|<< Jer 31|
|This is the New King James text of the passages.|
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 Nebuchadnezzar.
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, “Why do you prophesy and say, “Thus says 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 from the hand of the Chaldeans, but shall surely be delivered into the hand of the king of Babylon, and shall speak with him face to face, and see him eye to eye;
5 then he shall lead Zedekiah to Babylon, and there he shall be until I visit him,” says the LORD; “though you fight with the Chaldeans, you shall not succeed” ’?”
6 ¶ And Jeremiah said, “The word of the LORD came to me, saying,
7 “Behold, Hanamel the son of Shallum your uncle will come to you, saying, ‘Buy my field which is in Anathoth, for the right of redemption is yours to buy it.” ’
8 Then Hanamel my uncle’s son came to me in the court of the prison according to the word of the LORD, and said to me, “Please buy my field that is in Anathoth, which is in the country of Benjamin; for the right of inheritance is yours, and the redemption yours; buy it for yourself.’ Then I knew that this was the word of the LORD.
9 So I bought the field from Hanamel, the son of my uncle who was in Anathoth, and weighed out to him the money—seventeen shekels of silver.
10 And I signed the deed and sealed it, took witnesses, and weighed the money on the scales.
11 So I took the purchase deed, both that which was sealed according to the law and custom, and that which was open;
12 and I gave the purchase deed to Baruch the son of Neriah, son of Mahseiah, in the presence of Hanamel my uncle’s son, and in the presence of the witnesses who signed the purchase deed, before all the Jews who sat in the court of the prison.
13 ¶ “Then I charged Baruch before them, saying,
14 “Thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel: ‘Take these deeds, both this purchase deed which is sealed and this deed which is open, and put them in an earthen vessel, that they may last many days.”
15 For thus says 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 who 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 says 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 purchase deed to Baruch the son of Neriah, I prayed to the LORD, saying:
17 “Ah, Lord GOD! Behold, You have made the heavens and the earth by Your great power and outstretched arm. There is nothing too hard for You.
18 You show lovingkindness to thousands, and repay the iniquity of the fathers into the bosom of their children after them—the Great, the Mighty God, whose name is the LORD of hosts.
19 You are great in counsel and mighty in work, for your eyes are open to all the ways of the sons of men, to give everyone according to his ways and according to the fruit of his doings.
20 You have set signs and wonders in the land of Egypt, to this day, and in Israel and among other men; and You have made Yourself a name, as it is this day.
21 You have brought Your people Israel out of the land of Egypt with signs and wonders, with a strong hand and an outstretched arm, and with great terror;
22 You have given them this land, of which You swore to their fathers to give them—“a land flowing with milk and honey.”
23 And they came in and took possession of it, but they have not obeyed Your voice or walked in Your law. They have done nothing of all that You commanded them to do; therefore You have caused all this calamity to come upon them.
24 ¶ “Look, the siege mounds! They have come to the city to take it; and the city has been given into the hand of the Chaldeans who fight against it, because of the sword and famine and pestilence. What You have spoken has happened; there You see it!
25 And You have said to me, O Lord GOD, “Buy the field for money, and take witnesses”!—yet the city has been given into the hand of the Chaldeans.’ ”
26 ¶ Then the word of the LORD came to Jeremiah, saying,
27 “Behold, I am the LORD, the God of all flesh. Is there anything too hard for Me?
28 Therefore thus says the LORD: “Behold, I will give this city into the hand of the Chaldeans, into the hand of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, and he shall take it.
29 And the Chaldeans who fight against this city shall come and set fire to this city and burn it, with the houses on whose roofs they have offered incense to Baal and poured out drink offerings to other gods, to provoke Me to anger;
30 because the children of Israel and the children of Judah have done only evil before Me from their youth. For the children of Israel have provoked Me only to anger with the work of their hands,’ says the LORD.
31 “For this city has been to Me a provocation of My anger and My fury from the day that they built it, even to this day; so I will remove it from before My face
32 because of all the evil of the children of Israel and the children of Judah, which they have done to provoke Me to anger—they, their kings, their princes, their priests, their prophets, the men of Judah, and the inhabitants of Jerusalem.
33 And they have turned to Me the back, and not the face; though I taught them, rising up early and teaching them, yet they have not listened 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 to Molech, which I did not command them, nor did it come into My mind that they should do this abomination, to cause Judah to sin.’
