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21.---into the court of the prison] This was not belonging to the house of Jonathan the scribe, where the dungeon was; but the court of the prison in the king's house, mentioned Ch. xxxii. 2.
Ibid.---and allowed him] Literally, "allowing him also;" for n is the infinitive used for a Gerund.
THE date of the following transaction and prophecy is ascertained at the beginning of this Chapter to have been in the tenth year of Zedekiah's reign, whilst the Chaldeans invested the city, and Jeremiah was confined in the court of the prison. These circumstances shew, that it must have been after that the Egyptians had retreated back to their own land, and the Chaldeans had renewed the siege a second time. Different however is the opinion of Usher, Prideaux, and other learned men, who suppose a prior imprisonment of Jeremiah, immediately after he had spoken to Zedekiah, as is represented Ch. xxxiv. 1---7. And the ground of this supposition seems to be, his being here in this chapter said to have been confined by Zedekiah for having spoken those words. But it does not follow from hence, that he was immediately put under confinement for the offence so given. No such thing is related Ch. xxxiv. nor expressly asserted elsewhere. On the contrary, it is expressly denied, Ch. xxxvii. 4. where it is said, that at the time the message came from Zedekiah during the temporary absence of the Chaldeans, Jeremiah was at full liberty," for they had not cast him into prison." Words which could not have been properly used, had he been eased from prison but a very little while before. The truth, I am persuaded, is, that Jeremiah was confined by order of Zedekiah but once, and then in consequence of the disagreeable truths spoken by him, as is here. reported. For it is evident, that the king, when he sent for him, Ch. xxxvii. 17. had nothing to lay to his charge, nor does he offer to disprove the prophet's asseverations of his innocence. But he was probably mortified to perceive, that the prophet's sufferings had not made him more pliable, as he hoped to have found him, but that he still persisted in his former denunciations of evil; and therefore, though he condescended to mitigate, he would not absolutely release him from his confinement, but committed him to the court of the prison; which accordingly became the scene of the following transaction. I trust therefore that this Chapter and that which follows next will appear to be inserted in their proper place.
The circumstances of time and place being specified as above in the five first verses, Jeremiah relates the order he received from God to buy the field of Hanameel; which he does in due form, and delivers the writings to Baruch to keep safely, in token of God's promise to restore the rights of possession in the land, v. 6.---15. Jeremiah in a prayer to God acknowledges his infinite greatness and power, and the wonders of his goodness to Israel, with the ungrateful and contumacious behaviour of that people, which had derived the present evil upon them; and concludes with an humble representation of the desperate circum
stances of his country, notwithstanding which he had been commanded to make the foregoing purchase, v. 16–25. In reply God asserts his own allsufficiency; and then goes on to avow his determined resolution to give up the city to be taken and burned by the Chaldeans, because of the many and great provocations that had been given him, v. 26--35. He promises however in time to reassemble his people, and bring them back to their own land, to enter into covenant with them anew, and to promote their welfare; so that the land, though given up to desolation at present, should flourish again, and possessions be once more bought and sold, as in former time, v. 36---to the end.
1.---the tenth year---] nwy now---The Masora here proposes to read 2, with the concurrence of sixteen MSS. and three Editions. But now is equally justifiable by usage. See Ch. xlvi. 2. li. 59. &c. &c.
4.---and his eyes---] The Masora here reads. This is clearly right, and is confirmed by fifty four MSS, and seven Editions, together with all the ancient versions, and the parallel passage, Ch. xxxiv. 3.
ועינן and not ,ועיניך where we read
5.---When ye shall fight against the Chaldeans, ye shall not prosper.] Three MSS. ancient ones, read byn Nhi, according to which the Syriac renders," for ye shall fight against the Chaldeans, but shall not prosper." A turn very suitable to the context.
7.-thine is by law the redemption for to purchase] See Lev. xxv. 25. own is the law or ordinance there established, and is governed by the preposition, sunk by Ellipsis at the beginning; answering to jure or de jure, in Latin.
8.---thine is by law the inheritance---] See Numb. xxvii. 11.
