Jeremiah Buys a Field
This is the message from the LORD that came to Jeremiah during the tenth year that Zedekiah was king of Judah.* The tenth year of Zedekiah was the 18th year of Nebuchadnezzar. At that time the army of the king of Babylon was surrounding the city of Jerusalem, and Jeremiah was under arrest in the courtyard of the guard. This courtyard was at the palace of the king of Judah. King Zedekiah of Judah had put Jeremiah in prison in that place. Zedekiah didn’t like the things Jeremiah prophesied. Jeremiah had said, “This is what the LORD says: ‘I will soon give the city of Jerusalem to the king of Babylon. Nebuchadnezzar will capture this city. King Zedekiah of Judah will not escape from the army of the Babylonians. But he will surely be given to the king of Babylon. And Zedekiah will speak to the king of Babylon face to face. He will see him with his own eyes. The king of Babylon will take Zedekiah to Babylon. Zedekiah will stay there until I have punished him.’ This message is from the LORD. ‘If you fight against the army of the Babylonians, you will not succeed.’ ”
While Jeremiah was a prisoner, he said, “This message from the LORD came to me. This was the message: Jeremiah, your cousin, Hanamel, will come to you soon. He is the son of your uncle Shallum. Hanamel will say to you, “Jeremiah, buy my field near the town of Anathoth. Buy it because you are my nearest relative. It is your right and your responsibility to buy that field.” ’
Then it happened just as the LORD said. My cousin Hanamel came to me in the courtyard of the guard. Hanamel said to me, ‘Jeremiah, buy my field near the town of Anathoth, in the land of the tribe of Benjamin. Buy that land for yourself because it is your right to buy it and own it.’ ”
So I knew that this was a message from the LORD. I bought the field at Anathoth from my cousin Hanamel. I weighed out 17 shekels of silver for him. 10 I signed the deed and had a copy of the deed sealed up. I got some men to witness what I had done, and I weighed out the silver on the scales. 11 Then I took the sealed copy of the deed, which contained the demands and limits of my purchase, and the copy that was not sealed. 12 I gave the deed to Baruch son of Neriah, the son of Mahseiah. I did this while my cousin Hanamel and the other witnesses were there. They also signed the deed. There were also many people of Judah sitting in the courtyard who saw me give the deed to Baruch.
13 With all the people watching, I said to Baruch, 14 This is what the LORD All-Powerful, the God of Israel, says: ‘Take both copies of the deedthe sealed copy and the copy that was not sealedand put them in a clay jar. Do this so that these deeds will last a long time.’ 15 The LORD All-Powerful, the God of Israel, says, ‘In the future my people will once again buy houses, fields, and vineyards in the land of Israel.’ ”
16 After I gave the deed to Baruch son of Neriah, I prayed to the LORD:
17 Lord GOD, with your great power you made the earth and the sky. There is nothing too hard for you to do. 18 You are loyal and kind to thousands of people, but you also bring punishment to children for their fathers’ sins. Great and powerful God, your name is the LORD All-Powerful. 19 You plan and do great things. You see everything that people do. You give a reward to those who do good things, and you punish those who do bad thingsyou give them what they deserve. 20 You have been doing powerful miracles in the land of Egypt until now, in Israel and elsewhere. You are the one who made yourself as famous as you are today. 21 You used powerful miracles and brought your people Israel out of Egypt. You used your own powerful hand to do this. Your power was amazing!
22 You gave the Israelites this land that you promised to give to their ancestors long ago. It is a very good land filled with many good things. 23 They came into this land and took it for their own. But they didn’t obey you. They didn’t follow your teachings or do what you commanded. So you made all these terrible things happen to them.
24 And now the enemy has surrounded the city. They are building ramps so that they can get over the walls of Jerusalem and capture it. Because of war, hunger, and disease, the city of Jerusalem will fall to the Babylonian army. The Babylonians are attacking the city now. You said this would happen, and now you see it is happening.
