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The Purchase of a Field as a Symbol of the Restoration of Judah after the Exile
This chapter, after an introduction (Jeremiah 32:1-5) which accurately sets forth the time and circumstances of the following event, contains, first of all (Jeremiah 32:6-15), the account of the purchase of a hereditary field at Anathoth, which Jeremiah, at the divine command, executes in full legal form, together with a statement of the meaning of this purchase; then (Jeremiah 32:16-25) a prayer of the prophet for an explanation as to how the purchase of the field could be reconciled with the delivering up of the people and the city of Jerusalem to the Chaldeans; together with (Jeremiah 32:26-35) the Lord's reply, that He shall certainly give up Jerusalem to the Chaldeans, because Israel and Judah, by their sins and their idolatries, have roused His wrath; but (Jeremiah 32:36-44) that He shall also gather again His people out of all the lands whither they have been scattered, and make an everlasting covenant with them, so that they shall dwell safely and happily in the land in true fear of God.
The time and the circumstances of the following message from God. - The message came to Jeremiah in the tenth year of Zedekiah, i.e., in the eighteenth year of Nebuchadrezzar (cf. Jeremiah 25:1 and Jeremiah 52:12), when the army of the king of Babylon was besieging Jerusalem, and Jeremiah was kept in confinement in the fore-court of the royal palace. These historical data are inserted (Jeremiah 32:2-5) in the form of circumstantial clauses: ' ואז חיל וגו , "for at that time the army of the king of Babylon was besieging Jerusalem." The siege had begun in the ninth year of Zedekiah (Jeremiah 39:1; Jeremiah 52:4), and was afterwards raised for a short time, in consequence of the approach of an auxiliary corps of Egyptians; but, as soon as these had been defeated, it was resumed (Jeremiah 37:5, Jeremiah 37:11). Jeremiah was then kept confined in the court of the prison of the royal palace (cf. Nehemiah 3:25), "where Zedekiah, king of Judah, had imprisoned him, saying: Why dost thou prophesy, 'Thus saith the Lord, Behold, I will give this city into the hand of the king of Babylon, so that he shall take it; Jeremiah 32:4. And Zedekiah, the king of Judah, shall not escape out of the hand of the Chaldeans, but shall assuredly be delivered into the hand of the king of Babylon, and his mouth shall speak with his mouth, and his eyes shall behold his eyes; Jeremiah 32:5. 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 succeed?'" - We have already found an utterance of like import in Jeremiah 21:1-14, but that is not here referred to; for it was fulfilled at the beginning of the siege of Jerusalem, and did not bring on Jeremiah the consequences mentioned here. From Jer 37 we learn that Jeremiah, during the siege of Jerusalem, on till the time when it was raised through the approach of the Egyptian army, had not been imprisoned, but went freely in and out among the people (Jeremiah 37:4.). Not till during the temporary raising of the siege, when he wanted to go out of the city into the land of Benjamin, was he seized and thrown into a dungeon, on the pretence that he intended to go over to the Chaldeans. There he remained many days, till King Zedekiah ordered him to be brought, and questioned him privately as to the issue of the conflict; when Jeremiah replied, "Thou shalt be delivered into the hand of the king of Babylon." On this occasion Jeremiah complained to the king of his imprisonment, and requested that he might not be sent back into the dungeon, where he must soon perish; the king then ordered him (Jeremiah 37:11-21) to be taken into the court of the prison-house ( חצר , Jeremiah 37:21), where he remained in confinement till the city was taken (Jeremiah 38:13, Jeremiah 38:28; Jeremiah 39:14). The statement in our verses as to the cause of this imprisonment does not contradict, but agrees with the notice in Jer 37, as soon as we perceive that this account contains merely a brief passing notice of the matter. The same holds true of the utterance of the prophet in Jeremiah 32:3-5. Jeremiah, even at the beginning of the siege (Jeremiah 21:3.), had sent a message of similar import to the king, and repeated the same afterwards: Jeremiah 34:3-5; Jeremiah 37:17; Jeremiah 38:17-23. The words of our verses are taken from these repeated utterances; Jeremiah 32:4 agrees almost verbatim with Jeremiah 34:3; and the words, "there shall he remain עד־פּקדי אתו , till I regard him with favour," are based upon the clearer utterance as to the end of Zedekiah, Jeremiah 34:4-5. - The circumstances under which Jeremiah received the following commission from the Lord are thus exactly stated, in order to show how little prospect the present of the kingdom of Judah offered for the future, which was portrayed by the purchase of the field. Not only must the kingdom of Judah inevitably succumb to the power of the Chaldeans, and its population go into exile, but even Jeremiah is imprisoned, in so hopeless a condition, that he is no longer sure of his life for a single day.
