The purchase of the field (Jer 32:9-32:11)

“I bought the field

At Anathoth

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.

The surprise attack (Judg 7:16-7:22)

“After Gideon divided the three hundred men into three companies, he put trumpets into the hands of all of them. He also put empty jars, with torches inside the jars. He said to them. ‘Look at me. Do the same. When I come to the outskirts of the camp, you shall do as I do. When I blow the trumpet, I and all who are with me, then you also blow the trumpets around the whole camp, and shout, ‘for Yahweh and for Gideon.’”

Gideon had a plan. Each of the three companies of a hundred men would have a trumpet, a torch, and a jar. In fact, they did not seem to have swords. They were going to sound the trumpet from three different directions. At the same time, they would scream ‘for Yahweh and Gideon.’

“Gideon and the hundred who were with him came to the outskirts of the camp at the beginning of the middle watch, when they had just set the watch. They blew the trumpets and smashed the jars that were in their hands. So the three companies blew their trumpets and broke their jars. They held in their left hands the torches, and in their right hands the trumpets to blow. They cried, ‘a sword for Yahweh and for Gideon!’ Every man stood in his place all around the camp. All the men in camp ran. They cried out and fled. When they blew the three hundred trumpets, Yahweh set every man’s sword against his fellow man and against all the army. The army fled as far as Beth-shittah toward Zererah, as far as the border of Abel-meholah, by Tabbath.”

It appears that they attacked in the middle of the night from 3 different directions without any swords. They sounded the horns, broke the jars, shouted, and held their torches. The Midianites were surprised and shocked so they started killing each other as they fled the area. The towns of Zererah and Tabbath are only mentioned here and not elsewhere in the biblical books.