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.

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Oracle about the mighty nation (Isa 18:1-18:2)

“O land of whirring wings!

Beyond the rivers of Ethiopia!

They send ambassadors

By the Nile River

In vessels of papyrus

On the waters.

Go!

You swift messengers!

Go to a tall nation!

Go to a smooth nation!

Go to a people

Feared near and far!

Go to a mighty nation!

Go to a conquering nation!

Go to a nation

Whose land the rivers divide!”

Quite often Egypt and Ethiopia were united together. The older name of Ethiopia was Kush, one of the older sons of Ham, the son of Noah. Thus there was some relationship with them. Here it seems that they have swift ambassadors that use papyrus paper like vessels to deliver messages. The reference to a tall, smooth, mighty, and conquering nation could be Egypt, since there is a division between Ethiopia and Egypt.