The purchase of the field. - In Jeremiah 32:6, the introduction, which has been interrupted by long parentheses, is resumed with the words, "And Jeremiah said," etc. The word of the Lord follows, Jeremiah 32:7. The Lord said to him: "Behold, Hanameכl, the son of Shallum, thine uncle, cometh to thee, saying, 'Buy thee my field at Anathoth, for thou hast the redemption-right to purchase it.' " According to a mode of construction common elsewhere, דּדך might be taken as in apposition to חנמאל : "Hanameël, son of Shallum, thine uncle." But Jeremiah 32:8, Jeremiah 32:9, in which Jeremiah calls Hanameël בּן־דּדי , son of my uncle, show that דּדך is in apposition to שׁלּם : "son of Shallum, [who is] thine uncle." The right of redemption consisted in this, that if any one was forced through circumstances to sell his landed property, the nearest blood-relation had the right, or rather was obliged, to preserve the possession for the family, either through pre-emption, or redemption from the stranger who had bought it (Leviticus 25:25). For the land which God had given to the tribes and families of Israel for a hereditary possession could not be sold, so as to pass into the hands of strangers; and for this reason, in the year of jubilee, what had bee sold since the previous jubilee reverted, without payment of any kind, to the original possessor or his heirs. (Cf. Leviticus 25:23-28, and Keil's Bibl. Archäol. ii. §141, p. 208ff.)
What had been announced to the prophet by God took place. Hanameכl came to him, and offered him his field for sale. From this Jeremiah perceived that the proposed sale was the word of the Lord, i.e., that the matter was appointed by the Lord. Jeremiah 32:9. Jeremiah accordingly bought the field, and weighed out to Hanameכl "seven shekels and ten the silver" ( הכּסף is definite, as being the amount of money asked as price of purchase). But the form of expression is remarkable: "seven shekels and ten" instead of "seventeen" ( שׁבעה ועשׂרת שׁקלי הכּסף ). The Chaldee consequently has "seven manehs and ten shekels of silver;" and J. D. Michaelis supposes that the seven shekels which are first named, and are separated from the ten, were shekels of gold: "seven shekels of gold, and seven shekels of silver." But both assumptions are gratuitous, and perhaps only inferences, not merely from the unusual separation of the numerals, but likewise from the fact that seventeen silver shekels (less than two pounds sterling) was too small a price for an arable field. The supposition of Hitzig has more in its favour, that the mode of expression "seven shekels and ten (shekels) of silver" was a law form. Some have sought to explain the smallness of the price on the ground that the seller was compelled to part with his property through poverty, and that the land had become depreciated in consequence of the war. Both may be true; but, as Nägelsbach has already remarked, neither explains the smallness of the price. For instances have very properly been adduced from Roman history (Livy, xxvi. 11, and Florus, ii. 6) which show that occupation of a country by an enemy did not lessen the value of ground-property. It is rather to be taken into consideration, that in the first place we do not know the real value of arable land among the Hebrews; and secondly, the sale of portions of land was, correctly speaking, only the sale of the harvests up till the year of jubilee, for then the property returned to the former possessor of his heirs. In the case of a sale, then, the nearer the jubilee-year, the smaller must be the price of purchase in the alienation of the land.
