Jeremiah Buys a Field
1 In the tenth year that Zedekiah was ruling over Judah the Lord spoke to Jeremiah.#tn Heb “The word which came to Jeremiah from the Lord in the eleventh year of…” See 7:1; 11:1; 18:1; 21:1; 30:1 for this same formula.sn The dating formulas indicate that the date was 588/87 b.c. Zedekiah had begun to reign in 598/97 and Nebuchadnezzar had begun to reign in 605/604 b.c. The dating of Nebuchadnezzar’s rule here includes the partial year before he was officially crowned on New Year’s day. See the translator’s note on 25:1 for the method of dating a king’s reign. That was the same as the eighteenth year of Nebuchadnezzar.
32:2 Now at that time,#sn Jer 32:2-5 are parenthetical, giving the background for the actual report of what the Lord said in v. 7. The background is significant because it shows that Jeremiah was predicting the fall of the city and the kingdom and was being held prisoner for doing so. Despite this pessimistic outlook, the Lord wanted Jeremiah to demonstrate his assurance of the future restoration (which has been the topic of the two preceding chapters) by buying a field as a symbolic act that the Israelites would again one day regain possession of their houses, fields, and vineyards (vv. 15, 44). (For other symbolic acts with prophetic import see Jer 13, 19.) the armies of the king of Babylon were besieging Jerusalem.#sn According to Jer 39:1 the siege began in Zedekiah’s ninth year (i.e., in 589/88 b.c.). It had been interrupted while the Babylonian army was occupied with fighting against an Egyptian force that had invaded Judah. During this period of relaxed siege Jeremiah had attempted to go to his home town in Anathoth to settle some property matters, had been accused of treason, and been thrown into a dungeon (37:11-15). After appealing to Zedekiah he had been moved from the dungeon to the courtyard of the guardhouse connected to the palace (37:21) where he remained confined until Jerusalem was captured in 587/86 b.c. (38:28).map For location see Map5-B1; Map6-F3; Map7-E2; Map8-F2; Map10-B3; JP1-F4; JP2-F4; JP3-F4; JP4-F4. The prophet Jeremiah was confined in the courtyard of the guardhouse#tn Heb “the courtyard of the guarding” or “place of guarding.” This expression occurs only in the book of Jeremiah (32:2, 8, 12; 33:1; 37:21; 38:6, 12, 28; 39:14, 15) and in Neh 3:25. It is not the same as an enclosed prison which is where Jeremiah was initially confined (37:15-16; literally a “house of imprisoning” [בֵּית הָאֵסוּר, bet ha’esur] or “house of confining” [בֵּית הַכֶּלֶא, bet hakkele’]). It is said to have been in the palace compound (32:2) near the citadel or upper palace (Neh 3:25). Though it was a place of confinement (32:2; 33:1; 39:15) Jeremiah was able to receive visitors, e.g., his cousin Hanamel (32:8) and the scribe Baruch (32:12), and conduct business there (32:12). According to 32:12 other Judeans were also housed there. A cistern of one of the royal princes, Malkijah, was located in this courtyard, so this is probably not a “prison compound” as NJPS interpret but a courtyard adjacent to a guardhouse or guard post (so G. L. Keown, P. J. Scalise, T. G. Smothers, Jeremiah 26-52 [WBC], 151, and compare Neh 12:39 where reference is made to a Gate of the Guard/Guardhouse) used here for housing political prisoners who did not deserve death or solitary confinement as some of the officials though Jeremiah did. attached to the royal palace of Judah. 3 For King Zedekiah#tn Heb “Zedekiah king of Judah.” had confined Jeremiah there after he had reproved him for prophesying as he did. He had asked Jeremiah, “Why do you keep prophesying these things? Why do you keep saying that the Lord says, ‘I will hand this city over to the king of Babylon? I will let him capture it.#tn The translation represents an attempt to break up a very long Hebrew sentence with several levels of subordination and embedded quotations and also an attempt to capture the rhetorical force of the question “Why…” which is probably an example of what E. W. Bullinger (Figures of Speech, 953-54) calls a rhetorical question of expostulation or remonstrance (cf. the note on 26:9 and compare also the question in 36:29. In all three of these cases NJPS translates “How dare you…” which captures the force nicely). The Hebrew text reads, “For Zedekiah king of Judah had confined him, saying, ‘Why are you prophesying, saying, “Thus says the Lord, ‘Behold I am giving this city into the hands of the king of Babylon and he will capture it.’”’” 4 King Zedekiah of Judah will not escape from the Babylonians.