeremiah 39:11, etc.; Jeremiah 40:1, etc.)
For Zedekiah king of Judah had shut him up, saying, Wherefore dost thou prophesy, and say, Thus saith the LORD, Behold, I will give this city into the hand of the king of Babylon, and he shall take it;
No JFB commentary on this verse.
And Zedekiah king of Judah shall not escape out of the hand of the Chaldeans, but shall surely be delivered into the hand of the king of Babylon, and shall speak with him mouth to mouth, and his eyes shall behold his eyes;
His eyes shall behold his eyes - i:e., only before reaching Babylon, which he was not to see. Jeremiah 39:6-7 harmonizes this prophecy (Jeremiah 32:4) with the seemingly opposite prophecy Ezekiel 12:13. "He shall not see it" (Babylon).
And he shall lead Zedekiah to Babylon, and there shall he be until I visit him, saith the LORD: though ye fight with the Chaldeans, ye shall not prosper.
There shall he be until I visit him - in a good sense (Jeremiah 27:22); referring to the honour paid Zedekiah at his death and burial (Jeremiah 34:4-5). Perhaps, too, before his death he was treated by Nebuchadnezzar with some favour.
Though ye fight ... ye shall not prosper - (Jeremiah 21:4).
And Jeremiah said, The word of the LORD came unto me, saying,
Jeremiah said - resuming the thread of Jeremiah 32:1, which was interrupted by the parenthesis (Jeremiah 32:2-5).
Behold, Hanameel the son of Shallum thine uncle shall come unto thee, saying, Buy thee my field that is in Anathoth: for the right of redemption is thine to buy it.
Son of Shallum thine uncle - therefore Jeremiah's first cousin.
Field ... in Anathoth - a sacerdotal city, and so having 1,000 cubits of suburban fields outside the wall attached to it (Numbers 35:4-5). The prohibition to sell these suburban fields (Leviticus 25:34) applied merely to their alienating them from Levites to another tribe; so that this chapter does not contravene that prohibition. Besides, what is here meant is only the purchase of the use of the field until the year of jubilee. On the failure of the owner, the next of kin had the right of redeeming it (Leviticus 25:25, etc.; Ruth 4:3-6).
So Hanameel mine uncle's son came to me in the court of the prison according to the word of the LORD, and said unto me, Buy my field, I pray thee, that is in Anathoth, which is in the country of Benjamin: for the right of inheritance is thine, and the redemption is thine; buy it for thyself. Then I knew that this was the word of the LORD.
Then I knew - not that Jeremiah previously doubted the reality of the divine communication, but the effect following it, and the prophet's experimentally knowing it, confirmed his faith, and was the seal to the vision. The Roman historian Florius (2: 6) records a similar instance: during the days that Rome was being besieged by Hannibal, the very ground on which he was encamped was put up for sale at Rome, and found a purchaser; implying the calm confidence of the ultimate issue entertained by the Roman people.
And I bought the field of Hanameel my uncle's son, that was in Anathoth, and weighed him the money, even seventeen shekels of silver. I bought ... and weighed him the money ... seventeen shekels of silver. As the shekel was only 2 shillings 4d., the total would be under 2 pounds sterling-a rather small sum, even taking into account the fact of the Chaldean occupation of the land, and the uncertainty of the time when it might come to Jeremiah or his heirs. Perhaps the 'seven shekels,' which in the Hebrew (see margin) are distinguished from the 'ten pieces of silver,' were shekels of gold (Maurer).
I subscribed - I wrote in the deed, "the book of the purchase" (Jeremiah 32:12).
Weighed. Coined money was not in early use; hence, money was weighed (Genesis 23:16).
And I subscribed the evidence, and sealed it, and took witnesses, and weighed him the money in the balances.
No JFB commentary on this verse.
So I took the evidence of the purchase, both that which was sealed according to the law and custom, and that which was open:
I took the evidence of the purchase, both sealed ... and ... open. Two deeds were drawn up in a contract of sale; the one, the original copy, witnessed and sealed with the public seal; the other not so, but open, and therefore less authoritative, being but a copy. Gataker thinks that the purchaser sealed the one with his own seal, the other he showed to witnesses, that they might write their names on the back of it and know the contents; and that some details-e.g., the conditions and time of redemption-were in the sealed copy, which the parties might not choose to be known to the witnesses, and which were therefore not in the open copy. The sealed copy, when opened after the 70 years' captivity, would greatly confirm the faith of those living at that time. The "law and custom" refer, probably, not merely to the sealing up of the conditions and details of purchase, but also to the law of redemption, according to which, at the return to Judea, the deed would show that Jeremiah had bought the field by his right as next of kin (Leviticus 25:13-16). (Ludovicus de Dieu.)
