|<< Jer 31|
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Jeremiah 32-34 Listen
What a time to buy a piece of property (Jeremiah 32:1-15)
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.
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.
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;
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;
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.
6 And Jeremiah said, The word of the LORD came unto me, saying,
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.
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.
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.
10 And I subscribed the evidence, and sealed it, and took witnesses, and weighed him the money in the balances.
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:
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.
13 And I charged Baruch before them, saying,
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.
15 For thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel; Houses and fields and vineyards shall be possessed again in this land.
Get the picture here. It's 587 B.C., and Jerusalem is surrounded by Babylonians and under siege. King Zedekiah has locked Jeremiah up for making such negative prophecies concerning the fall of Jerusalem. You will recall that Zedekiah of Jerusalem was awarded his job by Babylon as a puppet king (II Kings 24:18-20, see notes), but later he decided to rebel against Babylon. The rebellion is not going well. So...the fall of Jerusalem is imminent.
Hey, Jeremiah! This is no time to consider real estate speculation in Jerusalem! Nevertheless, Jeremiah's cousin (Hanameel) comes to visit him in jail and offers to sell him a piece of prime property in Judah (back in Jeremiah's hometown of Anathoth). How prime can a piece of property be when your whole government is about to fall into a foreign nation's hands? Apparently, as a sign to the inhabitants of Jerusalem, Jeremiah buys the property to demonstrate to the king of Judah and everybody else that he is convinced the exiles will return 70 years after the first deportation; that equates to 535 B.C. Whatever he was thinking, God told him to buy it (verse 8).
In verse 12 we see that the land transaction took place "before all the Jews that sat in the court of the prison." Then (verse 14) Jeremiah tells his secretary (Baruch) to put the deeds into a jar that will last a long time (better make it a 50-plus-year jar). Before the witnesses, Jeremiah declares in verse 15, "For thus saith the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel; Houses and fields and vineyards shall be possessed again in this land."
So, while Jeremiah had been prophesying the fall of Jerusalem to the Babylonians, he is just as adamantly declaring the return of those who are exiled in the process back to Jerusalem in 70 years. As an action to validate his faith, he makes a land deal which will be useless if his prophecy is incorrect. How's that for putting your money where your mouth is? Click here to read the summary on Jeremiah 25:1-14 concerning the 70 years of exile.
Jeremiah has a few questions for God (Jeremiah 32:16-44)
16 Now when I had delivered the evidence of the purchase unto Baruch the son of Neriah, I prayed unto the LORD, saying,
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:
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,
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:
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;
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;
22 And hast given them this land, which thou didst swear to their fathers to give them, a land flowing with milk and honey;
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:
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.
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.
26 Then came the word of the LORD unto Jeremiah, saying,
27 Behold, I am the LORD, the God of all flesh: is there any thing too hard for me?
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:
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.
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.
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,
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.
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.
34 But they set their abominations in the house, which is called by my name, to defile it.
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.
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;
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:
38 And they shall be my people, and I will be their God:
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Jeremiah goes to God in prayer. Number one on his mind is, "Lord, why did you have me buy this field?" God answers Jeremiah's question as he recounts all the wickedness displayed by Judah. God tells Jeremiah that, even though the people are wicked, he will keep his promise and restore them to the land (it happened in 535 B.C.), at which time property will be restored to their Jewish owners. Verses 16-25 records Jeremiah's prayer to God. The answer from God back to Jeremiah is recorded in verses 26-44.
Notice the condemnation of Jerusalem in verse 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." David was not the founder of Jerusalem; the Jebusites were...big time idol worshippers. David had finally been able to secure Jerusalem from the Jebusites after failed attempts by the tribes of Judah and Benjamin (Joshua 15:63, see notes). We see an abbreviated review of Judah's sin in verse 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." For additional information on "Molech," see the notes on Ezekiel 16:20-21. We see also that the houses of Judah will be burned (verse 29). The answer from God turns from judgment to restoration in verse 37.
