|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
32:1-15 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.
Verse 9. - Seventeen shekels of silver; i.e. about £2 5s. 4d. (taking the shekel at 2s. 8d.). This has been thought a small price. Thirty shekels were paid for the potter's field (Matthew 27:7); fifty by David, for Araunah's threshing floor and oxen (2 Samuel 24:4). The Hebrew has "seven shekels and ten of silver;" hence the Targum increases the price by supplying "minas" before "of silver," bringing up the sum to one hundred and seven shekels. This, however, seems too much. Even if Jeremiah wished to be liberal, he would hardly have been able to go so far (probably) in excess of the market price. Who would have purchased the land on speculation, if Jeremiah had refused? The famine made life, the siege, a continuance of personal liberty, terribly uncertain. And, putting this out of the question, there may have been but a short time to elapse before the year of jubilee, when the land would revert to its original occupant (see above). The singular form of expression in the Hebrew, at which the Targum stumbled, may, perhaps, be the usual style of legal documents.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
And I bought the field of Hanameel mine uncle's son; that was in Anathoth,.... The prophet agreed with his cousin to take his field of him, at a certain price hereafter mentioned; which may seem strange in one that was a poor prophet, now a prisoner, and the land just going to be subject to the Chaldeans: but the design of this was to show that there would be a return from captivity, when houses and fields should be bought and sold again, of which this was a pledge:
and weighed him the money; agreed upon, which was reckoned not by tale, but by weight:
even seventeen shekels of silver; which, reckoning a shekel at half a crown, were no more than two pounds, two shillings, and sixpence; a small sum of money to make a purchase of a field with; though this may be accounted for by the scarcity of money, the field in the hand of the enemy, there being only his kinsman's life in it, the prophet bought the reversion, being his of right; and, besides, it might be only an orchard or garden that is so called. In the Hebrew text it is, "seven shekels and ten pieces of silver": and Kimchi and Ben Melech say, that by "shekels" are meant minas or pounds; and by "pieces of silver", selahs or shekels: and so the Targum renders it,
"seven minas, and ten shekels of silver.''
Now a minah or maneh, according to Ezekiel 45:12; was equal to sixty shekels, and so of the value of seven pounds, ten shillings; seven of these made fifty two pounds, ten shillings; and the other ten shekels being one pound, five shillings, the whole amounted to fifty three pounds, fifteen shillings, which would purchase a considerable field.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
9. seventeen shekels of silver—As the shekel was only 2s. 4d.., the whole would be under £2, a rather small sum, even taking into account the fact of the Chaldean occupation of the land, and the uncertainty of the time when it might come to Jeremiah or his heirs. Perhaps the "seven shekels," which in the Hebrew (see Margin) are distinguished from the "ten pieces of silver," were shekels of gold [Maurer].
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