JEREMIAH CHAPTER 32.
The Purchase of a Field as a Type of the Restoration.
THE TRANSACTION ITSELF. — V. 1. The word that came to Jeremiah from the Lord, by direct inspiration, in the tenth year of Zedekiah, king of Judah, which was the eighteenth year of Nebuchadnezzar. V. 2. For then the king of Babylon's army besieged Jerusalem, the siege having begun in the tenth month of the ninth year of Zedekiah, chap. 39, 1; and Jeremiah, the prophet, was shut up in the court of the prison, kept in ward in the guard-room, which was in the king of Judah's house. V. 3. 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, v. 4. 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, or, as we should say, face to face, and his eyes shall behold his eyes; v. 5. and he shall lead Zedekiah to Babylon, and there shall he be until I visit him, saith the Lord, turning once more to him in mercy; though ye fight with the Chaldeans, ye shall not prosper? The circumstances here referred to occurred at the beginning of the siege, when Jeremiah foretold the capture of the city. Cp. chap. 34, 1-7. The prophet had at that time been placed in custody by Zedekiah, but had regained his liberty when Pharaoh-hophrah caused the Chaldeans to raise the siege of the city. He had then been cast into the dungeon once more, but obtained leave to be removed to the court of the prison. Cp. chap. 34, 12-21. V. 6. And Jeremiah said, this being the continuation of verse 1, the thought of which was interrupted by the long parenthesis following, The word of the Lord came unto me, saying, v. 7. Behold, Hanameel, the son of Shallum, thine uncle, that is, the cousin of Jeremiah, shall come unto thee, saying, Buy thee my field that is in Anathoth, Jeremiah's home town; for the right of redemption is thine to buy it. This right consisted in the privilege or duty of the nearest blood relative of one who wished to sell to buy the land concerned, in order that possession of the property might continue to be vested in the family of the original owners. V. 8. So Hanameel, mine uncle's son, came to me in the court of the prison according to the word of the Lord, that is, just as the Lord had prophesied, and said unto me, Buy my field, I pray thee, that is in Anathoth, which is in the country of Benjamin, within the boundaries of this tribe; 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, that is, Jeremiah was confirmed in his knowledge by this outward proof of the Lord's prophecy. V. 9. And I bought the field of Hanameel, my uncle's son, that was in Anathoth, and weighed him the money, after the manner of payment then in use, even seventeen shekels of silver (somewhat less than eleven dollars), a comparatively small price, for in reality only the harvest until the next year of the jubilee was sold. V. 10. And I subscribed the evidence, the purchase being completed in agreement with all the demands of the law, and sealed it, folding it up and covering the flap with the public seal, the signature to the deed thus being established beyond a doubt, and took witnesses and weighed him the money in the balances. V. 11. So I took the evidence of the purchase, the contract of sale, both that which was sealed according to the law and custom, which had the validity of a registered warranty deed in our days, and that which was open, apparently only a copy of the deed, v. 12. and I gave the evidence of the purchase unto Baruch, the son of Neriah, the son of Maaseiah, who was Jeremiah's secretary and assistant, in the sight of Hanameel, mine uncle's son, and in the presence of the witnesses that subscribed the book of the purchase, who had placed their names under the document as witnesses of the transaction, before all the Jews that sat in the court of the prison, who were present at the time, although not as formal witnesses of the sale. V. 13. And I charged Baruch before them, saying, v. 14. Thus saith the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, a special command of the Lord being issued in this instance on account of the significance attaching to the act. Take these evidences, this evidence of the purchase, both which is sealed and this evidence which is open, the documents as now made out, and put them in an earthen vessel that they may continue many days, being protected against mold and decay. V. 15. For thus saith the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, Houses and fields and vineyards shall be possessed again in this land. The desolation of the land of Judah would last only for the length of time which God had determined, after which He intended to restore His people to their homes. For this reason the careful keeping of the deed transferring the land from Hanameel to Jeremiah was important as a record for the use of his family. The Lord was even then thinking of the return of Judah from Babylon and of the restoration of the true worship in Jerusalem. His. thoughts are always upon the blessings which He wishes to bestow upon His people rather than upon the punishments which He must occasionally dispense.
