Bible Commentaries

Garner-Howes Baptist CommentaryGarner-Howes

Jeremiah 32

Verses 1-5



- an Act of Faith in God

1. The words recorded in this passage are precisely located in "the tenth year of Zedekiah", and the eighteenth of Nebuchadnezzar, (vs. 1; 2 Kings 25:1-2).

2. The army of Babylon has Jerusalem under siege, and Jeremiah is being held captive in the court of the guard, which is located in the courtyard of the king’s palace, (vs.2; Jeremiah 37:21; comp. Nehemiah 3:25).

3. In verses 3-5 Zedekiah states his reason for making Jeremiah a prisoner of his own nation; he had faithfully delivered the Lord’s word concerning Judah -her king and her people - and they were not willing to follow the word of Jehovah, (comp. Jeremiah 26:8-9; Amos 7:12-13).

Verses 6-15

1. Before the event took place the Lord had informed Jeremiah that his cousin, Hanameel, the son of Shallum, would be coming to him, as a nearest relative, to request that he redeem the family land so as to keep it within the family, (vs. 6-7).

a. It is not known why Hanameel wanted to sell the property though financial straits often forced men to sell their land.

b. Provision had been made, under the law of Moses, for the nearest, able, kinsman to redeem such property, to keep it from being sold outside the family, (Leviticus 25:25-28; Comp. Ruth 4:1-12; 1 Kings 21:3).

c. Yet, it is possible that this is one of the kinsmen of Anathoth who has plotted against Jeremiah, because of his persistent roarings against the sins of Judah, and is now testing the sincerity of his prophecies of hope for Judah - beyond the imminent captivity and deportation to Babylon.

2. According to the Lord’s word, Hanameel did appear; and Jeremiah knew that it was in accord with what the Lord had told him -implying the caution of faith to test everything by the word of the Lord, (vs. 8-9a).

3. It appears that this transaction took place during a brief lull in the siege (Jeremiah 37:11-12) - perhaps while the army of Babylon was distracted by the approach of the Egyptian army, which briefly considered coming to the aid of Judah, but then decided against it.

4. By faith, Jeremiah purchased the field - weighting out 17 shekels (almost 7 ounces) of silver, (vs. 9); here is a real venture of faith.

a. The act of faith sometimes appears ridiculous because it is based on a higher knowledge than the observer has been able to comprehend.

b. This principle is well illustrated by: Noah, in building the ark; Abraham, in the offering of Isaac; and Moses, in choosing to cast his lot with the people of God, rather than go after the fleeting pleasures of sin and treasures of Egypt, (Genesis 6:13-22; Genesis 22:1-19; Hebrews 11:24-27).

5. Signing and sealing the deed, before witnesses - the commitment of faith - Jeremiah then delivered both the sealed deed and a copy thereof, into the hands of Baruch (his scribe) with instructions to place them in a clay jar - thus, showing concern for their safe-keeping, and to preserve them against the tampering designs of wicked men, (vs. 10-14).

6. This purchase was another of Jeremiah’s SYMBOLIC ACTS -demonstrating his confidence, in the word of the Lord, that houses, fields and vineyards would once again be bought and sold in Judah, (vs. 15, 43-44; Jeremiah 30:18; Jeremiah 31:5; Amos 9:14-15; Zechariah 3:10) - however remote such a possibility might appear at the moment, and though he knew that he would not live long enough to see the end of the matter!

7. Though faithful to denounce the wickedness of his beloved nation, and to hurl warnings of impending judgment upon an unrepentant people; Jeremiah was, nevertheless, a messenger of HOPE in the midst of a seemingly hopeless situation! (Hebrews 11:6).

Verses 16-25


1. From this section it is clearly evident that Jeremiah was perplexed over the Lord’s requiring him to exhaust his dwindling resources in purchasing title to the field that, under present circumstances, was worthless!-the questioning, or doubting of faith.

2. But, he sought comfort and assurance in a prayer of remembrance (comp. Jeremiah 12:1; Genesis 32:9-12; Philippians 4:6-7) - recalling the faithfulness, loving kindness, mercy, power, counsel, judgments and adequate provisions of his all-sovereign Lord, in His past dealings with this people, (vs. 17-24).

a. He addresses the Holy One as: Jehovah, Lord Jehovah, Almighty God and Jehovah of hosts.

b. He recalls God’s ability to accomplish what He purposes, (from creation to redemption) by the power of His almighty arm, (Romans 4:17; Romans 9:11; Ephesians 1:11).

c. He lauds Him for His faithfulness to perform what He has promised, (Joshua 23:14; Romans 4:20-22).

d. And He acknowledges the sins of Judah which have led to the present siege - recognizing that God has brought this judgment upon them.

3. At the command of the Lord, Jeremiah has redeemed the field of Hanameel; but he clearly does not quite understand - this very prayer bearing eloquent witness to that fact, (vs. 25).

a. It is NOT that Jeremiah questions either the willingness or ability of God to rebuild and restore what Nebuchadnezzar is about to take and destroy.

b. But, he knows that God cannot consistently do so unless there is a drastic change in the people; they must so repent as to be cleansed and healed; yet, in 40 years of faithfully pouring out his heart in preaching to them, Jeremiah has not seen the slightest evidence of genuine repentance!

c. The prophet is near the point of losing all hope for the salvability of his beloved people!