25 Lord GOD, all those bad things are happening. But now you are telling me, ‘Jeremiah, buy the field with silver and choose some men to witness the purchase.’ You are telling me this while the Babylonian army is ready to capture the city. Why should I waste my money like that?”
26 Then this message from the LORD came to Jeremiah: 27 Jeremiah, I am the LORD. I am the God of every person on the earth. You know that nothing is impossible for me.” 28 The LORD also said, “I will soon give the city of Jerusalem to the Babylonian army and to King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon. The army will capture the city. 29 The Babylonian army is already attacking the city of Jerusalem. They will soon enter the city and start a fire. They will burn down this city. There are houses in this city where the people of Jerusalem made me angry by offering sacrifices to the false god Baal on the housetops. And they poured out drink offerings to other idol gods. The Babylonian army will burn down those houses. 30 I have watched the people of Israel and the people of Judah. Everything they do is evil. They have done evil things since they were young. The people of Israel have made me very angry because they worship idols that they made with their own hands.” This message is from the LORD. 31 From the time that Jerusalem was built until now, the people of this city have made me angry. This city has made me very angry, so I must remove it from my sight. 32 I will destroy Jerusalem because of all the evil things the people of Israel and Judah have done. The people, their kings, leaders, their priests and prophets, the people of Judah, and the people of Jerusalem have all made me angry.
33 They should have come to me for help, but they turned their backs to me. I tried to teach them again and again, but they would not listen to me. I tried to correct them, but they would not listen. 34 They have made their idols, and I hate those idols. They put their idols in the Temple that is called by my name, so they made my Temple ‘dirty.’
35 In the Valley of Ben Hinnom,§ they built high places to the false god Baal. They built those worship places so that they could burn their sons and daughters as sacrifices. I never commanded them to do such a terrible thing. I never even thought the people of Judah would do such a terrible thing.
36 You people are saying, ‘The king of Babylon will capture Jerusalem. He will use war, hunger, and disease to defeat this city.’ But this is what the LORD, the God of the people of Israel, says: 37 I have forced the people of Israel and Judah to leave their land. I was very angry with them, but I will bring them back to this place. I will gather them from the land where I forced them to go. I will bring them back to this place. I will let them live in peace and safety. 38 The people of Israel and Judah will be my people, and I will be their God. 39 I will give them the desire to be one, united people. They will have one goal—to worship me all their lives. They and their children will want to do this.
40 “ ‘I will make an agreement with the people of Israel and Judah that will last forever. In this agreement I will never turn away from them. I will always be good to them. I will make them want to respect me. Then they will never turn away from me. 41 They will make me happy. I will enjoy doing good to them. And I will surely plant them in this land and make them grow. I will do this with all my heart and soul.’ ”
42 This is what the LORD says: “I have brought this great disaster to the people of Israel and Judah. In the same way I will bring good things to them. I promise to do good things for them. 43 You people are saying, ‘This land is an empty desert. There are no people or animals here. The Babylonian army defeated this country.’ But in the future people will once again buy fields in this land. 44 They will use their money and buy fields. They will sign and seal their agreements. They will witness the people signing their deeds. They will again buy fields in the land where the tribe of Benjamin lives, in the area around Jerusalem, in the towns of the land of Judah, in the hill country, in the western foothills, and in the area of the southern desert. This will happen because I will bring them back home.” This message is from the LORD.
* 32:1 the tenth year … Judah This was 588–587 B.C. This was the year Jerusalem was destroyed by Nebuchadnezzar. 32:9 shekel 2/5 of an ounce (11.5 g). 32:10 sealed up Important documents were rolled up and tied with a string. Then a piece of clay or wax was put on the string. Then a person’s mark was put in that clay or wax. This way, people could prove nothing in the document was changed. § 32:35 Valley of Ben Hinnom This valley is also called “Gehenna.” This name comes from the Hebrew name “Ge Hinnom—Hinnom’s Valley.” This place became an example of how God punishes wicked people.