Jer. 32:1 ¶ The word that came to Jeremiah from the LORD in the tenth year of Zedekiah king of Judah, which was the eighteenth year of Nebuchadrezzar.
According to the record in Kings, this would be in the year before Zedekiah was taken captive to Babylon and the final fall of Jerusalem.
2 Kings 24:18 “Zedekiah was twenty and one years old when he began to reign, and he reigned eleven years in Jerusalem.”
Jer. 32:2 For then the king of Babylon’s army besieged Jerusalem: and Jeremiah the prophet was shut up in the court of the prison, which was in the king of Judah’s house.
Jer. 32:3 For Zedekiah king of Judah had shut him up, saying, Wherefore dost thou prophesy, and say, Thus saith the LORD, Behold, I will give this city into the hand of the king of Babylon, and he shall take it;
Jer. 32:4 And Zedekiah king of Judah shall not escape out of the hand of the Chaldeans, but shall surely be delivered into the hand of the king of Babylon, and shall speak with him mouth to mouth, and his eyes shall behold his eyes;
Jer. 32:5 And he shall lead Zedekiah to Babylon, and there shall he be until I visit him, saith the LORD: though ye fight with the Chaldeans, ye shall not prosper.
At this time, the city of Jerusalem was under siege by the armies of Babylon and Jeremiah was in prison. Zedekiah had put Jeremiah into prison for prophesying that he would be taken captive by Babylon. He did not want Jeremiah out in public declaring that the city was doomed. This is another example of God’s sovereignty over events on planet earth. The fulfillment of this prophecy is recorded in 2Kings.
2 Kings 25:2–7 “And the city was besieged unto the eleventh year of king Zedekiah. And on the ninth day of the fourth month the famine prevailed in the city, and there was no bread for the people of the land. And the city was broken up, and all the men of war fled by night by the way of the gate between two walls, which is by the king’s garden: (now the Chaldees were against the city round about:) and the king went the way toward the plain. And the army of the Chaldees pursued after the king, and overtook him in the plains of Jericho: and all his army were scattered from him. So they took the king, and brought him up to the king of Babylon to Riblah; and they gave judgment upon him. And they slew the sons of Zedekiah before his eyes, and put out the eyes of Zedekiah, and bound him with fetters of brass, and carried him to Babylon.”
Jer. 32:6 And Jeremiah said, The word of the LORD came unto me, saying,
Jer. 32:7 Behold, Hanameel the son of Shallum thine uncle shall come unto thee, saying, Buy thee my field that is in Anathoth: for the right of redemption is thine to buy it.
Jer. 32:8 So Hanameel mine uncle’s son came to me in the court of the prison according to the word of the LORD, and said unto me, Buy my field, I pray thee, that is in Anathoth, which is in the country of Benjamin: for the right of inheritance is thine, and the redemption is thine; buy it for thyself. Then I knew that this was the word of the LORD.
While in the prison and waiting for his prophecy to be fulfilled, the LORD spoke to Jeremiah again. He told him that his cousin Hanameel, son of his uncle Shallum, would come and offer to sell him a field that he owned in Anathoth, in the land of Benjamin. Anathoth was Jeremiah’s hometown and was a designated city of refuge. His uncle was evidently in need of selling the land, and Jeremiah was the nearest kinsman with the right of redeeming the land.
As is always the case, God’s word came to pass just as He had told Jeremiah.
Jer. 32:9 And I bought the field of Hanameel my uncle’s son, that was in Anathoth, and weighed him the money, even seventeen shekels of silver.
Jer. 32:10 And I subscribed the evidence, and sealed it, and took witnesses, and weighed him the money in the balances.
Jer. 32:11 So I took the evidence of the purchase, both that which was sealed according to the law and custom, and that which was open:
Jer. 32:12 And I gave the evidence of the purchase unto Baruch the son of Neriah, the son of Maaseiah, in the sight of Hanameel mine uncle’s son, and in the presence of the witnesses that subscribed the book of the purchase, before all the Jews that sat in the court of the prison.
When Jeremiah’s cousin presented himself offering to sell the land, Jeremiah promptly weighed out the 17 shekels of silver required to purchase it. He then made record of the purchase according to the laws of Israel. It seems that two copies were made—one to be sealed and one left open for public reference. He then gave the evidence to Baruch, his assistant, in the presence of his cousin and other witnesses who had signed the documents. We are told later that Baruch actually served as Jeremiah’s scribe in recording all that the LORD revealed to him.
Jeremiah 36:4 “Then Jeremiah called Baruch the son of Neriah: and Baruch wrote from the mouth of Jeremiah all the words of the LORD, which he had spoken unto him, upon a roll of a book.”