And I gave the evidence of the purchase unto Baruch the son of Neriah, the son of Maaseiah, in the sight of Hanameel mine uncle's son, and in the presence of the witnesses that subscribed the book of the purchase, before all the Jews that sat in the court of the prison.
Baruch - Jeremiah's amanuensis and agent, (Jeremiah 36:4, etc.)
Before all. In sales everything clandestine was avoided; publicity was required. So here, in the court of the prison where Jeremiah was confined, there were soldiers and others present, who had free access to him (Jeremiah 38:1).
And I charged Baruch before them, saying,
No JFB commentary on this verse.
Thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel; Take these evidences, this evidence of the purchase, both which is sealed, and this evidence which is open; and put them in an earthen vessel, that they may continue many days.
In an earthen vessel - that the documents might not be injured by the moisture of the surrounding earth; at the same time, being buried, they could not be stolen, but would remain as a pledge of the Jews' deliverance until God's time should come.
For thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel; Houses and fields and vineyards shall be possessed again in this land.
Houses and fields ... shall be possessed again - (cf. Jeremiah 32:24-25; Jeremiah 32:37; Jeremiah 32:43-44).
Now when I had delivered the evidence of the purchase unto Baruch the son of Neriah, I prayed unto the LORD, saying,
Jeremiah, not comprehending how God's threat of, destroying Judah could be reconciled with God's commanding him to purchase land in it, as if in a free country, has recourse to his grand remedy against perplexities, prayer.
Ah Lord GOD! behold, thou hast made the heaven and the earth by thy great power and stretched out arm, and there is nothing too hard for thee:
Thou hast made ... heaven. Jeremiah extols God's creative power as a ground for humility on his part as man. It is not my part to call thee, the mighty God, to account for thy ways (cf. Jeremiah 12:1).
There is nothing too hard for thee. In Jeremiah 32:27 God's reply exactly accords with Jeremiah's prayer, "Is there anything too hard for me?" (Genesis 18:14; Zechariah 8:6; Luke 1:37.)
Thou shewest lovingkindness unto thousands, and recompensest the iniquity of the fathers into the bosom of their children after them: the Great, the Mighty God, the LORD of hosts, is his name,
Thou showest loving-kindness unto thousands, and recompensest the iniquity of the fathers into the bosom of their children - (Exodus 34:7; Isaiah 65:6). This is taken from the decalogue (Exodus 20:5-6). This is a second consideration to check hasty judgments as to God's ways. Thou art the gracious and righteous Judge of the world.
Great in counsel, and mighty in work: for thine eyes are open upon all the ways of the sons of men: to give every one according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings:
Great in counsel, and mighty in work - great in both devising and executing (Isaiah 28:29, "Wonderful in counsel, and excellent in working").
Thine eyes are open upon all - (Job 34:21; Proverbs 5:21, "The ways of man are before the eyes of the Lord, and He pondereth all his goings").
To give ... according to ... ways - (Jeremiah 17:10).
Which hast set signs and wonders in the land of Egypt, even unto this day, and in Israel, and among other men; and hast made thee a name, as at this day;
Which hast set signs ... in ... Egypt, even unto this day - thou hast given "signs" of thy power from the day when thou didst deliver Israel out of Egypt by mighty miracles down to the present time (Maurer). Calvin explains it, 'memorable even unto this day.'
And among other men - not in Israel only, but among foreign peoples also. Compare for "other" understood (Psalms 73:5).
Made thee a name - (Exodus 9:16, "In very deed for this cause have I raised thee up, for to show in thee my power; and that my name may be declared throughout the earth;" 1 Chronicles 17:21; Isaiah 63:12).
As at this day - a name of power, such as thou hast at this day.
And hast brought forth thy people Israel out of ... Egypt - (Psalms 136:11-12).