The purchase was concluded in full legal form. "I wrote it (the necessary terms) in the letter (the usual letter of purchase), and sealed it, and took witnesses, and weighed out the money on the balance" (it was then and still is the custom in the East to weigh money). חתם means here, not to append a seal instead of subscribing the name, or for attestation (cf. 1 Kings 21:8; Nehemiah 10:1; 2), but to seal up, make sure by sealing (Isaiah 29:11, etc.). For, from Jeremiah 32:11, Jeremiah 32:12, we perceive that two copies of the bill of purchase were prepared, one sealed up, and the other open; so that, in case the open one were lost, or were accidentally or designedly injured or defaced, a perfect original might still exist in the sealed-up copy. Then "Jeremiah took the bill of purchase, the sealed one," - the specification and the conditions - "and the open one." The words המּצוה והחקּים are in apposition with ' את־ספר וגו . The Vulgate renders stipulationes et rata ; Jerome, stipulatione rata , which he explains by stipulationibus et sponsionibus corroborata . מצוה , usually "a command, order," is probably employed here in the general sense of "specification," namely, the object and the price of purchase; חקּים , "statutes," the conditions and stipulations of sale. The apposition has the meaning, "containing the agreement and the conditions." Both copies of this bill, the prophet-before the eyes of Hanameël, his cousin ( דּדי , either in the general sense of a near relation, since the relationship has been stated exactly enough already, or בּן־ has been inadvertently omitted), and before the eyes of, i.e., in the presence of "the witnesses, who wrote in the letter of purchase," i.e., had subscribed it as witnesses in attestation of the matter, and in the eyes of all the Jews who were sitting in the court of the prison, and in whose presence the transaction had been concluded - delivered up to his attendant Baruch, son of Nerijah, the son of Mahsejah, with the words, Jeremiah 32:14: "Thus saith Jahveh of hosts, the God of Israel: Take these letters, this sealed-up letter of purchase and this open letter, and put them into an earthen vessel, that they may remain a long time there. Jeremiah 32:15. For thus saith Jahveh of hosts, the God of Israel: Houses, and fields, and vineyards shall still be bought in this land." - The second utterance of the Lord (Jeremiah 32:15) declares the reason why the letters were to be preserved in an earthen vessel, in order to protect them from damp, decay, and destruction, namely, because one could make use of them afterwards, when sale of property would still be taking place. There is also implied the intimation, that the present desolation of the land and the transportation of its inhabitants will only last during their time; and then the population of Judah will return, and enter again on the possession of their land. The purchase of the field on the part of Jeremiah had this meaning; and for the sake of this meaning it was announced to him by God, and completed before witnesses, in the presence of the Jews who happened to be in the court of the prison.
The prayer of Jeremiah. - Although Jeremiah has declared, in the words of the Lord, Jeremiah 32:14., the meaning of the purchase of the field to the witnesses who were present at the transaction, yet the intimation that houses, fields, and vineyards would once more be bought, seemed so improbable, in view of the impending capture and destruction of Jerusalem by the Chaldeans, that he betakes himself to the Lord in prayer, asking for further disclosures regarding the future of the people and the land, less for his own sake than for that of the people, who could with difficulty rise to such confidence of faith. The prayer runs thus, Jeremiah 32:17: "Ah, Lord Jahveh! behold, Thou hast made the heaven and the earth by Thy great power and Thine outstretched arm; to Thee nothing is impossible. Jeremiah 32:18. Thou showest mercy unto thousands, and repayest the iniquity of fathers into the bosom of their children after them, Thou great and mighty God, whose name is Jahveh of hosts. Jeremiah 32:19. Great in counsel and mighty in deed, whose eyes are open to all the ways of the children of men, to give unto every one according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his works: Jeremiah 32:20. Thou who didst signs and wonders in the land of Egypt until this day, both in Israel and among [other] men, and madest for Thyself a name, as it is this day; Jeremiah 32:21. And didst lead Thy people Israel out of the land of Egypt with signs and wonders, and with strong hand and outstretched arm, and with great terror, Jeremiah 32:22. And didst give them this land, which Thou hast sworn to their fathers to give them, a land flowing with milk and honey; Jeremiah 32:23. And they came and took possession of it, but they hearkened not to Thy voice and walked not in Thy law: all that Thou commandedst them to do they did not, therefore didst Thou cause all this evil to come against them. Jeremiah 32:24. Behold, the besiegers' mounds are come to the city, to take it, and the city will be given into the hands of the Chaldeans, who fight against it, because of the sword, hunger, and pestilence; and what Thou didst speak is come to pass, and, behold, Thou seest it. Jeremiah 32:25. Yet Thou hast said to me, O Lord Jahveh, 'Buy thee the field for money, and take witnesses,' while the city is being delivered into the hands of the Chaldeans."