Verses 26-35


1. Jehovah is, indeed, the kind of God to whom Jeremiah has born witness! (vs. 26-27).

a. He is "the God of all flesh" (comp. Numbers 16:22; Numbers 27:16).

b. Is there any thing too hard for Him? (vs. 17; Matthew 19:26) any need that He cannot supply?

c. Surely He SPECIALIZES in that which seems impossible to men!

2. The Lord has, indeed, delivered Jerusalem into the hands of Nebuchadnezzar; the Chaldeans will fight against it, subdue it and burn it with fire - destroying the houses whose inhabitants have provoked Him to anger by their sacrifices to dumb idols! (vs. 28-29).

3. From their youth, the children of Israel and Judah have done only evil - provoking the Lord to anger; by the works of their hands, (vs. 30; Jeremiah 3:25; Jeremiah 22:21).

4. Jerusalem has so provoked the Lord to anger and wrath that He is removing it from before His face, (vs. 31-35).

a. This has Involved kings, princes, priests, prophets, the men of Judah and the Inhabitants of Jerusalem, (comp. Ezra 9:7; Isaiah 1:4-6). ,

b. Though the Lord has faithfully and repeatedly taught them, they have turned their backs, stopped their ears and refused instruction! (Jeremiah 2:27; Ezekiel 8:16; Zechariah 7:11; Jeremiah 18:17).

c. They have even dared to set up their abominable idols in the house which is called by His name - TO DEFILE IT! (Jeremiah 7:30-31; 2 Kings 21:4-7).

d. They have built high places for Baal-worship, and caused their children to pass through the fire - sacrificing them to Molech! (Leviticus 18:21; Leviticus 20:2-5; 2 Chronicles 28:1-3; 2 Chronicles 33:6).

e. Could one believe in the holiness and righteousness of a God who would NOT BE PROVOKED to anger and consuming wrath BY SUCH ABOMINATIONS?

Verses 36-44


1. It is true that sword, famine and. pestilence have prevailed against Jerusalem (vs. 36), but, that is not the end of the matter!

2 .At the appointed time (and under specific conditions) the Lord will restore His people from all the lands to which He has scattered them, (vs. 37; Deuteronomy 30:1-3; Isaiah 11:11-16); He will also restore them to the relationship of covenant-fellowship with Himself - a relationship that was broken and forfeited through their unbelieving disobedience, (vs. 38; Jeremiah 30:22; Ezekiel 11:19-20).

3. When He restores them, Jehovah will bring unity to Judah and Israel; henceforth they will reverence and serve the Lord their God, forever, with singleness of heart, (vs. 39; Jeremiah 31:33; comp. John 17:21; Acts 4:32).

4. The benevolent wisdom of the Lord’s way is clearly revealed in the ultimate end that He has purposed for His people, (vs. 40; comp. Jeremiah 31:31-34; Isaiah 55:3; Ezekiel 16:60).

a. He will make with them an everlasting covenant wherein He pledges Himself never to turn away from doing them good, (Jeremiah 50:5; Isaiah 55:3; Deuteronomy 31:6-8).

b. He will so instill His fear within their hearts that they will never again turn away from Him, (Jeremiah 31:33).

NOTE: Though "fear" may sometimes suggest dread, or terror (Deuteronomy 1:29; 2 Chronicles 17:10), it more often implies such reverence and respect as leads to loving, loyal and obedient service, (Psalms 2:11; Psalms 19:9; Deuteronomy 10:12; Deuteronomy 10:20; Deuteronomy 6:13; Genesis 20:11; 2 Kings 4:1; Proverbs 1:7; comp. Jeremiah 31:33).

c. The Lord will greatly rejoice in bestowing His goodness upon them, (vs. 41 a; Deuteronomy 30:9; Isaiah 62:5; Isaiah 65:19).

d. With faithfulness of heart and soul, He will plant them in this very land, wherein Jeremiah has just been commanded to redeem his uncle’s field, (vs. 41 b) - in the expectation of faith, (Jeremiah 31:28; Hosea 2:19­20; Amos 9:15).

5. Just as God has brought upon this people the promised judgment, so will He bring upon them the promised good - often such judgment brings men to repentance, (vs. 42-44).

a. The land that is now desolated at the hands of the Chaldeans will again be purchased, (vs. 43; Ezekiel 37:11-14).

b. The people to whom the. land was promised, by covenant, will again purchase fields - signing and sealing their deeds in the presence of witnesses - in the land of Benjamin, the environs of Jerusalem and the cities of Judah, (vs. 44a).

c. The Lord will, indeed, restore the fortunes of His disciplined people! (vs. 44b).

Bibliographical Information
Garner, Albert & Howes, J.C. "Commentary on Jeremiah 32". Garner-Howes Baptist Commentary. 1985.