36 ¶ “Now therefore, thus says the LORD, the God of Israel, concerning this city of which you say, ‘It shall be delivered into the hand of the king of Babylon by the sword, by the famine, and by the pestilence:
37 Behold, I will gather them out of all countries where I have driven them in My anger, in My fury, and in great wrath; I will bring them back to this place, and I will cause them to dwell safely.
38 They shall be My people, and I will be their God;
39 then I will give them one heart and one way, that they may fear Me forever, for the good of them and their children after them.
40 And I will make an everlasting covenant with them, that I will not turn away from doing them good; but I will put My fear in their hearts so that they will not depart from Me.
41 Yes, I will rejoice over them to do them good, and I will assuredly plant them in this land, with all My heart and with all My soul.’
42 ¶ “For thus says the LORD: ‘Just as I have brought all this great calamity on this people, so I will bring on them all the good that I have promised them.
43 And fields will be bought in this land of which you say, “It is desolate, without man or beast; it has been given into the hand of the Chaldeans.”
44 Men will buy fields for money, sign deeds and seal them, and take witnesses, in the land of Benjamin, in the places around Jerusalem, in the cities of Judah, in the cities of the mountains, in the cities of the lowland, and in the cities of the South; for I will cause their captives to return,’ says 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 has been to Me a provocation of My anger and My fury from the day that they built it, even to this day; so I will 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 to Molech, which I did not command them, nor did it come 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, "then I will give them one heart and one way, that they may fear Me forever, for the good of them and their children after them. And I will make an everlasting covenant with them, that I will not turn away from doing them good; but I will put My fear in their hearts so that they will 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 to Jeremiah a second time, while he was still shut up in the court of the prison, saying,
2 “Thus says the LORD who made it, the LORD who formed it to establish it (the LORD is His name):
3 “Call to Me, and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things, which you do not know.’
4 ¶ “For thus says the LORD, the God of Israel, concerning the houses of this city and the houses of the kings of Judah, which have been pulled down to fortify against the siege mounds and the sword:
5 “They come to fight with the Chaldeans, but only to fill their places with the dead bodies of men whom I will slay in My anger and My fury, all for whose wickedness I have hidden My face from this city.
6 Behold, I will bring it health and healing; I will heal them and reveal to them the abundance of peace and truth.
7 And I will cause the captives of Judah and the captives of Israel to return, and will rebuild those places as at the first.
8 I will cleanse them from all their iniquity by which they have sinned against Me, and I will pardon all their iniquities by which they have sinned and by which they have transgressed against Me.
9 Then it shall be to Me a name of joy, a praise, and an honor before all nations of the earth, who shall hear all the good that I do to them; they shall fear and tremble for all the goodness and all the prosperity that I provide for it.’
10 ¶ “Thus says the LORD: “Again there shall be heard in this place—of which you say, ‘It is desolate, without man and without beast”—in the cities of Judah, 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 those who will say:
“Praise the LORD of hosts,
For the LORD is good,
For His mercy endures forever”— and of those who will bring the sacrifice of praise into the house of the LORD. For I will cause the captives of the land to return as at the first,’ says the LORD.
12 ¶ “Thus says the LORD of hosts: ‘In this place which is desolate, without man and without beast, and in all its cities, there shall again be a dwelling place of shepherds causing their flocks to lie down.
13 In the cities of the mountains, in the cities of the lowland, in the cities of the South, in the land of Benjamin, in the places around Jerusalem, and in the cities of Judah, the flocks shall again pass under the hands of him who counts them,’ says the LORD.
14 ¶ “Behold, the days are coming,’ says the LORD, ‘that I will perform that good thing which I have promised to the house of Israel and to the house of Judah:
15 “In those days and at that time
I will cause to grow up to David
A Branch of righteousness;
He shall execute judgment and righteousness in the earth.
16 In those days Judah will be saved,
And Jerusalem will dwell safely.
And this is the name by which she will be called:
THE Lord OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS.’
17 ¶ “For thus says the LORD: ‘David shall never lack a man to sit on the throne of the house of Israel;
18 nor shall the priests, the Levites, lack a man to offer burnt offerings before Me, to kindle grain offerings, and to sacrifice continually.’ ”
19 ¶ And the word of the LORD came to Jeremiah, saying,
20 “Thus says the LORD: ‘If you can break My covenant with the day and My covenant with the night, so that there will not be day and night in their season,
21 then My covenant may also be broken with David My servant, so that he shall not have a son to reign on his throne, and with the Levites, the priests, My ministers.
