Jeremiah Chapter 32
Jeremiah 32:1 “The word that came to Jeremiah from the LORD in the tenth year of Zedekiah king of Judah, which [was] the eighteenth year of Nebuchadnezzar.”
“Tenth year”: The time is 587 B.C., the tenth year in Zedekiah’s reign (597-586 B.C.), the eighteenth of Nebuchadnezzar’s rule, during Babylon’s siege of Jerusalem.
Zedekiah would rule 11 years so this is very near the end of his reign. It appears this was shortly after Jerusalem was attacked.
Verses 2-5: Shut up in the court of the prison”: Judah’s final king put Jeremiah into prison on the charge of preaching treason, against nation and king, whereas Zedekiah savored positive talk to spark new morale to hold out.
Jeremiah 32:2 “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] in the king of Judah’s house.”
“Army … besieged Jerusalem”: The siege, set up in the tenth month (Jan. of 588 B.C.), lasted at least 30 months to the fourth month (July of 586 B.C. – 39:1-2; compare 34:1 and see note there). The events of the chapter occurred in this setting of Judah’s imminent loss of its land, only about a year before Babylon’s final takeover (detailed in chapters 39-40 and 52).
Jeremiah had received permission from God to stay in Judah and see its destruction. He was protected by God and no harm came to him. The court of the prison was probably the safest place to be. It was next to the king’s palace.
Jeremiah 32:3 “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 into the hand of the king of Babylon, and he shall take it;”
In prison, at least in the court of the prison. He had given orders for his imprisonment, which were executed. And it was the same as if he had done it himself; the reason of which was, as follows.
“Saying, wherefore dost thou prophesy, and say, thus saith the Lord, behold, I will give this city into the hand of the king of Babylon, and he shall take it?” Meaning the city of Jerusalem, now besieged by the king of Babylon. This prophecy stands in (Jer. 34:1); the prophecies of this book not being put together in proper order of time.
We see from this that Zedekiah did not appreciate the prophecies of Jeremiah. Jeremiah had spoken of the destruction of Judah and Jerusalem, and Zedekiah did not like it. He would rather believe the false prophecy of immediate restoration. You remember in a previous lesson that Zedekiah (the false prophet), was roasted in the fire by Nebuchadnezzar. The Zedekiah mentioned here is king of Judah.
Jeremiah 32:4 “And Zedekiah king of Judah shall not escape out of the 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;”
This is a continuation of the prophecy of Jeremiah, repeated by the king to him, and which concerns himself more especially. Who, upon the taking of the city, would endeavor to make his escape, as he did. But should not be able (Jer. 52:8).
“But shall surely be delivered into the hand of the king of Babylon”: Not only into the hands of his army, and of his generals, but into his own hand personally. Since it follows:
“And shall speak with him mouth to mouth, and his eyes shall behold his eyes”: Converse together face to face, eye to eye; but no doubt with different tones and looks. The king of Babylon upbraiding the king of Judah with perjury and ingratitude, and looking upon him with indignation and contempt. The other speaking faintly, and looking down with grief, shame, and confusion. Moreover, the eyes of the king of Babylon beheld the eyes of Zedekiah, and ordered them to be put out, as they were (2 Kings 25:7).
This was the part of Jeremiah’s prophecy that Zedekiah liked the least. He felt he was too great to fall into the hands of the Babylonians. The king of Babylon of course is Nebuchadnezzar. It is not a subordinate that speaks judgement on Zedekiah. It is Nebuchadnezzar himself.
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 prosper.”
As he did in chains, from Riblah, where he was brought unto him after he was taken, endeavoring to make his escape (Jer. 52:8).
“And there shall he be until I visit him, saith the Lord”: In taking him away by death. For he continued in Babylon to the time of his death, which was not violent, but natural. And, considering his circumstances, his captivity, imprisonment, and loss of sight, might be reckoned a visitation in mercy. Though some understand this of God’s visiting the people at the return of them from their seventy years’ of captivity. If Zedekiah lived till then, he must be a very old man. But of this we have no account, nor is it probable.
“Though ye fight with the Chaldeans, ye shall not prosper”: Though they should charge out upon them, in order to beat them out of their trenches, and drive them from the walls of the city, yet without success.
Zedekiah will not even die in his own land.
2 Kings 25:7 And they slew the sons of Zedekiah before his eyes, and put out the eyes of Zedekiah, and bound him with fetters of brass, and carried him to Babylon.”
We can see from this that it was a mistake to fight against the judgement of God. It is of no benefit to fight against God’s judgement. “Until I visit him” means the time of his death.
Verses 6-15: Jeremiah performed another sign act, redeeming family property belonging to his uncle “Shallum” (Lev. 25:25-32). To confirm that the Lord would bring His people back to the Promised Land when the exile was over. The purchase made no sense in light of the imminent Babylonian conquest of the land unless the Lord would fulfill His promise that “Houses and fields and vineyards shall be possessed again in this land”.
Jeremiah 32:6 “And Jeremiah said, The word of the LORD came unto me, saying,”
Not that he said this to Zedekiah; but the prophet, after the above preface, returns to declare what the word of the Lord was, which came to him at the time before mentioned.
This is a break from the message before.
Jeremiah 32:7 “Behold, Hanameel the son of Shallum thine uncle shall come unto thee, saying, Buy thee my field that [is] in Anathoth: for the right of redemption [is] thine to buy [it].”
