Jeremiah 32:14
Thus said the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel; Take these evidences, this evidence of the purchase, both which is sealed, and this evidence which is open; and put them in an earthen vessel, that they may continue many days.
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(14) Put them in an earthen vessel . . .—We are reminded of the “earthen vessels” in which men kept their most precious treasures (2Corinthians 4:7). Such a vessel was obviously a better protection against damp or decay than one of wood, and was, as it were, the “safe” of a Jewish household. (See Note on Jeremiah 41:8.) In the “many days” we have an implied warning to the listeners that they were not to expect a speedy deliverance or restoration, however certain might be their assurance that it would come at last.

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.

14. in an earthen vessel—that the documents might not be injured by the moisture of the surrounding earth; at the same time, being buried, they could not be stolen, but would remain as a pledge of the Jews' deliverance until God's time should come. No text from Poole on this verse. Thus saith the Lord, the God of Israel,.... The order to do the following is ushered in in this solemn manner, partly that Baruch might more strictly observe it, and act according to it; and partly that the persons before whom it was given might take the greater notice of it, and believe that there was something intended by it of moment and importance:

take these evidences; or "books" (x); the deeds of purchase:

this evidence of the purchase, both which is sealed, and this evidence which is open; both the original and the copy:

and put them in an earthen vessel, that they may continue many days; it seems, though it is not said, that this earthen vessel, with these deeds in it, were to be put under ground, and very probably in some part of the field that was bought: had these writings been laid up in a chest or box, they might have been stolen and destroyed; and had they been laid in the earth by themselves, they would have rotted and consumed; but being put into a dry earthen vessel, they might be preserved from the injury of the air and the moistness of the earth; and so might continue many days, even many years, to the end of the captivity, as it was designed they should; when Jeremiah's heirs, having some him of them where they were deposited, might take them up and claim the estate; though something more useful and instructive than this was designed by it, as appears by the following words:

(x) "libellos hos", Cocceius, Schmidt; "literas has", Junius & Tremellius, Piscator.

Thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel; Take these deeds, this deed of the purchase, both that which is sealed, and this deed which is open; and put them in an earthen {h} vessel, that they may continue many days.

(h) And so to hide them in the ground, that they might be reserved as a token of their deliverance.

What had been announced to the prophet by God took place. Hanamel came to him, and offered him his field for sale. From this Jeremiah perceived that the proposed sale was the word of the Lord, i.e., that the matter was appointed by the Lord. Jeremiah 32:9. Jeremiah accordingly bought the field, and weighed out to Hanamel "seven shekels and ten the silver" (הכּסף is definite, as being the amount of money asked as price of purchase). But the form of expression is remarkable: "seven shekels and ten" instead of "seventeen" (שׁבעה ועשׂרת שׁקלי הכּסף). The Chaldee consequently has "seven manehs and ten shekels of silver;" and J. D. Michaelis supposes that the seven shekels which are first named, and are separated from the ten, were shekels of gold: "seven shekels of gold, and seven shekels of silver." But both assumptions are gratuitous, and perhaps only inferences, not merely from the unusual separation of the numerals, but likewise from the fact that seventeen silver shekels (less than two pounds sterling) was too small a price for an arable field. The supposition of Hitzig has more in its favour, that the mode of expression "seven shekels and ten (shekels) of silver" was a law form. Some have sought to explain the smallness of the price on the ground that the seller was compelled to part with his property through poverty, and that the land had become depreciated in consequence of the war. Both may be true; but, as Ngelsbach has already remarked, neither explains the smallness of the price. For instances have very properly been adduced from Roman history (Livy, xxvi. 11, and Florus, ii. 6) which show that occupation of a country by an enemy did not lessen the value of ground-property. It is rather to be taken into consideration, that in the first place we do not know the real value of arable land among the Hebrews; and secondly, the sale of portions of land was, correctly speaking, only the sale of the harvests up till the year of jubilee, for then the property returned to the former possessor of his heirs. In the case of a sale, then, the nearer the jubilee-year, the smaller must be the price of purchase in the alienation of the land.
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