Bible Commentaries
Jeremiah 32

Barnes' Notes on the Whole BibleBarnes' Notes


The Chaldaeans were already besieging the city, the prophet was in prison for foretelling its certain capture, and yet he bought with all the proper legal solemnities an estate, of which Leviticus 25:25 he had the right of redemption. The price apparently was small, but was more than the land commercially was worth. Jeremiah was now verging on 60, and only 10 of the 70 years of the captivity had passed by. But though the estate was not worth the purchase, the opportunity was precious as a means of assuring the people that (God would certainly bring them back. Jeremiah records, Jeremiah 32:16-25 how his heart misgave him, upon which Jeremiah 32:26-44 God unfolds to hint the full meaning of the sign, and assures him of the certainty of Israel’s restoration.

Verse 1

The siege of Jerusalem began in Zedekiah’s ninth year Jeremiah 39:1, but was temporarily raised upon the approach of an Egyptian army. See Jeremiah 37:0; Jeremiah 38:0.

Verse 2

The prison - Or, the guard, a part of the king’s palace, probably where the royal guard had its quarters.

Verse 3

For the prophecies on which the charge was grounded see Jeremiah 21:4-7, Jeremiah 21:9.

Verse 5

I visit - In the sense of punishment. See Jeremiah 39:6-7; Jeremiah 52:11.

Verse 7

Hanameel was strictly the first-cousin of Jeremiah. In Hebrew all the terms of relationship are used in a more loose way than with us.

Verse 8

The right of inheritance is thine - Hanameel therefore had no children, and at his death the land would have been Jeremiah’s by right of birth. According to the Law Numbers 35:5, it must have been part of the suburbs of Anathoth, within less than a mile, which was all the priests and Levites might cultivate.

Verse 9

Seventeen shekels of silver - literally, as in the margin, probably a legal formula. Jeremiah bought Hanameel’s life-interest up to the year of Jubilee, and no man’s life was worth much in a siege like that of Jerusalem. As Jeremiah had no children, at his death the land would devolve to the person who would have inherited it had Jeremiah not bought it. He therefore bought what never was and never could have been of the slightest use to him, and gave for it what in the growing urgency of the siege might have been very serviceable to himself. Still, as the next heir. it was Jeremiah’s duty to buy the estate, independently of the importance of the act as a sign to the people; and evidently he gave the full value.

Verses 10-11

Translate: And I wrote the particulars of the purchase in the deed ... And I took the purchase-deed, both that which was sealed containing the oiler and the conditions, and that which was open etc. There were two indentures, of which one was called the purchase-deed, and was signed by the purchaser and the witnesses. It was then sealed, not in our sense of appending a seal in place of signatures, but to close it up. The open deed was probably an exact copy, and was that intended for common use. In case its authenticity was called in question, the sealed copy would have to be produced before the judge, the seal opened, and if its contents agreed with those of the open deed, the decision would be in the buyer’s favor.

By the offer is probably meant the specification. The conditions, literally, the statutes, would be the stipulations and terms of the sale, e. g. as to its restoration at the year of jubile, its price etc. The placing of the deeds in jar was of course intended to preserve them from damp during the long years of the exile.

Verse 15

Possessed - bought.

Verse 17

(27). Too hard - literally, too wonderful.

Verse 18

Recompensest - The recompence 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.

Verse 20

The sense is, who hast set, i. e., performed Exodus 10:2 signs etc., and hast continued working them unto this day, both in lsrael and among men (i. e., the pagan).

Verse 23

Possessed - See Jeremiah 8:10 note.

Verse 24

The mounts - See Jeremiah 6:6 note.

Verse 25

For - See the margin. It is enough to place the command side by side with the state of Jerusalem to show how contrary it is to all the rules of human prudence. The prophet is sure that God will explain to him his difficulty.

Verses 26-44

Subscribe evidences - See Jeremiah 32:10. In order to bring the certainty of the return from exile more vividly before the mind, the prophet enumerates the several subdivisions of the territory of the kings of Judah.

Bibliographical Information
Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on Jeremiah 32". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". 1870.