Jeremiah, being in prison for his prophecy, purchased a piece of ground. This was to signify, that though Jerusalem was besieged, and the whole country likely to be laid waste, yet the time would come, when houses, and fields, and vineyards, should be again possessed. It concerns ministers to make it appear that they believe what they preach to others. And it is good to manage even our worldly affairs in faith; to do common business with reference to the providence and promise of God.
This is the LORD Speaking to Jeremiah. It is Jeremiah’s uncle’s son who will come to him. Jeremiah’s dad was the priest in Anathoth. The right of redemption was Jeremiah’s, because this land had belonged to his family. We could look at this as being very foolish in the natural thoughts of man, but this is God telling Jeremiah to redeem the land. Faith is believing in things that are not necessarily the practical thing to do at the time. It is putting trust in God and doing exactly what God wants.
Verses 8-15: Apparently Jeremiah was the nearest living relative of his nephew, hence the right of “redemption” was his (compare Lev. 25:24 and see the note at Ruth 3:9). Jeremiah’s unselfish act at that time (588 B.C.), when Jerusalem’s fall seemed imminent constituted a symbolic action. It demonstrated the certainty of his prophecies concerning Israel’s return to the land and eventual possession of it forever. Jeremiah had performed other symbolic actions (13:1-11; 18:1-6; 27:1-14; 28:10-13; compare 43:8-13), but this one is perhaps his greatest display of faith. The prophets were often called upon to dramatize God’s purposes (see for example, Isa. 20:2-4; Ezek. Chapters 4 and 5, 12:3-20; 21:6-7; 24:15-27; Hosea chapters 1 and 3; Zech. 6:9-15). The entire transaction was in a strictly legal manner. Similar documents recovered from the Jewish community at Elephantine on Egypt’s Nile River illustrate the accuracy and care with which such transactions were made.
Jeremiah 32:8 “So Hanameel mine uncle’s son came to 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.”
“The right of … redemption”: A man facing hardship could sell property, and the right to redeem it until the Jubilee year belonged to the closet blood relative. If a stranger had taken it due to unpaid debt, the relative could redeem it as a family possession (Lev. 25:25). Levite land could be sold only to a Levite (Lev. 25:32-34), such as Jeremiah. He did as the Lord told him (verses 9-12).
(In verse 7), God told Jeremiah that Hanameel would come. (In verse 8), we see that what God says is true. Jeremiah was probably like some of us. He heard the voice of God and then questioned whether it was God. Now he knows the voice was from God because the very thing he heard has now happened.
Jeremiah 32:9 “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.”
“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.
To those Jeremiah had been prophesying to it probably seemed that Jeremiah was going against his prediction of the long captivity by Babylon. The truth of the matter is that Jeremiah also, believed his prophecy that God would restore this land to His people. “Silver” symbolically means redemption. It is always silver that is used to redeem. It is very interesting to me that a man in prison would have the money to buy the land. Many people claim to have faith but this is sincerity of faith. Jeremiah has put his faith into action.
Verses 10-14: The careful recording of two copies of the “purchase” and their storage in a jar would not only attest to Jeremiah’s ownership of the land but would also provide later confirmation of his prophecy (36:4).
Jeremiah 32:10 “And I subscribed the evidence, and sealed [it], and took witnesses, and weighed [him] the money in the balances.”
Or, “wrote in a book”; the instrument or bill of sale, the deed of purchase. Which described the field sold, and expressed the condition on which the purchase was made. And by subscribing it he agreed to it, and laid himself under obligation to perform it.
“And sealed it”: For the further confirmation of it.
“And took witnesses”: To be present at the payment of the money, and to sign the deed likewise.
“And weighed him the money in the balances”: This he did a second time. He weighed it first before Hanameel himself, and then before the witnesses. Everything was done fairly, and with great exactness.
There seemed to be some type of legal document that was signed before witnesses to seal the contract. This was perhaps similar to a deed in our day.
Jeremiah 32:11 “So I took the evidence of the purchase, [both] that which was sealed [according] to the law and custom, and that which was open:”
The deed of purchase, the book or bill of sale, the instrument of the bargain, as before mentioned.
“Both that which is sealed, according to the law and custom”: Which was both sealed by the buyer and seller. And was sealed up, and not to be looked into by everyone. Only when there might be a necessity as this was the original copy.
“And that which was open”: The counterpart or copy of the former, which though signed and sealed as the other, yet not sealed up, but was open and exposed to view. Either for the relations to see what was done, as some say. Or for the judges, as others, to ratify and make authentic. Or, as is most probable, this copy was laid up in some public register, to have recourse unto upon any occasion. However it was, it was according to the laws and customs of those times, which Jeremiah carefully attended to. Or, as others, it lay open for the witnesses to sign. So there are three distinct things. First the written contract; then that as signed and sealed by buyer and seller, according to law; and then as signed, but not sealed, by the witnesses.
The Jewish law was very strict about the transfer of land. God had allotted each family a portion of land and they must keep it in the family. The custom of the Jews was to sell to a near kinsman. It was lawful as well because they had signed the papers for the transfer.
Jeremiah 32:12 “And I gave the evidence of the purchase unto Baruch the son of Neriah, the son of Maaseiah, in the sight of Hanameel mine uncle’s [son], and in the presence of the witnesses that subscribed the book of the purchase, before all the Jews that sat in the court of the prison.”