This prayer contains a laudation of the omnipotence of the Lord and the justice of His dealing among all men (Jeremiah 32:17-19), and especially in the guidance of the people Israel (Jeremiah 32:20-23), with the view of connecting with it the question, how the divine command to buy the field is to be reconciled with the decreed deliverance of the city into the power of the Chaldeans (Jeremiah 32:24, Jeremiah 32:25). Jeremiah 32:17. God proclaims His omnipotence in the creation of the heaven and the earth, cf. Jeremiah 27:5. From this it is plain that nothing is too wonderful for God, i.e., is impossible for Him, Genesis 18:14. As Creator and Ruler of the world, God exercises grace and justice. The words of Jeremiah 32:18 are a reminiscence and free imitation of the passages Exodus 20:5. and Jeremiah 34:7, where the Lord so depicts His dealings in the guidance of men. To "recompense iniquity into the bosom" (see Isaiah 65:6, cf. Psalms 79:12), i.e., to pour into the bosom of the garment the reward for iniquity, so that it may be carried away and borne; cf. Ruth 3:15; Proverbs 17:23. "The great and mighty God," as in Deuteronomy 10:17. On "Jahveh of hosts is His name," cf. Jeremiah 10:16; Jeremiah 31:35. שׁמו is to be explained thus: "O Thou great God, whose name is Jahveh of hosts."
God shows His greatness and might in the wisdom with which He regards the doings of men, and in the power with which He executes His decrees, so as to recompense to every one according to his deeds. On 19 a cf. Isaiah 28:29; Psalms 66:5. "To give to every one," etc., is repeated, word for word, from Jeremiah 17:10.
The Lord has further shown this omnipotence and righteousness in His guidance of Israel, in His leading them out of Egypt with wonders and signs; cf. Deuteronomy 6:22; Deuteronomy 34:11. "Until this day" cannot mean that the wonders continue in Egypt until this day - still less, that their glorious remembrance continues till this day (Calvin, Rosenmller, etc.). Just as little can we connect the words with what follows, "until this day, in Egypt and among men," as Jerome supposed; although the idea et in Israel et in cunctis mortalibus quotidie tua signa complentur is in itself quite right. Logically considered, "until this day" belongs to the verb. ' ושׂמתּ וגו , and the construction is pregnant, as in Jeremiah 11:7: "Thou hast done wonders in Egypt, and hast still been doing them until this day in Israel and among other men." "Men," in contrast to "Israel," are mankind outside of Israel - other men, the heathen; on the expression, cf. Judges 18:7; Isaiah 43:4; Psalms 73:5. "As at this day:" cf. Jeremiah 11:5; Jeremiah 25:18. Through signs and wonders the Lord wrought, leading Israel out of Egypt, and into the land of Canaan, which had been promised to their fathers. Jeremiah 32:21 is almost exactly the same as Deuteronomy 26:8, cf. Deuteronomy 4:34. מורא refers to the terror spread among the neighbouring nations, Exodus 15:14., by the wonders, especially the slaying of the first-born among the Egyptians, Exodus 12:30., and the miracle at the Red Sea. On "a land flowing with milk and honey," cf. Exodus 3:8.
