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Bible Commentaries

Spurgeon's Verse Expositions of the Bible
Jeremiah 32

 

 

Verses 1-27

Jeremiah 32:1-5. The word that came to Jeremiah from the Lord in the tenth year of Zedekiah king of Judah, which was the eighteenth year of Nebuchadnezzar. 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. 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; and Zedekiah king of Judah shall not escape out of the hand of the Chaldeans, but shalt 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; 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.

So you see that Jeremiah was shut up in prison at the time here mentioned. Zedekiah, the king of Judah, had treated him very harshly, because of his faithful utterance of the Word of the Lord. He was a true servant of Jehovah, yet he suffered much at the king’s hand. One very remarkable event, which happened at that time, is here recorded.

Jeremiah 32:6-8. And Jeremiah said, The word of the LORD came unto me, saying, 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. 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.

The Lord had told him beforehand that it would be so; and, therefore, in due time, his cousin came to him with the offer of this plot of land in the country of Benjamin.

Jeremiah 32:9-10. 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. And I subscribed the evidence, and sealed it, and took witnesses, and weighed him the money in the balances.

This was, in every respect, a very extraordinary transaction. Remember that the Chaldeans were already besieging Jerusalem, and they were all over the land, carrying fire and sword into every part of it. Jerusalem was straitly shut up, so that none of the inhabitants could get out of the city; yet here is Jeremiah, himself a prisoner, buying land which was virtually worth nothing whatever; but he believed so firmly that the Chaldeans would yet permit the Jews to live unmolested in that land that he paid down the purchase money for the field, and saw to the legal execution of the deed of transfer, just as you or I might have done if we were purchasing a plot of land in our own country. This is a notable instance of the triumph of faith over unfavourable surroundings, and also of the prophet’s obedience to the Word of the Lord.

Jeremiah 32:11-12. So I took the evidence of the purchase, both that which was sealed according to the law and custom, and that which was open: 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.

Jeremiah did all this openly. What they may have thought to be an absurd action, he did not do in private; but in the presence of them all. True faith in God does not go in for hole-and-corner transactions. Faith can do its business in the light of the sun. Faith believes God under all circumstances, and believes that the truest common sense is to obey his Word. Therefore she is not ashamed of what she does; neither shall she ever have cause to be ashamed or confounded, world without end. There is a living God; and if we do what he bids us, good must come of it. No harm shall happen to the man who confidently rests in the Most High.

Jeremiah 32:13-17. And I charged Baruch before them, saying, 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. For thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel; Houses and fields and vineyards shall be possessed again in this land. Now when I had delivered the evidence of the purchase unto Baruch the son of Neriah, I prayed unto the LORD, saying, Ah LORD GOD!

Faith cannot live without prayer. When she has performed her most heroic deeds, she turns to God and humbly asks for renewed strength; for oh! my brethren, the best of men are but men at the best; and those who have the most faith never have any to spare. Jeremiah says, “I prayed unto the Lord, saying, Ah Lord God!” It looked, at first sight, as if the prophet was going to utter some mournful complaint, or to express some doubt or misgiving concerning the purchase of the land; but it was not so. Having allowed that exclamation to escape from him, his faith came to the rescue, and he continued: —

Jeremiah 32:17. 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:

Is not that a grand sentence? “There is nothing too hard for thee.” He that could make the heaven and the earth can do anything. Read, in the Book of Genesis, the story of the creation, and see how “He spake, and it was done; he commanded, and it stood fast;” and then judge as to what can ever be a difficulty to the Almighty. Surely you must say to him, as Jeremiah did, “There is nothing too hard for thee.”

Jeremiah 32:18. 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, —

See how these godly men, in their times of trouble, delighted in the great names and glorious attributes of God. There are, nowadays, many namby-pamby, fashionable religionists, wrapped in luxury, who have only a little god; they never seem to know “the Great, the Mighty God;” but Jeremiah, with the smell of the prison still clinging to him, talks grandly: “the Great, the Mighty God, the Lord of hosts, is his name,” —

Jeremiah 32:19-21. 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: which hast set signs and wonders in the land of Egypt, even unto this day, and in Israel, and among other men; and hsst made thee a name, as at this day; and hast brought forth thy people Israel out of the land of Egypt with signs, and with wonders, and with a strong hand, and with a stretched out arm, and with great terror;

Those ancient Jews, in the time of their trouble, always looked gratefully back to the wonders wrought by Jehovah in Egypt. That great deed of God, when he smote the might of Pharaoh, was always present to the Hebrew mind; and the people, in every season of tribulation, refreshed themselves with the remembrance of it. Well, then, dear friends, as they sang the song of Moses, shall not we sing the song of the Lamb? Will not we go back in thought to the glorious triumphs of our Redeemer, and recount again and again, for the encouragement of our faith, what Christ did for us upon the tree, even as the Jews thought often, for the strengthening of their confidence, of their wondrous deliverance from Egypt by the high hand and the stretched out arm of Jehovah?