Baruch (as appears from Jeremiah 36:4, 26), was a scribe, and an attendant upon Jeremiah, and one who wrote things for him, and from his mouth. He made this purchase with all the usual formalities. To make it public, he signed and sealed it before witnesses, and delivered it to Baruch, to keep in the presence of them all, and in the presence of the Jews who casually were in the place when the thing was done.
“Before all the Jews that sat in the court of the prison”: Where Jeremiah was. And who probably came to visit him, and to hear the word of the Lord from his mouth. Unless we can suppose that these were fellow prisoners, or were set as spies upon him, to watch him what he said and did.
The Jews were very good record keepers. This was recorded in front of all these witnesses. The deed was given to Baruch for safe keeping. The book of the purchase was very similar to a record we would have at the court house.
Jeremiah 32:13 “And I charged Baruch before them, saying,”
Before his kinsman, the witnesses of the deed, and the Jews that were in the court.
“Saying” (as follows).
Jeremiah 32:14 “Thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel; Take these evidences, this evidence of the purchase, both which is sealed, and this evidence which is open; and put them in an earthen vessel, that they may continue many days.”
“Take these evidences”: Title deeds to the land, kept for security reasons in a pottery jar, would attest in a future day to one’s claim of possession. Men of Anathoth did return to Jerusalem from Babylon (Ezra 2:23). Also some of the poor of the land, left by the Babylonians (chapter 39), could have included certain inhabitants of Anathoth. In a still future day, God will be able (verses 17, 27), to make this land good to a resurrected Jeremiah and confirm to the right people that they are the prophet/priest’s descendants.
In all of the problems from the siege it would have been easy for the record to have been destroyed. Jeremiah had Baruch to put them in an earthen vessel to be kept from harm. The earthen vessel would protect them from the elements for a very long time.
Jeremiah 32:15 “For thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel; Houses and fields and vineyards shall be possessed again in this land.”
Who is the Lord God Almighty, and can do what he pleases. And is the covenant God of his people, and therefore will do them good by all his providences in the issue of things.
“Houses, and fields, and vineyards, shall be possessed in this land”: Or “bought” in it. Of which the prophet’s buying this field was a pledge and earnest. Signifying, that though the city now besieged should be taken, and the people carried captive, yet they should return to their own land. And purchase and enjoy houses, fields, and vineyards again, as at the present time.
This purchase of the land on faith put strength into the prophecy that houses, fields, and vineyards will be possessed in this land. Notice, Jeremiah does not say when this will happen, just that it will happen. He explains that God told him this, and he knows all that God says is true. He not only says he believes but proves his belief with this purchase.
Verses 16-25: With the immense sovereign power God possesses to do whatever He wishes in the present captivity and the future return, Jeremiah wondered why God had him redeem the field.
What the Lord had asked Jeremiah to do seemed irrational, and so the prophet prayed for understanding and strengthened his faith by recalling that “there is nothing too hard” for the Lord and rehearsing the great things God had done for Israel (2 Kings 19:15; Psalm 102:25; Isa. 40:26-29). Believers can build faith in the present by recalling the past faithfulness of the Lord.
Jeremiah 32:16 “Now when I had delivered the evidence of the purchase unto Baruch the son of Neriah, I prayed unto the LORD, saying,”
“I prayed unto the Lord”: The prophet, it is obvious, records his own prayer. Nowhere, perhaps, the prayer of Ezra (Ezra 9:5-15), of Hezekiah (Isa. 37:16-20), of Daniel (Dan. 9:4-19), being the nearest parallels. Nowhere do the writings of the Old Testament present us with so striking an example of the manner in which a devout Israelite poured out his heart to God, dwelling on the greatness of His attributes. Praying for himself, interceding for his people.
Many times, after we have acted on God’s Word, we pray for reassurance from God that we have acted properly. This prayer is just that asking for reassurance from God.
Jeremiah 32:17 “Ah Lord GOD! behold, thou hast made the heaven and the earth by thy great power and stretched out arm, [and] there is nothing too hard for thee:”
Jeremiah adores the Lord and his infinite perfections. When at any time we are perplexed about the methods of Providence, it is good for us to look to first principles. Let us consider that God is the fountain of all being, power, and life. That with him no difficulty is such as cannot be overcome. That he is a God of boundless mercy. That he is a God of strict justice. And that he directs everything for the best. Jeremiah agrees that God was righteous in causing evil to come upon them. Whatever trouble we are in, personal or public, we may comfort ourselves that the Lord sees it, and knows how to remedy it. We must not dispute God’s will, but we may seek to know what it means.
Every believer should take this very thing into consideration. If God can make the world and everything in it, why should we doubt for miracles? This prayer of Jeremiah’s is for God to help his unbelief. The man that brought his son to Jesus said, “I believe, help thou mine unbelief”. This is what Jeremiah is saying here. He believes but he is human. He needs encouragement. He is stopping and reviewing the fact that God is capable of doing all things. The stretched out arm is spoken of when God is dealing with mankind.
Jeremiah 32:18 “Thou showest lovingkindness unto thousands, and recompensest the iniquity of the fathers into the bosom of their children after them: the Great, the Mighty God, the LORD of hosts, [is] his name,”
The words are, in part, an echo from (Exodus 20:6), yet more from the revelation of the Divine glory in (Exodus 34:7). They recognize the laws of a righteous retribution, working even through the seeming injustice of that visiting the sins of the fathers upon the children which is inseparable from the continuity of family or national life, and which had been caricatured in the “sour grapes” proverb of (Jer. 31:29). They recognize also a mercy which is wider than that retribution, and at last triumphant.