The language of the restoration here combines two different occasions into one. Yes, the exiles were restored to their land beginning in 535 B.C. They were very zealous toward God at that time and lived in peace, but without autonomy, a king and certainly not forever. This passage does not mention the rule of the Messiah, but it does allude to the New Covenant, introduced in Jeremiah 31:31-34 (see notes); take a look at verses 39-40, "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: 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." Here's the reality: The restoration of the exiles in 535 B.C. is not the same occasion as the fulfillment of the yet-future New Covenant; that will be the millennium. There's only one way to render this prophecy and it's fulfillment. It's obvious that he was referencing the return in 535 B.C. when he purchased the property. That part of the prophecy was fulfilled with the return of the exiles. However, even though Jeremiah lived to be an old man, I'm relatively certain he did not expect to be around himself fifty years later when the land could be redeemed with his deed. The fulfillment of verses 39-40 undoubtedly looks to the yet-future millennium when the specifications of the New Covenant will be realized.
Another prophecy from prison (Jeremiah 33)
1 Moreover the word of the LORD came unto Jeremiah the second time, while he was yet shut up in the court of the prison, saying,
2 Thus saith the LORD the maker thereof, the LORD that formed it, to establish it; the LORD is his name;
3 Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and shew thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not.
4 For thus saith the LORD, the God of Israel, concerning the houses of this city, and concerning the houses of the kings of Judah, which are thrown down by the mounts, and by the sword;
5 They come to fight with the Chaldeans, but it is to fill them with the dead bodies of men, whom I have slain in mine anger and in my fury, and for all whose wickedness I have hid my face from this city.
6 Behold, I will bring it health and cure, and I will cure them, and will reveal unto them the abundance of peace and truth.
7 And I will cause the captivity of Judah and the captivity of Israel to return, and will build them, as at the first.
8 And I will cleanse them from all their iniquity, whereby they have sinned against me; and I will pardon all their iniquities, whereby they have sinned, and whereby they have transgressed against me.
9 And it shall be to me a name of joy, a praise and an honour before all the nations of the earth, which shall hear all the good that I do unto them: and they shall fear and tremble for all the goodness and for all the prosperity that I procure unto it.
10 Thus saith the LORD; Again there shall be heard in this place, which ye say shall be desolate without man and without beast, even in the cities of Judah, and in the streets of Jerusalem, that are desolate, without man, and without inhabitant, and without beast,
11 The voice of joy, and the voice of gladness, the voice of the bridegroom, and the voice of the bride, the voice of them that shall say, Praise the LORD of hosts: for the LORD is good; for his mercy endureth for ever: and of them that shall bring the sacrifice of praise into the house of the LORD. For I will cause to return the captivity of the land, as at the first, saith the LORD.
12 Thus saith the LORD of hosts; Again in this place, which is desolate without man and without beast, and in all the cities thereof, shall be an habitation of shepherds causing their flocks to lie down.
13 In the cities of the mountains, in the cities of the vale, and in the cities of the south, and in the land of Benjamin, and in the places about Jerusalem, and in the cities of Judah, shall the flocks pass again under the hands of him that telleth them, saith the LORD.
14 Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will perform that good thing which I have promised unto the house of Israel and to the house of Judah.
15 In those days, and at that time, will I cause the Branch of righteousness to grow up unto David; and he shall execute judgment and righteousness in the land.
16 In those days shall Judah be saved, and Jerusalem shall dwell safely: and this is the name wherewith she shall be called, The LORD our righteousness.
17 For thus saith the LORD; David shall never want a man to sit upon the throne of the house of Israel;
18 Neither shall the priests the Levites want a man before me to offer burnt offerings, and to kindle meat offerings, and to do sacrifice continually.
19 And the word of the LORD came unto Jeremiah, saying,
20 Thus saith the LORD; If ye can break my covenant of the day, and my covenant of the night, and that there should not be day and night in their season;
21 Then may also my covenant be broken with David my servant, that he should not have a son to reign upon his throne; and with the Levites the priests, my ministers.