These wonders of grace which the Lord wrought for His people, Israel requited with base unthankfulness. When they had got into possession of the land, they did not listen to the voice of their God, and did the reverse of what He had commanded. (The Kethib בתרותך might be read as a plural. But since תּורה in the plural is always written elsewhere תּורת (cf. Genesis 26:5; Exodus 16:28; Exodus 18:20; Leviticus 26:46, etc.), and the omission of the י in plural suffixes is unusual (cf. Jeremiah 38:22), the word rather seems to have been incorrectly written for בּתורתך (cf. Jeremiah 26:4; Jeremiah 44:10, Jeremiah 44:23), i.e., the w seems to have been misplaced. Therefore the Lord brought on them this great calamity, the Chaldean invasion ( תּקרא for תּקרה ); cf. Jeremiah 13:22, Deuteronomy 31:29. With this thought, the prophet makes transition to the questions addressed to the Lord, into which the prayer glides. In Jeremiah 32:24, the great calamity is more fully described. The ramparts of the besieging enemy have come to the city ( בּוא with acc.), to take it, and the city is given ( נתּנה , prophetic perfect) into the hands of the Chaldeans. "Because of the sword;" i.e., the sword, famine, and pestilence (cf. Jeremiah 14:16; Jeremiah 25:16, etc.) bring them into the power of the enemy. "What Thou spakest," i.e., didst threaten through the prophets, "is come to pass; and, behold, Thou seest it (viz., what has happened), and yet ( ואתּה adversative) Thou sayest to me, 'Buy the field,' " etc. The last clause, ' והעיר נ , is a "circumstantial" one, and is not a part of God's address, but is added by Jeremiah in order to give greater prominence to the contrast between the actual state of matters and the divine command regarding the purchase. The prayer concludes with this, which is for men an inexplicable riddle, not (as Nägelsbach thinks) for the purpose of leaving to the reader the solution of the problem, after all aids have been offered him - for Jeremiah would not need to direct his question to God for that purpose - but in order to ask from God an explanation regarding the future. This explanation immediately follows in the word of the Lord, which, from Jeremiah 32:26 onwards, is addressed to the prophet.
The answer of the Lord. - Behold, I am Jahveh, the God of all flesh; is there anything impossible to me? Jeremiah 32:28. Therefore, thus saith Jahveh: Behold, I give this city into the hand of the Chaldeans, and into the hand of Nebuchadrezzar, the king of Babylon, that he may take it. Jeremiah 32:29. The Chaldeans that fight against this city shall come, and shall set fire to this city, and burn it and the houses on whose roofs you have burned incense to Baal and poured out libations to other gods, to provoke me. Jeremiah 32:30. For the children of Israel and the children of Judah have done only what is evil in mine eyes from their youth; for the children of Israel have only provoked me with the work of their hands, saith Jahveh. Jeremiah 32:31. For this city has been to me a burden upon mine anger and upon my wrath from the day that it was built till this day, that I might remove it from before my face;] Jeremiah 32:32. Because of all the wickedness of the children of Israel and the children of Judah, which they have done, to provoke me-they, their kings, their princes, their priests, and their prophets, the men of Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem. Jeremiah 32:33. They turned to me the back and not the face; and though they were constantly being taught, they would not hear so as to receive instruction. Jeremiah 32:34. And they placed their abominations in the house which is called by my name, in order to defile it; Jeremiah 32:35. And built high places to Baal in the valley of Ben-hinnom, to devote their sons and their daughters of Moloch-which I did not command them, nor did it come into my mind that they would do such abomination-that they might lead Judah to sin. Jeremiah 32:36. And now, therefore, thus saith Jahveh, the God of Israel, concerning this city, of which ye say, 'It shall be delivered into the hand of the king of Babylon, through the sword, famine, and pestilence:' Jeremiah 32:37. Behold, I shall gather them out of all lands whither I have driven them in my wrath, and in mine anger, and in great rage, and shall bring them back to this place, and make them dwell safely. Jeremiah 32:38. And they shall be my people, and I will be their God. Jeremiah 32:39. And I will give them one heart and one way, to fear me always, for good to them and to their children after them. Jeremiah 32:40. And I will make with them an everlasting covenant, that I shall not turn aside form doing them good; and I will put my fear in their heart, that they may not depart from me. Jeremiah 32:41. And I shall rejoice over them, to do them good, and shall plant them in this land, in truth, with my whole heart and my whole soul. Jeremiah 32:42. For thus saith Jahveh: 'Just as I have brought all this great evil on this people, so shall I bring on them all the good of which I speak regarding them.' Jeremiah 32:43. And fields shall be bought in this land, of which ye say, It is a desolation, without man or beast, and it is given into the hand of the Chaldeans. Jeremiah 32:44. They shall buy fields for money, and write it in the letter, and seal it up, and take witnesses, in the land of Benjamin, and in the places round Jerusalem, and in the cities of Judah, and in the cities of the hill-country, and in the cities of the plain, and in the cities of the south; for I shall turn again their captivity, saith Jahveh."