In the “Mighty God” we have the reproduction of the name used by Isaiah in his great Messianic prediction (Isa. 9:6).
In a sense, this prayer of Jeremiah’s is a praise of God. Actually, Jeremiah is not asking God for anything, he is communing with God on a level above the understanding of common man. Jeremiah realizes that even though God is a God of great love, He is also a God of perfect justice. Jeremiah was expressing the absolute greatness of God above any common man, when He says “the Great, Mighty God, LORD of hosts.”
Jeremiah 32:19 “Great in counsel, and mighty in work: for thine eyes [are] open upon all the ways of the sons of men: to give everyone according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings:”
Who does nothing but in infinite wisdom, as if you had taken counsel upon it. And are mighty in your works of providence, by which you govern the world. Whose eyes ran to and fro on the earth, beholding the evil and the good. So that all things are naked before thee, and you art not a mere curious and idle spectator of men’s actions, but look upon them for that end. That you might reward or punish them, according as you see their actions good or bad in your sight.
The answer to every problem of life is in the counsel of God. The Bible is like a road map that leads us through the path of life. There is nothing hidden from God. He not only sees our actions, but looks into the heart of man to see the intentions of the heart. Mankind may look upon us and get an outside view of what we are but God knows the heart of man. There is nothing hidden from God. God’s judgement is made on man’s heart condition. He will reward or punish not according to appearance, but according to what really is.
Jeremiah 32:20 “Which hast set signs and wonders in the land of Egypt, [even] unto this day, and in Israel, and among [other] men; and hast made thee a name, as at this day;”
Who did wonders of justice in the land of Egypt, such as are remembered and made matters of astonishing discourse even to this day. And wrought wonders of mercy in Israel, bringing them out of Egypt through the Red Sea. Raining down manna and quails from heaven, and fetching water out of the rock for them. And has done also many wondrous works in other places, by which you have made thyself a glorious name.
We know that the 10 plagues that came on Egypt discredited the Egyptian false gods and left even the evil men surrounding Pharaoh saying, that Moses’ God was God. We know from the 18th chapter of first Kings, that Elijah challenged the prophets of Baal to prove who God really is. After God showed without a doubt that He was God, and no other god lives, the people cried out to God, as in the next Scripture.
1 Kings 18:39 “And when all the people saw [it], they fell on their faces: and they said, The LORD, he [is] the God; the LORD, he [is] the God.”
These are just a few but God showed over and over that He was the only God. He parted the Red Sea for them to cross. He fed them 40 years in the wilderness with Manna from heaven. There were so many signs and wonders that the people came to expect signs.
Jeremiah 32:21 “And hast brought forth thy people Israel out of the land of Egypt with signs, and with wonders, and with a strong hand, and with a stretched out arm, and with great terror;”
The history of this we have in the eleven or twelve first chapters of Exodus. God sent ten plagues upon Egypt one after another, before Pharaoh would let them go. And when he pursued after them, divided the Red Sea for them that they might pass through. And then brought the waters back upon the Egyptians, pursuing after them through the sea.
(See the note on 6:12).
The one last sign from God that got them released from Egypt, was the death of the firstborn of all of Egypt while the firstborn of the Hebrews were not killed. Pharaoh, not only released them, but drove them out. Moses struck the Rock in the wilderness, and water flowed to give approximately 3 million people water to drink. Even the countries they passed near on their way to their Promised Land were very frightened of the God of the Israelites.
Joshua 5:1 “And it came to pass, when all the kings of the Amorites, which [were] on the side of Jordan westward, and all the kings of the Canaanites, which [were] by the sea, heard that the LORD had dried up the waters of Jordan from before the children of Israel, until we were passed over, that their heart melted, neither was there spirit in them any more, because of the children of Israel.”
They were not afraid of Israel. They were afraid of Israel’s God.
Jeremiah 32:22 “And hast given them this land, which thou didst swear to their fathers to give them, a land flowing with milk and honey;”
Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob; so that God was faithful to his word, keeping his covenant and oath. And the faithfulness of God is observed and acknowledged by the prophet, along with other perfections of God before taken notice of. The land of Canaan was a land of promise. Confirmed by an oath, and was the pure gift of God to the Israelites. And not any merit of theirs; it was given them by him who had a right to dispose of it, and could make them a good title to it, and which they had. Though before in the possession of others, who for their wickedness were driven out.
“A land flowing with milk and honey”: Abounding with plenty of all good things, for the sustenance and comfort of human life. A very frequent description of the land of Canaan, and is expressive of the great kindness and goodness of God to this people.
The promise had been made to Abraham, but was fulfilled when the children of Israel came from Egypt and took possession. It was a fruitful land, just as God had promised. One cluster of grapes was so large one man could not carry it.
