Jeremiah 32:1-44 (39:1-44, LXX)

Submitted by admin on Wed, 2017-03-29 15:26.

Posted in | printer-friendly version »

The “word” from YHWH came to Jeremiah “in the tenth year of Zedekiah, king of Judah, which [was] the eighteenth year of Nebuchadnezzar.” This “word” was the first message Jeremiah received while he was confined in the “court of the guard.” (See 33:2.) In the Septuagint, King Nebuchadnezzar (Nabouchodonosor) is specifically identified as the “king of Babylon.” The eighteenth year of his reign is generally accepted to have been 587 BCE. (32:1 [39:1, LXX]) “At that time, the army of the king of Babylon was besieging Jerusalem, and Jeremiah the prophet was confined in the court of the guard.” This place in the court served as the palace prison, for it was located in the “house” or palace complex of King Zedekiah. It was the location of Jeremiah’s last imprisonment before Jerusalem fell to the Babylonian forces under the command of King Nebuchadnezzar. There Jeremiah lived under less restraint and in much better conditions than he had in the “house of Jonathan,” which had been converted into a prison. He received a daily portion of fresh bread until no more was available in the city on account of the siege. (32:2 [39:2, LXX]; 37:15, 16, 18-21)

King Zedekiah kept Jeremiah imprisoned for having proclaimed the word of YHWH that Jerusalem would be given “into the hand of the king of Babylon” and that he would take the city. (32:3 [39:3, LXX] Regarding “Zedekiah the king of Judah,” Jeremiah had prophesied that he would “not escape out of the hand of the Chaldeans [the Babylonian forces], for he would be “given into the hand of the king of Babylon.” Zedekiah would come face-to-face with King Nebuchadnezzar, speaking to him “mouth to mouth” and seeing him “eyes to eyes.” (32:4 [39:4, LXX]) Nebuchadnezzar would take Zedekiah to Babylon, and there he would remain until YHWH would “visit” him, reckoning or dealing with him (seemingly by what he permitted to happen to the Judean king in Babylon). Although the defenders of Jerusalem would fight against the Chaldeans, they would not succeed. The prophetic words were unerringly fulfilled. (32:5 [39:5, LXX]; 52:6-14; see the Notes section.)

Jeremiah introduced the message he received in the eighteenth year of King Nebuchadnezzar’s reign with the words, The “word of YHWH came to me, saying.” The Septuagint says, The “word of the Lord came to Jeremiah, saying.” (32:6 [39:6, LXX]) Jeremiah’s cousin Hanamel, the son of his uncle Shallum (Salom, the brother of Jeremiah’s father [LXX]) would be coming to him, requesting that he buy the field at Anathoth (a Levite city identified with a site less than three miles [under five kilometers] northeast of Jerusalem) because he had the repurchase right for this field. (32:7 [39:7, LXX]; see the Notes section.) Just as the word of YHWH had indicated, Jeremiah’s cousin, the son of his paternal uncle came to him in the “courtyard of the guard” and said, “Buy for yourself my field that is at Anathoth in the land of Benjamn, for the right of possession is yours and the redemption is yours [for the right to acquire is yours, for you are older (LXX)]. Buy it for yourself.” Jeremiah then “knew” for a certainty that the message he had received was the “word of YHWH,” for it had been fulfilled. (32:8 [39:8, LXX]; see the Notes section.) Jeremiah purchased the field at Anathoth from his cousin Hanamel and weighed out the purchase price — seventeen shekels of silver (literally, seven shekels and ten of silver). The shekel was a unit of weight. Based on archeological discoveries, the average weight of a shekel was about .367 ounce troy or 11.4 grams. To establish the purchase price, the silver pieces being weighed had to equal the weight of the standard stone weights for the agreed-upon amount. (32:9 [39:9, LXX])

Jeremiah referred to the legal procedure that was followed for purchasing the field. “And I wrote the deed and sealed it, and I called witnesses to witness, and I weighed out the silver on scales.” Probably at Jeremiah’s direction, his scribal secretary Baruch did the actually writing of the document, and the prophet signed it and affixed his seal to it . The witnesses would have been in a position to testify that the legal requirements had been met for the transaction, which included weighing out the silver for the purchase price. According to verse 12, they, in their role as witnesses, signed the deed. (32:10 [39:10, LXX])