#tn Heb “The Chaldeans.” See the study note on 21:4 for further explanation. He will certainly be handed over to the king of Babylon. He must answer personally to the king of Babylon and confront him face to face.#tn Heb “his [Zedekiah’s] mouth will speak with his [Nebuchadnezzar’s] mouth and his eyes will see his eyes.” The verbs here are an obligatory imperfect and its vav consecutive perfect equivalent. (See IBHS 508-9 §31.4g for discussion and examples of the former and IBHS 528 §32.2.1d, n. 16, for the latter.) 5 Zedekiah will be carried off to Babylon and will remain there until I have fully dealt with him.#tn This is the verb (פָּקַד, paqad) that has been met with several times in the book of Jeremiah, most often in the ominous sense of “punish” (e.g., 6:15; 11:22; 23:24) but also in the good sense of “resume concern for” (e.g., 27:22; 29:10). Here it is obviously in the ominous sense referring to his imprisonment and ultimate death (52:11).sn Compare Jer 34:2-3 for this same prophecy. The incident in Jer 34:1-7 appears to be earlier than this one. Here Jeremiah is confined to the courtyard of the guardhouse; there he appears to have freedom of movement. I, the Lord, affirm it!#tn Heb “Oracle of the Lord.” Even if you#sn The pronouns are plural here, referring to the people of Judah and Jerusalem. Jeremiah had counseled that they surrender (cf. 27:12; 21:8-10) because they couldn’t succeed against the Babylonian army even under the most favorable circumstances (37:3-10). continue to fight against the Babylonians,#tn Heb “The Chaldeans.” See the study note on 21:4 for further explanation. you cannot win.’”
6 So now, Jeremiah said, “The Lord told me,#tn Heb “The word of the Lord came to me, saying.” This verse resumes the narrative introduction in v. 1 which was interrupted by the long parenthetical note about historical background. There is again some disjunction in the narrative (compare the translator’s notes on 27:2 and 28:1). What was begun as a biographical (third person) narrative turns into an autobiographical (first person) narrative until v. 26 where the third person is again resumed. Again this betrays the hand of the narrator, Baruch. 7 ‘Hanamel, the son of your uncle Shallum, will come to you soon. He will say to you, “Buy my field at Anathoth because you are entitled#tn Heb “your right.” The term מִשְׁפָּט (mishpat) here and in v. 8 refers to legal entitlement for the option to purchase a property (BDB 1049 s.v. מִשְׁפָּט 5; cf. Deut 21:17). as my closest relative to buy it.”’#sn Underlying this request are the laws of redemption of property spelled out in Lev 25:25-34 and illustrated in Ruth 4:3-4. Under these laws, if a property owner became impoverished and had to sell his land, the nearest male relative had the right and duty to buy it so that it would not pass out of the use of the extended family. The land, however, would not actually belong to Jeremiah because in the year of Jubilee it reverted to its original owner. All Jeremiah was actually buying was the right to use it (Lev 25:13-17). Buying the field, thus, did not make any sense (thus Jeremiah’s complaint in v. 25) other than the fact that the Lord intended to use Jeremiah’s act as a symbol of a restored future in the land. 8 Now it happened just as the Lord had said! My cousin Hanamel#tn Heb “And according to the word of the Lord my cousin Hanamel came to me to the courtyard of the guardhouse and said, ‘…’” The sentence has been broken down to conform better with contemporary English style. came to me in the courtyard of the guardhouse. He said to me, ‘Buy my field which is at Anathoth in the territory of the tribe of Benjamin. Buy it for yourself since you are entitled as my closest relative to take possession of it for yourself.’ When this happened, I recognized that the Lord had indeed spoken to me. 9 So I bought the field at Anathoth from my cousin Hanamel. I weighed out seven ounces of silver and gave it to him to pay for it.#tn Heb “I weighed out the money [more literally, “silver”] for him, seventeen shekels of silver.”sn Coins were not in common use until the postexilic period. Payment in gold and silver was made by cutting off pieces of silver or gold and weighing them in a beam balance using standard weights as the measure. A shekel weighed approximately 0.4 ounce or 11.4 grams. The English equivalents are only approximations. 