Jeremiah 32:23 “And they came in, and possessed it; but they obeyed not thy voice, neither walked in thy law; they have done nothing of all that thou commandedst them to do: therefore thou hast caused all this evil to come upon them:”
In the former passage, he acknowledged God’s goodness. Here he owns his truth and faithfulness, in so conducting this people by his providence, that they came into the Promised Land and possessed it. Having acknowledged God’s power, omniscience, goodness, truth, and faithfulness, he comes to own his justice, confessing that this people for whom God had done so much had very ill requited him. Not obeying his voice, which he expounds by not walking in his law. For the law was God’s voice to them. This he aggravated by saying they had done nothing of what he had commanded. Not breaking some particular law, but the whole law of God. Therefore, God was righteous in bringing this sword, pestilence, and famine upon them.
Jeremiah has been reviewing all the great miracles God had done for them. He suddenly realizes all the terrible things happening to them now is because they were unfaithful to God. God promised to bless His people if they obeyed Him and walked uprightly before Him. If they did not obey Him and walked in evil ways, He would bring curses upon them. They brought the trouble on themselves.
Jeremiah 32:24 “Behold the mounts, they are come unto the city to take it; and the city is given into the hand of the Chaldeans, that fight against it, because of the sword, and of the famine, and of the pestilence: and what thou hast spoken is come to pass; and, behold, thou seest [it].”
“Mounts”: The word signifies ramparts, or rather battering rams, engines of war, which those nations used to batter walls. Or to shoot great stones into places besieged.
“They are come unto the city to take it”: They are already besieging Jerusalem, and have been for some time. And the city is even ready to be taken, and cannot hold out. So many daily are killed, either with the sword of the enemy, or by famine for want of provision, or by the pestilence.
“And what thou hast spoken is come to pass”: Thou art just and righteous in all this, and hast done but according to what thou threatened to do to a sinful people that would not obey your voice.
For the siege “mounts” (see the note on 6:6).
Jeremiah is recognizing the fact that God had warned them of what would happen unless they repented and returned to God. They did not and God has brought the pestilence, sword, and famine, just as He said He would. The Chaldeans have overrun them, and taken them.
Jeremiah 32:25 “And thou hast said unto me, O Lord GOD, Buy thee the field for money, and take witnesses; for the city is given into the hand of the Chaldeans.”
Or, “O Lord God, yet thou hast said to me”. Notwithstanding this is the case, the country all around is in the hand of the enemy, and the city is as good as delivered up to them. Yet thou hast given me such orders, as follows.
“Buy thee a field for money, and take witnesses”: For though these words were not expressly said to him by the Lord; yet inasmuch as he told him that his uncle’s son would come to him, and propose the selling of his field to him. And accordingly, did come, agreeably to the word of the Lord. Jeremiah understood it as the will of the Lord that he should buy it before witnesses. Which he did, as before related.
“For the city is given into the hand of the Chaldeans”: Or rather, “though the city is given”, etc., yet thou hast said so. Now by this the prophet suggests, that though he had obeyed the divine order, as he ought to have done, yet there was some difficulty upon his mind. Or there were some objections started by the Jews that were with him, how these things could be reconciled. That he should be ordered to buy a field at such a time as this. And thereby signify that fields and vineyards should be bought and possessed in the land. And yet the city is just going to be surrendered into the hands of the Chaldeans.
Jeremiah has given close attention to the greatness of God now it is as if he is saying “Why did you tell me to buy the land”? He is saying, “What can I do with this land while the Chaldeans are in control of everything”?
Verses 26-35: God reviewed Judah’s sins and affirmed to Jeremiah that the Babylonians would prevail over Jerusalem (“this city” in verse 28, etc.).
Jeremiah 32:26 “Then came the word of the LORD unto Jeremiah, saying,”
This is an answer to the prophet’s prayer, and particularly to the latter part of it. Showing the consistency of the destruction of the city with his purchase of a field, and with God’s promise of fields and vineyards being purchased and possessed again. And how each of these would be brought about.
“Saying” (as follows).
Jeremiah 32:27 “Behold, I [am] the LORD, the God of all flesh: is there any thing too hard for me?”
Jehovah retorts Jeremiah’s own words: I am indeed, as thou sayest (Jer. 32:17), the God and Creator of “all flesh,” and “nothing is too hard for Me”. Thine own words ought to have taught thee that, though Judea and Jerusalem are given up to the Chaldeans now for the sins of the Jews, yet it will not be hard to Me, when I please, to restore the state so that houses and lands therein shall be possessed in safety (Jer. 32:36-44).
God quickly reminds Jeremiah that He is God of all flesh. He controls even the Chaldeans.
Jeremiah 32:28 “Therefore thus saith the LORD; Behold, I will give this city into the hand of the Chaldeans, and into the hand of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, and he shall take it:”
As he had foretold by the prophet, and was just now going to be fulfilled. Here the Lord repeats and confirms the first of the two things which seemed contradictory. The destruction of the city by the Chaldeans, who were now besieging it, and into whose hands it would certainly come.
“And into the hand of Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon”: Who was now before it with his army.
“And he shall take it”: And become master of it: or, “I will give it to him that he may take it”. Which he could not do, notwithstanding his powerful army, had not the Lord delivered it into his hands.
God has a purpose in giving this land over to the Chaldeans and into the hands of Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon. They do not really realize it, but God is in control of them too.
Jeremiah 32:29 “And the Chaldeans, that fight against this city, shall come and set fire on this city, and burn it with the houses, upon whose roofs they have offered incense unto Baal, and poured out drink offerings unto other gods, to provoke me to anger.”