The Lord replies to the three points touched on in the prayer of the prophet. First, in Jeremiah 32:27, He emphatically confirms the acknowledgment that to Him, as Creator of heaven and earth, nothing is impossible (Jeremiah 32:17), and at the same time points out Himself as the God of all flesh, i.e., the God on whom depend the life and death of all men. This description of God is copied from Numbers 16:22; Numbers 27:16, where Jahveh is called "the God of the spirits of all flesh." "All flesh" is the name given to humanity, as being frail and perishing. - Then God reaffirms that Jerusalem will be given into the hand of Nebuchadrezzar, and be burned by the Chaldeans (Jeremiah 32:28.), because Israel and Judah have always roused His wrath by their idolatry and rebellion against His commands (Jeremiah 32:30-35). The substance of these verses has been often given before. On והצּיתוּ cf. Jeremiah 21:10; Jeremiah 37:8; on אשׁר cf. Jeremiah 19:13 with Jeremiah 7:9, Jeremiah 7:18. The mention of the children of Israel in connection with the children of Judah is not to be understood as if the destruction of Jerusalem was partly owing to the former; but it is here made, to signify that Judah can expect no better fate than the Israelites, whose kingdom has been destroyed long before, and who have for a long time now been driven into exile. היוּ , "they were only doing," i.e., doing nothing else than what is displeasing to the Lord. In Jeremiah 32:30 "the children of Israel" is a designation of the whole covenant people. The whole sentence has reference to Deuteronomy 31:29. "The work of their hands" is not the idols, but signifies the whole conduct and actions of the people. Jeremiah 32:31. The difficult construction היתה־לּי ... על־אפּי is most easily explained from the employment of היה על with reference to the superincumbency of a duty or burden lying on one. "This city became to me a burden on my wrath," an object which lay upon my wrath, called it forth. No other explanation can be vindicated. The passages Jeremiah 52:3 and 2 Kings 24:3, 2 Kings 24:20, are of a different character, and the meaning juxta, secundum for על , after 2 Kings 6:14 (Hitzig), is quite unsuitable. The words, "from the day when it was built," are not to be referred to the earliest founding of Jerusalem, but to that time when the Israelites first built it; and even in reference to this, they are not to be pressed, but to be viewed as a rhetorically strong expression for, "from its earliest times." Even so early as David's time, opposition against Jahveh showed itself in the conspiracy of Absalom; and towards the end of Solomon's reign, idolatry had been introduced into Jerusalem, 1 Kings 11:5. After the words "to remove it from before my face," there follows once more, in Jeremiah 32:32, the reason of the rejection; cf. Jeremiah 7:12; Jeremiah 11:17, and for enumeration of the several classes of the population, Jeremiah 2:26; Jeremiah 17:25. The sins are once more specified, Jeremiah 32:33-35; in Jeremiah 32:33, as a stiff-necked departure from God, and in Jeremiah 32:34. the mention of the greatest abomination of idolatry, the setting up of idols in the temple, and of the worship of Moloch. With 33 a cf. Jeremiah 2:27. The inf. abs. ולמּד stands with special emphasis instead of the finite tense: though they were taught from early morn, yet they were inattentive still. On this point cf. Jeremiah 2:13, Jeremiah 2:25; Jeremiah 25:3-4. On לקחת מוּסר cf. Jeremiah 17:23; Jeremiah 7:28. Jeremiah 32:34, Jeremiah 32:35 are almost identical with Jeremiah 7:30-31. לעשׂות וגו does not belong to the relative clause אשׁר לא וגו ' (Nägelsbach), but is parallel to להעביר וגו ' , continuing the main clause: "that they should commit these abominations, and thereby cause Judah to sin," i.e., bring them into sin and guilt. החטי with א dropped; see Jeremiah 19:15. - After setting forth the sin for which Judah had drawn on herself the judgment through the Chaldeans, the Lord proclaims, Jeremiah 32:36., the deliverance of the people from exile, and their restoration; thus He answers the question which had been put to Him, Jeremiah 32:25. ועתּה , "but now," marks what follows as the antithesis to what precedes. "Therefore, thus saith Jahveh," in Jeremiah 32:36, corresponds to the same words in Jeremiah 32:28. Because nothing is impossible to the Lord, He shall, as God of Israel, gather again those who have been scattered through every land, and bring them back into their own country. "To this city," - namely, of which ye speak. The suffix of מקבּצם refers to העיר , whose inhabitants are meant. Jerusalem, as the capital, represents the whole kingdom. "The dispersed" are thus, in general, the inhabitants of Judah. Hence, too, from the nature of the case, "this place" is the kingdom of Judah. On this point cf. Ezekiel 36:11, Ezekiel 36:33; Hosea 11:11.