10 I signed the deed of purchase,#tn The words “of purchase” are not in the text but are implicit. The qualification is spelled out explicitly in vv. 11, 12, 13. These words are supplied in the translation for clarity. An alternative translation would be “I put the deed in writing.” However, since the same idiom כָּתַב בְּסֵפֶר (catav bÿsefer) is used later in v. 12 with respect to the witnesses, it is likely that it merely refers to signing the document. sealed it, and had some men serve as witnesses to the purchase.#tn The words “to the purchase” are not in the text but are implicit in the idiom “I had some witnesses serve as witness.” The words are supplied in the translation for clarity. I weighed out the silver for him on a scale. 11 There were two copies of the deed of purchase. One was sealed and contained the order of transfer and the conditions of purchase.#tn There is some uncertainty about the precise meaning of the phrases translated “the order of transfer and the regulations.” The translation follows the interpretation suggested by J. Bright, Jeremiah (AB), 237; J. A. Thompson, Jeremiah (NICOT), 586, n. 5; and presumably BDB 349 s.v. חֹק 7, which defines the use of חֹק (khoq) here as “conditions of the deed of purchase.” The other was left unsealed. 12 I took both copies of the deed of purchase#tn Heb “the deed, the purchase.” This is a case of apposition of species in place of the genitive construction (cf. GKC 423 §131.b and compare the usage in Exod 24:5). and gave them to Baruch son of Neriah, the son of Mahseiah. I gave them to him in the presence#tn Heb “I took the deed of purchase, both that which was sealed [and contained] the order and the regulations and that which was open [i.e., unsealed], and I gave the deed of purchase to Baruch…in the presence of my cousin Hanamel and in the presence of…and in the presence of….” It is awkward to begin a sentence with “I took…” without finishing the thought, and the long qualifiers in v. 12 make that sentence too long. The sentence is broken up in accordance with contemporary English style. The reference to the “deed of purchase” in v. 12 should be viewed as a plural consisting of both written and sealed copies as is clear from v. 11 and also v. 14. Part of the confusion is due to the nature of this document which consisted of a single papyrus scroll, half of which was rolled up and sealed and the other half which was left “opened” or unsealed. J. Bright (Jeremiah [AB], 237-38) is probably incorrect in assuming that the copies were duplicate since the qualification “containing the order of transfer and the regulations” is only applied to the appositional participle, “the sealed one [or copy].”sn Aramaic documents from a slightly later period help us understand the nature of such deeds. The document consisted of a single papyrus sheet divided in half. One half contained all the particulars and was tightly rolled up, bound with strips of cloth or thread, sealed with wax upon which the parties affixed their seal, and signed by witnesses. The other copy consisted of an abstract and was left loosely rolled and unsealed (i.e., open to be consulted at will). If questions were raised about legality of the contract then the sealed copy could be unsealed and consulted. of my cousin#tc The translation follows a number of Hebrew mss and the Greek and Syriac version in reading “the son of my uncles (= my cousin; בֶּן דֹּדִי, ben dodi).” The majority of Hebrew mss do not have the word “son of (בֶּן).” Hanamel, the witnesses who had signed the deed of purchase, and all the Judeans who were housed in the courtyard of the guardhouse. 13 In the presence of all these people I instructed Baruch, 14 ‘The Lord God of Israel who rules over all#tn Heb “Yahweh of armies, the God of Israel.” For this title see 7:3 and the study notes on 2:19. says, “Take these documents, both the sealed copy of the deed of purchase and the unsealed copy. Put them in a clay jar so that they may be preserved for a long time to come.”’#tn Heb “many days.” See BDB s.v. יוֹם 5.b for this usage. 15 For the Lord God of Israel who rules over all#tn Heb “Yahweh of armies, the God of Israel.” For this title see 7:3 and the study notes on 2:19. says, “Houses, fields, and vineyards will again be bought in this land.”’#sn The significance of the symbolic act performed by Jeremiah as explained here was a further promise (see the “again” statements in 31:4, 5, 23 and the “no longer” statements in 31:12, 29, 34, 40) of future restoration beyond the destruction implied in vv. 3-5. After the interruption of exile, normal life of buying and selling of fields, etc. would again be resumed and former property rights would be recognized.