Thou judges right, this city shall be taken, and that by this very army of Chaldeans which now besieges it, they shall set fire on it, and burn the houses. I have made all flesh, and I have power to dispose of it, I will give this city into their hands. But in this execution of my vengeance I shall not act by prerogative. But as a just and righteous judge, vindicating the violation of my laws. They have polluted their houses by idolatry upon the roofs of them. They have offered incense, paid a divine homage to the idol Baal; and in them they have worshipped other gods. Therefore, I will watch over and protect them no longer, but send the Chaldeans by their fires to purge them.
Not only does God tell Jeremiah that the houses are going to be burned, but gives him the reason. They have worshipped false gods on the roofs of these houses.
Jeremiah 32:30 “For the children of Israel and the children of Judah have only done evil before me from their youth: for the children of Israel have only provoked me to anger with the work of their hands, saith the LORD.”
The former are mentioned, as well as the latter, though they had been carried captive some years ago, to justify the dealings of God with them. And besides, there were some of the ten tribes that remained, and were mingled with the tribes of Judah and Benjamin. Of all which it is said, that they have only done evil before me from their youth. From their infancy, being conceived in sin, and shaped in iniquity; and so being destitute of the grace of God. Did nothing else but sin all their days, as is said of the men of the old world (Gen. 6:5). Some understand this, from the time of their becoming a people, a body politic. Or from the time of their coming out of Egypt, and being in the wilderness. When their idolatry began when they were brought out of Egypt. Or from the time of the judges.
“For the children of Israel have only provoked me to anger with the work of their hands, saith the Lord”: With their idols, made by their own hands. These they worshipped instead of their Creator and Benefactor; which must be very provoking indeed!
The work of their hands here is speaking of the making of idols. They have been rebellious children from the beginning. God has been longsuffering and forgiving, but His patience has run out.
Jeremiah 32:31 “For this city hath been to me [as] a provocation of mine anger and of my fury from the day that they built it even unto this day; that I should remove it from before my face,”
Or, “upon mine anger, and upon my fury this city was to me”. That is, it was upon his heart, and in his mind and purpose, being provoked to anger and wrath by their sins. To have destroyed it long ago, though he had deferred it to this time. The inhabitants of this city had been always a provoking people to him; and he had thought to have poured out his wrath and fury upon them.
“From the day they built it, even unto this day”: When built and inhabited by the idolatrous Canaanites; possessed by the Jebusites; rebuilt by David; beautified with the temple and other stately buildings by Solomon. Who was drawn to idolatry by his wives. It is a tradition of the Jews, mentioned both by Jarchi and Kimchi, that the same day that the foundation of the temple was laid, Solomon married Pharaoh’s daughter. And which was the foundation of his idolatry; and which was more or less practiced in every reign afterwards, to this time. And which so provoked the Lord, that he took up this resolution early, though he did not put it in execution. Expressed as follows.
“That I should remove it from before my face”: As a man does that which is nauseous and abominable to him. Meaning the removing the inhabitants of it into other lands, or causing them to go into captivity; so the Targum.
They have not used the temple, or the city, the way God intended. Their false worship has provoked Him to great wrath.
Jeremiah 32:32 “Because of all the evil of the children of Israel and of the children of Judah, which they have done to provoke me to anger, they, their kings, their princes, their priests, and their prophets, and the men of Judah, and the inhabitants of Jerusalem.”
His anger and fury were because of their sins, and so his carrying them captive.
“Which they have done to provoke me to anger”: Which was done, as if they had done it on purpose to provoke him. And which was done, not by a few, but by them all. Not by the lower people only, but by men of every rank and order; as follows.
“They, their kings, their princes, their priests, and their prophets”: That is, their false prophets, as the Targum. Yea, all the inhabitants of the land, both in city and country.
“And the men of Judah, and the inhabitants of Jerusalem”: The “metropolis” of the nation; the seat of the kings of Judah. And where the temple was, the priests ministered, and the prophets taught, and the people came up to worship.
The memory of the evil done in God’s holy city is why God will destroy it. Even the ones God had set up to rule over the people had been evil themselves. It is too much, God will burn it to the ground.
Jeremiah 32:33 “And they have turned unto me the back, and not the face: though I taught them, rising up early and teaching [them], yet they have not hearkened to receive instruction.”
They have behaved themselves against me contemptuously, like men who, when they are spoken to, admonished, or instructed, instead of looking towards those who instruct or admonish them, turn their back upon them. Yet their sin had not been so great and heinous, if I by my prophets had not diligently instructed them, and they as stubbornly refused to be taught or amended by their instruction.
God had tried over and over to send prophets to them to warn them of what would happen if they did not repent. They turned their backs to the message God had sent by the prophets. They refused God’s instruction.
Jeremiah 32:34 “But they set their abominations in the house, which is called by my name, to defile it.”
Their idols, which were abominable to the Lord, and ought to have been so to them. These they placed:
“In the house which is called by my name, to defile it”: In the temple; as by Ahaz, Manasseh, and others (see Jer. 7:30).
They had even set up idols in God’s temple.
Jeremiah 32:35 “And they built the high places of Baal, which [are] in the valley of the son of Hinnom, to cause their sons and their daughters to pass through [the fire] unto Molech; which I commanded them not, neither came it into my mind, that they should do this abomination, to cause Judah to sin.”