22 As the host of heaven cannot be numbered, nor the sand of the sea measured, so will I multiply the descendants of David My servant and the Levites who minister to Me.’ ”
23 ¶ Moreover the word of the LORD came to Jeremiah, saying,
24 “Have you not considered what these people have spoken, saying, ‘The two families which the LORD has chosen, He has also cast them off|’? Thus they have despised My people, as if they should no more be a nation before them.
25 ¶ “Thus says the LORD: ‘If My covenant is not with day and night, and if I have not appointed the ordinances of heaven and earth,
26 then I will cast away the descendants of Jacob and David My servant, so that I will not take any of his descendants to be rulers over the descendants of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. For I will cause their captives to return, and will 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 says the LORD: ‘David shall never lack a man to sit on 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, "But I saw no temple in it, for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are its temple."
Jeremiah prophesies concerning King Zedekiah (Jeremiah 34)
1 The word which came to Jeremiah from the LORD, when Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon and all his army, all the kingdoms of the earth under his dominion, and all the people, fought against Jerusalem and all its cities, saying,
2 “Thus says the LORD, the God of Israel: “Go and speak to Zedekiah king of Judah and tell him, “Thus says 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 you shall not escape from his hand, but shall surely be taken and delivered into his hand; your eyes shall see the eyes of the king of Babylon, he shall speak with you face to face, and you shall go to Babylon.’ ” ’
4 Yet hear the word of the LORD, O Zedekiah king of Judah! Thus says the LORD concerning you: “You shall not die by the sword.
5 You shall die in peace; as in the ceremonies of your fathers, the former kings who were before you, so they shall burn incense for you and lament for you, saying, “Alas, lord!” For I have pronounced the word, says the LORD.’ ”
6 ¶ Then Jeremiah the prophet spoke all these words to Zedekiah king of Judah in Jerusalem,
7 when the king of Babylon’s army fought against Jerusalem and all the cities of Judah that were left, against Lachish and Azekah; for only these fortified cities remained of the cities of Judah.
8 ¶ This is the word that came to Jeremiah from the LORD, after King Zedekiah had made a covenant with all the people who were at Jerusalem to proclaim liberty to them:
9 that every man should set free his male and female slave—a Hebrew man or woman—that no one should keep a Jewish brother in bondage.
10 Now when all the princes and all the people, who had entered into the covenant, heard that everyone should set free his male and female slaves, that no one should keep them in bondage anymore, they obeyed and let them go.
11 But afterward they changed their minds and made the male and female slaves return, whom they had set free, and brought them into subjection as male and female slaves.
12 ¶ Therefore the word of the LORD came to Jeremiah from the LORD, saying,
13 “Thus says the LORD, the God of Israel: ‘I made a covenant with your fathers in the day that I brought them out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage, saying,
14 “At the end of seven years let every man set free his Hebrew brother, who has been sold to him; and when he has served you six years, you shall let him go free from you.” But your fathers did not obey Me nor incline their ear.
15 Then you recently turned and did what was right in My sight—every man proclaiming liberty to his neighbor; and you made a covenant before Me in the house which is called by My name.
16 Then you turned around and profaned My name, and every one of you brought back his male and female slaves, whom he had set at liberty, at their pleasure, and brought them back into subjection, to be your male and female slaves.’
17 ¶ “Therefore thus says the LORD: “You have not obeyed Me in proclaiming liberty, every one to his brother and every one to his neighbor. Behold, I proclaim liberty to you,’ says the LORD—‘to the sword, to pestilence, and to famine! And I will deliver you to trouble among all the kingdoms of the earth.
18 And I will give the men who have transgressed My covenant, who have not performed the words of the covenant which they made before Me, when they cut the calf in two and passed between the parts of it—
19 the princes of Judah, the princes of Jerusalem, the eunuchs, the priests, and all the people of the land who passed between the parts of the calf—
20 I will give them into the hand of their enemies and into the hand of those who seek their life. Their dead bodies shall be for meat for the birds of the heaven and the beasts of the earth.
21 And I will give Zedekiah king of Judah and his princes into the hand of their enemies, into the hand of those who seek their life, and into the hand of the king of Babylon’s army which has gone back from you.
22 Behold, I will command,’ says the LORD, “and cause them to return to this city. They will fight against it and take it and burn it with fire; and I will make the cities of Judah a desolation without 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.