22 As the host of heaven cannot be numbered, neither the sand of the sea measured: so will I multiply the seed of David my servant, and the Levites that minister unto me.
23 Moreover the word of the LORD came to Jeremiah, saying,
24 Considerest thou not what this people have spoken, saying, The two families which the LORD hath chosen, he hath even cast them off? thus they have despised my people, that they should be no more a nation before them.
25 Thus saith the LORD; If my covenant be not with day and night, and if I have not appointed the ordinances of heaven and earth;
26 Then will I cast away the seed of Jacob, and David my servant, so that I will not take any of his seed to be rulers over the seed of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob: for I will cause their captivity to return, and have mercy on them.
With time on his hands (prison provides that), Jeremiah again prophesies of the coming invasion and capture of Jerusalem (verses 1-5), but immediately follows it with a prophecy of peace in Jerusalem after restoration. However, these events prophesied do not point to the return of the exiles in 535 B.C., but rather the status of Jerusalem before the whole world at the time of the Messiah's return - the millennium. We differentiate those two eras with the presence of the Messiah. These Messianic promises are emphasized in verses 14-26 as Jeremiah prophesies the fulfillment of the promises made to David (see The Davidic Covenant), that his lineage would rule the earth. See the information box to the right for details regarding the David Covenant. God is speaking in verse 17, "For thus saith the LORD; David shall never want a man to sit upon the throne of the house of Israel." David's throne was not restored in 535 B.C., but will be during the millennium.
One more clarification is in order here, the Levitical sacrifices of verse 18. The 1,000-year period known as the millennium will be characterized by the presence of Ezekiel's temple (Ezekiel 40-41, see notes) and a system of sacrifices akin to those established under the Mosaic Covenant. seen in Ezekiel 43 (see notes). "Why sacrifice?" one might wonder. After all, didn't the death of Jesus Christ on the cross put a stop to blood sacrifices once for all? See the Ezekiel 43 notes for an explanation. This millennium period is distinctly different from eternity thereafter which is described in Revelation 21 (see notes). The sacrifices will cease at that time along with the temple itself. There will be a New Heaven, New Earth and New Jerusalem. We are told that the New Jerusalem will have no temple in Revelation 21:22, "And I saw no temple therein: for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are the temple of it."
Jeremiah prophesies concerning King Zedekiah (Jeremiah 34)
1 The word which came unto Jeremiah from the LORD, when Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, and all his army, and all the kingdoms of the earth of his dominion, and all the people, fought against Jerusalem, and against all the cities thereof, saying,
2 Thus saith the LORD, the God of Israel; Go and speak to Zedekiah king of Judah, and tell him, Thus saith the LORD; Behold, I will give this city into the hand of the king of Babylon, and he shall burn it with fire:
3 And thou shalt not escape out of his hand, but shalt surely be taken, and delivered into his hand; and thine eyes shall behold the eyes of the king of Babylon, and he shall speak with thee mouth to mouth, and thou shalt go to Babylon.
4 Yet hear the word of the LORD, O Zedekiah king of Judah; Thus saith the LORD of thee, Thou shalt not die by the sword:
5 But thou shalt die in peace: and with the burnings of thy fathers, the former kings which were before thee, so shall they burn odours for thee; and they will lament thee, saying, Ah lord! for I have pronounced the word, saith the LORD.
6 Then Jeremiah the prophet spake all these words unto Zedekiah king of Judah in Jerusalem,
7 When the king of Babylon’s army fought against Jerusalem, and against all the cities of Judah that were left, against Lachish, and against Azekah: for these defenced cities remained of the cities of Judah.
8 This is the word that came unto Jeremiah from the LORD, after that the king Zedekiah had made a covenant with all the people which were at Jerusalem, to proclaim liberty unto them;
9 That every man should let his manservant, and every man his maidservant, being an Hebrew or an Hebrewess, go free; that none should serve himself of them, to wit, of a Jew his brother.
