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From the least of them unto the greatest of them,
saith the Lord:
35—40. The restoration of Israel to favour is as certain as the ordinances of nature.
35 Thus saith the Lord, which giveth the sun for a light by
And the ordinances of the moon and of the stars for a
light by night,
36 If those ordinances depart from before me, saith the
Then the seed of Israel also shall cease
37 Thus saith the Lord;
If heaven above can be measured,
And the foundations of the earth searched out beneath,
I will also cast off all the seed of Israel
For all that they have done, saith the Lord.
old covenant was awe (Exod.xx. 19, "And they said unto Moses, Speak thou with us and we will hear: but let not God speak with us, lest we die"). Human mediation was necessary. But in future, while the knowledge of forgiveness and the quickening graces of the Spirit shall inspire men with a more lively desire to know God as He has revealed Himself to man, the barrier is broken down and there is an immediate approach to Him through the great High Priest, Christ Jesus. Such is the full sense of the words in their application to the Christian dispensation , though from the nature of the case it is a sense only disclosed by the event. See Eph. iii. 12; Heb. iv. 16, x. 19—22.
35—40. The Restoration Of Israel To Favour Is As Certain AS The Ordinances Of Nature.
35. divideth the sea when...] stirretn. up the sea so that its waves roar.
36. a nation] a people. The word nation implies fixity of habitation, government, etc.
37. If men can find, by measuring, a limit to the height of heaven, or probe the earth through and through, then and not otherwise will God utterly reject the whole of his people, whatever He may meanwhile do to individuals among them.
Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, 38
And all the fields unto the brook of Kidron,
It shall not be plucked up, nor thrown down any more for ever.
38. Behold, the days come] The word come is omitted in the earliest form of the Heb. text, but probably by an error in copying, as the phrase is a favourite one with Jeremiah. Sec note on xxiii. 5.
that the city shall be built] The words which follow no doubt express an enlarging of the bounds of the city, but from our ignorance of the exact position of the places named, we cannot see precisely how it was so. From the mention made of "the tower of Hananeel" in Neh. iii . 1, xii. 39; and of "the comer-gate" in 2 Kings xiv. 13 (compare Zech. xiv. 10 for both places) it appears likely that the former was at or near the north-east and the latter the north-west corner of the city wall.
to the Lord ] for the Lord, for His honour.
39. This verse, continuing the description from the north-west corner, takes the western side of Jerusalem and promises an extension in that direction also towards the valley of Hinnom southwards.
Gareb] a word meaning itch. Hence it is thought the name here may denote the hill of lepers, and thus mark a spot naturally outside the boundaries of the existing city. Nothing further is known of this name.
Goath] Ooan. To this place also we have no clue beyond what this verse supplies.
40. valley of the dead bodies] the valley of Hinnom, into which carcases of criminals and of animals were cast.
and of the ashes] Although this valley was as a whole unclean, yet a part of it would seem to have been reserved for the ashes which (Lev. vi. 11) were ordered to be carried out after a sacrifice "without the camp into a clean place." The word for ashes denotes properly fat and ashes mixed, such as would be left from a sacrifice.
all the fields] The right reading and the more difficult one seems that which the Septuagint have preserved, although they did not venture to do more than transcribe the Heb. word Sademoth. It probably means either quarries or clefts, rugged rocks.
the horse gate] mentioned Neh. iii. 28.
This verse makes the same announcement as to the south side of Jerusalem as the earlier ones had done for the north and west sides, viz., that it should in the future enclose spaces now considered unclean. Chap. XXXII. 1—5. Commencement of the history of the two years preceding the destruction of ferusalem.
32 The word that came to Jeremiah from the Lord in the tenth year of Zedekiah king of Judah, which was the
2 eighteenth year of Nebuchadrezzar. For then the king of Babylon's army besieged Jerusalem: and Jeremiah the prophet was shut up in the court of the prison, which was
3 in the king of Judah's house. 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
Nothing is said of the east side, or of the rebuilding of the Temple, although Jeremiah had foretold its destruction, as well as that of the city. Hence we may gather that he is speaking not so much of the literal city as of the spiritual Jerusalem, the Church of the "new covenant," which shall include nations hitherto considered profane, and at once extend the salvation which it offers and banish impurity.
Chap. XXXII. 1—6. Commencement Of The History Of The
TWO YEARS PRECEDiNG THE DESTRUCTiON OF JERUSALEM.
1. The word that came] This is the introduction to a long section of the Book more continuously historical than any of the preceding portions. It gives the incidents of the two years preceding the capture of Jerusalem, the capture itself, and the events which immediately followed, with prophecies interspersed. The first incident related is Jeremiah's purchase of the field from Hanameel, an act intended to encourage the people to hope for a return from captivity, and in order that it may be brought out that it is in spite of the gloomiest appearances that Jeremiah's faith in the future is thus firm, his own circumstances and those of the state are given with great particularity in these five introductory verses.
the tenth year of Zedekiah] The siege had commenced in his ninth year (xxxix. 1), but the Chaldaeans, hearing that an Egyptian army was approaching, had departed for a time (xxxvii. 5). Jeremiah, about the same time, was found leaving Jerusalem, and charged with falling away to the Chaldaeans, and in spite of his denial he was imprisoned. He seems however after a while to have had the stringency with which he was at first treated relaxed (xxxii. 12, xxxviii. 1). We find nevertheless that he was still 'shut up in the court of the prison' (ver. 2). This part of the narrative therefore is somewhat subsequent in date to those incidents above referred to which are recounted later.
the eighteenth year of Nebuchadrezzar] This agrees with the other two occasions on which his reign is compared directly in date with those of kings of Judah (xxv. 1, lii. 12).