And hast given them this land, which thou didst swear to their fathers to give them, a land flowing with milk and honey;
And hast given them this land, which thou didst swear - God gave it by a gratuitous covenant, not for their deserts.
And they came in, and possessed it; but they obeyed not thy voice, neither walked in thy law; they have done nothing of all that thou commandedst them to do: therefore thou hast caused all this evil to come upon them:
They have done nothing of all that thou commandedst ... therefore thou hast caused all this evil. Their punishment was thus exactly commensurate with their sin. It was not fortuitous.
Behold the mounts, they are come unto the city to take it; and the city is given into the hand of the Chaldeans, that fight against it, because of the sword, and of the famine, and of the pestilence: and what thou hast spoken is come to pass; and, behold, thou seest it.
Behold the mounts - mounds of earth, raised as breastworks by the besieging army, behind which they employed their engines, and which they gradually pushed forward to the walls of the city.
Behold, thou seest it - connected with Jeremiah 32:25. Thou seest all this with thine own eyes, and yet (what seems inconsistent with it) thou commandedst me to buy a field.
And thou hast said unto me, O Lord GOD, Buy thee the field for money, and take witnesses; for the city is given into the hand of the Chaldeans. For the city is given into the hands of the Chaldeans - rather, though, etc.
Then came the word of the LORD unto Jeremiah, saying,
No JFB commentary on this verse.
Behold, I am the LORD, the God of all flesh: is there any thing too hard for me?
Yahweh retorts Jeremiah's own words; I am, indeed, as thou sayest (Jeremiah 32:17), the God and Creator of "all flesh," and "nothing is too hard for me:" thine own words ought to have taught thee that, though Judea and Jerusalem are given up to the Chaldeans now, for the sins of the Jews, yet it will not be hard to me, when I please, to restore the state, so that houses and lands therein shall be possessed in safety (Jeremiah 32:36-44).
Therefore thus saith the LORD; Behold, I will give this city into the hand of the Chaldeans, and into the hand of Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon, and he shall take it:
No JFB commentary on this verse.
And the Chaldeans, that fight against this city, shall come and set fire on this city, and burn it with the houses, upon whose roofs they have offered incense unto Baal, and poured out drink offerings unto other gods, to provoke me to anger.
The Chaldeans ... shall ... burn it with the houses upon whose roofs they have offered incense unto Baal
- retribution in kind. They burnt incense to Baal on the houses, so the houses shall be burnt (Jeremiah 19:13). The god of fire was the object of their worship; so fire shall be the instrument of their punishment.
To provoke me - indicating the design, not merely: the event. They seemed to court God's "anger," and purposely to "provoke" Him.
For the children of Israel and the children of Judah have only done evil before me from their youth: for the children of Israel have only provoked me to anger with the work of their hands, saith the LORD.
The children of Israel ... have only done evil - literally, have been doing only evil, implying continuous action.
Only ... evil ... only provoked me - they have been doing nothing else but evil; their sole aim seems to have been to provoke me.
From their youth - from the time when they were in the wilderness, having just before come into national existence.
For this city hath been to me as a provocation of mine anger and of my fury from the day that they built it even unto this day; that I should remove it from before my face,
This city hath been to me as a provocation of mine anger - literally, 'for mine anger.' Calvin, therefore, connects these words with those at the end of the verse, 'this city has been to me an object for mine anger (namely, by reason of the provocations mentioned Jeremiah 32:30), etc., that I should remove it,' etc. Thus, there will not be the repetition of the sentiment (Jeremiah 32:30) as in the English version: the Hebrew also favours this rendering. However, Jeremiah delights in repetitions. In the English version the words, "that I should remove it," etc., stand independently as the result of what precedes. The time is ripe for taking vengeance on them (2 Kings 23:27).
From the day that they built it. Solomon completed the building of the city; and it was he who first, of the Jewish kings, turned to idolatry. It was originally built by the idolatrous Canaanites.
Because of all the evil of the children of Israel and of the children of Judah, which they have done to provoke me to anger, they, their kings, their princes, their priests, and their prophets, and the men of Judah, and the inhabitants of Jerusalem.
Their priests ... prophets - (Nehemiah 9:32; Nehemiah 9:34). Hence, learn, though ministers of God apostatize, we must remain faithful.
And they have turned unto me the back, and not the face: though I taught them, rising up early and teaching them, yet they have not hearkened to receive instruction.
