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Jeremiah, being imprisioned by Zedekiah for his prophesy, buyeth Hanameel's field. Baruch is charged to preserve the evidences, as tokens of the people's return. Jeremiah in his prayer complaineth to God. God conforteth the captives, and promiseth a gracious return.
Before Christ 589.
Jeremiah 32:1. The word that came to Jeremiah— This chapter has no connection with the preceding. Nebuchadrezzar came to besiege Jerusalem the 10th day of the 10th month of the 9th year of Zedekiah; see chap. Jer 39:1 Jeremiah 52:4. Jeremiah, at the beginning of the siege, foretold to Zedekiah, that the city should be taken, and the king sent captive to Babylon; chap. Jeremiah 34:1-7. The king, irritated at his freedom, put him in prison, or at least in the court of the prison, which was in the palace: it was in this place that what we are now about to read happened. It was now the 10th year of Zedekiah, and Jeremiah had been confined a year during the siege of the city.
Jeremiah 32:6-8. The word of the Lord came unto me— Jeremiah, after having just informed us why he was put into prison, returns to his design, and tells us, that God had advised him, in a dream or vision, that Hanameel his cousin should come to him with the offer of a field in Anathoth; the right of redeeming whereof was in him. Jeremiah might have given up his right, as not being in a situation to make the purchase; but, understanding from the revelation of the Lord, that this affair had a mystical reference, and that he ought to accept the offer of his cousin, [Then I knew that this was the word of the Lord, Jeremiah 32:8.] he purchased the field, as is afterwards related, with the full process and meaning of the affair.
Jeremiah 32:14. Put them in an earthen vessel— To preserve them from fire and moisture. See Calmet. It was common with the ancients to put their writings into earthen vessels. Origen found at Jericho a version of the Scriptures hid in an earthen pot. See Job 19:23-24.
Jeremiah 32:18. And recompensest the iniquity of the fathers— This passage is easily reconciled with the 29th and following verses of the former chapter, by remembering that the prophet is here speaking of the old, and there of the new covenant. See the notes on that passage.
Jeremiah 32:20. Which hath set signs and wonders— Who hast performed signs and wonders in the land of Egypt; and who in Israel, and amongst other men, even to this day, hast made thyself a great name, as it now is. Houbigant.
Jeremiah 32:25. For the city is given— Although the city be given. Houbigant.
Jeremiah 32:31. For this city has been to me, &c.— David was the builder of that part of Jerusalem called Sion; therefore it was styled the city of David. He also enlarged the whole city, and made it the seat of his kingdom; but we do not read that idolatry was committed here in David's time; so that the expression seems to be hyperbolical. See Isaiah 48:8. If we take the words in a stricter sense, they must be understood of the time of Solomon, who beautified the city by erecting the temple and other stately buildings, but afterwards defiled it with idolatry. Calmet has endeavoured to shew, that Jerusalem, from the time when it was in the possession of the Jebusites till its final destruction, continually provoked the Lord by its crimes and infidelity.
Jeremiah 32:36. And now therefore— But now notwithstanding.
Jeremiah 32:37. Behold, I will gather them— This and the following verses, to the 41st, respect such a return from the Babylonish captivity, as must and ought to be understood of the preaching of the Gospel, of the manifestation of the Messiah, of the new covenant, of the foundation of the Christian church, and of the final consequences thereof. For example, we cannot be assured that the Jews ever dwelt safely in their place, Jeremiah 32:37. That they had all one heart, and walked in one way, Jeremiah 32:39, &c. (see chap. Jeremiah 31:31, &c.) But in the 43rd verse the return from Babylon is foretold in these words, Fields shall be bought, &c. as Jeremiah had foretold in his own person, when he bought a field by the right of redemption. Nor is there added concerning this return, that God would make an everlasting covenant with the Jews, or that he would plant them with his whole heart and soul; to give the Jews to understand that a different return was meant, and that this from Babylon was only a pledge of another to be expected by the Jews, after they saw that the promises of God were not completed in that first return. See Houbigant.