Jer. 32:13 And I charged Baruch before them, saying,
Jer. 32:14 Thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel; Take these evidences, this evidence of the purchase, both which is sealed, and this evidence which is open; and put them in an earthen vessel, that they may continue many days.
Jer. 32:15 For thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel; Houses and fields and vineyards shall be possessed again in this land.
Jeremiah then instructed Baruch to take the legal papers and seal them up in a jar—similar to those in which the Dead Sea Scrolls were found. This would protect them from deterioration by the elements.
In verse 15 Jeremiah explains that this whole process was an assurance from the “God of Israel” that He would eventually bring His people back to possess the land of Israel. Though their judgment was harsh, the people would once again be given an opportunity to make a fresh start in the Promised Land.
Jer. 32:16 ¶ Now when I had delivered the evidence of the purchase unto Baruch the son of Neriah, I prayed unto the LORD, saying,
Jer. 32:17 Ah Lord GOD! behold, thou hast made the heaven and the earth by thy great power and stretched out arm, and there is nothing too hard for thee:
After completing the legalities of the land transaction, Jeremiah lifts up his voice in prayer to the LORD. His prayer is one of praise and worship of the Creator of heaven and earth. He acknowledges that there is nothing too hard for God to do. Jesus affirmed this very truth.
Mark 10:27 “And Jesus looking upon them saith, With men it is impossible, but not with God: for with God all things are possible.”
Jer. 32:18 Thou shewest lovingkindness unto thousands, and recompensest the iniquity of the fathers into the bosom of their children after them: the Great, the Mighty God, the LORD of hosts, is his name,
Jer. 32:19 Great in counsel, and mighty in work: for thine eyes are open upon all the ways of the sons of men: to give every one according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings:
Jeremiah continues by incorporating scripture into his prayer.
Deuteronomy 5:9–10 “Thou shalt not bow down thyself unto them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me, And shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me and keep my commandments.”
The Hebrew for the word mercy in the passage from Deuteronomy and the word lovingkindness in verse 18 are the same. Notice that God’s mercy does not preclude His righteous judgment; they go hand-in-hand.
Counsel is a reference to God’s plans and purposes, and work is a reference to the way He accomplishes those plans and purposes. Jeremiah declares that God is aware of all that is being done by the people on planet earth. This truth is affirmed and expressed so beautifully by the Psalmist.
Psalms 139:1–11 “O LORD, thou hast searched me, and known me. Thou knowest my downsitting and mine uprising, thou understandest my thought afar off. Thou compassest my path and my lying down, and art acquainted with all my ways. For there is not a word in my tongue, but, lo, O LORD, thou knowest it altogether. Thou hast beset me behind and before, and laid thine hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high, I cannot attain unto it. Whither shall I go from thy spirit? or whither shall I flee from thy presence? If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there: if I make my bed in hell, behold, thou art there. If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea; Even there shall thy hand lead me, and thy right hand shall hold me. If I say, Surely the darkness shall cover me; even the night shall be light about me.”
God’s judgment will ensure that every person is judged according to his own actions. How blessed we are as Christians to be clothed in the righteousness of the Savior!
2 Corinthians 5:21 “For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.”
Jer. 32:20 Which hast set signs and wonders in the land of Egypt, even unto this day, and in Israel, and among other men; and hast made thee a name, as at this day;
Jer. 32:21 And hast brought forth thy people Israel out of the land of Egypt with signs, and with wonders, and with a strong hand, and with a stretched out arm, and with great terror;
Jer. 32:22 And hast given them this land, which thou didst swear to their fathers to give them, a land flowing with milk and honey;
Jer. 32:23 And they came in, and possessed it; but they obeyed not thy voice, neither walked in thy law; they have done nothing of all that thou commandedst them to do: therefore thou hast caused all this evil to come upon them:
Jer. 32:24 Behold the mounts, they are come unto the city to take it; and the city is given into the hand of the Chaldeans, that fight against it, because of the sword, and of the famine, and of the pestilence: and what thou hast spoken is come to pass; and, behold, thou seest it.
Jeremiah goes on to list some of the evidences of God’s great and mighty power. He had performed great miracles in both Egypt and Israel in delivering His people from bondage and leading them in taking possession of the land according to His covenant with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Isn’t it interesting that many of those miracles are still talked about today! I am always intrigued at the interest of those in the media today who have such interest in producing media that posit natural explanations for those very miracles.
Jeremiah acknowledges that they took possession of a land flowing with milk and honey yet rebelled in disobedience against the LORD who had given it to them. In accordance with the word of God recorded by Moses, the LORD was now delivering the people into the hands of their enemies.