Jeremiah’s Prayer of Praise and Bewilderment
16 “After I had given the copies of the deed of purchase to Baruch son of Neriah, I prayed to the Lord, 17 ‘Oh, Lord God,#tn Heb “Lord Yahweh.” For an explanation of the rendering here see the study note on 1:6.sn The parallel usage of this introduction in Jer 1:6; 4:10; 14:13 shows that though this prayer has a lengthy introductory section of praise vv. 17-22, this prayer is really one of complaint or lament. you did indeed#tn This is an attempt to render the Hebrew particle normally translated “behold.” See the translator’s note on 1:6 for the usage of this particle. make heaven and earth by your mighty power and great strength.#tn Heb “by your great power and your outstretched arm.” See 21:5; 27:5 and the marginal note on 27:5 for this idiom. Nothing is too hard for you! 18 You show unfailing love to thousands.#tn Or “to thousands of generations.” The contrast of showing steadfast love to “thousands” to the limitation of punishing the third and fourth generation of children for their parents’ sins in Exod 20:5-6; Deut 5:9-10; Exod 34:7 has suggested to many commentators and translators (cf., e.g., NRSV, TEV, NJPS) that reference here is to “thousands of generations.” The statement is, of course, rhetorical emphasizing God’s great desire to bless as opposed to the reluctant necessity to punish. It is part of the attributes of God spelled out in Exod 34:6-7. But you also punish children for the sins of their parents.#tn Heb “pays back into the bosom of their children the sin of their parents.” You are the great and powerful God who is known as the Lord who rules over all.#tn Heb “Nothing is too hard for you who show…and who punishes…the great [and] powerful God whose name is Yahweh of armies, [you who are] great in counsel…whose eyes are open…who did signs…” Jer 32:18-22 is a long series of relative clauses introduced by participles or relative pronouns in vv. 18-20a followed by second person vav consecutive imperfects carrying on the last of these relative clauses in vv. 20b-22. This is typical of hymnic introductions to hymns of praise (cf., e.g., Ps 136) but it is hard to sustain the relative subordination which all goes back to the suffix on “hard for you.” The sentences have been broken up but the connection with the end of v. 17 has been sacrificed for conformity to contemporary English style. 19 You plan great things and you do mighty deeds.#tn Heb “[you are] great in counsel and mighty in deed.” You see everything people do.#tn Heb “your eyes are open to the ways of the sons of men.” You reward each of them for the way they live and for the things they do.#tn Heb “giving to each according to his way [= behavior/conduct] and according to the fruit of his deeds.” 20 You did miracles and amazing deeds in the land of Egypt which have had lasting effect. By this means you gained both in Israel and among humankind a renown that lasts to this day.#tn Or “You did miracles and amazing deeds in the land of Egypt. And you continue to do them until this day both in Israel and among mankind. By this mean you have gained a renown…” The translation here follows the syntactical understanding reflected also in NJPS. The Hebrew text reads: “you did miracles and marvelous acts in the land of Egypt until this day and in Israel and in mankind and you made for yourself a name as this day.” The majority of English versions and commentaries understand the phrases “until this day and in Israel and in mankind” to be an elliptical sentence with the preceding verb and objects supplied as reflected in the alternate translation. However, the emphasis on the miraculous deeds in Egypt in this section both before and after this elliptical phrase and the dominant usage of the terms “signs and wonders” to refer to the plagues and other miraculous signs in Egypt calls this interpretation into question. The key here is understanding “both in Israel and in mankind” as an example of a casus pendens construction (a dangling subject, object, or other modifier) before a conjunction introducing the main clause (cf. GKC 327 §111.h and 458 §143.d and compare the usage in Jer 6:19; 33:24; 1 Kgs 15:13). This verse is the topic sentence which is developed further in v. 21 and initiates a narrative history of the distant past that continues until v. 22b where reference is made to the long history of disobedience which has led to the present crisis. 21 You used your mighty power and your great strength to perform miracles and amazing deeds and to bring great terror on the Egyptians. By this means you brought your people Israel out of the land of Egypt.#tn Heb “You brought your people Israel out of the land of Egypt with signs and wonders and with a mighty hand and with outstretched arm and with great terror.” For the figurative expressions involved here see the marginal notes on 27:5. The sentence has been broken down to better conform to contemporary English style. 22 You kept the promise that you swore on oath to their ancestors.#tn Heb “fathers.” You gave them a land flowing with milk and honey.#tn For an alternative translation of the expression “a land flowing with milk and honey” see the translator’s note on 11:5. 23 But when they came in and took possession of it, they did not obey you or live as you had instructed them. They did not do anything that you commanded them to do.#tn Or “They did not do everything that you commanded them to do.” This is probably a case where the negative (לֹא, lo’) negates the whole category indicated by “all” (כָּל, kol; see BDB 482 s.v. כָּל 1.e(c) and compare usage in Deut 12:16; 28:14). Jeremiah has repeatedly emphasized that the history of Israel since their entry into the land has been one of persistent disobedience and rebellion (cf., e.g. 7:22-26; 11:7-8). The statement, of course, is somewhat hyperbolical as all categorical statements of this kind are. So you brought all this disaster on them. 24 Even now siege ramps have been built up around the city#tn Heb “Siege ramps have come up to the city to capture it.” in order to capture it. War,#tn Heb “sword.” starvation, and disease are sure to make the city fall into the hands of the Babylonians#tn Heb “The Chaldeans.” See the study note on 21:4 for further explanation. who are attacking it.#tn Heb “And the city has been given into the hands of the Chaldeans who are fighting against it because of the sword, starvation, and disease.” The verb “has been given” is one of those perfects that view the action as good as done (the perfect of certainty or prophetic perfect). Lord,#tn The word “Lord” is not in the text but is supplied in the translation as a reminder that it is he who is being addressed. you threatened that this would happen. Now you can see that it is already taking place.#tn Heb “And what you said has happened and behold you see it.” 25 The city is sure to fall into the hands of the Babylonians.#tn Heb “The Chaldeans.” See the study note on 21:4 for further explanation. Yet, in spite of this,#tn Heb “And you, Lord Yahweh, have said to me, ‘Buy the field for…’ even though the city will be given into the hands of the Babylonians.” The sentence has been broken up and the order reversed for English stylistic purposes. For the rendering “is sure to fall into the hands of” see the translator’s note on the preceding verse. you, Lord God,#tn Heb “Lord God.” For the rendering of this title see the study note on 1:6. have said to me, “Buy that field with silver and have the transaction legally witnessed.”’”#tn Heb “call in witnesses to witness.”
