Notes on the Bible, by Albert Barnes, , at sacred-texts.com
The Chaldaeans were already besieging the city, the prophet was in prison for foretelling its certain capture, and yet he bought with all the proper legal solemnities an estate, of which Lev 25:25 he had the right of redemption. The price apparently was small, but was more than the land commercially was worth. Jeremiah was now verging on 60, and only 10 of the 70 years of the captivity had passed by. But though the estate was not worth the purchase, the opportunity was precious as a means of assuring the people that (God would certainly bring them back. Jeremiah records, Jer 32:16-25 how his heart misgave him, upon which Jer. 32:26-44 God unfolds to hint the full meaning of the sign, and assures him of the certainty of Israel's restoration.
The siege of Jerusalem began in Zedekiah's ninth year Jer 39:1, but was temporarily raised upon the approach of an Egyptian army. See Jer. 37; 38.
The prison - Or, the guard, a part of the king's palace, probably where the royal guard had its quarters.
For the prophecies on which the charge was grounded see Jer 21:4-7, Jer 21:9.
I visit - In the sense of punishment. See Jer 39:6-7; Jer 52:11.
Hanameel was strictly the first-cousin of Jeremiah. In Hebrew all the terms of relationship are used in a more loose way than with us.
The right of inheritance is thine - Hanameel therefore had no children, and at his death the land would have been Jeremiah's by right of birth. According to the Law Num 35:5, it must have been part of the suburbs of Anathoth, within less than a mile, which was all the priests and Levites might cultivate.
Seventeen shekels of silver - literally, as in the margin, probably a legal formula. Jeremiah bought Hanameel's life-interest up to the year of Jubilee, and no man's life was worth much in a siege like that of Jerusalem. As Jeremiah had no children, at his death the land would devolve to the person who would have inherited it had Jeremiah not bought it. He therefore bought what never was and never could have been of the slightest use to him, and gave for it what in the growing urgency of the siege might have been very serviceable to himself. Still, as the next heir. it was Jeremiah's duty to buy the estate, independently of the importance of the act as a sign to the people; and evidently he gave the full value.
Translate: And I wrote the particulars of the purchase in the deed ... And I took the purchase-deed, both that which was sealed containing the oiler and the conditions, and that which was open etc. There were two indentures, of which one was called the purchase-deed, and was signed by the purchaser and the witnesses. It was then sealed, not in our sense of appending a seal in place of signatures, but to close it up. The open deed was probably an exact copy, and was that intended for common use. In case its authenticity was called in question, the sealed copy would have to be produced before the judge, the seal opened, and if its contents agreed with those of the open deed, the decision would be in the buyer's favor.
By the offer is probably meant the specification. The conditions, literally, the statutes, would be the stipulations and terms of the sale, e. g. as to its restoration at the year of jubile, its price etc. The placing of the deeds in jar was of course intended to preserve them from damp during the long years of the exile.
Possessed - bought.
(27). Too hard - literally, too wonderful.
Recompensest - The recompence is placed in the bosom, because, in the East, the garments are so arranged as to form a pocket there. Thus then, men must receive and carry with them God's requital for their deeds.
The sense is, who hast set, i. e., performed Exo 10:2 signs etc., and hast continued working them unto this day, both in lsrael and among men (i. e., the pagan).
Possessed - See Jer 8:10 note.
The mounts - See Jer 6:6 note.
For - See the margin. It is enough to place the command side by side with the state of Jerusalem to show how contrary it is to all the rules of human prudence. The prophet is sure that God will explain to him his difficulty.
The answer is divided into two parts;
(a) Jer 32:26-35, the sins of Judah are shown to be the cause of her punishment:
(b) Jer 32:36-44, this punishment was not for Judah's destruction, but for her amendment.
I will give - Or, I am giving.
From their youth - God's mighty deeds for Israel began in Egypt Jer 32:20, and so did Israel's sin.
Jer 32:34, Jer 32:35
These verses are repeated from Jer 7:30-31, but with two important variations. Baal is put for Tophet, and to Molech instead of in the fire. Molech the king and Baal the lord are different names of the sun-god, but in altered relations. Molech is the sun as the mighty fire, which in passing through the signs of the Zodiac burns up its own children. It is an old Canaanite worship, carried by the Phoenicians to all their colonies, and firmly established in Palestine at the time when the Israelites conquered the country.
One heart, and one way - Compare Jer 3:13. Under the new covenant they will with one consent walk in the one narrow path of right-doing Mat 7:14. Forever, i. e., every day, constantly.
God's new covenant Jer 31:31 is on God's side, I will not turn away from them to do them good, i. e., I will never cease from doing them good. On their side, I will put My fear in their hearts that they depart not from Me. In these two conditions consists the certainty of the eternal duration of the covenant Mat 28:20.
Assuredly - literally, in truth, i. e., in verity, in reality. It refers to God's firm purpose, rather than to the safety and security of the people. The new covenant is one of grace, indicated by God's rejoicing over His people, and "planting them with His whole heart."
Fields - literally, The field, the open unenclosed country Jer 4:17. In Jer 32:44 fields refers to the several portions of it which belonged to individuals, and of which the boundaries were shown by landmarks.
Subscribe evidences - See Jer 32:10. In order to bring the certainty of the return from exile more vividly before the mind, the prophet enumerates the several subdivisions of the territory of the kings of Judah.