REFLECTIONS.—1st, The fatal hour approached of Jerusalem's destruction; already the Chaldean army surrounded the walls; the prophesies of Jeremiah, which were before despised, we should have thought would now carry conviction to every heart, and his advice be sought and followed implicitly in the present emergency. How different the case!
1. Behold him a prisoner, shut up by the king's order in the court of the king's house; a place where, probably, the state-prisoners were kept. The cause of his confinement was, his declaration that Jerusalem should infallibly be taken; their desperate resistance against the besiegers be fruitless; and Zedekiah himself attempt to escape in vain: he should be seized, delivered up to the victorious king of Babylon, see his indignation, and hear him pronounce judgment upon him; be led into all ignominious captivity, and there abide, till death came as a kind visitant to release him from his miseries. This prophesy, so far from humbling, exasperated them against him; and, lest by his preaching he should discourage the hearts of the people to surrender, they put him under this confinement, though not so rigorous but that he was allowed the air and the company of his friends. Note; (1.) They who will go on God's messages must not be shocked at a prison. (2.) Nothing will convince hardened sinners: even when God's judgments begin to operate, they flatter themselves that they shall weather the storm.
2. In the prison he becomes a purchaser. Hanameel, his uncle's son, had a field to dispose of, and, as nearest of kin, the right of redemption was in Jeremiah. The Lord let him know in the prison, that an offer of selling it would be made to him, as happened, and that it was his will that he should buy the land, which was in the suburbs of Anathoth, a city of the priests, and which one of them might lawfully transfer to another; or some inheritance by the mother's side, which Hanameel had a right to part with. The bargain is easily made, the money paid; the land conveyed with all the usual formalities; the deeds consigned to the care of Baruch, in the presence of the witnesses who subscribed them, to be set in an earthen vessel, and hid probably in the field: for though the destruction of the city and country by the Chaldeans was certain, and therefore the money might appear lost; yet God, on whose veracity he could depend, assured him that the time would come when every man's property would be restored, and houses, fields, and vineyards be bought and sold as usual: and it was designed for an encouragement of the faith and hope of the people, when they saw the prophet himself acting in the full assurance of the truth which he declared. Note; When ministers shew themselves influenced by the word that they preach, and fully persuaded of it, its effects will be more powerful on their hearers.
2nd, Having transacted this business, and delivered the writings to Baruch's care, the prophet directs his prayer to God, grieved for the calamities impending, and in some perplexity how the desolations ready to be accomplished on this people could correspond with those promises of their restoration.
1. He adores the infinite perfections of God: his almighty power, manifested in the amazing works of creation, which nothing can control or resist: his boundless mercy, shewing loving-kindness to thousands, yea, to all that seek him: his inflexible justice, in punishing sin in those who hate him, upon children's children, that copy after their fathers' transgressions: his universal sovereignty, the great, the mighty God, the Lord of Hosts, who doeth whatsoever pleaseth him, and whom all the armies of heaven and earth obey: his infinite wisdom; great in counsel, his designs planned with the most consummate knowledge, and carried into execution with the most irresistible energy: omniscient; he beholds all the ways of the sons of men, and knoweth every device of their hearts: the eternal judge; who will in the day of recompense render to every man according to his works.
2. He recounts the wonders that he had wrought for his people of old, evident in the plagues of Egypt, in their deliverance thence, and in all the dispensations of his providence toward them from that day, bringing them into Canaan, according to the promise made to their fathers, as well as in what he did among the nations around them; in all which he acquired to himself great glory, and appeared worthy of their highest praise. Note; The gracious dealings of God toward his people should ever afford matter for our thanks, and encouragement to our faith.
3. He laments their disobedience, as the cause of all the miseries to which they were now exposed. By a long train of rebellions they had brought their present evils upon themselves; and the prophetic word, which they had disregarded, began to receive its terrible accomplishment. Behold, the besiegers compass the city, and raise their mounts and batteries against it; so that their case was desperate; the city is given into the hands of the Chaldeans.
