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32 The Eternal spoke again to Jeremiah in the 10th year of Zedekiah’s reign as king of Judah. This was also the 18th year of Nebuchadnezzar’s reign as king of Babylon. At this time, Jerusalem was under siege by the Babylonian army, and Jeremiah the prophet was being held in the court of the guard in the royal palace of Judah. Zedekiah king of Judah had ordered him held there and leveled this charge against him:

Zedekiah: Why do you continue to prophesy such things? You tell us the Eternal says, “Look! I am going to hand this city over to the king of Babylon, and he will capture it. King Zedekiah of Judah will not escape from the Chaldean forces. He will be turned over to the king of Babylon and have to stand eye-to-eye before this powerful ruler. Nebuchadnezzar will order Zedekiah to be taken to Babylon, where he will stay until I am ready to visit him. This is what I, the Eternal One promise: if you try to fight the Chaldeans, you will fail.”

Jeremiah (to Zedekiah): The message of the Eternal came to me through my cousin: “Look! Hanamel (son of Shallum, your uncle), is going to come to you and say, ‘Buy my field at Anathoth; as my nearest relative, it is your right to buy it before I offer it to anyone else.[a] It is also your duty to keep it in the family.’” And just as He had predicted, my cousin Hanamel came to me while I was being held in the court of the guard. He said, “Jeremiah, buy my field in your hometown of Anathoth, in the land of Benjamin. It’s your right to buy and redeem it so that it stays in our family.” Then I realized this message was from the Eternal.

So I bought the field in Anathoth from Hanamel my cousin for seven ounces of silver. 10 I signed and sealed the deed in front of witnesses; after weighing out the silver on the scales, I paid Hanamel. 11 Two copies of the deed were made. I took the sealed copy along with the terms and conditions of the purchase and the unsealed copy and 12 handed them to my trusted friend and confidant, Baruch (son of Neriah and grandson of Mahseiah). I did all of this in the presence of my cousin Hanamel, the witnesses who had signed the deed, and all of the people of Judea who were there that day in the court of the guard. 13 In the presence of all those people, I directed Baruch: 14 “The Eternal, Commander of heavenly armies and God of Israel, says: ‘Take both the sealed deed and the unsealed deed and place them in a clay jar to preserve them. I want this deed of sale to last for a long time.’ 15 For this is what the Eternal, Commander of heavenly armies and the God of Israel, promises: ‘The day will come when My people will buy houses and vineyards and fields again in this land.’”

16 After I had given the deed of purchase to Baruch (son of Neriah), I prayed to the Eternal: 17 “Eternal Lord, with Your outstretched arm and Your enormous power You created the heavens and the earth. Nothing is too difficult for You. 18 You show loyal love and endless mercy to thousands. But You also allow the damaging effects of the parents’ sins to fall into the laps of their children. You are the great and powerful God; the Eternal, Commander of heavenly armies, is Your solemn name. 19 Your instructions are great, and Your actions are too wondrous for words. You see all that happens on this earth; You know what everyone does, and You deal with each fairly. 20 What miraculous signs and wonders You did in the land of Egypt! You continue to perform them for Israel and the rest of humanity to this day! You have made a great name for yourself among the nations, and we still remember Your great works today. 21 You rescued Your people Israel out of Egypt with miraculous signs and wonders—with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm, with a power too terrible for words. 22 But You did not stop there, O gracious God. Then You gave them this land, the very land You had promised to their ancestors, an abundant land flowing with milk and honey. 23 They entered this land and conquered it as You led them. But even as they settled in, they refused to listen to Your voice and live as You instructed. They rebelled against Your entire law. So You caused these disastrous consequences to fall on them. 24 Look! The siege ramps are built against the walls of the city. Soon the Chaldeans will begin the assault. Because of war, famine, and disease, the enemy will soon have control of the city. It is all happening as You said it would. 25 But You, Eternal Lord, tell me, “Buy Hanamel’s field with your own money in the presence of witnesses”—even as You hand over the city of Jerusalem to the Chaldeans.

For almost two years the Babylonians have tightened their grip: food supplies are dwindling, disease is rampant, and there is little hope supplies or relief might get through to besieged Jerusalem.

26 Then the Eternal spoke to Jeremiah.

Eternal One: 27 Look! I am the Eternal, the God of all living things. Is anything too difficult for Me? 28 I tell you this: I am about to hand this city over to King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon and his Chaldean army, and they will conquer it. 29 The Chaldeans who are now assaulting the city will enter and set everything on fire. They will set houses ablaze where people set up shrines on roofs to burn incense to Baal and pour out drink offerings to other gods. Their offerings have ignited My anger. 30 The people of Israel and Judah have done nothing but evil in My sight since their early days. They have done nothing except kindle My anger with their handmade idols and the way they live their lives. 31 From the day Jerusalem was built until this very moment, the people have stirred My anger and provoked My wrath; so now I am forced to remove this city completely from My sight. 32 The people of Israel and Judah have angered Me with their wickedness—from their kings and their officials to their priests and prophets, from the people of Judah to the citizens of Jerusalem. 33 They have all turned their backs to Me instead of their faces. They have refused to listen and learn from My instruction, even though I tried to teach them again and again. 34 They even put up their detestable idols in My temple, defiling the very place that is supposed to honor Me! 35 They built altars to another master[b] in the valley of Ben-hinnom so they’d have a place to sacrifice their own children to Molech! I never demanded they do such a thing—it never even crossed My mind that they would do such a disgusting evil or that Judah would sin like that.

36 Jeremiah, listen to what the Eternal God of Israel has to say about Jerusalem: you say that by war, famine, and disease this city will fall to the king of Babylon, and you are right. 37 Look! I will gather My people from all the countries where I scattered them in My righteous anger, in My great wrath and fury. I will bring them back to this place, Jerusalem, and let them live here safely under My protection. 38 They will be My people, and I will be their God. 39 I will unite them behind a single desire and purpose: to revere and worship Me forever for their own good and for the good of all who will come after them. 40 I will make an everlasting covenant with them: I will never stop blessing them with good things, and I will put in them a fear and respect of Me so they will not turn their backs to Me again. 41 It will be My great joy to do good things for them, and you can be sure that I will devote Myself completely to planting them anew in this land.

42 This is what I, the Eternal, declare: Just as I brought this great disaster upon My people, so will I do all these good things I have promised to them. 43 Property will be bought and sold once again in this land about which you say, “This land is a wasteland—not fit for man or beast—for it has been handed over to the Chaldeans.” 44 Property will be bought and sold once again for silver—deals will be made and deeds signed in the presence of witnesses—in the territory of Benjamin, in the vicinity of Jerusalem, in the villages of Judah and the hill country, in the villages of the western hills, and in the cities of the Negev. In all these places I will restore them from their exile.

So says the Eternal.

Footnotes

  1. 32:7 Leviticus 25:23–28
  2. 32:35 Hebrew, the baal

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