Or “the high places of that Baal, which is in the valley of the son of Hinnom”. To distinguish him from other Baalim; and who seems to be the same with Molech after mentioned. And the signification of their names agree. The one is lord or master; the other king.
“To cause their sons and their daughters to pass through the fire unto Molech”: The phrase, “through the fire”, is not in the text; but is well enough supplied from other places, where it is.
“Which I commanded them not, neither came it into my mind that they should do this abomination (see Jer. 7:31).
“To cause Judah to sin”: Which Abarbinel understands of the children of Israel, who first began this practice, and seduced and drew the children of Judah into it. But rather it seems to intend the kings, princes, priests, prophets, and inhabitants of Jerusalem. Who, by their example, led the people of the Lord into the same practice.
(See the note on 7:31-32).
Both the worship of Baal and Molech required their children to walk through the fire. The worship of false gods benefits the false gods. The worship of God benefits the person worshipping.
Verses 36-41: However, one day God will restore Israel to the Land and provide the blessing of salvation.
Jeremiah 32:36 “And now therefore thus saith the LORD, the God of Israel, concerning this city, whereof ye say, It shall be delivered into the hand of the king of Babylon by the sword, and by the famine, and by the pestilence;”
Here begins the confirmation of the other part of the prophecy concerning the return of the Jews to their city and country, when they should again buy and possess fields and vineyards. Which was thought impossible, supposing the destruction of the city; or however not easily reconcilable with it. But this is as strongly affirmed as the former. For though they had sinned so heinously, and had provoked the wrath of God to such a degree, that the destruction of their city was inevitable, of which they were now sensible themselves. “Yet now, notwithstanding”, for so it is ushered in; and thus the words may be rendered, “thus saith the Lord, the God of Israel”; who is Jehovah, with whom nothing is impossible. And continues the covenant God of his own people, his spiritual Israel; for whose sake he does great and wonderful things. He says, “concerning this city”, the city of Jerusalem, now besieged by the Chaldeans.
“Whereof ye say, it shall be delivered into the hand of the king of Babylon, by the sword, and by the famine, and by the pestilence”: For, by these things, by the consumption that was made by them, they saw their case was desperate; and that there was no avoiding falling into the hands of the Chaldeans. Wherefore, for the comfort of the Lord’s own people among them, the following things are said. Most of which respect the Gospel dispensation, either the beginning or latter end of it.
Jeremiah 32:37 “Behold, I will gather them out of all countries, whither I have driven them in mine anger, and in my fury, and in great wrath; and I will bring them again unto this place, and I will cause them to dwell safely:”
“I will bring them again unto this place”: God pledged to restore Israelites to the very land of Israel (compare verse 44). It is natural to expect His fulfillment of this blessing to be just as literal as the reverse, His scattering from the Land (compare verse 42).
God may drive them away until they repent, but He will restore His chosen ones to their land. The punishment is for a while, but then God greatly blesses them again.
Verses 38-39: This speaks of spiritual salvation, i.e., the true knowledge and worship of God.
Jeremiah 32:38 “And they shall be my people, and I will be their God:”
I will renew my covenant with them, and keep my covenant towards them; they shall serve me more faithfully, and I will own them, and take care of them, and bless them.
We discussed before that they must choose to be His people and then He will be their God.
Jeremiah 32:39 “And I will give them one heart, and one way, that they may fear me for ever, for the good of them, and of their children after them:”
I will give them union and harmony, or a oneness of mind and judgment. As to the things of God, they shall not be some for superstitious and idolatrous worship, and some for my true worship. And one way; they shall all worship me according to the rule I have given them.
“That they may fear me for ever”: That they may worship me in truth, as a people that have a dread of me upon their hearts.
“For the good of them, and of their children after them”: This will be for the profit both of them and their posterity many days, even so long as they shall continue so to do.
Their hearts will be changed by God Himself. This “one way” is in Jesus. He is the Way, the Truth and the Life. God has always taught to be one in heart. The Spirit came on Day of Pentecost because they were with one accord.
Jeremiah 32:40 “And I will make an everlasting covenant with them, that I will not turn away from them, to do them good; but I will put my fear in their hearts, that they shall not depart from me.”
“An everlasting covenant”: The ultimate fulfillment of a future in the Land was not fulfilled in the Ezra/Nehemiah return. This occurs in the time when God gives the people of Israel a new heart in eternal salvation along with their return to the ancient land (compare 33:8-9 and Ezek. 36:26).
This everlasting covenant is the covenant of grace through Jesus Christ. God will pour out unmerited favor on His children. They will put their faith and trust in Jesus Christ their Lord.
Jeremiah 32:41 “Yea, I will rejoice over them to do them good, and I will plant them in this land assuredly with my whole heart and with my whole soul.”
His covenant people, to whom he gives one heart and one way, and who have his fear implanted in them, and shall never depart from him, but persevere to the end. These he loves with a love of complacency and delight. He rejoices over them, not as considered in themselves, but as in Christ. He rejoices over them, as the bridegroom rejoices over the bride. And which does not merely lie in expression, but appears in fact. He does them good, and with the utmost joy and pleasure. He delights in showing mercy to them. Beautifies them with salvation, and takes pleasure in their prosperity. He has taken up good thoughts and resolutions concerning them in his heart and has promised good things to them in his covenant. Has provided good things for them in his Son, and bestows them on them in regeneration. And constantly supplies them with his grace, and will withhold no good thing from them, till he has brought them to glory. All which he does cheerfully and with the utmost delight.
