“I bought the field
From my cousin Hanamel.
I weighed out
The money to him,
Seventeen shekels of silver.
I signed the deed.
I sealed it.
I got witnesses.
I weighed the money on scales.
Then I took
The sealed deed of purchase,
That contained the terms
With the conditions,
As well as the open copy.”
This is a very unusual section that contains explicit first person details of this property field sale. However, there is no indication of the exact size of this field. Nowhere else in the biblical works is there such a specific indication of how financial transactions took place. First, Jeremiah bought the land. Most times, there would be no more details other than that. However, here Jeremiah next weighs out the money, 17 silver shekels, which was not a lot of money, about a couple of hundred USA dollars. Where he got the money is not indicated here. Then he signed the deed, probably on papyrus, sealed it, and had witnesses also sign it. There must have been some kind of official seal used here, but we do not know what kind. Finally there seems to be 2 copies of this transaction. The sealed deed contained all the terms and conditions of the sale, while the open copy or city file copy might just have the statement that the sale was made, much like current open records in USA, which generally adds the dollar amount of the sale. Thus these transactions were stored or kept in jars of some kind.
“Therefore I will give their wives to others.
I will give their fields to conquerors.
Because from the least to the greatest,
Everyone is greedy for unjust gain.
From prophet to priest,
Everyone deals falsely.
They have treated
The wound of my people carelessly.
When there is no peace.
They acted shamefully.
They committed an abomination.
Yet they were not at all ashamed.
They did not know how to blush.
Therefore they shall fall
Among those who fall.
At the time that I punish them,
They shall be overthrown.’
This is a copy word for word of the same thing that was found in chapter 6. Yahweh was going to give away their wives and their fields, since he is not happy about the false priests and prophets. This goes for the least of the people to the most important ones in Jerusalem. All of them were greedy for monetary gain. They were all careless with his people. They pretended that there was peace when there was no peace there. They acted shamefully, but they were not ashamed since they didn’t even know how to blush. These priests and prophets would fall with all the others, as they will be overthrown at the time of punishment.
“You have given a command
To build a temple
On your holy mountain.
You have given a command
To build an altar
In the city of your habitation.
This will be a copy
Of the holy tent
That you prepared from the beginning.”
God commanded Solomon to build a temple on his holy mountain (ὄρει ἁγίῳ σου). He was to build an altar in his city of Jerusalem. This was to be a copy of the holy tent that existed from the beginning at the time of the Exodus story, chapters 25-40.
“A copy of the document was to be issued as a decree in every province, and published to all peoples. The Jews were to be ready on that day to take revenge on their enemies. So the couriers, mounted on their swift royal horses hurried out, urged by the king’s command. The decree was issued in the citadel of Susa.”
Now we are back at the Hebrew text, which summarizes the letter. A copy of this decree was sent to every one of the 127 provinces so that all the people knew about this. The Jews were to be ready on the 13th of Adar to take revenge against their enemies. This word went out by the royal couriers with their swift royal horses. The king had urged them on, since this decree came from the Persian capital of Susa.
“The following is a copy of this letter.
‘The Great King, Artaxerxes,
To the rulers of the provinces from India to Ethiopia,
One hundred and twenty-seven provinces,
And to those who are loyal to our government,
Once again we go to the Greek text. There is no “copy” of the letter that Mordecai sent out under the name of King Artaxerxes in the Hebrew text. This is much the same as the title of the Greek text decree that was inserted after chapter 3. They seemed proud to talk about the 127 provinces.