The “deed of purchase” was written out in duplicate. Probably after signing the deed and having the witnesses do so, Jeremiah would have rolled up the document that set forth the contractual agreement (literally, “commandment”) and “conditions” and then sealed it. He also would have rolled up the other copy but not sealed it. In the event that a question later arose about the document, the seal could have been broken and the sealed and unsealed texts could have been compared to verify that no changes had been made and that the open copy was a faithful reproduction of the sealed text. The open copy would have facilitated ready access to the text of the deed, and the sealed copy would have served as the authoritative text if the open copy had been altered or damaged in some way. Jeremiah took the “deed of purchase” (32:11 [39:11, LXX]; see the Notes section.) and handed it to his scribal secretary “Baruch the son of Neriah, the son of Mahseiah,” doing so in the presence (literally, “before the eyes”) of his cousin Hanamel, the witnesses who had signed the deed, and all the [other] men of Judah who were then “sitting in the court of the guard.” Baruch appears to have belonged to a prominent family. His brother Seraiah was the “quartermaster” (literally, “prince of the resting place”) for King Zedekiah. (51:59) This could mean that Seraiah was responsible for the accommodations of the king when he was away from his palace in Jerusalem. Other renderings for the Hebrew designation “prince of the resting place” are “staff officer” (NIV, NLT), “lord chamberlain” (NJB), and “personal attendant” (TEV). The Septuagint (28:59) uses the expression “ruler of gifts,” which could mean that Seraiah was in charge of royal treasures. (32:12 [39:12, LXX])

In the presence (literally, “before the eyes”) of all in the “court of the guard,” including Hanamel and the witnesses who signed the deed, Jeremiah “commanded” or charged Baruch, saying to him (32:13 [39:13, LXX]), “Thus says YHWH of hosts [the God with hosts of angels in his service (Lord Almighty [LXX])], the God of Israel, Take these deeds, the sealed deed of this purchase” and the “open copy” of this deed, and “put them in an earthenware vessel that they may be preserved for many days” or for a long time. Likely Baruch would have hidden the vessel, possibly by burying it. (32:14 [39:14, LXX]) “For thus says YHWH of hosts” (the “Lord”), the “God of Israel, Houses and fields and vineyards will again be purchased in this land.” These words indicated that the exile would not end soon, but they did provide the comforting assurance that sometime in the future the people would be able to return to their own land. (32:15 [39:15, LXX])

After he had given the “deed of purchase to Baruch the son of Neriah,” Jeremiah was moved to pray regarding the divinely directed transaction, which appears to have puzzled him. (32:16 [39:16, LXX]; see verses 24 and 25.) He began his prayer with words that acknowledged YHWH as the Creator of everything. “Ah, Lord YHWH, you have made the heavens and the earth with your great power and with your outstretched arm. Nothing is too extraordinary for [will be hidden from (LXX)] you.” The thought appears to be that YHWH’s role as the Creator establishes that absolutely nothing would hinder him from carrying out his purpose. (32:17 [39:17, LXX[)

Jeremiah referred to YHWH as showing steadfast or loyal love, compassionate care, or “mercy” (LXX) to “thousands.” It is YHWH’s desire to extend kindness, love, or mercy to humans. He takes no delight in bringing severe punishment on them for wayward conduct but wants them to come to repentance and benefit from his loving care. He will, however, not tolerate base conduct indefinitely. YHWH will “repay the iniquity of fathers into the bosom of their sons,” offspring, “children” (LXX), or descendants “after them.” When corruption and oppressive acts become the norm in families or among tribes or peoples, moral decay tends to accelerate and eventually leads to ruin. YHWH’s recompense then is the ruin or calamity that the corrupt “sons” or descendants of the wayward “fathers” experience. This is because he permitted it to befall them for the combined record of their fathers’ or forefathers’ guilt and their own. In his prayer, Jeremiah referred to God as having the name, or being known, as “the great God, the mighty [and mighty (LXX)], YHWH of hosts” (or the God with hosts of angels in his service). (32:18 [39:18, LXX); for parallel expressions, see Exodus 20:5, 6; 34:7, and Deuteronomy 5:9, 10.)

YHWH is “great in counsel,” providing sound advice and guidance and manifesting wisdom when following his chosen course to accomplish his purpose. He is “mighty in work [in works (LXX)],” which may include creative activity and astonishing acts of deliverance for his people. His “eyes” are “open to all the ways of man [literally, sons of man (humans or earthlings)], rewarding every man according to his ways [or conduct] and according to the fruit of his doings [or the result from his actions].” YHWH is aware of the conduct of all humans. Nothing escapes his attention. In expression of his justice, he repays each individual according to what he deserves. (32:19 [39:19, LXX]; see the Notes section.)