JEREMIAH’S PRAYER AND JEHOVAH’S ANSWER. — V. 16. Now, when I had delivered the evidence of the purchase unto Baruch, the son of Neriah, I prayed unto the Lord, saying, v. 17. Ah, Lord God! his perplexity on account of the strange proceeding in which he had just taken part at God's command causing him to take recourse to prayer, behold, thou hast made the heaven and the earth by Thy great power and stretched-out arm, the entire creation being evidence of Jehovah's omnipotence, and there is nothing too hard for Thee, literally, "not is too difficult or miraculous beyond Thee anything." V. 18. Thou showest loving-kindness unto thousands and recompensest the iniquity of the fathers into the bosom of their children after them, so that they are obliged to accept and bear it, since they follow their parents in their wicked ways, Ex. 20, 5. 6; 34, 7; the Great, the Mighty God, the Lord of hosts, is His name, Jehovah Sabaoth, the Commander of all the heavenly armies, v. 19. great in counsel and mighty in work, His almighty power being directed by His boundless wisdom, both in devising and in executing His plans for the benefit of man; for Thine eyes are open upon all the ways of the sons of men, Prov. 5, 21, to give every one according to his ways and according to the fruit of his doings; cp. chap. 17, 10; v. 20. which hast set signs and wonders, miraculous deeds, which served to bring out the majesty of His essence, in the land of Egypt, even unto this day, for the wonderworking power of Jehovah, set in operation at that time, had continued to exert its might through the centuries, and in Israel, and among other men, and hast made Thee a name, as at this day, so that the honor of the Lord was extolled wherever men heard of His deeds; v. 21. 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, cp. Deut. 26, 8; v. 22. and hast given them this land, which Thou didst swear to their fathers, beginning with Abraham, to give them, a land flowing with milk and honey, unusually rich in resources; v. 23. and they came in and possessed it, willing enough to receive rich benefits from the hand of Jehovah. But they obeyed not Thy voice, neither walked in Thy Law, rewarding the goodness of the Lord with base ingratitude; they have done nothing of all that Thou commandedst them to do, the complaint which the Lord had been obliged to voice time and again. Therefore Thou hast caused all this evil to come upon them, their punishment thus striking them in a measure agreeing with their transgression. V. 24. Behold the mounts, the ramparts of the besieging army as it prepared to take the city, 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, or "in the presence of, as a consequence 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, for the siege was then going on. V. 25. And Thou hast said unto me, O Lord God, the prophet's perplexity here finding expression, Buy thee a field for money and take witnesses; for, or "and yet," the city is given into the hand of the Chaldeans. Although the city, by the word of the Lord and according to the evidence visible in the presence of the besieging army, was doomed to destruction, yet Jeremiah had received the command which, in view of the situation, seemed very strange to him. So he looks to the Lord for an explanation regarding the future. V. 26. Then came the word of the Lord unto Jeremiah, in answer to his prayer, saying, v. 27. Behold, I am the Lord, the God of all flesh, of all men, weak and mortal as they are; is there anything too hard for Me? as Jeremiah himself had stated, v. 17. V. 28. 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; v. 29. 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, in the flagrant form of idolatry which the Lord had taken occasion to reprove so often, and poured out drink-offerings unto other gods to provoke Me to anger. V. 30. For the children of Israel, upon whom the Lord's punishment had already descended, and the children of Judah, who had not profited by their example, 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, they indulged only in such things as were displeasing to Jehovah, the God of the covenant. V. 31. For this city hath been to Me as a provocation of Mine anger and of My fury, an object calling forth His indignation, challenging His wrath and punishment, from the day that they built it even unto this day, that I should remove it from before My face, this, as it were, being the object which its inhabitants had in mind with their idolatrous behavior, v. 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, practically the entire nation indulging in the same transgressions. V. 33. And they have turned unto Me the back and not the face, a complaint which the Lord had repeatedly voiced, cp. chap. 2, 27, though I taught them, rising up early and teaching them, with eager and merciful zeal, yet they have not hearkened to receive instruction. V. 34. But they set their abominations in the house which is called by My name to defile it, all pictures of idols being abhorred in the sight of the Lord, especially since the glory of His own name was besmirched by such acts. V. 35. And they built the high places of Baal, the supreme idol of the Canaanitish nations, which are in the Valley of the Son of Hinnom, or of Ben-hinnom, to cause their sons and their daughters to pass through the fire unto Molech, in the loathsome sacrifice made to this chief idol of the Moabites, which I commanded them not, neither came it into My mind that they should do this abomination to cause Judah to sin, to bring transgression and guilt upon the entire nation. Cp. chap. 7, 30. 31. V. 36. And now, therefore, thus saith the Lord, the God of Israel, concerning this city, whereof ye say, having passed from the extreme of self-confidence to the very depths of despair, It shall be delivered into the hand of the king of Babylon by the sword and by the famine and by the pestilence, the Lord now, in spite of the fact that the great majority of the people had richly deserved their fate, giving them a gracious promise of deliverance. V. 37. 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, the use of the synonyms serving to bring out the extremity of God's indignation; and I will bring them again unto this place, and I will cause them to dwell in safety, all this stated of the future security of the Church. V. 38. And they shall be My people, and I will be their God, cp. chap. 30, 22; 24,7. V. 39. And I will give them one heart and one way, directing them to the one road which was well-pleasing to Him, that they may fear Me forever, for the good of them and of their children after them, since this course would keep them from the various evil ways of the heathen. V. 40. And I will make an everlasting covenant with them, so that they would once more enter into the relation with Him which He desired, that I will not turn away from them to do them good, that is, not refrain from doing them good; but I will put My fear in their hearts that they shall not depart from Me. The Lord here represents Himself as an eager and diligent Educator, a faithful Pedagog, who follows His pupils everywhere in order to impart to them the instruction which they needed for the proper way of living. V. 41. Yea, I will rejoice over them to do them good, it being His greatest delight to shower benefits upon them; and I will plant them in this land assuredly with My whole heart and with My whole soul, so that His faithfulness toward them would find its most emphatic expression in His treatment of them. V. 42. For thus saith the Lord, Like as I have brought all this great evil upon this people, in having them led away into captivity, so will I bring upon them all the good that I have promised them. Cp. chap. 31, 28. From this fact the Lord now draws a conclusion which serves as an answer to the question of Jeremiah. V. 43. And fields shall be bought in this land, whereof ye say, It is desolate, without man or beast, such statements expressing their despair of ever seeing the land restored to a habitable state; it is given into the hand of the Chaldeans. Over against this fact stands the promise of Jehovah, v. 44. Men shall buy fields for money, conducting their purchases in accordance with the forms required by law, and subscribe evidences, deeds of conveyance, and seal them, and take witnesses in the land of Benjamin, where Jeremiah had made his symbolical purchase, and in the places about Jerusalem, which would again occupy the position of capital, and in the cities of Judah, and in the cities of the mountains, in the northern and eastern part of Judea, and in the cities of the valley, the lowlands toward the west, and in the cities of the South, the semiarid plains bordering the Arabian Desert; for I will cause their captivity to return, saith the Lord. Although the expressions refer to the restoration of Judah, the description clearly includes the Church of Jehovah as such; for only the believers are in truth members of the people of God.