10 Now when all the princes, and all the people, which had entered into the covenant, heard that every one should let his manservant, and every one his maidservant, go free, that none should serve themselves of them any more, then they obeyed, and let them go.
11 But afterward they turned, and caused the servants and the handmaids, whom they had let go free, to return, and brought them into subjection for servants and for handmaids.
12 Therefore the word of the LORD came to Jeremiah from the LORD, saying,
13 Thus saith the LORD, the God of Israel; I made a covenant with your fathers in the day that I brought them forth out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondmen, saying,
14 At the end of seven years let ye go every man his brother an Hebrew, which hath been sold unto thee; and when he hath served thee six years, thou shalt let him go free from thee: but your fathers hearkened not unto me, neither inclined their ear.
15 And ye were now turned, and had done right in my sight, in proclaiming liberty every man to his neighbour; and ye had made a covenant before me in the house which is called by my name:
16 But ye turned and polluted my name, and caused every man his servant, and every man his handmaid, whom ye had set at liberty at their pleasure, to return, and brought them into subjection, to be unto you for servants and for handmaids.
17 Therefore thus saith the LORD; Ye have not hearkened unto me, in proclaiming liberty, every one to his brother, and every man to his neighbour: behold, I proclaim a liberty for you, saith the LORD, to the sword, to the pestilence, and to the famine; and I will make you to be removed into all the kingdoms of the earth.
18 And I will give the men that have transgressed my covenant, which have not performed the words of the covenant which they had made before me, when they cut the calf in twain, and passed between the parts thereof,
19 The princes of Judah, and the princes of Jerusalem, the eunuchs, and the priests, and all the people of the land, which passed between the parts of the calf;
20 I will even give them into the hand of their enemies, and into the hand of them that seek their life: and their dead bodies shall be for meat unto the fowls of the heaven, and to the beasts of the earth.
21 And Zedekiah king of Judah and his princes will I give into the hand of their enemies, and into the hand of them that seek their life, and into the hand of the king of Babylon’s army, which are gone up from you.
22 Behold, I will command, saith the LORD, and cause them to return to this city; and they shall fight against it, and take it, and burn it with fire: and I will make the cities of Judah a desolation without an inhabitant.
Remember that Zedekiah was a puppet king of Babylon of Judah until he decided to rebel against Babylon in 589 B.C. (bad idea!). Jeremiah was a royal pain to him (pun intended). All of the other prophets prophesied that Zedekiah's rebellion-against-Babylon campaign would be successful, but not Jeremiah. They were false prophets as seen in Jeremiah 27 (see notes). That's why Jeremiah was in jail - not playing nicely with the other prophets. Here Jeremiah again prophesies the fall of Jerusalem and the capture of Zedekiah. He adds that Zedekiah will not die in battle, but a natural death. That turns out to be bad news too when you consider that Zedekiah was captured, forced to watch his children slaughtered and immediately blinded before being transported to Babylon. And...Zedekiah didn't die by the sword at the hand of the enemy, just as Jeremiah had prophesied (II Kings 25, see notes).
Then there's the slave issue. Jewish law freed Hebrew slaves every 7 years according to Deuteronomy 15:1-18 (see notes). Under siege from the Babylonians, in compliance with King Zedekiah's wishes, the citizens of Jerusalem did free their slaves as they were supposed to do, but then changed their minds and enslaved them again. Jeremiah prophesies against these renegers in verse 12. Verses 18-22 declare a particularly unpleasant demise for those men who violated this covenant of God.
It is presumed that they allowed the slaves to go free when they perceived the fall of Jerusalem to be imminent. However, it may have been that for a certain period of time later it appeared to the inhabitants of Jerusalem that Babylon might not be successful (Jeremiah 37, see notes). Perhaps it was at that time that the previous slave owners reneged on their compliance with Mosaic Law regarding these slaves.