32:12 I took both copies of the deed of purchase 1 and gave them to Baruch son of Neriah, the son of Mahseiah. I gave them to him in the presence 2 of my cousin 3 Hanamel, the witnesses who had signed the deed of purchase, and all the Judeans who were housed in the courtyard of the guardhouse.
32:44 Fields will again be bought with silver, and deeds of purchase signed, sealed, and witnessed. This will happen in the territory of Benjamin, the villages surrounding Jerusalem, the towns in Judah, the southern hill country, the western foothills, and southern Judah. 4 For I will restore them to their land. 5 I, the Lord, affirm it!’” 6
2 tn Heb “I took the deed of purchase, both that which was sealed [and contained] the order and the regulations and that which was open [i.e., unsealed], and I gave the deed of purchase to Baruch…in the presence of my cousin Hanamel and in the presence of…and in the presence of….” It is awkward to begin a sentence with “I took…” without finishing the thought, and the long qualifiers in v. 12 make that sentence too long. The sentence is broken up in accordance with contemporary English style. The reference to the “deed of purchase” in v. 12 should be viewed as a plural consisting of both written and sealed copies as is clear from v. 11 and also v. 14. Part of the confusion is due to the nature of this document which consisted of a single papyrus scroll, half of which was rolled up and sealed and the other half which was left “opened” or unsealed. J. Bright (Jeremiah [AB], 237-38) is probably incorrect in assuming that the copies were duplicate since the qualification “containing the order of transfer and the regulations” is only applied to the appositional participle, “the sealed one [or copy].”
sn Aramaic documents from a slightly later period help us understand the nature of such deeds. The document consisted of a single papyrus sheet divided in half. One half contained all the particulars and was tightly rolled up, bound with strips of cloth or thread, sealed with wax upon which the parties affixed their seal, and signed by witnesses. The other copy consisted of an abstract and was left loosely rolled and unsealed (i.e., open to be consulted at will). If questions were raised about legality of the contract then the sealed copy could be unsealed and consulted.
3 tc The translation follows a number of Hebrew
4 tn Heb “They will buy fields with silver and write in the deed and seal [it] and have witnesses witness [it] in the land of Benjamin, in the environs of Jerusalem, in the towns in Judah, in the towns in the hill country, in the towns in the Shephelah, and in the towns in the Negev.” The long Hebrew sentence has again been restructured to better conform to contemporary English style. The indefinite “they will buy” is treated as a passive. It is followed by three infinitive absolutes which substitute for the finite verb (cf. GKC 345 §113.y) which is a common feature of the style of the book of Jeremiah.
sn For the geographical districts mentioned here compare Jer 17:26.
6 tn Heb “Oracle of the