Jeremiah 32:22-24. And hast given them this land, which thou didst swear to their fathers to give them, a land flowing with milk and honey, 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: behold the mounts, —

The margin renders it, “the engines of shot,” which we see, by the next chapter, were powerful enough to throw down the houses in Jerusalem.

Jeremiah 32:24-25. 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. 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.

I suppose that, although Jeremiah, with unquestioning faith, had done as God had commanded him, yet afterwards, when he was alone in his prison cell, he began to think the whole matter over; and though he may not have had any actual doubts, yet he probably had some anxieties as to the issue of the whole affair. He could not quite understand it, so he wisely put it before the Lord. Some of you, who have truly trusted God, may yet be just now perplexed with anxiety of one kind or another. Well, then, tell it all out before the Lord; go at once into his presence, and spread the case before him, as Jeremiah did.

Jeremiah 32:26-27. Then came the word of the Lord unto Jeremiah, saying, Behold, I am the LORD, the God of all flesh: is there any thing too hard for me?

That question we will try to answer presently.


Verses 6-41

Jeremiah 32:6-7. And Jeremiah, said, The word of the LORD came unto me, saying, 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.

God gave his servant an intimation of what was about to happen, so that he might know how to act. It did seem a very strange thing to come to a poor prophet in prison, and to ask him to buy a piece of land when the Chaldeans were in possession of it, and when there seemed to be no hope that he would ever see it. One said, “I have bought a piece of ground, and I must needs go and see it;” but Jeremiah could not do this, for be was shut up in prison, and the enemy had possession of the field he was to buy. Still, the thing was of the Lord, and therefore it was right; and there is many an action which in itself might seem absurd, but which, nevertheless, is to be performed because it is according to the will of God.

Jeremiah 32:8. 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.

Should a minister be concerned about the buying of land? Yes, if God bids him buy it. He is not to be entangled with the affairs of this life; but Jeremiah certainly could not be entangled with this field.

Jeremiah 32:9. 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.

They always paid by weight to make sure that the amount was correct.

Jeremiah 32:10-11. And I subscribed the evidence, and sealed it, and took witnesses, and weighed him the money in the balances. So I took the evidence of the purchase, both that which was sealed according to the law and custom, and that which was open:

The transaction was all in proper legal form. We are not to be neglectful in business because we are the servants of the Lord; but in all things we should act as men of prudence and common sense.

Jeremiah 32:12-14. 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. And I charged Baruch before them, saying, 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.

They had no iron safes in those days; so their practice was to put their documents into earth en vessels, and bury them deep in the earth, where they reckoned they would be secure.

Jeremiah 32:15. For thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel; Houses and fields and vineyards shall be possessed again in this land.

Therefore, as an act of faith in God, the prophet bought this meadow.

Jeremiah 32:16. Now when I had delivered the evidence of the purchase unto Baruch the son of Neriah, I prayed unto the LORD, saying,

Jeremiah completes the business, puts the securities into safe keeping, and now he prays. It is always well to be free from care before you pray. Let nothing remain to be done, if it be possible, and then get alone, and let your heart be free to speak with God. I do not suppose that Jeremiah prayed any the less or any the worse because he had attended to this business transaction. A man who lives near to God ought to be able to go from his counting-house to his closet with a happy heart.

Jeremiah 32:17-19. 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 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, 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:

Whenever you are troubled, think much of God; speak much of him. This is true adoration. It will be a great help to your own spirit. Your own littleness will be forgotten in the greatness of your God.

Jeremiah 32:20-24. 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; and hast brought forth thy people Israel out of the land of Egypt with signs, and with wonders, and with a strong hand, and with a stretched out arm, and with great terror; and hast given them this land, which thou didst swear to their fathers to give them, a land flowing with milk and honey; 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: behold the mounts,

The earthworks thrown up about Jerusalem completely surrounded it and the Chaldeans were hard at work breaking down the walls to capture the city while the people were dying of famine and disease.

Jeremiah 32:24-25. 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. 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.

Observe, it is hardly a prayer that Jeremiah utters; it is just a statement of his condition, and yet that is real prayer. When you do not know what to ask of God, state your difficulty; for that is the very best thing you can do. When you cannot see any way out of the maze, never mind; it is for God to show you the clue. There is often much sanctified common sense in laying the difficulty before the Lord, spreading the letter before him, and leaving it there. When you cannot ask for deliverance in this way or that, it will be sufficient just to state the case as Jeremiah did.

Jeremiah 32:26-27. Then came the word of the LORD unto Jeremiah, saying, Behold, I am the LORD, the God of all flesh: is there anything too hard for me?

This is a grand question, an unanswerable question.