Jeremiah 32:38, Jeremiah 32:39 are to be understood like Jeremiah 31:33. They must in very deed become the people of the Lord, for God gives them one heart and one way of life, to fear Him always, i.e., through His Spirit He renews and sanctifies them (Jeremiah 31:33; Jeremiah 24:7; Jeremiah 11:19). " One heart and one way" that they may all with one mind and in one way fear me, no longer wander through many wicked ways (Jeremiah 26:3; Isaiah 53:6). יראה is an infinitive, as often in Deut., e.g., Jeremiah 4:10, from which the whole sentence has been derived, and Jeremiah 6:24, to which the expression לטוב להם points. The everlasting covenant which the Lord wishes to conclude with them, i.e., the covenant-relationship which He desires to grant them, is, in fact, the new covenant, Jeremiah 31:33. Here, however, only the eternal duration of it is made prominent, in order to comfort the pious in the midst of their present sufferings. Consequently, only the idea of the עולם is mainly set forth: "that I shall not turn away from them, to do them good - no more withdraw from them my gracious benefits;" but the uninterrupted bestowal of these implies also faithfulness to the Lord on the part of the people. The Lord desires to establish His redeemed people in this condition by putting His fear in their heart, namely, through His Spirit; see Jeremiah 31:33-34. ושׂשׂתּי , "And I shall rejoice over them, by doing them good," as was formerly the case (Deuteronomy 28:63), and is again to be, in time to come. בּאמת , in truth, properly, "in faithfulness." This expression is strengthened by the addition, "with my whole heart and my whole soul." - So much for the promise of restoration and renewal of the covenant people. This promise is confirmed, Jeremiah 32:42-44, by the assurance that the accomplishment of deliverance shall follow as certainly as the decree of the calamity has done; the change is similar to that in Jeremiah 31:38. Finally, Jeremiah 32:43, Jeremiah 32:44, there is the application made of this to the purchase of the field which the prophet had been commanded to fulfil; and the signification of this purchase is thus far determined, that after the restoration of Judah to their own land, fields shall once more be bought in full legal form: with this, the discourse returns to its starting-point, and finishes. The article is used generically in השׂדה ; hence, on the repetition of the thought, Jeremiah 32:44, the plural שׂדות is employed instead. The enumeration of the several regions of the kingdom, as in Jeremiah 17:26, is a rhetorical individualization for strengthening the thought. The land of Benjamin is here made prominent in relation to the field purchased by Jeremiah at Anathoth in the land of Benjamin. The final sentence ' כּי אשׁיב also serves for further proof. The Hiphil in this expression does not mean the same as the usual אשׁוּב : "I turn the captivity," i.e., I change the adversity into prosperity. השׁיב expresses restitutio in statum incolumitatis seu integritatis more plainly than שׁוּב - not merely the change of misfortune or misery; but it properly means, to lead back or restore the captivity, i.e., to remove the condition of adversity by restoration of previous prosperity. The expression is analogous to קומם or בּנה חרבות , to build or raise ruins, Isaiah 44:26; Isaiah 58:12; Isaiah 61:4, and קומם שׁממות , to raise up desolate places, Isaiah 61:4, which does not mean to restore ruins or desolate places, but to build them up into inhabitable places (cf. Isaiah 61:4), to remove ruins or desolations by the building and restoration of cities.
The Keil & Delitzsch Old Testament Commentary is a derivative of a public domain electronic edition.
Keil, Carl Friedrich & Delitzsch, Franz. "Commentary on Jeremiah 32". Keil & Delitzsch Old Testament Commentary. https://studylight.org/
the Fourth Week after Epiphany