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Bible Commentaries

Whedon's Commentary on the Bible
Jeremiah 32

 

 

Verse 1

INTRODUCTORY, Jeremiah 32:1-5.

1. The tenth year of Zedekiah — In Jeremiah 1:3, “the eleventh year of Zedekiah” is mentioned as the terminus ad quem of Jeremiah’s prophecies. This chapter, then, is comprehended in the general title comprised in the first three verses of the first chapter. The siege of Jerusalem had now been in progress a year. (Jeremiah 39:1.) The coming of the Egyptian army had interrupted it, but upon the defeat of the Egyptians it was immediately resumed.


Verse 2

2. Jeremiah the prophet was shut up — He had been arrested in an attempt to flee from Jerusalem, (Jeremiah 37:13,) and was kept in custody until the end of the siege. He seems, however, to have enjoyed considerable liberty, being kept, not in the “dungeon,” (Jeremiah 38:13,) but in the “court of the prison,” (Jeremiah 37:21,) where his friends were permitted access to him. So far from contradicting the thirty-seventh chapter as to the cause of Jeremiah’s imprisonment, this account is fully confirmatory, differing indeed in form and in fulness, but harmonizing perfectly in spirit and substance.


Verse 5

5. Until I visit him — What a fearfully pregnant meaning had this word “visit!” and how mercifully concealed from this man, who was coming to a fate darker than he could well conceive — of the murder of his sons, the putting out of his own eyes, and the sufferings and ignominy of hopeless confinement in a Babylonian prison to the day of his death. See Jeremiah 39:6-7; Jeremiah 52:11.


Verse 7

JEREMIAH BUYS THE FIELD IN ANATHOTH, Jeremiah 32:6-15.

7. Thine uncle — This, as we learn from the following verse, refers to Shallum, and not Hanameel, to which name, according to the laws of Hebrew construction, it is also applicable. The original word for “uncle” is very general in its import, being sometimes rendered “beloved,” as for instance in Isaiah 5:1, which is literally, “I will sing to my well beloved a song of my uncle (beloved) touching his vineyard.”

The right of redemption — See Leviticus 25:25. He who had the right of redemption had also the right of pre-emption, both having the same object, namely, to preserve the possession for the family.


Verse 8

8. The right of inheritance — See Numbers 27:11. It would seem that Jeremiah was the lawful heir. According to Numbers 35:5, it must have been within the distance of 2,000 cubits of Anathoth.


Verse 9

9. Seventeen shekels — Two things arrest attention in this price: 1) The peculiar form, literally “seven shekels and ten of silver.” 2) Its smallness, about ten dollars. Possibly the first may be explained as a legal formula, while the second may be due to the consideration that the sale of land was, correctly speaking, only the sale of the use of it up to the year of jubilee. And then, the value of land depends largely on the state of society and the political prospects of the country. Other cases in which the price of land in Palestine is mentioned are the sale of Araunah’s threshing-floor with the oxen and implements for fifty shekels, (2 Samuel 24:24,) and the potter’s field to the chief priests for thirty shekels. Matthew 27:7.


Verse 10

10. I subscribed the evidence, etc. — The marginal reading is better, “I wrote in the book,” that is, the particulars of the transaction. Here we have, with unusual fulness, the description of an important business transaction. Written documents, witnesses, the weighing of money, and the sealing up of one of the copies of the bill of purchase for public use and permanent preservation. All this points unmistakably to a well-organized state of society. These deeds of purchase were to be put in an earthen vessel to preserve them from decay and destruction during the long years of exile. Sealed, in this passage, means “fastened together by a seal,” and not “attested by a seal,” as is the common sense in modern business documents.


Verse 15

15. Possessed — Literally, bought. The impending ruin would not be permanent, but there would be a restoration, and hence title deeds would be important.


Verse 16

JEREMIAH’S PRAYER FOR FULLER REVELATION, Jeremiah 32:16-23.

16. The transaction was in itself very simple and intelligible, and the reason for it is plainly set forth. But what was predicted for the future seemed so utterly improbable that Jeremiah, for himself and for the people, makes appeal to God in a prayer which gathers up into itself the essence of Hebrew theology and history. The grand and glorious background of this prayer — changeless and stainless as the very heavens themselves — is God in his eternity, infinity, omnipotence, and righteousness; against which is placed his good providence over Israel, and her sin and punishment. And in view of the determination to give over the city and land to their enemies he seems to plead the difficulty of the command to buy the land.