The Lord Answers Jeremiah’s Prayer
26 The Lord answered Jeremiah.#tn Heb “The word of the Lord came to Jeremiah, saying.” 27 “I am the Lord, the God of all humankind. There is, indeed, nothing too difficult for me.#tn Heb “Behold, I am the Lord, the God of all flesh. Is anything too hard for me?” The question is rhetorical expecting an emphatic negative answer (cf. E. W. Bullinger, Figures of Speech, 949, citing the parallel in Gen 18:14). The Hebrew particle “Behold” (הִנֵּה, hinneh) introduces the grounds for this rhetorical negative (cf. T. O. Lambdin, Introduction to Biblical Hebrew, 170, §135 ), i.e., “Since I am the Lord, the God of all mankind, there is indeed nothing too hard for me [or is there anything too hard for me?].”sn This statement furnishes the grounds both for the assurance that the city will indeed be delivered over to Nebuchadnezzar (vv. 28-29a) and that it will be restored and repopulated (vv. 37-41). This can be seen from the parallel introductions in vv. 28, “Therefore the Lord says” and “Now therefore the Lord says.” As the creator of all and God of all mankind he has the power and authority to do with his creation what he wishes (cf. Jer 27:5-6). 28 Therefore I, the Lord, say:#tn Heb “Thus says the Lord.” However, the speech has already been introduced as first person. So the first person style has been retained for smoother narrative style. ‘I will indeed hand#tn Heb “Behold, I will give this city into the hand of…” this city over to King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon and the Babylonian army.#tn Heb “The Chaldeans.” See the study note on 21:4 for further explanation. They will capture it. 29 The Babylonian soldiers#tn Heb “The Chaldeans.” See the study note on 21:4 for further explanation. that are attacking this city will break into it and set it on fire. They will burn it down along with the houses where people have made me angry by offering sacrifices to the god Baal and by pouring out drink offerings to other gods on their rooftops.#sn Compare Jer 19:13. 30 This will happen because the people of Israel and Judah have repeatedly done what displeases me#tn Heb “that which is evil in my eyes.” For this idiom see BDB 744 s.v. עַיִן 3.c and compare usage in 18:10. from their earliest history until now#tn Heb “from their youth.”sn Compare Jer 3:24-25; 11:21. The nation is being personified and reference is made to her history from the time she left Egypt onward (cf. 2:2). and because they#tn Heb “the people of Israel.” However, since “people of Israel” has been used in the preceding line for the northern kingdom as opposed to the kingdom of Judah, it might lead to confusion to translate literally. Moreover, the pronoun “they” accomplishes the same purpose. have repeatedly made me angry by the things they have done.#tn Heb “by the work of their hands.” See the translator’s note on 25:6 and the parallelism in 25:14 for this rendering rather than referring it to the making of idols as in 1:16; 10:3. I, the Lord, affirm it!#tn Heb “Oracle of the Lord.” 31 This will happen because#tn The statements in vv. 28-29 regarding the certain destruction of the city are motivated by three parallel causal clauses in vv. 30a, b, 31, the last of which extends through subordinate and coordinate clauses until the end of v. 35. An attempt has been made to bring out this structure by repeating the idea “This/it will happen” in front of each of these causal clauses in the English translation. the people of this city have aroused my anger and my wrath since the time they built it until now.#tn Heb “from the day they built it until this day.”sn The Israelites did not in fact “build” Jerusalem. They captured it from the Jebusites in the time of David. This refers perhaps to the enlarging and fortifying of the city after it came into the hands of the Israelites (2 Sam 5:6-10). They have made me so angry that I am determined to remove#tn Heb “For this city has been to me for a source of my anger and my wrath from the day they built it until this day so as remove it.” The preposition ְל (lamed) with the infinitive (Heb “so as to remove it”; לַהֲסִירָהּ, lahasirah) expresses degree (cf. R. J. Williams, Hebrew Syntax, 37, §199, and compare usage in 2 Sam 13:2). it from my sight. 