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.
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(12) Baruch the son of Neriah, the son of Maaseiah.—This is the first mention of a man who played a more or less prominent part in connection with Jeremiah’s later work. Nothing is known of his father or grandfather, but the fact that both are named indicates that he belonged to the nobler families of Judah; and this is confirmed, partly by the fact that his brother Seraiah (Jeremiah 51:59, where see Note) held a high position in the court of Zedekiah, partly by Josephus, who describes him as of “a very illustrious house,” and “highly educated” (Ant. x. 6, § 12). The mention of Chelcias (the Greek form for Hilkiah) among his ancestors, in the apocryphal book that bears his name (Baruch 1:1), may indicate a connection with the family of the high-priest in the reign of Josiah (2Kings 22:4-14), and we may find in this fact an explanation of his regard tor Jeremiah. In relation to the prophet, he appears in Jeremiah 36:4 as acting as his secretary, as accused of instigating Jeremiah to preach submission to the Chaldæans (Jeremiah 43:3), as sharing his sufferings and dangers (Jeremiah 36:26), and, according to Josephus (as above), as thrown into prison with him. He was probably an influential member of the Chaldæan party in the court of Judah, protesting against the policy which courted an alliance with Egypt and entered into intrigues and schemes of rebellion against the power of Babylon. The book that bears his name is probably pseudonymous, but it bears witness, in the very fact of its being ascribed to him, to the importance of the position which he occupied in the politics of the time. Here he is present as at least visiting the prophet in prison, even if he did not share his imprisonment, and Jeremiah hands over the deeds of conveyance to his custody.

Before all the Jews that sat in the court of the prison.—The incidental mention of these is interesting, as showing the freedom of access which was permitted to the prisoner. Looking to the freedom and fulness of the prayer that follows (Jeremiah 32:17-25), it is a legitimate inference that they formed, as it were, a congregation of disciples, on whom the prophet sought to impress, by the transaction of the purchase, his own sure and certain hope of the restoration of his people.

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.Translate: And I wrote the particulars of the purchase in the deed ... And I took the purchase-deed, both that which was sealed containing the oiler and the conditions, and that which was open etc. There were two indentures, of which one was called the purchase-deed, and was signed by the purchaser and the witnesses. It was then sealed, not in our sense of appending a seal in place of signatures, but to close it up. The open deed was probably an exact copy, and was that intended for common use. In case its authenticity was called in question, the sealed copy would have to be produced before the judge, the seal opened, and if its contents agreed with those of the open deed, the decision would be in the buyer's favor.

By the offer is probably meant the specification. The conditions, literally, the statutes, would be the stipulations and terms of the sale, e. g. as to its restoration at the year of jubile, its price etc. The placing of the deeds in jar was of course intended to preserve them from damp during the long years of the exile.

12. Baruch—Jeremiah's amanuensis and agent (Jer 36:4, &c.).

before all—In sales everything clandestine was avoided; publicity was required. So here, in the court of prison, where Jeremiah was confined, there were soldiers and others, who had free access to him, present (Jer 38:1).


Baruch (as appeareth 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.

And I gave the evidence of the purchase,.... Both that which was sealed and that which was open; both the original and the copy; or the whole, as signed, sealed, and witnessed:

unto Baruch the son of Neriah, the son of Maaseiah; this Baruch, as appears from other places in this book, was one that attended on Jeremiah, was his scribe or amanuensis, and did business for him of one kind or another, and is described here by his pedigree; and it was the more necessary now to make use of him in this affair, because the prophet was confined, and could not go out of the court of the prison; to him he gave the above deed:

in the sight of Hanameel mine uncle's son; of whom the purchase was made: the word "son" is not in the text, which has led some to think that both were present at this bargain, both the uncle and the uncle's son; or that Hanameel was both uncle and uncle's son to Jeremiah, as Jarchi; but there is no need to suppose that; the word "son" may easily be supplied from what is before said:

and in the presence of the witnesses that subscribed the book of the purchase; the same that the prophet subscribed; so that the book the witnesses subscribed was not a separate book, as some have thought; for there was but one book or deed in all, besides the copy that was taken of it:

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.

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.
12. Baruch] the first mention of the prophet’s faithful amanuensis.

mine uncle’s son] See on Jeremiah 32:7. From this v. together with ch. Jeremiah 51:59 we gather that Seraiah, chief chamberlain to Zedekiah, was Baruch’s brother.

in the court of the guard] See on Jeremiah 32:2.

Jeremiah 32:12The purchase was concluded in full legal form. "I wrote it (the necessary terms) in the letter (the usual letter of purchase), and sealed it, and took witnesses, and weighed out the money on the balance" (it was then and still is the custom in the East to weigh money). חתם means here, not to append a seal instead of subscribing the name, or for attestation (cf. 1 Kings 21:8; Nehemiah 10:1; 2), but to seal up, make sure by sealing (Isaiah 29:11, etc.). For, from Jeremiah 32:11, Jeremiah 32:12, we perceive that two copies of the bill of purchase were prepared, one sealed up, and the other open; so that, in case the open one were lost, or were accidentally or designedly injured or defaced, a perfect original might still exist in the sealed-up copy. Then "Jeremiah took the bill of purchase, the sealed one," - the specification and the conditions - "and the open one." The words המּצוה והחקּים are in apposition with 'את־ספר וגו. The Vulgate renders stipulationes et rata; Jerome, stipulatione rata, which he explains by stipulationibus et sponsionibus corroborata. מצוה, usually "a command, order," is probably employed here in the general sense of "specification," namely, the object and the price of purchase; חקּים, "statutes," the conditions and stipulations of sale. The apposition has the meaning, "containing the agreement and the conditions." Both copies of this bill, the prophet-before the eyes of Hanamel, his cousin (דּדי, either in the general sense of a near relation, since the relationship has been stated exactly enough already, or בּן־ has been inadvertently omitted), and before the eyes of, i.e., in the presence of "the witnesses, who wrote in the letter of purchase," i.e., had subscribed it as witnesses in attestation of the matter, and in the eyes of all the Jews who were sitting in the court of the prison, and in whose presence the transaction had been concluded - delivered up to his attendant Baruch, son of Nerijah, the son of Mahsejah, with the words, Jeremiah 32:14 : "Thus saith Jahveh of hosts, the God of Israel: Take these letters, this sealed-up letter of purchase and this open letter, and put them into an earthen vessel, that they may remain a long time there. Jeremiah 32:15. For thus saith Jahveh of hosts, the God of Israel: Houses, and fields, and vineyards shall still be bought in this land." - The second utterance of the Lord (Jeremiah 32:15) declares the reason why the letters were to be preserved in an earthen vessel, in order to protect them from damp, decay, and destruction, namely, because one could make use of them afterwards, when sale of property would still be taking place. There is also implied the intimation, that the present desolation of the land and the transportation of its inhabitants will only last during their time; and then the population of Judah will return, and enter again on the possession of their land. The purchase of the field on the part of Jeremiah had this meaning; and for the sake of this meaning it was announced to him by God, and completed before witnesses, in the presence of the Jews who happened to be in the court of the prison.
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