Jeremiah continued his prayer with thoughts about YHWH’s past dealings with his people and their unfaithfulness to him. “You have shown signs and wonders in the land of Egypt, down to this day, in Israel and among mankind [earth-born ones (LXX)], and have made a name for yourself as at this day.” The “signs and wonders” in the land of Egypt included the ten plagues that came upon the land and which culminated in Israel’s departure as a free people. “Signs and wonders” or astonishing deeds did not end in the centuries that followed. YHWH effected marvelous deliverances for his people, and his deeds were even manifested to non-Israelite peoples. The display of YHWH’s “signs and wonders” had continued to that very “day” or time, and he thus had made a “name” for himself, or a reputation as the God without equal. (32:20 [39:20, LXX]) “You brought your people Israel out from the land of Egypt with signs and wonders and with a strong hand and an outstretched arm and with great terror [great visions (LXX), possibly to be understood as designating God’s extraordinary actions that both the Israelites and the Egyptians saw].” The devastating plagues that the Egyptians experienced filled them with terror or great fear. (32:21 [39:21, LXX) “You gave them this land [the land of Canaan] that you swore to their fathers [forefathers or ancestors, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob] to give them, a land flowing with milk and honey” (an abundance of milk from cows and goats and wild honey from bees and syrup from fruits). (32:22 [39:22, LXX]) “And they entered [the land] and took possession of it, and they did not hear [listen to or obey] your voice, and they did not walk in your law [or conduct themselves according to the requirements of the law]. Of all you commanded them to do, they did nothing. Therefore, you have made all this evil come upon them” (all the calamity resulting from the Babylonian military invasion of the land and the siege of Jerusalem). (32:23 [39:23, LXX])

Referring to the then-existing circumstances at Jerusalem, Jeremiah continued with his prayer, “Look, the [siege] mounds [or ramps] have come up to the city to seize it, and the city is given into the hand of the Chaldeans who are warring against it.” Mounds or ramps served as inclined planes on which battering rams were moved to begin pounding against gates and walls, creating the breaches that opened the way for warriors to enter the city. Jerusalem was certain to fall to the Chaldean forces under the command of King Nebuchadnezzar. During the siege and the eventual capture of the city, the inhabitants would perish as victims of sword, famine, and pestilence. Cut off from any available food outside the city, the food supply inside Jerusalem would run out, and pestilence or infectious disease would spread among the weak, malnourished inhabitants living in the unsanitary conditions that warfare had created. Everything YHWH had previously revealed to Jeremiah had occurred, and Jeremiah said to him, “And look, you are seeing [it].” (32:24 [39:24, LXX]; see the Notes section.)

The impending destruction of Jerusalem caused Jeremiah to be puzzled about YHWH’s directive to him to buy the field at Anathoth. Therefore, he concluded his prayer with the words, “And you, Lord YHWH, have said to me, Buy for yourself the field with silver and get witnesses [for the transaction]. And [yet] the city is given [certain to be given] into the hand of the Chaldeans.” The Septuagint refers to what Jeremiah did to carry out God’s command to buy the field. “And I wrote a document and sealed [it], and I had witnesses to witness [it], and the city was given into the hand of the Chaldeans.” (32:25 [39:25, LXX])

In response to Jeremiah’s prayer, the “word of YHWH” came to him, saying [32:26 (39:26, LXX)], “Look, I [am] YHWH, the God of all flesh” or all peoples. “Is anything too extraordinary for me [hidden from me (LXX)?” Nothing will prevent YHWH from accomplishing his purpose.(32:27 [39:27, LXX]) “Therefore, thus says YHWH [the Lord, the God of Israel (LXX)], Look, I am giving this city [Jerusalem] into the hand of the Chaldeans and into the hand of Nebuchadrezzar [Nebuchadnezzar], king of Babylon; and he will seize it.” (32:28 [39:28, LXX]) “And the Chaldeans who are warring against this city will come against this city and set this city on fire and burn it.” The fire would consume the houses on the roofs of which the people offered incense to Baal and poured out libations to “other gods to provoke [YHWH] to anger.” (32:29 [39:29, LXX]) “For the sons of Israel [the people of the former ten-tribe kingdom of Israel] and the sons of Judah [people of the kingdom of Judah] are only doing evil in my eyes [or sight] from their youth [or from their beginning as a nation]. For the sons of Israel [the people of Israel] are only provoking me to anger by the work of their hands [with idols], says YHWH.” (32:30 [39:30, LXX]; see the Notes section.)