9.---and I paid him the money, seventeen shekels of silver] As mo ney was anciently paid by weight and not by tale, the verb pw is often used simply for to pay, and the act of weighing in the balance, or scales, being specified particularly in the next verse, I have rendered pw here simply," And I paid"---See Isa. Iv. 2. where pwn is applied, not only to silver, which might be weighed, but to labour also, where it can only signify the paying or bartering of it in exchange according to its supposed worth.-As to the price that was paid, doubts have arisen concerning the amount of it. Seventeen shekels of silver make but about forty shillings sterling; and this has been thought too inconsiderable a price for the purchase of a piece of ground. But it should be considered in the first place, that the quantity of land is uncertain; and next, that the circumstances of the times must have greatly tended to lessen the value of landed estates. The field in question was at the time of the purchase in the enemy's possession; and the chaser well knew, that he or his heirs had no chance of entering upon it till after the expiration of the seventy years captivity; so that the purchase money was not in itself so inadequate, as at first sight might be imagined. Besides the Seller, it is likely, was in immediate want of money, and could get no one else to purchase in the precarious situation things were in. He might therefore be glad to take what the prophet,
who doubtless was not rich, was able to give, and who would not have thought of making the purchase at any rate, had he not acted under the divine direction for a special purpose. From the construction of
-some have been led to sup שבעה שקלים ועשרה הכסף the words
10. And I had a deed drawn up and sealed, and I caused witnesses
.,אעד as well as,אחתם and אכתב to witness] I see no reason why
may not be considered as in Hiphil. The formalities of a Hebrew bargain of sale are here worth noticing.
11.---that which was sealed [containing] the assignment and the limitations, and that which was open] The deed or instrument of purchase, from what is here said, seems to have been written upon a single roll, but to have consisted of two parts; the upper part containing , which I conceive to be the formula, directing the assignment, or making over the property; and pnn, "the limitations," or description of the premises. This part was rolled up, and sealed with the seals of the parties, or perhaps of the public officer who attended; by which the falsification of the contents was prevented. At the bottom, which was left open, perhaps an abstract of the deed was written, and the names of the witnesses; this being for public notoriety, as the close part was reserved for evidence in case of judicial controversy.
12. And I delivered the purchase deed to Baruch] Baruch was a scribe by profession, and it may be concluded, that the attendance of such a one, skilled in the forms of law, was necessary on those occasions, both to draw up the writings, and to officiate in the capacity of a Notary public with us. And to his custody, as being a public officer, the custody of the Title-deeds was intrusted,
Ibid.---my uncle's son] In the original text we read only 7, "my uncle ;" but the LXX, Syr. Vulg. and Arab. render, "my uncle's son," as in the preceding verses; and seven, perhaps nine, MSS. read 1717
בן דדי or ,בן
Ibid.---the witnesses who were written in the purchase deed] 'nam may be taken either actively, or passively, for those who wrote, or those who were written; and fourteen, perhaps sixteen, MSS. and four anThe Syr. Chald, and Vulg. also render in the passive. I prefer this too, as the subscription of witnesses to deeds in their own handwriting appears to be a modern practice only. The ancient mode with us, was this; when the instrument was drawn up, it was read in the hearing of the witnesses (which seems to be what the prophet meant by " TN," and I caused witnesses to witness") and then the clerk, or scribe, added their names in a sort of memorandum. See Blackstone's Commentaries, Book. ii. Ch. 20.
.הכתובים cient Editions read
The same I suppose to have been the proceeding here; nor do I recollect in any part of the sacred writings the most distant allusion to a man's signing his own name by way of evidence; unless it may be so inferred from our English translation of Isai. xliv. 5. where we read, "And another shall subscribe with his hand unto the Lord;" instead of which the LXX, Aquila, and Symmachus, agree in rendering, And another shall write upon his hand, I belong to God;" which Bishop Lowth in his Note upon the place has shewn to be " an allusion "to the marks which were made by punctures rendered indelible by "fire, or by staining, upon the hand or some other part of the body, signifying the state or character of the person, and to whom he belonged; the slave was marked with the name of his master; the sol"dier, of his commander; the idolater, with the name or ensign of his
god." But though there is no allusion in the scriptures to the evidence of subscription, there frequently is to sealing, as a mode of authentication.