2. the court of the prison] rather, the court of the guard, the quarters of the sentries who guarded the palace.
into the hand of the king of Babylon, and he shall take it; and Zedekiah king of Judah shall not escape out of the 4 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, and his eyes shall behold his eyes: and 5 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 prosper.
6—15. Jeremiah's purchase and its meaning.
And Jeremiah said, The word of the Lord came unto 6 me, saying, Behold, Hanameel the son of Shallum thine 7 uncle shall come unto thee, saying, Buy thee my field that is in Anathoth: for the right of redemption is thine to buy it. So Hanameel mine uncle's son came to s
4. This verse occurs again in almost the same words at chap. xxxiv. 3, where see note.
0. until I visit him) The words are in themselves ambiguous. It was not necessary for Zedekiah to know exactly what was to happen to him. See chap. xxxix. 6, 7. For visit in a good sense see chaps. xxvii. 22, xxix. 10; in a bad sense vi. I5,xlix. 8; Numb. xvi. 29. And after all Zedekiah's fate contained good as well as evil. See chap, xxxiv. 4, 5.
6—15. Jeremiah's Purchase And Its Meaning.
t. Hanameel the son of Shallum thine uncle] The last two words according to Heb. usage (see note on "the son of Hilkiah," chap. i. 1) should rather belong to the first of the proper names, and this agrees with the Heb. text of ver. 12. The distinct statement in verses 8 and 9 however that Hanameel was Jeremiah's first cousin makes it necessary either to refer the word uncle of this verse to Shallum, and consider the word son in the Eng. Vers. of ver. 12 to have been accidentally omitted by a Heb. copyist, or, as Heb. names of relationship are used much more loosely than with us, to take the word which we render uncle, as including either relationship.
my field] The question arises how any member of a Levitical family such as Jeremiah's was (chap. i. 1) could sell land in spite of the law in Lev. xxv. 34. It may have been that the law did not apply to property in land which came to a Levite through the female line and in accordance with the law of inheritance mentioned Numb, xxvii. 8.
Anathoth] See Introd. chap. I. § 2 (c).
the right of redemption is thine to buy it] If land was, or was about to be, sold, the nearest of kin was bound to purchase or re-purchase it as the case might be (see Lev. xxv. 24, 25; Ruth iv. 6), so that land should not pass from one family to another. The land in question must me in the court of the prison according to the word of the Lord, and said unto me, Buy my field, I pray thee, that is in Anathoth, which is in the country of Benjamin: 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. And I bought the field of Hanameel my uncle's son, that was in Anathoth, and weighed him the money, even seventeen shekels of silver. And I subscribed
have been within 2000 cubits (the cubit = about 18 or 19 inches) of the city. See Numb. xxxv. 5.
8. the right of inheritance is thine] Jeremiah being the next heir, we infer that Hanameel had no children.
Then I knew...] as falling in with what had been announced to him beforehand (ver. 6, 7).
9. my uncle's son] See note on ver. 7.
weighed him the money, even seventeen shekels of silver] The shekel weighed about 220 of our grains. The Heb. is literally, as the margin renders it, seven shekels and ten pieces of silver. Hence since the amount, as it stands, may appear small (about £2. is. 6d.), it has been suggested that the seven were golden shekels. This however is improbable, and it is by no means certain that the sum was really a small one. At any rate it would appear from the aim of the whole transaction, that it was the fair price of the field. We do not of course know its size, but it is likely that it was but a small one, the property of the Levites being of limited extent in accordance with what has been mentioned above. We must remember also that in those days silver was of much more value than in our own. Araunah's threshing floor, oxen and implements were bought at a time of great prosperity for fifty shekels (2 Sam. xxiv. 24. See Sp. Comm. for other instances bearing the same way). We are also to remember that as Jeremiah had no children, the land would at the year of jubilee, which may not have been far off, revert to the next heirs of Hanameel, and Jeremiah's interest in it under any circumstances extended only to that date.
10. And I subscribed the evidence] And I wrote the particulars in the deed. If we replace 'evidence' by deed all through, we shall see the sense more clearly. It appears that Jeremiah made out and signed in the presence of witnesses, whose signatures also were added, two copies of the deed of purchase, specifying the particulars of the land, and the conditions under which he bought it (viz. that it should be restored at the jubilee, etc.). He then caused one of these deeds to be sealed up and the other left open, the former to be referred to, in case at any time it were suspected that the latter had been tampered with. Both deeds were delivered solemnly to Baruch in the presence of the seller, the witnesses and all the Jews who happened to be present, that he might preserve them secure against damp in an earthen vessel, and that thus a proof of a transaction so important in its bearing on the prospects of the nation should be permanent.