YHWH’s “anger and wrath” had aroused him against Jerusalem “from the day that they built it” to that “day” or time. Therefore, he purposed to remove the city “from before [his] face” or from his sight. In this context, the start of YHWH’s indignation against the city would have been after Jerusalem became the capital of the kingdom of all Israel. Although David, the first Judean king to rule from Jerusalem, remained devoted to YHWH, his son Solomon did not. (1 Kings 11:1-13) Particularly from the time of Solomon, the people built Jerusalem, for he undertook extensive building projects in Jerusalem. (1 Kings 9:10, 11, 15-19, 24) The unfaithfulness of Solomon and that of his subjects incurred YHWH’s wrath. In the centuries thereafter, the people and their kings repeatedly chose to worship nonexistent deities. Therefore, YHWH’s anger against Jerusalem continued from its impressive beginnings during Solomon’s reign down to the time of the prophet Jeremiah. According to the Septuagint, the city existed for God’s anger and wrath from the “day” or time the people built it. (32:31 [39:31, LXX])

YHWH is quoted as saying to Jeremiah that he determined to remove Jerusalem from his sight “because of all the evil the sons of Israel [the people of the former ten-tribe kingdom of Israel] and the sons of Judah [the people of the kingdom of Judah]” did to provoke him to anger. All were guilty of doing so — “their kings, their princes, their priests, and their prophets [the ones whom he had not sent and who spoke falsehood in his name], and the men of Judah [the people in the realm of the kingdom of Judah] and the inhabitants of Jerusalem.” (32:32 [39:32, LXX])

In contempt and defiance, the people had turned their back to YHWH instead of their face as persons desiring his approval, aid, and blessing. By means of his prophets, he repeatedly had instructed them, providing the admonition for them to be exclusively devoted to him. The people, however, did not “hear,” listen to, or heed the instruction given. They refused to accept it. (32:33 [39:33, LXX]) In the temple at Jerusalem, the “house” upon which God’s “name” had been called (or the temple that was uniquely his own as his representative place of dwelling), the people had set up “their abominations” or idols. Thereby they defiled the temple. (32:34 [39:34, LXX]) The people built “high places” or cultic sites for the veneration of Baal “in the valley of the son of Hinnom” (commonly identified with a valley that is located on the south and the southwest of Jerusalem). In that valley, the people offered up (literally, “passed”) “their sons and daughters to Molech.” This abhorrent practice of child sacrifice was a ritual that YHWH had neither commanded nor had it come into his “heart” or thought. The name “Molech” appears to be a title that can apply to Baal and other deities. It may be drawn from a root that means “king,” but with the vowel points from the word bósheth (“shame”). With abominable practices, Judah (or the people of the kingdom of Judah) had been made “to sin.” (32:35 [39:35, LXX]; see the Notes section.)

Concerning Jerusalem, Jeremiah had been proclaiming that the city would be “given into the hand of the king of Babylon by sword [warfare] and by famine [the food shortage resulting from the siege and conquest of the city] and by pestilence [plague; literally, a sending (away), LXX]” (infectious disease that would spread on account of the famished state of the people under siege and the unsanitary conditions stemming from the siege). “YHWH, the God of Israel,” however, then declared that there would be a reversal of circumstances for Jerusalem. (32:36 [39:36, LXX]; see the Notes section.) “Look, I will gather them from all the lands to which I drove them [his people Israel] in my anger and in my wrath and in great fury, and I will bring them back to this place [Jerusalem (and, by extension, to their own land)], and I will make them reside in security.” The people who would return from exile would not need to fear military aggression and conquest. (32:37 [39:37, LXX]) According to YHWH’s promise, his relationship with his people would then be restored. “And they will be my people [the people whom he would recognize as his own], and I will be their God” (the God to whom they would be exclusively devoted). (32:38 [39:38, LXX]) “And I will give them one heart and one way [another way and another heart (LXX)] for them to fear me all [their] days, for their own good and for [the good] of their sons [or offspring] after them.” The people would then not be divided in their affections but be in possession of singleness of heart and be determined to follow the way that YHWH approved. They would have a proper fear or reverential regard for him throughout their life, contributing to their “good” or welfare and that of their offspring in time to come. (32:39 [39:39, LXX])