Jeremiah 32:28-31. Therefore thus saith the LORD Behold, I will give this city into the hand of the Chaldeans, and into the hand of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, and he shall take it: 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. 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. 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,

Jerusalem was such a sinful city that it must be destroyed. The very roofs of the houses had been defiled by the sacrifices offered to idols. If these words were true of Jerusalem, surely they are also true in great measure of London. It has been a provocation of God’s anger, “from the day that they built it even unto this day.”

Jeremiah 32:32. 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.

They seemed, from the very highest to the lowest, determined to provoke the Lord, to show how little they cared for the Most High.

Jeremiah 32:33. And they have turned unto me the back, and not the face:

Like men who wished to insult a king in his very court.

Jeremiah 32:33. Though I taught them, rising up early and teaching them, yet they have not hearkened to receive instruction.

It is a great aggravation of an offense against God when he has taught us, and yet we “have not hearkened to receive instruction.”

Jeremiah 32:34-35. But they set their abominations in the house, which is called by my name, to defile it. 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.

If God had commanded them to offer up their children, they would have stood aghast at such cruelty; but they willingly sacrificed them to Molech in opposition to his will.

Jeremiah 32:36-37. 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; 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:

God is angry, and yet gracious. The rest of the chapter is full of tenderness and love. It is enough to make our eyes fill with tears as we note how God speaks concerning those who had rebelled against him.

Jeremiah 32:38. And they shall be my people, and I will be their God:

This is indeed a covenant of grace; it is not dealing with men after their sins, but according to the inexhaustible bounty of eternal love.

Jeremiah 32:39-40. 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: And I will make an everlasting covenant with them, that I will not turn away from them, to do them good; but I will put my fear in their hearts, that they shall not depart from me.

There is here a promise of double bliss. The Lord will not turn from his people, and they shall not turn from him. What more could God do than he here promises? It looks like a trial of strength between sin and grace. Sin was like a mountain; but the Lord’s love was like the flood, which prevailed till even the mountains were covered.

Jeremiah 32:41. Yea, I will rejoice over them to do them good, and I will plant them in this land assuredly with my whole heart and with my whole soul.

See how God puts his whole heart to the work when he is blessing his people. When he forgives sin, it is with his whole heart and soul. May we, with our whole heart and soul, repent of our sin; and then, with all our heart and soul, serve the Lord! Amen.


Verses 30-42

Jeremiah 32:30. 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.

Here were people who had done nothing else but evil. God had been very good to them, but they had been very bad to him. From their youth, and without a break, they had continued to rebel.

Jeremiah 32:31. 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,

Jerusalem, which ought to have been a holy city, had been so impure that it had been a standing provocation to God from the day it was built.

Jeremiah 32:32. 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.

They seem to have been all alike. With scarcely an exception, from the highest class to the lowest, they were always disobeying God.

Jeremiah 32:33. 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.

This is a fearful indictment. When men refuse to learn better, turn their back upon the King of kings, and will have nothing to do with him, surely the time for vengeance has come.

Jeremiah 32:34-35. But they set their abominations in the house, which is called by my name, to defile it. 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;

There was nothing so terribly bad but they would do it; there was nothing so unnatural, so detestable, but they must needs practice it.

Jeremiah 32:35-38. Which I commanded them not, neither came it into my mind, that they should do this abomination, to cause Judah to sin. 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; 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: And they shall be my people, and I will be their God:

Is not this a wonderful passage? After all this sin, and all this provocation, when we expect the thunder and lightning of divine judgment, behold, there is nothing but the sweet voice of pitying love: “They shall be my people, and I will be their God.” Oh, the wonders of divine grace! See what the covenant of grace does for guilty men.

Jeremiah 32:39-40. 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: And I will make an everlasting covenant with them,

“With them” — with these very people who had provoked him, and served Molech, and bowed before idol gods, and put the Lord to shame, and angered him.

Jeremiah 32:40-41. That I will not turn away from them, to do them good; but I will put my fear in their hearts, that they shall not depart from me. Yea, I will rejoice over them to do them good, and I will plant them in this land assuredly with my whole heart and with my whole soul.

A whole-hearted God, blessing those upon whom he looks with an eye of grace. It is a wonderful thing. If he had set his whole heart to destroy them, it would have seemed natural; but God is far above any conception of ours; and so, in the midst of guilt extraordinary and almost immeasurable, behold love equally extraordinary and grace altogether measureless.

Jeremiah 32:42. 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.

Oh, for grace to lay hold upon this everlasting covenant, even the sure mercies of David; and to be saved thereby!

 


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Bibliography Information
Spurgeon, Charle Haddon. "Commentary on Jeremiah 32:4". "Spurgeon's Verse Expositions of the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/spe/jeremiah-32.html. 2011.

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Monday, September 23rd, 2019
the Week of Proper 20 / Ordinary 25
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