32 I am determined to do so because the people of Israel and Judah have made me angry with all their wickedness – they, their kings, their officials, their priests, their prophets, and especially the people of Judah and the citizens of Jerusalem#map For location see Map5-B1; Map6-F3; Map7-E2; Map8-F2; Map10-B3; JP1-F4; JP2-F4; JP3-F4; JP4-F4. have done this wickedness.#tn Heb “remove it from my sight 32:33 because of all the wickedness of the children of Israel and the children of Judah which they have done to make me angry, they, their kings, their officials, their priests, and their prophets, and the men of Judah, and the inhabitants of Jerusalem.” The sentence has been broken up in conformity with contemporary English style and an attempt has been made to preserve the causal connections. 33 They have turned away from me instead of turning to me.#tn Heb “they have turned [their] backs to me, not [their] faces.” Compare the same idiom in 2:27. I tried over and over again#tn For the idiom involved here see the translator’s note on 7:13. The verb that introduces this clause is a Piel infinitive absolute which is functioning in place of the finite verb (see, e.g., GKC 346 §113.ff and compare usage in Jer 8:15; 14:19. This grammatical point means that the versions cited in BHS fn a may not be reading a different text after all, but may merely be interpreting the form as syntactically equivalent to a finite verb as the present translation has done.).sn This refers to God teaching them through the prophets whom he has sent as indicated by the repeated use of this idiom elsewhere in 7:13, 25; 11:7; 25:3, 4; 26:5, 19. to instruct them, but they did not listen and respond to correction.#tn Heb “But they were not listening so as to accept correction.” 34 They set up their disgusting idols in the temple which I have claimed for my own#tn Heb “the house which is called by my name.” Cf. 7:10, 11, 14 and see the translator’s note on 7:10 for the explanation for this rendering. and defiled it. 35 They built places of worship for the god Baal in the Valley of Ben Hinnom so that they could sacrifice their sons and daughters to the god Molech.#sn Compare Jer 7:30-31; 19:5 and the study notes on 7:30. The god Molech is especially associated with the practice of child sacrifice (Lev 18:21; 20:2-5; 2 Kgs 23:10). In 1 Kgs 11:7 this god is identified as the god of the Ammonites who is also called Milcom in 1 Kgs 11:5; 2 Kgs 23:13. Child sacrifice, however, was not confined to this god; it was also made to the god Baal (Jer 19:5) and to other idols that the Israelites had set up (Ezek 16:20-21). This practice was, however, strictly prohibited in Israel (Lev 18:21; 20:2-5; Deut 12:31; 18:10). It was this practice as well as other pagan rites that Manasseh had instituted in Judah that ultimately led to Judah’s demise (2 Kgs 24:3-4). Though Josiah tried to root these pagan practices (2 Kgs 23:4-14) out of Judah he could not do so. The people had only made a pretense of following his reforms; their hearts were still far from God (Jer 3:10; 12:2). Such a disgusting practice was not something I commanded them to do! It never even entered my mind to command them to do such a thing! So Judah is certainly liable for punishment.’#tn Heb “They built high places to Baal which are in the Valley of Ben Hinnom to cause their sons and daughters to pass through [the fire] to Molech [a thing] which I did not command them and [which] did not go up into my heart [= “mind” in modern psychology] to do this abomination so as to make Judah liable for punishment.” For the use of the Hiphil of חָטָא (khata’) to refer to the liability for punishment see BDB s.v. חָטָא Hiph.3 and compare the usage in Deut 24:8. Coming at the end as this does, this nuance is much more likely than “cause Judah to sin” which is the normal translation assigned to the verb here. The particle לְמַעַן (lÿma’an) that precedes it is here once again introducing a result and not a purpose (compare other clear examples in 27:10, 15). The sentence has been broken down in conformity to contemporary English style and an attempt has been made to make clear that what is detestable and not commanded is not merely child sacrifice to Molech but child sacrifice in general.