Deuteronomy 30:15–18 “See, I have set before thee this day life and good, and death and evil; In that I command thee this day to love the LORD thy God, to walk in his ways, and to keep his commandments and his statutes and his judgments, that thou mayest live and multiply: and the LORD thy God shall bless thee in the land whither thou goest to possess it. But if thine heart turn away, so that thou wilt not hear, but shalt be drawn away, and worship other gods, and serve them; I denounce unto you this day, that ye shall surely perish, and that ye shall not prolong your days upon the land, whither thou passest over Jordan to go to possess it.”
The LORD is making it clear through His prophet that the people have brought this judgment upon themselves by breaking covenant with Him. Point is made that He is giving the people into the hands of the Chaldeans; the Chaldeans are His chosen vessels of judgment against His people.
Jer. 32:25 And thou hast said unto me, O Lord GOD, Buy thee the field for money, and take witnesses; for the city is given into the hand of the Chaldeans.
Jer. 32:26 ¶ Then came the word of the LORD unto Jeremiah, saying,
Jer. 32:27 Behold, I am the LORD, the God of all flesh: is there any thing too hard for me?
Jer. 32:28 Therefore thus saith the LORD; Behold, I will give this city into the hand of the Chaldeans, and into the hand of Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon, and he shall take it:
Jer. 32:29 And the Chaldeans, that fight against this city, shall come and set fire on this city, and burn it with the houses, upon whose roofs they have offered incense unto Baal, and poured out drink offerings unto other gods, to provoke me to anger.
At this point Jeremiah seems to be commenting on the futility of buying land since Judah will be held captive by Babylon. It seems he has forgotten the reasoning given in verse 15 above.
The LORD quickly responds by reminding Jeremiah that He is all-powerful; no man or group of men can prevent Him from accomplishing His purposes.
Yes, Babylon, the Chaldeans, under the leadership of King Nebuchadnezzar will take Jerusalem captive. The city will be destroyed by fire. It is a fitting destruction in purging the land of the vestiges of the worship of false gods. Again, this brings to mind the words of Moses connecting God’s anger with fire; the psalmist made the same connection.
Deuteronomy 32:21–22 “They have moved me to jealousy with that which is not God; they have provoked me to anger with their vanities: and I will move them to jealousy with those which are not a people; I will provoke them to anger with a foolish nation. For a fire is kindled in mine anger, and shall burn unto the lowest hell, and shall consume the earth with her increase, and set on fire the foundations of the mountains.”
Psalms 78:21–22 “Therefore the LORD heard this, and was wroth: so a fire was kindled against Jacob, and anger also came up against Israel; Because they believed not in God, and trusted not in his salvation:”
Jer. 32:30 For the children of Israel and the children of Judah have only done evil before me from their youth: for the children of Israel have only provoked me to anger with the work of their hands, saith the LORD.
Jer. 32:31 For this city hath been to me as a provocation of mine anger and of my fury from the day that they built it even unto this day; that I should remove it from before my face,
Jer. 32:32 Because of all the evil of the children of Israel and of the children of Judah, which they have done to provoke me to anger, they, their kings, their princes, their priests, and their prophets, and the men of Judah, and the inhabitants of Jerusalem.
This judgment is necessary in consequence of broken covenant and in purging the nation of their sin. The LORD had been longsuffering and merciful and had decided that no more good could be accomplished among His people without judgment. We know from the words of Ezekiel that the LORD would protect the few that remained faithful to Him.
Ezekiel 9:4–6 “And the LORD said unto him, Go through the midst of the city, through the midst of Jerusalem, and set a mark upon the foreheads of the men that sigh and that cry for all the abominations that be done in the midst thereof. And to the others he said in mine hearing, Go ye after him through the city, and smite: let not your eye spare, neither have ye pity: Slay utterly old and young, both maids, and little children, and women: but come not near any man upon whom is the mark; and begin at my sanctuary.”
Jer. 32:33 And they have turned unto me the back, and not the face: though I taught them, rising up early and teaching them, yet they have not hearkened to receive instruction.
Jer. 32:34 But they set their abominations in the house, which is called by my name, to defile it.
Jer. 32:35 And they built the high places of Baal, which are in the valley of the son of Hinnom, to cause their sons and their daughters to pass through the fire unto Molech; which I commanded them not, neither came it into my mind, that they should do this abomination, to cause Judah to sin.
The LORD goes on to emphasize that the people had made a deliberate choice to reject Him. In spite of His faithfulness to send them His prophets to declare His truth, they had purposely set up idols to false gods in His holy temple. Their worship of idols and false gods was prevalent and public—even to the point of sacrificing their own sons and daughters by placing them in the red hot arms of the great idol of Molech.
The Holy God of Israel would never ask His people to commit such evil.
