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Jeremiah 32:43-44

43. And fields shall be bought in this land, whereof ye say, It is desolate without man or beast; it is given into the hand of the Chaldeans.

43. Et acquiretur ager in terra hac de qua vos dicitis, Deserta est ab homine et jumento, tradita est in manum Chaldaeorum.

44. Men shall buy fields for money, and subscribe evidences, and seal them, and take witnesses in the land of Benjamin, and in the places about Jerusalem, and in the cities of Judah, and in the cities of the mountains, and in the cities of the valley, and in the cities of the south: for I will cause their captivity to return, saith the LORD.

44. Agros pecunia ement, scribendo in libro, et obsignando, et obtestando testes in terra Benjamin, et per circuitus Jerusalem, et in urbibus Jehudah, et in urbibus montanis, et in urbibus campestribus, (quanquam alii volunt esse proprium nomen, sed hoc non convenit) et in urbibus austri, (id est, quae respiciunt versus austrum) quia reduco captivitatem eorum, dicit Jehova.

 

He confirms the prediction respecting the return of the people, and makes application of the vision which had been presented to the Prophet; for he had been commanded, as we have seen, to buy a field in the land of Benjamin. God now then annects that sign to the prophecy; for the use of signs is to secure faith to doctrine, which yet deserves of itself to be believed, and is fully authentic, and of itself worthy of belief; it is however conceded to our infirmity, that signs are given us, in order that the promises may be more fixed and ratified in our hearts.

This order God now follows, and says, Yet bought shall a field be in this land The verb, קנה kone, means to acquire or to buy and to possess; but as in the next verse he says, Buy shall they with money a field, the meaning ought not to be changed. Bought then shall be a field (the singular for the plural) in this land, of which ye say, 8484     This is not the literal rendering of the Hebrew, but the following, —
   Which, ye say, is desolate, without man or beast, Given into the hand of the Chaldeans.

   Had “which” been governed by “say,” there would have been a pronoun after it with a preposition prefixed. The Sept., the Syr., and Arab. have retained the right construction, though the Vulg. has not. “Without,” i.e., with not, or not with, is literally the Hebrew, מאיןEd.
Deserted it is by man and beast The chief men did not say this, as we have elsewhere shewn; nay, when Jeremiah declared this to them, he was in treated and cruelly dealt with by them; for it was a thing difficult to be believed that the land, which was as it were the sacred habitation of God, should be laid waste by the Chaldeans. God had indeed called it his rest, and it had been given as a heritage to the children of Abraham. The Jews, then, did not originate this saying; nay, it was God himself. But this question has been solved elsewhere; they did not indeed speak of the desolation of the land in the same sense or manner as God did; for when the Prophets threatened them with the desolation of the land, they always added the hope of deliverance and of a return; but they, when that calamity happened to them, cast aside every hope, and gave themselves up wholly to despair. And it is a usual thing with the ungodly to ridicule all God’s threatenings as long as he spares them or defers their punishment; but when God makes it known that he speaks in earnest, then they are swallowed up with despair, and conclude that nothing remains for them.

This, then, is what Jeremiah upbraids his own nation with, that is, that they cast off from themselves every hope, while yet God had fixed for them the term of seventy years. While God then was stretching forth his hand to them, they chose rather thus to sink in the abyss of despair, so that nothing could alleviate their minds. This ingratitude the Prophet justly condemns; for they considered their land as devoted to perpetual ruin, when yet its restoration had been promised to them; as though he had said, “The mercy of God and his faithfulness will surpass all your wickedness; but ye, as far as you can, extinguish his promises, abolish his grace, and give no place to his promises: nevertheless he will complete what he has promised; for though the land is falsely deemed by you to be given up for ever to destruction, yet the Lord will cause it to be inhabited by its own legitimate heirs, even the children of Abraham.” This is the reason why he intimates that the Jews had regarded the land as given up to perpetual desolation.

To shew more fully what is said in the preceding verse, he adds, Fields with money shall be bought, and by writing (the verbs are in the infinitive mood) they shall write on tablets and sign by witnesses even if the land of Benjamin 8585     The infinitives in Hebrew are often as in Welsh, verbal nouns. The rendering may be made as follows, —
   Fields with money shall they buy; And there shall be writing in a book, And sealing, and the witnessing of witnesses, In the land of Benjamin, etc. etc.

   Our version is the Syr. and nearly the Targ.Ed.
Then the Prophet mentions all the boundaries by which Jerusalem was surrounded. We know that a part of the city was in the lot of Benjamin, and even one gate was so called: in the land of Benjamin, he says, and also through the circuits of Jerusalem, even in the cities of Judah, those on the mountains, as well as those in the valley, and in the cities which he to the south, even Egypt, for the southern country was towards Egypt. The reason is added, Because God would restore their captivity, that, is, restore the captives that they might again rossess the land. Now follows, —


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