36 “You and your people#tn Heb “you.” However, the pronoun is plural and is addressed to more than just Jeremiah (v. 26). It includes Jeremiah and those who have accepted his prophecy of doom. are right in saying, ‘War,#tn Heb “sword.” starvation, and disease are sure to make this city fall into the hands of the king of Babylon.’#sn Compare Jer 32:24, 28. In 32:24 this is Jeremiah’s statement just before he expresses his perplexity about the Lord’s command to buy the field of his cousin in spite of the certainty of the city’s demise. In 32:28 it is the Lord’s affirmation that the city will indeed fall. Here, the Lord picks up Jeremiah’s assessment only to add a further prophesy (vv. 37-41) of what is just as sure to happen (v. 42). This is the real answer to Jeremiah’s perplexity. Verses 28-35 are an assurance that the city will indeed be captured and a reiteration again of the reason for its demise. The structure of the two introductions in v. 28 and v. 36 are parallel and flow out of the statement that the Lord is God of all mankind and nothing is too hard for him (neither destruction nor restoration [cf. 1:10]). But now I, the Lord God of Israel, have something further to say about this city:#tn Heb “And now therefore thus says the Lord, the God of Israel, concerning this city which you [masc. pl.] are saying has been given [prophetic perfect = will be given] into the hand of the king of Babylon through sword, starvation, and disease.” The translation attempts to render the broader structure mentioned in the study note and to break the sentence down in a way that conforms more to contemporary English style and that will lead into the speech which does not begin until the next verse. As in v. 28 the third person introduction has been changed to first person for smoother narrative style in a first person speech (i.e., vv. 27-44 are all the Lord’s answer to Jeremiah’s prayer). The words “right in” added to “are saying” are intended to reflect the connection between v. 28 and the statement here (which is a repetition of v. 24). I.e., God does not deny that Jeremiah’s assessment is correct; he affirms it but has something further to say in answer to Jeremiah’s prayer. 37 ‘I will certainly regather my people from all the countries where I will have exiled#tn The verb here should be interpreted as a future perfect; though some of the people have already been exiled (in 605 and 597 b.c.), some have not yet been exiled at the time this prophesy is given (see study note on v. 1 for the date). However, contemporary English style does not regularly use the future perfect, choosing instead to use the simple future or the simple perfect as the present translation has done here. them in my anger, fury, and great wrath. I will bring them back to this place and allow them to live here in safety. 38 They will be my people, and I will be their God.#sn The covenant formula setting forth the basic relationship is reinstituted along with a new covenant (v. 40). See also 24:7; 30:22; 31:1 and the study note on 30:22. 39 I will give them a single-minded purpose to live in a way that always shows respect for me. They will want to do that for#tn Heb “I will give to them one heart and one way to [= in order that they may] fear me all the days for good to them.” The phrase “one heart” refers both to unanimity of will and accord (cf. 1 Chr 12:38 [12:39 HT]; 2 Chr 30:12) and to singleness of purpose or intent (cf. Ezek 11:19 and see BDB 525 s.v. ֵלב 4 where reference is made to “inclinations, resolutions, and determinations of the will”). The phrase “one way” refers to one way of life or conduct (cf. BDB 203 s.v. דֶּרֶךְ 6.a where reference is made to moral action and character), a way of life that is further qualified by the goal of showing “fear, reverence, respect” for the Lord. The Hebrew sentence has been broken up to avoid a long complex sentence in English which is contrary to contemporary English style. However, an attempt has been made to preserve all the connections of the original.sn Other passages also speak about the “single-minded purpose” (Heb “one heart”) and “living in a way that shows respect for me.” Deut 30:6-8 speaks of a circumcised heart that will love him, obey him, and keep his commands. Ezek 11:20-21 speaks of the removal of a stony heart and the giving of a single-minded, “fleshy” heart and a new spirit that will follow his decrees and keep his laws. Ezek 36:26-27 speaks of the removal of a stony heart and the giving of a new, “fleshy” heart and a new spirit and an infusion of God’s own spirit so that they will be able to follow his decrees and keep his laws. Jer 24:7 speaks of the giving of a (new) heart so that they might “know” him. And Jer 31:33 speaks of God writing his law on their hearts. All this shows that there is a new motivation and a new enablement for fulfilling the old stipulations, especially that of whole-hearted devotion to him (cf. Deut 6:4-6). their own good and the good of the children who descend from them. 40 I will make a lasting covenant#tn Heb “an everlasting covenant.” For the rationale for the rendering “agreement” and the nature of