They have turned unto me the back, and not the face - (Jeremiah 2:27).
Rising up early and teaching them - (Jeremiah 7:13).
But they set their abominations in the house, which is called by my name, to defile it.
(Jeremiah 7:30-31; Ezekiel 8:5-17).
And they built the high places of Baal, which are in the valley of the son of Hinnom, to cause their sons and their daughters to pass through the fire unto Molech; which I commanded them not, neither came it into my mind, that they should do this abomination, to cause Judah to sin.
Cause their sons ... to pass through the fire - by way of purification, they passed through with bare feet (Leviticus 18:21). Molech - meaning king; the same as Milcom (1 Kings 11:33).
I commanded not. This cuts off from the superstitious the plea of a good intention. All "will-worship" exposes to God's wrath (Colossians 2:18; Colossians 2:23).
And now therefore thus saith the LORD, the God of Israel, concerning this city, whereof ye say, It shall be delivered into the hand of the king of Babylon by the sword, and by the famine, and by the pestilence;
And now therefore - rather, but now, nevertheless. Notwithstanding that their guilt deserves lasting vengeance, God, for the elect's sake and for His covenant's sake, will, contrary to all that might have been expected, restore them.
This city, whereof ye say, It shall be delivered into ... king of Babylon. The reprobate pass from the extreme of self-confidence to that of despair of God's fulfilling His promise of restoring them.
Behold, I will gather them out of all countries, whither I have driven them in mine anger, and in my fury, and in great wrath; and I will bring them again unto this place, and I will cause them to dwell safely:
I will gather them out of all countries - (note, Jeremiah 16:15). The "all countries" implies a future restoration of Israel more universal than that from Babylon.
And they shall be my people, and I will be their God:
They shall be my people, and I ... their God - (Jeremiah 30:22; Jeremiah 24:7).
And I will give them one heart, and one way, that they may fear me for ever, for the good of them, and of their children after them:
I will give them one heart - all seeking the Lord with one accord, in contrast to their state when only scattered individuals sought Him (Ezekiel 11:19-20; Zephaniah 3:9).
For ... good of them - (Psalms 34:12; Psalms 34:15, "What man is he that desireth life ... that he may see good? ... Depart from evil, and do good ... the eyes of the Lord are upon the righteous," etc.)
I will make an everlasting covenant with them - (Jeremiah 31:31; Jeremiah 31:33; Isaiah 55:3).
They shall not depart from me - never yet fully realized as to the Israelites (Isaiah 30:21). Yahweh compares Himself to a sedulous preceptor following his pupils everywhere to direct their words, gestures, etc.
I will put my fear in their hearts, that they shall not depart from me. Both the conversion and perseverance of the saints are the work of God alone, by the operation of the Holy Spirit.
I will rejoice over them - (Deuteronomy 30:9; Isaiah 62:5, "As the bridegroom rejoiceth over the bride, so shall thy God rejoice over thee;" Isaiah 65:19; Zephaniah 3:17).
I will plant them ... assuredly - rather, instability - i:e., permanently, forever (Jeremiah 24:6; Amos 9:15).
For thus saith the LORD; Like as I have brought all this great evil upon this people, so will I bring upon them all the good that I have promised them.
Like as I have brought all this great evil upon this people, so will I bring upon them all the good - (Jeremiah 31:28). The restoration from Babylon was only a slight foretaste of the grace to be expected by Israel at last through Christ.
And fields shall be bought in this land, whereof ye say, It is desolate without man or beast; it is given into the hand of the Chaldeans.
Fields shall be bought in this land (Jeremiah 32:15 ), whereof ye say, It is desolate - (Jeremiah 33:10).
Men shall buy fields for money, and subscribe evidences, and seal them, and take witnesses in the land of Benjamin, and in the places about Jerusalem, and in the cities of Judah, and in the cities of the mountains, and in the cities of the valley, and in the cities of the south: for I will cause their captivity to return, saith the LORD.
Men shall buy fields ... and subscribe evidences, and seal them - referring to the forms of contract (Jeremiah 32:10-12).
In ... Benjamin - specified as Anathoth: Jeremiah's place of residence, where the field lay (Jeremiah 32:8), was in it.