“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.” I will not only do them good, but I will take pleasure and delight in doing them good. And I will certainly bring them to this land, and constantly and freely do them good when they shall be there.
God has purified them with their captivity to Babylon. They are now His precious children. God loves them with His heart and soul.
John 3:16 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”
This is love beyond human understanding.
Verses 42-44: In the millennial kingdom, land will again be bought and sold in Israel.
Jeremiah 32:42 “For thus saith the LORD; Like as I have brought all this great evil upon this people, so will I bring upon them all the good that I have promised them.”
The Chaldean army now besieging them, the famine and pestilence among them, as well as their captivity, which was just at hand and certain.
“So will I bring upon them all the good that I have promised them”: In the preceding verses; as being their God, and they his people. Giving them one heart, and one way. Putting his fear into them and causing them to persevere to the end. Rejoicing over them to do good; and planting them in the land. God is as faithful to his promises as to his threatening. And those who have seen the fulfilment of the one need not doubt of the accomplishment of the other. For if he has done all the evil things he threatened to do, which are his acts of justice, his strange acts, much more will he do the good things he has promised. Which are his acts of grace and mercy, in which he delights.
God has brought all this evil upon them to refine them and the minute that is done, He will pour out His blessings upon them. He never breaks a promise. If He says it you can count on it.
Jeremiah 32:43 “And fields shall be bought in this land, whereof ye say, [It is] desolate without man or beast; it is given into the hand of the Chaldeans.”
The significance of the whole transaction of the purchase of the field in Anathoth is again solemnly confirmed. Men were desponding, as though the land were to belong to the Chaldeans for ever. They are told that the very region which was now covered with their encampments should once again be possessed freely by its own people. In the “mountains,” the “valleys,” and the south, or negeb district, stretching towards the country of the Philistines. We have, as before in (Jer. 17:26), the familiar division of the land of Judah. Which had been transmitted from what has well been called the Domesday Book of Israel (Joshua 15:21; 15:33; 15:48).
“Whereof ye say, it is desolate without man or beast”: So wasted and destroyed by the enemy, that neither man nor beast are left, but both carried off by him. And therefore, no hope of what is above promised.
“It is given into the hand of the Chaldeans”: They are become the possessors of it, and therefore it is all over with us as to buying and possessing fields and vineyards. But notwithstanding this uncertainty and despair in the present view of things, it follows in the next verse.
All of the above was said to tell Jeremiah as to why He told him to buy the land. It was an act of absolute faith in the promise that God would restore the land to them. Jeremiah was to buy the land in bad times to give the people hope that God would restore them to their land. In the natural, it seemed foolish to buy this land that had neither man nor beast. God knew that would change.
Jeremiah 32:44 “Men shall buy fields for money, and subscribe evidences, and seal [them], and take witnesses in the land of Benjamin, and in the places about Jerusalem, and in the cities of Judah, and in the cities of the mountains, and in the cities of the valley, and in the cities of the south: for I will cause their captivity to return, saith the LORD.”
Now Jeremiah, thou understands wherefore I commanded thee to buy the field offered thee by Hanameel in Anathoth in the lot of Benjamin. It was to assure thee, that though at present the Chaldeans shall prevail against Jerusalem, and the Jews shall be carried into captivity, and the Jews shall neither buy nor sell here at present, yet fields shall here be bought again. Men shall buy, and sell, and seal evidences in all parts of Judea, as they were accustomed to do in former times, for they shall return again out of the captivity of Babylon into their own land, and have commerce one with another as formerly.
Jeremiah’s purchase was a purchase as an example of better days to come. All of the procedures Jeremiah went through to buy the land would be the order of the day when the land was restored. It was a physical example of the fulfilling of the prophecy God had given Jeremiah. It was saying God has promised and it will be.
Jeremiah Chapter 32 Questions
- At what time did God give Jeremiah the word in verse 1?
- How long would Zedekiah reign?
- When Jerusalem was besieged, where was Jeremiah?
- Who had put Jeremiah there?
- Who would Zedekiah rather believe than Jeremiah?
- Why did Zedekiah (the prophet), die in a fire?
- Who speaks the judgement on Zedekiah?
- What does the statement “Until I visit him” mean?
- Who did God say would come to Jeremiah to sell him land?
- Where was Jeremiah’s dad the priest?
- What made Jeremiah know, it was the Word of the LORD?
- What was the price of the land?
- What does “silver” symbolize?
- What is verse 10 speaking of?
- The custom of the Jews was to sell land to a near ____________.
- Where were the documents to be kept?
- What is the prophecy of verse 15?
- What was Jeremiah praying for, after the purchase?
- What does the author say, every believer should take into consideration?
- What statement did the man make to Jesus, when he brought his son for healing?
- What description does Jeremiah give of God in verses 18 and 19?
- What statement did the evil men of Egypt make after the 10 plagues?
- God brought forth Israel out of Egypt with ________ and ___________.
- The land God gave the Israelites was a land flowing with _______ and __________.
- Why had the evil come upon God’s people?
- What does God quickly remind Jeremiah of?
- How will the city be destroyed?
- When God sent the prophets to warn these His people, what did they do?
- What was their sin?
- Why had God told Jeremiah to buy the land?
- What is the everlasting covenant?
- What was Jeremiah’s purchase of the land an example of?
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