the biblical covenants see the study note on 11:2.sn For other references to the lasting (or everlasting) nature of the new covenant see Isa 55:3; 61:8; Jer 50:5; Ezek 16:60; 37:26. The new covenant appears to be similar to the ancient Near Eastern covenants of grants whereby a great king gave a loyal vassal a grant of land or dynastic dominion over a realm in perpetuity in recognition of past loyalty. The right to such was perpetual as long as the great king exercised dominion, but the actual enjoyment could be forfeited by individual members of the vassal’s dynasty. The best example of such an covenant in the OT is the Davidic covenant where the dynasty was given perpetual right to rule over Israel. Individual kings might be disciplined and their right to enjoy dominion taken away, but the dynasty still maintained the right to rule (see 2 Sam 23:5; Ps 89:26-37 and note especially 1 Kgs 11:23-39). The new covenant appears to be the renewal of God’s promise to Abraham to always be the God of his descendants and for his descendants to be his special people (Gen 17:7) something they appear to have forfeited by their disobedience (see Hos 1:9). However, under the new covenant he promises to never stop doing them good and grants them a new heart, a new spirit, the infusion of his own spirit, and the love and reverence necessary to keep from turning away from him. The new covenant is not based on their past loyalty but on his gracious forgiveness and his gifts. with them that I will never stop doing good to them.#tn Or “stop being gracious to them” or “stop blessing them with good”; Heb “turn back from them to do good to them.” I will fill their hearts and minds with respect for me so that#tn Or “I will make them want to fear and respect me so much that”; Heb “I will put the fear of me in their hearts.” However, as has been noted several times, “heart” in Hebrew is more the center of the volition (and intellect) than the center of emotions as it is in English. Both translations are intended to reflect the difference in psychology. they will never again turn#tn The words “never again” are not in the text but are implicit from the context and are supplied not only by this translation but by a number of others. away from me. 41 I will take delight in doing good to them. I will faithfully and wholeheartedly plant them#tn Heb “will plant them in the land with faithfulness with all my heart and with all my soul.” The latter expressions are, of course, anthropomorphisms (see Deut 6:5). firmly in the land.’
42 “For I, the Lord, say:#tn Heb “For thus says the Lord.” See the translator’s notes on 32:27, 36. ‘I will surely bring on these people all the good fortune that I am hereby promising them. I will be just as sure to do that as I have been in bringing all this great disaster on them.#tn Heb “As I have brought all this great disaster on these people so I will bring upon them all the good fortune which I am promising them.” The translation has broken down the longer Hebrew sentence to better conform to English style.sn See the same guarantee in Jer 31:27. 43 You and your people#tn Heb “you.” However, the pronoun is plural and is addressed to more than just Jeremiah (v. 26). It includes Jeremiah and those who have accepted his prophecy of doom. are saying that this land will become desolate, uninhabited by either people or animals. You are saying that it will be handed over to the Babylonians.#tn Heb “The Chaldeans.” See the study note on 21:4 for further explanation. But fields#tn The noun is singular with the article, but it is a case of the generic singular (cf. GKC 406 §126.m). will again be bought in this land.#tn Heb “Fields will be bought in this land of which you [masc. pl.] are saying, ‘It will be desolate [a perfect of certainty or prophetic perfect] without man or beast; it will be given into the hand of the Chaldeans.’” The original sentence has been broken down to better conform to contemporary English style. 44 Fields will again be bought with silver, and deeds of purchase signed, sealed, and witnessed. This will happen in the territory of Benjamin, the villages surrounding Jerusalem, the towns in Judah, the southern hill country, the western foothills, and southern Judah.#tn Heb “They will buy fields with silver and write in the deed and seal [it] and have witnesses witness [it] in the land of Benjamin, in the environs of Jerusalem, in the towns in Judah, in the towns in the hill country, in the towns in the Shephelah, and in the towns in the Negev.” The long Hebrew sentence has again been restructured to better conform to contemporary English style. The indefinite “they will buy” is treated as a passive. It is followed by three infinitive absolutes which substitute for the finite verb (cf. GKC 345 §113.y) which is a common feature of the style of the book of Jeremiah.sn For the geographical districts mentioned here compare Jer 17:26. For I will restore them to their land.#tn Or “I will reverse their fortunes.” For this idiom see the translator’s note on 29:14 and compare the usage in 29:14; 30:3, 18; 31:23. I, the Lord, affirm it!’”#tn Heb “Oracle of the Lord.”