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own lot. That the proverb here mentioned is justifiable to a certain extent, so far as it rests on Ex. xx. 5, Deut. v. 9, cannot be questioned; Jeremiah knows only too well the influence of inherited guilt (cf. xxxii. 18). But the nation will one day be relieved of this curse; according to this passage, inherited guilt will cease; whereas Ezekiel contends against the abuse to which the proverb was put, as if responsibility were abolished by it. Only ignorance can suppose a polemic against the doctrine of the Decalogue concerning retribution in either passage.
But the basis of the blessed state of the last days will be a complete transforming of the relation between God and His people, of the covenant between the two, ver. 31 ff. A new covenant renders the old Mosaic one obsolete. How deep the change penetrates, ver. 32 ff. shows. The old relation between God and His people is not restored, but entirely recast. The covenant, indeed, is declared, subsequently as previously, to be God's Torah, the revelation of His will— how could it be otherwise, if the Lord is to reign over His people ?—but the declaration of God's will no longer stands over against the people on tables of stone as a foreign "Thou shalt," but is so implanted in man's heart that it remains ineffaceable there. The divine law is printed, not only on the memory, but on man's thinking, feeling, and willing, as appears from xxxii. 40. Only when God's will, instead of being external, becomes immanent in the heart, will the covenant be no more dissolved, but remain indestructible. What profound insight into the nature of the new covenant! Then, too, the knowledge of God will be independent of human mediation, all the members of the Church being themselves taught by the Spirit of the Lord; cf. Joel ii. 28; Isa. liv. 13; John vi. 45; 1 John ii. 20, 27. That which forms the indispensable condition of this blessed transformation, and therefore precedes in Ezek. xxxvi. 25, here follows at the close (ver. 34): full remission of the sins previously committed, and of the accumulated burden of guilt. Cf. xxxiii. 8.
In ver. 35 f. follows a comforting oracle, declaring the existence of God's people Israel as inviolable as the ordinances of the heavens (the same Almighty God ensures both); the oracle of ver. 37 appeals to the boundlessness of the sphere of God's dominion for the same purpose. Finally, vv. 38-40, the restoration of Jerusalem is foretold with topographical precision. An enlargement, although a modest one, of the city is spoken of; but special emphasis is laid on the circumstance, that even the quarters about Jerusalem that were regarded as under a curse or impure, will share in the holiness which ensures indestructibleness to all Jerusalem. Zech. xiv. 20 f. is in substance a parallel passage. Our passage gains in significance when we consider that it was written shortly before the utter destruction of Jerusalem, or even after it.
II. BUYING A FIELD AT ANATHOTH, CH. XXXII.
XXXII. 1. The word that came to Jeremiah from Yahveh in the tenth year of Zedekiah, king of Judah, which is the eighteenth year of Nebuchadnezzar; 2. and at that time the army of the king of Babylon was besieging Jerusalem, and the prophet Jeremiah was shut up in the guard-court, which is in the house of the king of Judah, 3. where
Ver. 1. Heading parallel with xxx. 1.—JMW2, construct, see on xxviii . 1. Nebuchadnezzar, see on xxi . 2. Ver. 2. Nebuchadnezzar was then besieging the city a second time, after the approach of an Egyptian host had relieved the city for a short time. How Jeremiah came into confinement, xxxvii. 12-21 relates. mBD (from iC3, to guard), guard, custody. This court, where suspected persons were kept in custody, was more tolerable than the prison proper (xxxvii. 20 £). The guard-court occurs also in Neh. iii. 25, xii. 39. Ver. 3. See more details Zedekiab, king of Judah, had imprisoned him, saying: "Wherefore prophesiest thou in this way: Thus says Yahveh: Behold, I deliver this city into the hand of the king of Babylon, and he will take it; 4. and Zedekiah, king of Judah, shall not escape from the hand of the Chaldaeans, but will certainly be delivered into the hand of the king of Babylon, and will speak with him mouth to mouth, and see him eye to eye, 5. and he will take Zedekiah to Babylon, and there he will remain until I visit him, is Yahveh's oracle; though you contend with the Chaldaeans, you shall not succeed "? 6. Then said Jeremiah: Yahveh's word came to me thus: 7. Behold, Hanaraeel, the son of Shallum, thy uncle, will come to thee and say: Buy thee my piece of ground, which is at Anathoth, for thou hast the redemption-right to buy it. 8. Then came Hanameel to me, the son of my uncle, as Yahveh said, to the guard-court, and