Ibid.---and in the presence of all the Jews] Nine, perhaps ten MSS. read here with the conjunction; and so the LXX, Syr. and Vul
14.-Take these writings] I do not think that this contradicts what is said in the Note on ver. 11. For 50 may be understood of the two parts of the same roll, of which one was sealed, and the other part left
18.-whose name is JEHOVAH of hosts-] One MS. reads stead of w, and the Vulgate renders, nomen tibi. But the text, I think, needs no alteration; for the is emphatic before the three words, 17787 71, and we might render thus, "the God, the greatest, the mightiest, he whose name is JEHOVAH of hosts,”
20.—and wonders in the land of Egypt, even unto this day] Twenty seven MSS. and twelve Editions read in, as expressed at large in the next verse, where we read non-It is not meant, that God had continued on working miracles in Egypt from the time of Moses, but that the miracles which he then wrought in Egypt continued still to bear witness to his omnipotency both there and in Israel, and among all mankind.
21.- and with a stretched out arm] 17821-Nine MSS. omit the The word 21 however occurs for it once besides in the HeJob xxxi. 22.
23.---according to thy law---] Twenty five, perhaps twenty six MSS.
ובתרותך instead of, ובתורתך,and seven Editions, read with the Masora
Some of these MSS. are of the most ancient. One MS. reads ninai.
30. surely the children of Israel have been but provoking me---] Four MSS. and one Edition here add " after 2, as before at the beginning of the verse,
31. For a yoke of mine anger, and a yoke of mine indignation, hath this city been to me] As I cannot construe here as a preposition, Iam led to suppose it to be the noun, a yoke, written by abbreviation, by. The metaphor, it must be confessed, is strong and singular, but the meaning is obvious enough, and suitable to the context. For as a yoke upon the neck compels the bearer to carry about the burden suspended from it: so, God says, the city of Jerusalem, because of the notorious wickedness of the people, had been as it were a yoke about his neck, having his anger and his indignation so closely connected with it, that he could not dismiss them, till they had caused an entire removal of the offensive object from before him.
33.-and when I taught them] here in the first instance, if the text be right, must be the participle present, agreeing with "they have turned the back, and not the face, unto me, even teaching them." But this construction seems not very familiar to the Hebrew language. I therefore am inclined to suspect a fault in the text, and that instead of
and the ancient versions,ואני למד אתם we should read ולמד אתם
of the LXX. Syr. and Vulg. favour this conjecture. One MS. read at first instead of ; and the may have been the remains of
34, 35.] See Ch. vii. 30, 31. and the Notes there.
35.-to cause their sons and their daughters to pass through unto Molech] Our English version runs, " to pass through the fire ;" but though w is added in the text, Deut. xviii. 10. 2 Kings xvi. 3. and in several other parallel places, it is not found so here, (except in two MSS.) nor Lev. xviii. 21. It is however, no doubt, to be understood. But how much is implied in thus causing the children to pass through the fire, is a point that learned men are not quite agreed in. Some suppose that the children were only dedicated to the idol deity by a ceremony, in which fire was used without hurting them and it is certain that 2 implies no more than a bare dedicating or consecrating, Exod. xiii. 12. On the other hand, by comparing other passages, and particularly the parallel ones, Ch. vii. 31. xix. 4. we shall there see reason to conclude, that the children were actually burned to death in the fire, and consumed like other burnt offerings. See Bishop Patrick's Comment. on Lev. xviii. 21. and Mr Lowth's on Ch. vii. 31. The fact in all probability was, that the more tenderhearted parents were content simply to dedicate their children, waving them perhaps over the fire that was burning before the idol, without doing them any corporal hurt: whilst the gloomy superstition of others prompted them to go greater lengths, and to perpetrate the most inhuman barbarities under the notion of religious worship. Both however were guilty of actions highly offensive to God, and provoking his resentment.
Ibid. for to bring guilt upon Judah] Twenty, perhaps twenty one MSS. and two Editions, read with the Masora instead of 2. The final is lost in the initial of the word that follows.
36.—after this-] -See note on Ch. xvi. 14.
40. which I will not withdraw from their posterity] For 21w the