The Bible – Old Testament
1 2 This message came to Jeremiah from the LORD in the tenth year of Zedekiah, king of Judah, the eighteenth year of Nebuchadnezzar.
At that time the army of the king of Babylon was besieging Jerusalem, and the prophet Jeremiah was imprisoned in the quarters of the guard, at the king’s palace.
Zedekiah, king of Judah, had imprisoned him there, remonstrating: “How dare you prophesy: Thus says the LORD: I am handing over this city to the king of Babylon, who will capture it.
Neither shall Zedekiah, king of Judah, escape the hands of the Chaldeans; rather shall he be handed over to the king of Babylon. They shall meet and speak face to face,
and Zedekiah shall be taken to Babylon. There he shall remain, until I attend to him, says the LORD; in fighting the Chaldeans, you cannot win!”
3 This message came to me from the LORD, said Jeremiah:
4 Hanamel, son of your uncle Shallum, will come to you with the offer: “Buy for yourself my field in Anathoth, since you, as nearest relative, have the first right of purchase.”
Then, as the LORD foretold, Hanamel, my uncle’s son, came to me to the quarters of the guard and said, “Please buy my field in Anathoth, in the district of Benjamin; as nearest relative, you have the first claim to possess it; make it yours.” I knew this was what the LORD meant,
so I bought the field in Anathoth from my cousin Hanamel, paying him the money, seventeen silver shekels.
When I had written and sealed the deed, called witnesses and weighed out the silver on the scales,
5 I accepted the deed of purchase, both the sealed copy, containing title and conditions, and the open one.
This deed of purchase I gave to Baruch, son of Neriah, son of Mahseiah, in the presence of my cousin Hanamel and of the witnesses who had signed the deed, and before all the men of Judah who happened to be in the quarters of the guard.
In their presence I gave Baruch this charge:
6 Thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel: Take these deeds, both the sealed and the open deed of purchase, and put them in an earthen jar, so that they can be kept there a long time.
For thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel: Houses and fields and vineyards shall again be bought in this land.
After giving the deed of purchase to Baruch, son of Neriah, I prayed thus to the LORD:
Ah, Lord GOD, you have made heaven and earth by your great might, with your outstretched arm; nothing is impossible to you.
You continue your kindness through a thousand generations; and you repay the fathers’ guilt, even into the lap of their sons who follow them. O God, great and mighty, whose name is LORD of hosts,
great in counsel, mighty in deed, whose eyes are open to all the ways of men, giving to each according to his ways, according to the fruit of his deeds:
you have wrought signs and wonders in the land of Egypt and to this day, both in Israel and among all other men, until now you have gained renown.
With strong hand and outstretched arm you brought your people Israel out of the land of Egypt amid signs and wonders and great terror.
This land you gave them, as you had promised their fathers under oath, a land flowing with milk and honey.
They entered and took possession of it, but they did not listen to your voice; by your law they did not live, and what you commanded they failed to do. Hence you let all these evils befall them.
See, the siegeworks have arrived at this city to breach it; the city will be handed over to the Chaldeans who are attacking it, amid sword, famine, and pestilence. What you threatened has happened, you see it yourself;
and yet you tell me, O Lord GOD: Buy the field with money, call in witnesses. But the city has already been handed over to the Chaldeans!
Then this word of the LORD came to Jeremiah:
I am the LORD, the God of all mankind! Is anything impossible to me?
This now is what the LORD says: I will hand over this city to the Chaldeans, for Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, to take.
The Chaldeans who are attacking it shall enter this city and set fire to it, burning it and its houses, on the roofs of which incense was burned to Baal and libations were poured out to strange gods as a provocation to me.
The Israelites and the Judeans from their youth have done only what is evil in my eyes; the Israelites did nothing but provoke me with the works of their hands, says the LORD.
From the day it was built to this day, this city has excited my anger and wrath,
so that I must put it out of my sight for all the wickedness the Israelites and Judeans, with their kings and their princes, their priests and their prophets, the men of Judah and the citizens of Jerusalem, have done to provoke me.
They turned their backs to me, not their faces; though I kept teaching them, they would not listen to my correction.
They defiled the house named after me by the horrid idols they set up in it.
7 They built high places to Baal in the Valley of Ben-hinnom, and immolated their sons and daughters to Molech, bringing sin upon Judah; this I never commanded them, nor did it even enter my mind that they should practice such abominations.
Now, therefore, thus says the LORD, the God of Israel, concerning this city, which as you say is handed over to the king of Babylon amid sword, famine, and pestilence:
Behold, I will gather them together from all the lands to which in anger, wrath, and great rage I banish them; I will bring them back to this place and settle them here in safety.
They shall be my people, and I will be their God.
One heart and one way I will give them, that they may fear me always, to their own good and that of their children after them.
I will make with them an eternal covenant, never to cease doing good to them; into their hearts I will put the fear of me, that they may never depart from me.
I will take delight in doing good to them: I will replant them firmly in this land, with all my heart and soul.
For thus says the LORD: Just as I brought upon this people all this great evil, so I will bring upon them all the good I promise them.
Fields shall again be bought in this land, which you call a desert, without man or beast, handed over to the Chaldeans.
Fields shall be bought with money, deeds written and sealed, and witnesses shall be used in the land of Benjamin, in the suburbs of Jerusalem, in the cities of Judah and of the hill country, in the cities of the foothills and of the Negeb, when I change their lot, says the LORD.
1 [1-44] This chapter recounts a prophecy “in action.” At the Lord’s command, Jeremiah fulfills his family duty to purchase the land of his cousin, carrying out all the legal forms, including records, to testify that Judah will be restored and that the life of the past will be resumed.
2  The tenth year of Zedekiah: 588 B.C. The eighteenth year of Nebuchadnezzar: dating his reign from his victory at Carchemish; see note on ⇒ Jeremiah 25:1-14.
3 [6-9] Jeremiah’s imprisonment by the weak-willed Zedekiah was a technical custody that did not deprive him of all freedom of action. The siege maintained by the Chaldeans (⇒ Jeremiah 32:2) was only now beginning (⇒ Jeremiah 32:24), and could be bypassed by individual persons going to and fro between Jerusalem and nearby Anathoth.
4  The first right of purchase: the obligation of the closest relative to redeem the property of one in economic distress, so that the ancestral land might remain within the family (⇒ Lev 25:25-28); see note on ⇒ Ruth 2:20.
5  The sealed copy . . . and the open one: the legal deed of sale was written on a scroll, which was then rolled up and sealed; about it was rolled another scroll, left unsealed, containing a copy or a summary of the first.
6  In an earthen jar: the first of the Dead Sea Scrolls were found in such a jar.