Jeremiah 32:18
You show loving kindness to thousands, and recompense the iniquity of the fathers into the bosom of their children after them: the Great, the Mighty God, the LORD of hosts, is his name,
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(18) Thou showest lovingkindness unto thousands . . .—The words are, in part, an echo from Exodus 20:6, yet more from the revelation of the Divine glory in Exodus 34:7. They recognise the laws of a righteous retribution, working even through the seeming injustice of that visiting the sins of the fathers upon the children which is inseparable from the continuity of family or national life, and which had been caricatured in the “sour grapes” proverb of Jeremiah 31:29. They recognise also a mercy which is wider than that retribution, and at last triumphant. In the “Mighty God” we have the reproduction of the name used by Isaiah in his great Messianic prediction (Isaiah 9:6).

32:16-25 Jeremiah adores the Lord and his infinite perfections. When at any time we are perplexed about the methods of Providence, it is good for us to look to first principles. Let us consider that God is the fountain of all being, power, and life; that with him no difficulty is such as cannot be overcome; that he is a God of boundless mercy; that he is a God of strict justice; and that he directs every thing for the best. Jeremiah owns that God was righteous in causing evil to come upon them. Whatever trouble we are in, personal or public, we may comfort ourselves that the Lord sees it, and knows how to remedy it. We must not dispute God's will, but we may seek to know what it means.Recompensest - The recompence is placed in the bosom, because, in the East, the garments are so arranged as to form a pocket there. Thus then, men must receive and carry with them God's requital for their deeds. 18. (Ex 34:7; Isa 65:6). This is taken from the decalogue (Ex 20:5, 6). This is a second consideration to check hasty judgments as to God's ways: Thou art the gracious and righteous Judge of the world. Thou shewest loving-kindness unto thousands, and recompensest the iniquity of the fathers into the bosom of their children after them: this is the name which God gave himself, Exodus 34:7 Deu 5:9,10, and of this latter clause, declarative of the vengeance of God in punishing children for their parents’ sins, are many instances in Scripture, Joshua 7:24 1 Samuel 2:33,34 1 Kings 14:10,11 21:24. Thou showest lovingkindness unto thousands,.... Not to thousands of persons only, but to a thousand generations, even such that love, fear, and serve him; see Exodus 20:6; this is very properly added, for the further strengthening of faith; for though the omnipotence of God assures us that there is nothing but what he can do, yet it gives us no certain encouragement he will do this, or that, or the other, in a favourable and gracious manner; but this his loving kindness, experienced by a multitude of persons in all ages, gives reason to hope for:

and recompensest the iniquities of the fathers into the bosom of their children after them; it is added in the decalogue, from whence these words are taken, "of them that hate me", Exodus 20:5; and here the Targum adds,

"when they go on to sin after them;''

when they imitate their fathers in their wickedness, and commit the same sins they have done, and continue in them; wherefore, having tilled up the measure of their fathers' sins, they receive a just and full recompence of them into their bosom; which denotes both the certainty of it and the fulness of it: the prophet formed in his mind just notions and ideas of the divine Being, as being not only gracious and merciful, but holy, just, and righteous; and it may be he strikes at the Jews, who might complain of God, as they sometimes did, for being punished for their fathers' sins, as if they themselves were innocent and guiltless:

the Great, the Mighty God, the Lord of hosts is his name: "great" in all the perfections of his nature, and greatly to be praised, loved, and feared; "mighty" to do whatsoever he pleases; and who, agreeably to his name, has all the hosts and armies of heaven and earth at his command; and what is it that he cannot do?

Thou shewest lovingkindness to thousands, and recompensest the iniquity of the fathers into the bosom of their {i} children after them: the Great, the Mighty God, JEHOVAH of hosts, is his name,

(i) Because the wicked are subject to the curse of God, he shows that their posterity who by nature are under this malediction will be punished both for their own wickedness and that the iniquity of their fathers which is likewise in them, will be also avenged on their head.

18. recompensest the iniquity of the fathers] an allusion to the Decalogue (Exodus 20:5; Deuteronomy 5:9). See on Jeremiah 31:29.

into the bosom] The Eastern garment formed at the bosom numerous folds, which served as a pocket. Cp. Ruth 3:15; Proverbs 17:23, and for the phrase itself Psalm 79:12; Isaiah 65:6.Verse 18. - Into the bosom, etc. The ample dress of an Eastern rendering a bag or basket unnecessary (comp. Ruth 3:15). The 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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