4. He lays the doubts and perplexities of his mind before God. Thou hast said unto me, in this ruinous situation of affairs, Buy thee the field, and take witnesses; and this seemed strange, when the land was devoted to destruction. Note; (1.) God's providences sometimes appear to contradict his promises. (2.) When we have God's orders, we have nothing to do but obey, and trust him with the issue. (3.) When we are in the dark concerning God's dispensations, we may humbly by prayer beg to be taught of him.
3rdly, We have here an immediate answer given to the prophet's prayer, and his mind fully satisfied. The destruction wrought by the Chaldeans is perfectly consistent with the promise, that the land should be re-inhabited, and fields and vineyards again be bought and sold as before.
1. The desolations of the city and nation are determined by that almighty Jehovah, who is the God of all flesh, who are weak and unable to resist him; corrupt, and therefore provoking his wrath. Nothing is too hard for him to do; he can save or destroy, against all human probabilities. This impregnable fortress, as it seems, must totter, since such is his decree, before the arms of the Chaldean monarch; the city and temple be burnt with fire, with all the houses where incense had been offered to Baal; and this was the just judgment due to their aggravated provocations. From their youth, the time when first they were formed into a people, or from the earliest infancy, corruption being in our nature from the womb, they had transgressed, and by their idolatries provoked God's anger, seeming as if they studied to offend him by their daring impiety. Ever since the day when Jerusalem was built, either by the Jebusites, or from the days of David, who so greatly beautified and enlarged it, the sins of the inhabitants had been a continual provocation, for which the Lord had long threatened to remove them from before his face into a miserable captivity. All orders and degrees of men were involved in the common guilt, from the lowest to the king on the throne; and even the priests and prophets, who should have been the reprovers of others by their word and example, were chief in the transgression. In vain did God send them warning upon warning; they turned a deaf ear to his faithful prophets, and refused to bend either under the rebukes of his word, or the corrections of his providence. Nay, to such a height of effrontery did they carry their impiety, that even in that temple, built for his honour, they set up their hated idols, and with unnatural cruelty, as well as horrid profaneness, burnt even their children in the fire to Moloch, or caused them to pass between the flames, as a lustration and dedication to the idol's service. For such sins no wonder that judgment came upon them to the uttermost; and that after the desolating scourges of the sword, the famine, and pestilence had wasted them, the remnant was sent into a miserable captivity.
2. Notwithstanding, God hath mercy still in store. Though the city is given up, and the land desolate, without man or beast, there shall be a door of hope opened; for in the worst of times we should not despair. Many great and precious promises are here delivered.
[1.] They shall return, after seventy years, from all the countries whither in anger God had dispersed them, and dwell in peace, under the divine protection, in their own kind, acknowledged again of God as his people, and professing their fidelity and allegiance to him as their God.
[2.] God will make with them an everlasting covenant, the tenor of which on his part is most amazingly gracious. (1.) He promises to put his fear in their hearts, the principle of all true wisdom and godliness. (2.) He will give them one heart and one way, a single eye to God's glory; fervent charity among themselves; one path of grace and holiness in which they should walk, and leave their blessing and good examples as the best inheritance to their children's children. Note; All who have truly given up their hearts to Christ, whatever lesser differences may subsist between them, will ever be united in love, and walk in one way of holiness, as Christ also walked. (3.) He will not turn away from doing them good. Whatever aspect his providences may have, all shall work together for the benefit of those who embrace this covenant, and, through his almighty grace, fulfil their part of it, give him their hearts, and live to his glory.
[3.] His temporal, as his spiritual mercies, shall be great. God will plant them firmly in their own land; his whole heart and soul shall be, as it were, firmly engaged in it, such delight will he take to do them good. And this shall be as surely accomplished as the evil which he had brought upon them.
[4.] Then the whole country should be inhabited, property secure, estates valuable, and no land want a purchaser; so that Jeremiah may be at rest respecting that which he has bought; and it is the earnest of what shall in that day be the case: it will then be found that the money is not laid out unprofitably, when the Lord shall thus cause their captivity to return. Some apply this spiritually to the deliverance from the bondage of corruption, and those purchased possessions provided for the faithful in the heavenly Canaan.
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Coke, Thomas. "Commentary on Jeremiah 32". Coke's Commentary on the Holy Bible. https://studylight.org/
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