about the imprisonment in ch. xxxvii. The charge brought against him was correct. Cf. xxi. 4 ff., xxxiv. 2 f., xxxvii. 17. Ver. 4. Cf. xxxiv. 3. Ver. 5. Until I visit him, says nothing definite about his ultimate fate; yet IpB is to be interpreted in bonam partem. His ill-treatment, see xxxix. 7, lii. 11. That he died a natural death in comparative peace, is not demanded by xxxiv. 4 f. Ver. 7. TTt belongs to Shallum, according to ver. 8. On a more exact definition of the relation, the word signifies, as is here to be expected, the father's brother; but as the term denotes in the appellative sense a friend, a confidant, it might be extended also to further degrees, as ver. 12 proves, where Hanameel himself is so called. Thou hast the right of redemption, which here justifies thee in buying. According to Lev. xxv. 25, the next kinsman, the redeemer, was empowered and bound to buy back what the other had alienated. In the same way he had the right of pre-emption in the same capacity, and this is here referred to. That Jeremiah might easily have declined to exercise the right (cf. Ruth iv. 4 ff'.), is required by the context. According to Num. xxxv. 2, members of the tribe of Levi also had property in the immediate vicinity of the towns. According to Lev. xxv. 34, this ought not to be sold; yet perhaps the meaning here is simply that such priestly possessions were not to pass into non-priestly hands (Nagelsbach). Ver. 8. Thou hast (as next kinsman) the right of inheritance (cf. W, xlix. 2), and so the duty of redemption and the right of pre-emption said to me: Buy now my piece of ground, which is at Anathoth in the land of Benjamin; for the inheritance belongs to thee, and the redemption is thine; buy it for thee. Then I perceived that it was Yahveh's word. 9. And so I bought of Hanameel, the son of my uncle, the field which is at Anathoth, and weighed him seventeen shekels of silver. 10. And I wrote it in a deed, and sealed it, and took witnesses, and weighed the money in the balance. 11. And I took the purchase-deed, the sealed one, the settlement and the stipulations, and the open one, 12. and delivered the purchase-deed to Baruch, the son of Neriah, the son of Maaseiah, before the eyes of Hanameel, my cousin, and before the eyes of the witnesses who had subscribed the purchase-deed, before the eyes of all the Jews who dwelt in the guard-court, 13. and declared to Baruch before their eyes
implied therein. From the fact of the cousin's desire being declared to him by God, Jeremiah saw that it was a thing acceptable to the Lord (of. Gen. xxiv. 50). Ver. 9. Seven shekels and ten of silver = seventeen silver shekels, was the official or business style. The price is low; but this is not merely to be explained by the position of the city, since the present history conversely intends to inspire confidence in the value of land. Bather we have to consider, that we are not acquainted with the obligations of the Goel to the seller (cf. Lev. xxv. 15 f., xxvii. 16 ff.). To Jeremiah in his present position the small sum might be heavy enough. Ver. 10 ff. According to this passage, in such transfers two deeds were drawn up, one sealed and the other left open; the latter for occasional inspection, the other to guard against any changes by the buyer who retained the deed. But the matter of both seems to have been the same (Hitzig thinks differently); both together are called rupDn Ibd, the purchase-deed. To both, without doubt, the witnesses affixed their names; they must also have been present at the paying of the money. The Dnnw only precedes the mention of them, because it belonged to the preparing of the deed. Ver. 11. The settlement and the stipulations refer to the fixing and the several conditions of the purchase, which in our view formed the contents of the sealed deed, and were also open to inspection in the other one. Ver. 12. The purehase-deed, article in the construct state, unless we suppose that ropDn is epexegetical, Ges. § 110. 2a; Eng. § 108. Properly, who had written in the deed, namely, their as follows: 14. Thus said Yahveh of hosts, the God of Israel: Take these writings, this purchase-deed, both the scaled one and this open deed, and put them into an earthen vessel, that they may remain many days. 15. For thus has Yahveh of hosts, the God of Israel, said: Again shall houses, and fields, and vineyards be bought in this land.
16. Then I prayed to Yahveh, after I had given the purchase-deed to Baruch the sou of Neriah, as follows: 17. Ah Lord, Yahveh, behold, thou didst make the heavens and the earth by thy great power and by thy outstretched arm; nothing is too wonderful for thee; 18. thou showest favour to thousands, and repayest the guilt of the fathers into the bosom of their children after them, thou great, powerful God, whose name is Yahveh of hosts, 19. great in counsel and mighty in deed, who openest thine eyes upon all the ways of the children of men, to give every one according to his ways and according to the fruit of his deeds; 20. thou didst signs and wonders in the land of Egypt unto this day both to Israel and to men, and madest thyself a name, as is the case to-day, 21. and didst make thy people Israel go forth from the land of Egypt by signs and wonders, and by a strong
names; LXX and other versions, as well as many MSS., less aptly read passive D'3nai. Ver. 14. The preserving in an earthen vessel to avoid damp points to the long time which will elapse before the legal stipulations can take effect. The entire occurrence recalls the one told by Livy (xxvi . 11) and Florus (ii. 6): whilst Hannibal was encamped before the gates of Rome, the very ground on which his camp stood was put up to auction in the city and bought at the ordinary price. Ver. 17. Cf. xxvii. 5; Deut. ix. 29; nothing is too wonderful, extraordinary for Thee, beyond the limits of human probability and power, that Thou canst not do it; cf. Gen. xviii . 14; Deut . xvii. 8 (xxx. 11). Ver. 18. After the Decalogue, Ex. xxxii. 6 (5); Deut. v. 10 (9). Into the bosom (Isa. lvii. 6), figurative phrase taken from measuring into the lap of any one's garment the quantity due to him, Ruth iii. 15; cf. Prov. vi. 33, xvii. 23. On the divine appellation, cf. Deut . x. 17. Ver. 19. rvV^y, here only, extension of rM>V. Ver. 20. And from then unto this day; the same ellipsis in xi. 7. DV3 nm, see on xi. 5. Ver. 21. Almost the same as Deut. xxvi. 8. With great terror which seized the surrounding peoples, cf.