Jeremiah buys a field
1 The Lord spoke to Jeremiah when King Zedekiah had ruled Judah for ten years. At that time, King Nebuchadnezzar had ruled in Babylon for 18 years. 2 Nebuchadnezzar's army had made their camp all around Jerusalem. Jeremiah was a prisoner in the city. Guards kept him in a yard of the palace of the king of Judah.
32:2Nebuchadnezzar had chosen Zedekiah to be king of Judah.
3 King Zedekiah had put Jeremiah in prison there. He did not like the messages from God that Jeremiah was speaking. He said to Jeremiah, ‘You should stop saying these things! Do not continue to say, “The Lord will put this city under the power of the king of Babylon. The king of Babylon will take the city for himself. 4 Zedekiah, king of Judah, will not escape from Babylon's army. They will take him to the king of Babylon. Zedekiah will have to stand in front of the king of Babylon and answer his questions. 5 They will take Zedekiah away to Babylon as their prisoner. He will stay there until the Lord has punished him completely. If you continue to fight against Babylon's army, you will never win.” ’ That was the Lord's message that Jeremiah had told Zedekiah.
6 While Jeremiah was in prison, the Lord said to him, 7 ‘Hanamel, the son of your uncle Shallum, will come to visit you. He will say to you, “I want you to buy my field in Anathoth. The law says that I should offer it to you first, because you are my relative.” ’
8 This happened as the Lord had said it would happen. My cousin Hanamel came to visit me in the prison. He said, ‘Buy my field at Anathoth, in the land of Benjamin's tribe. I offer it to you first, as my relative. So you can buy it for yourself.’
When this happened, I realized I had really heard the Lord's message. 9 So I bought the field at Anathoth from my cousin Hanamel. I weighed 17 shekels of silver to pay him for it. 10 I wrote my name on a piece of paper to show that I had bought the land. Some men watched as I did this, to agree to the sale. I closed the paper with a seal. Then I gave Hanamel the silver that I had weighed. 11 I took the paper with the seal, and also a copy of it that had no seal. The agreement about the sale of land was written on those pieces of paper. 12 I gave both pieces of paper to Baruch, the son of Neriah and grandson of Mahseiah. Hanamel watched me as I did this, as well as the men who had written their names on the paper. The people of Judah who were there in the guards' yard also watched me.
32:10‘sale’ means that someone had sold the land, and someone else had bought it. The piece of paper that Jeremiah wrote his name on showed that everyone agreed that the land now belonged to Jeremiah.
13 While all those people listened, I said to Baruch, 14 ‘The Lord Almighty, Israel's God says, “Take these two pieces of paper that have the agreement about the sale of land. Take the piece that has a seal on it and the piece without a seal. Put them both in a clay jar to keep them safe for a long time.” 15 The Lord Almighty, Israel's God, says, “A time will come when people in this land again buy houses, fields and vineyards.” ’
Jeremiah prays about the land that he has bought
16 After I had given Baruch the pieces of paper about the sale of land, I prayed to the Lord.
17 I said, ‘Lord God, you used your great power and strength to make the earth and the sky. Nothing is too difficult for you to do. 18 You show your faithful love to thousands of people. But you also punish people for the sins that their ancestors did in past times. You are the great and powerful God, the Lord Almighty.
19 You have wise thoughts and you do great things. You see everything that people do. You see how they live. You give everyone what they deserve. 20 You did powerful miracles in Egypt, and we still remember them today. In this way you continue to be famous in Israel and everywhere in the world. 21 You used your great power and strength to bring your people out of Egypt. You did miracles that showed your power. It caused the Egyptians to be very afraid. 22 You gave this land to the Israelites, as you had promised to their ancestors. It was a land where there was plenty of food and drink, enough for everyone. 23 Your people moved in to the land and they made it their home. But they did not obey you. They did not live in the way that your law taught them. They did not do the things that you commanded them to do. Because of that, you caused them to have all this terrible trouble.
24 Babylon's army have already put heaps of earth around the city's walls. They are ready to attack us. War, famine and disease will soon kill us. Babylon's soldiers will come into the city and take it for themselves. Lord, you warned us that this would happen. Now you can see that it is already happening. 25 I know that Babylon's army will soon get power over the city. But you still told me to use my silver to buy that field. And people watched me write my name on the paper.’
The Lord replies to Jeremiah
26 Then the Lord said to Jeremiah, 27 ‘I am the Lord, the God who rules all people. Nothing is too difficult for me to do. 28 So I, the Lord, tell you this: I will certainly give this city to King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon and his army. They will get power over it. 29 The soldiers from Babylon who are attacking the city will come in. They will destroy it with fire. They will burn down the houses of the people. These people have made me angry. They went up on the roofs of their houses and they burned incense to worship Baal. They also poured out drink offerings to other false gods.
30 The people of Israel and Judah have continued to do things that I see are evil. They have done those things since they were a young nation. They have always done things that make me angry. That is what the Lord says.
31 The people of this city have made me very angry from the time when they built it, even until now. Because of that, I have decided to destroy it completely. 32 The people of Israel and Judah have made me angry because of all the wicked things that they have done. Their kings, officers, priests and prophets have all done wicked things. I will destroy this city because of the wicked things that the people of Jerusalem and all of Judah have done. 33 They should have come to me for help, but instead they turned away from me. Many times I taught them what was right. But they would not listen to me when I warned them. 34 They put their disgusting idols in the temple. I chose that place to be my special home, but they have made it unclean. 35 They have built altars in Ben-Hinnom valley to worship Baal. On those altars, they light fires to burn their sons and daughters as sacrifices to Molech. I never commanded them to do that. I never even thought about it. It has caused Judah's people to be guilty of sin.
36 You are right to say, “War, famine and disease will cause the king of Babylon to get power over this city.” But I, the Lord, Israel's God, tell you this: 37 I will certainly bring my people back from the foreign countries where I will send them. I will send them away as prisoners because they have made me very angry. But I will bring them back to this place so that they can live here safely. 38 They will be my people and I will be their God. 39 I will make them all want to do one thing. They will want to live in a way that always pleases me. They will do that so that they enjoy good lives and their children also enjoy good lives after them. 40 I will make a covenant with them that will continue for ever. I will promise always to do good things for them. They will want to respect me and obey me so that they never turn away from me again. That is what I will do for them. 41 I will be happy to help them with good things. I promise them faithfully that I will put them in this land again. They will grow like strong plants.’
42 The Lord says this: ‘It is true that I have brought terrible trouble to this people. But in the same way, I will give them all the good things that I have promised. 43 At this time, you are saying, “Babylon's army will take power over our land. It will become like a desert. No people or animals will live in it.” But I tell you that one day people will again buy and sell fields in this land. 44 They will pay silver to buy fields. There will be pieces of paper that show the agreement for the sale. There will be seals on those papers. People will watch and agree that the sale has happened. People will buy fields in the land that belongs to Benjamin's tribe and in the villages round Jerusalem. They will buy land in the towns of Judah, in the hill country, in the low hills in the west and in the Negev region in the south. At that time, I will bring my people back to live safely in their land. I, the Lord, promise that this will happen!’