32 The following message came to Jeremiah from the Lord in the tenth year of the reign of Zedekiah, king of Judah (which was the eighteenth year of Nebuchadnezzar’s reign). 2 At this time Jeremiah was imprisoned in the dungeon beneath the palace,[a] while the Babylonian army was besieging Jerusalem. 3 King Zedekiah had put him there for continuing to prophesy that the city would be conquered by the king of Babylon, 4 and that King Zedekiah would be caught and taken as a prisoner before the king of Babylon for trial and sentencing.
5 “He shall take you to Babylon and imprison you there for many years until you die. Why fight the facts? You can’t win! Surrender now!” Jeremiah had told him again and again.
6-7 Then this message from the Lord came to Jeremiah: Your cousin Hanamel (son of Shallum) will soon arrive to ask you to buy the farm he owns in Anathoth, for by law you have a chance to buy before it is offered to anyone else.
8 So Hanamel came, as the Lord had said he would, and visited me in the prison. “Buy my field in Anathoth, in the land of Benjamin,” he said, “for the law gives you the first right to purchase it.” Then I knew for sure that the message I had heard was really from the Lord.
9 So I bought the field, paying Hanamel seventeen pieces of silver. 10 I signed and sealed the deed of purchase before witnesses, weighed out the silver, and paid him. 11 Then I took the sealed deed containing the terms and conditions and also the unsealed copy, 12 and publicly, in the presence of my cousin Hanamel and the witnesses who had signed the deed, and as the prison guards watched, I handed the papers to Baruch (son of Neriah, who was the son of Mahseiah). 13 And I said to him as they all listened:
14 “The Lord, God of Israel, says: Take both this sealed deed and the copy and put them into a pottery jar to preserve them for a long time. 15 For the Lord, God of Israel, says: In the future these papers will be valuable.[b] Someday people will again own property here in this country and will be buying and selling houses and vineyards and fields.”
16 Then after I had given the papers to Baruch I prayed: 17 “O Lord God! You have made the heavens and earth by your great power; nothing is too hard for you! 18 You are loving and kind to thousands, yet children suffer for their fathers’ sins; you are the great and mighty God, the Lord Almighty. 19 You have all wisdom and do great and mighty miracles; for your eyes are open to all the ways of men, and you reward everyone according to his life and deeds. 20 You have done incredible things in the land of Egypt—things still remembered to this day. And you have continued to do great miracles in Israel and all around the world. You have made your name very great, as it is today.
21 “You brought Israel out of Egypt with mighty miracles and great power and terror. 22 You gave Israel this land that you promised their fathers long ago—a wonderful land that ‘flows with milk and honey.’ 23 Our fathers came and conquered it and lived in it, but they refused to obey you or to follow your laws; they have hardly done one thing you told them to. That is why you have sent all this terrible evil upon them. 24 See how the siege mounds have been built against the city walls, and the Babylonians shall conquer the city by sword, famine, and disease. Everything has happened just as you said—as you determined it should! 25 And yet you say to buy the field—paying good money for it before these witnesses—even though the city will belong to our enemies.”
26 Then this message came to Jeremiah: 27 I am the Lord, the God of all mankind; is there anything too hard for me? 28 Yes, I will give this city to the Babylonians and to Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon; he shall conquer it. 29 And the Babylonians outside the walls shall come in and set fire to the city and burn down all these houses, where the roofs have been used to offer incense to Baal and to pour out libations to other gods, causing my fury to rise! 30 For Israel and Judah have done nothing but wrong since their earliest days; they have infuriated me with all their evil deeds. 31 From the time this city was built until now, it has done nothing but anger me; so I am determined to be rid of it.
32 The sins of Israel and Judah—the sins of the people, of their kings, officers, priests, and prophets—stir me up. 33 They have turned their backs upon me and refused to return; day after day, year after year, I taught them right from wrong, but they would not listen or obey. 34 They have even defiled my own Temple by worshiping their abominable idols there. 35 And they have built high altars to Baal in the valley of Hinnom. There they have burnt their children as sacrifices to Molech—something I never commanded and cannot imagine suggesting. What an incredible evil, causing Judah to sin so greatly!
36 Now therefore the Lord God of Israel says concerning this city that it will fall to the king of Babylon through warfare, famine, and disease, 37 but I will bring my people back again from all the countries where in my fury I will scatter them. I will bring them back to this very city and make them live in peace and safety. 38 And they shall be my people, and I will be their God. 39 And I will give them one heart and mind to worship me forever, for their own good and for the good of all their descendants.
40 And I will make an everlasting covenant with them, promising never again to desert them but only to do them good. I will put a desire into their hearts to worship me, and they shall never leave me. 41 I will rejoice to do them good and will replant them in this land with great joy. 42 Just as I have sent all these terrors and evils upon them, so will I do all the good I have promised them.
43 Fields will again be bought and sold in this land now ravaged by the Babylonians, where men and animals alike have disappeared. 44 Yes, fields shall once again be bought and sold—deeds signed and sealed and witnessed—in the country of Benjamin and here in Jerusalem, in the cities of Judah and in the hill country, in the Philistine Plain and in the Negeb too, for some day I will restore prosperity to them.