The “eternal covenant” that YHWH promised to conclude with his people apparently is the “new covenant” mentioned in Jeremiah 31:31-34. According to this covenant or solemn agreement, YHWH “will not turn away from behind them,” never ceasing “from doing good to them.” The Septuagint rendering indicates that God “will not turn away” the covenant “behind them,” not invalidating the covenant promises that apply to his people. In the Greek text, this is made emphatic with two words for “not.” As to what he would do for his people, YHWH declared, “I will put the fear of me into their heart that they may not turn away from me.” The people would then come to have a reverential regard for him in their inmost selves and continue to be devoted him as their God. (32:40 [39:40, LXX]; see the Notes section.) He would “rejoice over them in doing them good,” finding joy or delight in richly blessing them. Through Jeremiah, YHWH continued to promise, “And I will plant them in this land [their own land from which they had been exiled] in truth [faithfulness (LXX)], with all my heart and with all my soul.” These words provided the assurance to the people that they would once again be settled in their own land. It was YHWH’s wholehearted purpose to bring his people back to their land, a purpose to which he was firmly committed with all his soul or his very being. (32:41 [32:41, LXX]; see the Notes section.)

For their unfaithfulness, YHWH had brought “great evil” upon his people, letting them experience enemy conquest, exile, and oppression. Just as he had done this, he then declared, “I will bring upon them all the good that I am promising them.” This good included their return to their own land. (32:42 [39:42, LXX]) “Fields” would again be bought in the land, the land concerning which Jeremiah had been saying [literally, you are saying (plural) but singular in the Septuagint] that it would be a “desolation [be untrodden (LXX) without man and beast [or domestic animal] and “given into the hand [and they were given into the hands (LXX)] of the Chaldeans.” (32:43 [39:43, LXX]; see the Notes section.) “Fields will be bought with silver,” documents (or deeds) written “and sealed and witnessed in the land of Benjamin [the territory north of Jerusalem and assigned to the people of the tribe of Benjamin],” the neighborhood bordering Jerusalem, “and in the cities of Judah [the region assigned to the people of the tribe of Judah, the southernmost territory of the Israelite tribes], and in the cities of the mountainous region, and in the cities of the Shephelah [a region of low hills situated between the central mountain range of the former kingdom of Judah and the coastal plains of Philistia], and in the cities of the Negeb” (the semiarid region south of the mountains of the former kingdom of Judah). This would be because YHWH would restore the “captivity” (the “body of captives” in exile or, according to numerous modern translation, the “fortunes” of the people). (32:44 [39:44, LXX])


The Septuagint rendering of verse 5 of chapter 39 is much shorter than the reading of the Hebrew text of verse 5 in chapter 32. “And Zedekiah will enter into Babylon, and there he will stay.”

Verse 8 of chapter 39 in the Septuagint mentions Hanamel (Hanameel) by name and identifies him as the “son of Salom,” the brother of Jeremiah’s father. The Septuagint does not include the words, “Buy it for yourself.”

In verse 11 of chapter 39, the wording of the Septuagint is shorter than that of the Hebrew text. “And I took the document of purchase, the one sealed and the one read.

The Septuagint rendering of verse 19 of chapter 39 does not contain a corresponding word for “open” and does not include the phrase “and according to the fruit of his doings.”

The Septuagint, in verse 24 of chapter 39, does not mention “pestilence” and omits the concluding phrase, “And look, you are seeing [it].”

Verse 30 of chapter 39 in the Septuagint does not include a reference to the “work of their hands.”

In verse 36, the Hebrew phrase introducing what has been said about Jerusalem may be rendered, “concerning this city about which you are saying.” The Hebrew participle translated “you are saying” is plural, but the Septuagint contains the singular “you say.” Jeremiah did continue to proclaim that Jerusalem would fall to the military forces under the command of King Nebuchadnezzar. Therefore, although the Hebrew text contains the plural participle, it is reasonable to conclude that the reference is to Jeremiah, as expressed with the singular “you say” in the Septuagint.

The words of verse 40 have their complete fulfillment in the case of the true Israelites who become the beneficiaries of the new covenant. According to the book of Hebrews, they are the ones who accept the sacrificial death of Jesus Christ as the basis for forgiveness of sins. (Hebrews 8:7-9:28; 10:15-18) They are motivated in their inmost selves, through the operation of the holy spirit, to conduct themselves as obedient children of their heavenly Father. (Romans 8:9-17; 1 Peter 1:14-25)

In verse 41, the Hebrew word for “truth” can also mean “faithfulness” or “firmness.” This accounts for different renderings in translations. “I will replant them firmly in this land, with all my heart and soul.” (NAB) “I will establish them permanently in this land.” (TEV) “I … will faithfully and wholeheartedly replant them in this land.” (NLT)

As in verse 36, the Hebrew participle rendered “you are saying” in verse 43 apparently applies to Jeremiah.