Jer. 32:36 And now therefore thus saith the LORD, the God of Israel, concerning this city, whereof ye say, It shall be delivered into the hand of the king of Babylon by the sword, and by the famine, and by the pestilence;
Jer. 32:37 Behold, I will gather them out of all countries, whither I have driven them in mine anger, and in my fury, and in great wrath; and I will bring them again unto this place, and I will cause them to dwell safely:
Jer. 32:38 And they shall be my people, and I will be their God:
Jer. 32:39 And I will give them one heart, and one way, that they may fear me for ever, for the good of them, and of their children after them:
Jer. 32:40 And I will make an everlasting covenant with them, that I will not turn away from them, to do them good; but I will put my fear in their hearts, that they shall not depart from me.
Jer. 32:41 Yea, I will rejoice over them to do them good, and I will plant them in this land assuredly with my whole heart and with my whole soul.
The LORD goes on to give Jeremiah hope for Israel’s future. Though Jerusalem would be delivered into the hand of Babylon as Jeremiah had so faithfully prophesied, the LORD intends to regather His people from among all the nations to which they have been sent as a result of His judgment. Already the reference is to regathering His people from more than just Babylon. As we continue to read, it becomes clear that Jeremiah’s prophecy jumps far into the future. The return from exile in Babylon in no way comes close to fulfilling the following prophecy.
Once this regathering occurs, the Jewish people will dwell safely in the land of Israel. The people will recognize God as their LORD. At that time the LORD is going to do a miraculous work in their hearts, and they and their children will fear Him forever. Also at that time He will make an everlasting covenant with them never to turn away from them again. In this glorious future regathering, the LORD will plant them in the land of Israel for good; and they will experience the fullness of God’s love, protection and provision. Obviously, this is a time yet future and will occur when the Lord Jesus returns to set up His kingdom and rule over the earth as King from Jerusalem. This prophecy is affirmed by some of the other prophets as well.
Ezekiel 36:24–28 “For I will take you from among the heathen, and gather you out of all countries, and will bring you into your own land. Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean: from all your filthiness, and from all your idols, will I cleanse you. A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh. And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them. And ye shall dwell in the land that I gave to your fathers; and ye shall be my people, and I will be your God.”
Zephaniah 3:14–20 “Sing, O daughter of Zion; shout, O Israel; be glad and rejoice with all the heart, O daughter of Jerusalem….The LORD thy God in the midst of thee is mighty; he will save, he will rejoice over thee with joy; he will rest in his love, he will joy over thee with singing….Behold, at that time I will undo all that afflict thee: and I will save her that halteth, and gather her that was driven out….At that time will I bring you again, even in the time that I gather you: for I will make you a name and a praise among all people of the earth, when I turn back your captivity before your eyes, saith the LORD.”
Zechariah 8:2–8 “Thus saith the LORD of hosts; I was jealous for Zion with great jealousy, and I was jealous for her with great fury. Thus saith the LORD; I am returned unto Zion, and will dwell in the midst of Jerusalem: and Jerusalem shall be called a city of truth; and the mountain of the LORD of hosts the holy mountain. Thus saith the LORD of hosts; There shall yet old men and old women dwell in the streets of Jerusalem, and every man with his staff in his hand for very age. And the streets of the city shall be full of boys and girls playing in the streets thereof. Thus saith the LORD of hosts; If it be marvellous in the eyes of the remnant of this people in these days, should it also be marvellous in mine eyes? saith the LORD of hosts. Thus saith the LORD of hosts; Behold, I will save my people from the east country, and from the west country; And I will bring them, and they shall dwell in the midst of Jerusalem: and they shall be my people, and I will be their God, in truth and in righteousness.”
Jer. 32:42 For thus saith the LORD; Like as I have brought all this great evil upon this people, so will I bring upon them all the good that I have promised them.
The LORD closes His answer to Jeremiah with a promise that just as surely as the coming judgment will come the glorious restoration to the land of Israel in sweet fellowship with the LORD.
Jer. 32:43 And fields shall be bought in this land, whereof ye say, It is desolate without man or beast; it is given into the hand of the Chaldeans.
Jer. 32:44 Men shall buy fields for money, and subscribe evidences, and seal them, and take witnesses in the land of Benjamin, and in the places about Jerusalem, and in the cities of Judah, and in the cities of the mountains, and in the cities of the valley, and in the cities of the south: for I will cause their captivity to return, saith the LORD.
At this point I think God’s answer is directed to Jeremiah’s redemption of his uncle’s land. Yes, it is going to be given to the Chaldeans for a time. However, the LORD is going to bring His people back from exile in Babylon and establish them once again as a nation in the land of Israel. They will again be buying and selling land in the cities of Judah—i.e., Anathoth in the land of Benjamin. The transaction made by Jeremiah in obedience to the LORD is a sign from God declaring this truth. The fulfillment of this part of the prophecy is also a sign that God will fulfill the whole of His prophecy in the future.