Verse 17

17. Too hard — Literally, too wonderful.


Verse 18

18. Recompensest… into the bosom — “The recompense is placed in the bosom because, in the East, the garments are so arranged as to form a pocket there. Thus, then, men must receive and carry with them God’s requital for their deeds.”-Dean Smith.


Verse 20

20. Unto this day — The construction is a pregnant one, and implies hast continued working signs and wonders among men “unto this day.”


Verse 23

23. Law — Literally, in Hebrew text, laws; but the text here is probably corrupt.


Verse 24

24. Mounts — The ramparts of the besieging army.

Is given — Not merely a prophetic present, as implying God’s purpose, but rhetorical present, implying a certainty because it was as good as done.


Verse 25

25. And thou hast said — An appeal to God for relief. Not to doubt the propriety of the command, but to indicate an oppressive sense of incongruity between it and the conditions, are these words spoken.


Verse 26

JEHOVAH’S GRACIOUS ANSWER, Jeremiah 32:26-44.

26. Then came the word of the Lord unto Jeremiah — This answer consists of three divisions: 1) It affirms the fearfulness of the calamities impending: 2) It refers them all to the sins of the people: 3) But also states that this is not for final destruction but for discipline, and so will be followed by restoration.


Verse 27

27. The God of all flesh — The supremacy and universality of the divine dominion is here, as everywhere, a ground condition of the Old Testament relations. See Numbers 16:22; Numbers 27:16.

Too hard — Literally, too wonderful.


Verse 28

28. Will give — Literally, am giving.


Verse 30

30. Children of Israel — Israel is mentioned here for two reasons: 1) The name is generic, and so suggests the whole sweep of Jewish history, even from the time when they came forth from Egypt; 2) The fate of Israel would serve as an illustrative example of what awaited Judah.


Verse 31

31. For this city hath been to me… a provocation — The construction here is unusual and difficult. The exact force of the original is, For upon my anger and upon my fury was for me this city, etc. The meaning seems to be, Jerusalem has been a burden on my wrath; that is, it has called it forth, so that it has been hard to bear with it.

From the day that they built it — An individualizing phrase for “from the earliest times.” Of course the meaning is limited to Jerusalem as a Jewish city.


Verse 32

32. Kings… princes… priests… prophets… men of Judah… inhabitants of Jerusalem — Epithets of specification indicating a fearful unanimity in wickedness.


Verse 33

33. Back, and not the face — Thus expressing contemptuous indignity. In the latter part of the verse the construction is impersonal; literally, there was a teaching of them, etc.


Verse 34-35

34, 35. They set their abominations — Their idols. A repetition of Jeremiah 7:30-31, except that Baal is put for “Tophet” and Molech for “in the fire.” Molech the king and Baal the lord are simply different names of the Sun-god, but in altered relations.

In the house — The temple, which was still standing.

To pass through the fire — This phrase, here and everywhere, as also the various kindred phrases, implies the literal burning of the children, though as we learn from Ezekiel 16:21, they may not have been burned alive, but slain first.


Verse 37

37. I will gather them — This is the supreme utterance of the chapter, and is closely connected with Jeremiah 32:27, all the intervening verses being parenthetical.


Verse 38

38. Shall be my people — A promise carrying in its bosom all blissful possibilities.


Verse 39

39. One heart, and one way — Righteousness carries with it inevitably harmony and unity; sin is everywhere and always a note of discord and strife.


Verse 40

40. I will not turn away from them, to do them good — The comma of the English text is misleading, and should be omitted. The meaning is, I will no longer withhold from them the good they need.


Verse 41

41. With my whole heart — A loving and unlimited emphasis.


Verse 43

43. Fields shall be bought — Literally, the field. The term is used generically, and implies a prosperity that brings the country at large into use. Keil, however, understands the article here to look back to the field of Hananeel.


Verse 44

44. In the land of Benjamin, etc. — The specifications of place here are evidently for emphasis, and serve to bring the glorious certainty more vividly to the minds of those who should hear and read this prophecy.

 


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Bibliography Information
Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on Jeremiah 32:4". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/jeremiah-32.html. 1874-1909.

Lectionary Calendar
Monday, November 18th, 2019
the Week of Proper 28 / Ordinary 33
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