(1) The promises of God are as sure as if they were already performances. Jeremiah in a prison is told by God to buy a patrimonial field which was then in the possession of the Chaldeans (Jeremiah 32:6-7). He knew, moreover, from the Word of God, that the Chaldeans would take the city and carry away the citizens captives; yet at the command of God he did not hesitate a moment in doing what would seem, to carnal sense, an act of the grossest imprudence, to part with money for a field which he and his seemed never likely to possess. Our truest wisdom, as well as piety, when God orders, is not to confer with fleshly reason, but to obey in faith, and to wait until God in His own time reveals the reason of His commands.
(2) God gives to the obedient believer tokens to confirm his faith, just as after His command to Jeremiah respecting the field of Hanameel, his cousin, He caused Hanameel himself to come (Jeremiah 32:8), which showed that the communication to the prophet was of the Lord. The design of the symbolical purchase was to imply, that though Jerusalem was in a state of siege, and the whole country was soon about to be laid waste, yet that the time would come when houses, fields, and vineyards, should be again possessed. The purchase of the hereditary field by the prophet who foretold the future restoration would show that he believed his own prophecy, and that his acts accorded with his words. If ministers' preaching is to be effective, it must be confirmed by their practice: their acts must be the living comment on their words; and it must be evidenced to their hearers that they believe themselves what they teach to others.
(3) Having first obeyed without questioning God's will, Jeremiah, feeling in utter perplexity how to account for a command which seemed at variance with God's threats against Judah, ventures to interrogate God as to the reason. Prayer is the believer's grand resource in difficulties, outward and inward. Jeremiah prefaces his entreaty for an explanation of the command with an humble recognition of God's omnipotence as the Creator (Jeremiah 32:17), His "loving-kindness" to His people, and His righteous retributive justice to the ungodly and their seed (Jeremiah 32:18-19). He recalls God's wonderful interpositions in behalf of Israel of old, which prove that God is indeed "great in counsel and mighty in work" (Jeremiah 32:19), and that "there is nothing too hard for Him" (Jeremiah 32:17); and acknowledges that the "evil" which is come upon his countrymen is the just penalty of their "having done nothing of all that God commanded them to do" (Jeremiah 32:23).
(4) God explains the seeming difficulty by reference to His own character and power as they were recognized by the prophet. Thine own recognition of the fact that "nothing is too hard for ME" ought to convince thee that hard as it may seem to restore the Jews to the possession of their land, after it shall have been wasted by the Chaldeans, and the Jews carried away captives, yet when I say it, it shall be done (Jeremiah 32:27-44). Notwithstanding their perversity, which merits perpetual exclu sion from my favour; notwithstanding their turning unto me and to my prophets the back and not the face (Jeremiah 32:33) - of which thy imprisonment, now at the very time when they are experiencing the truth of thy words in the pressure of the siege, affords melancholy proof-yet will I magnify not only my power, but also the riches of my covenant mercy (Jeremiah 32:36-44); and, contrary to all that might have been expected, I will restore them to be "my people" in their own land, and "I will be their God" (Jeremiah 32:38). It shall be not merely an external and political restoration, but also a spiritual one. Not merely to individuals, but to all of them, "I will give them one heart and one way, that they may fear me forever for their good" (Jeremiah 32:39). And my covenant with them shall be "everlasting," by my "putting my fear in their hearts, that they shall not depart from me" (Jeremiah 32:40).
(5) Let believers apply to themselves the spiritual truth to be learnt from this prophecy. When perplexed about the dealings of God's Providence, let us flee to Jeremiah's resource, prayer. Then let us go back to first principles, God's wisdom in framing His counsels, and His power in executing them. Let us consider that His covenant with believers is "an everlasting covenant" of love, and that no seeming obstacles can stand in the way of His fulfilling it. Let not unbelief lead us to despair (Jeremiah 32:36) because of present dark appearances. But, believing that "what God hath promised, He is able also to perform" (Romans 4:20-21), let us in faith toward our Lord gladly part with our present wealth, like Jeremiah, in order that we may obtain of grace an inheritance in the heavenly land of promise, wherein God will rejoice over us to do us good (Jeremiah 32:41), and we shall rejoice in Him as our portion forever (cf. Matthew 13:44-46; Luke 12:33; Luke 16:9).
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Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Jeremiah 32". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https://www.studylight.org/
the Week of Proper 12 / Ordinary 17