This is the word the Lord spoke to Jeremiah. It was in the tenth year that Zedekiah was king of Judah. The tenth year of Zedekiah was the eighteenth year of Nebuchadnezzar. At that time the army of Babylon was surrounding Jerusalem. Jeremiah was under arrest in the courtyard of the guard. This courtyard was at the palace of the king of Judah.
Zedekiah king of Judah had put Jeremiah in prison there. Zedekiah had asked, “Why have you prophesied the things you have?” (Jeremiah had said, “This is what the Lord says: ‘I will soon give the city of Jerusalem to the king of Babylon. Nebuchadnezzar will capture this city. Zedekiah king of Judah will not escape from the army of the Babylonians. But he will surely be given to the king of Babylon. And Zedekiah will speak to the king of Babylon face to face. Zedekiah will see him with his own eyes. The king of Babylon will take Zedekiah to Babylon. Zedekiah will stay there until I have punished him,’ says the Lord. ‘If you fight against the Babylonians, you will not succeed.’”)
While Jeremiah was prisoner, he said, “The Lord spoke his word to me. He said: Jeremiah, your cousin Hanamel will come to you soon. He is the son of your uncle Shallum. Hanamel will say to you, ‘Jeremiah, you are my nearest relative. So buy my field near the town of Anathoth. It is your right and your responsibility to buy that field.’
“Then it happened just as the Lord had said. My cousin Hanamel came to me in the courtyard of the guard. He said to me, ‘Buy my field near Anathoth in the land of Benjamin. Buy that land for yourself. It is your right to buy it and own it.’ So I knew this was a message from the Lord.
“I bought the field at Anathoth from my cousin Hanamel. I weighed out seven ounces of silver for him. I signed the record that showed I now owned the field. And I had a copy of the record sealed up. Some men witnessed it and signed it also. And I weighed out the silver on the scales. Then I took the sealed copy of the record of ownership. And I took the copy that was not sealed. And I gave them to Baruch son of Neriah. Neriah was the son of Mahseiah. The sealed copy of the record of ownership had all the demands and limits of my purchase. I gave this paper of ownership to Baruch. It was while my cousin Hanamel and the other witnesses were there. Those witnesses also signed the record of ownership. There were also many Jews sitting in the courtyard. And they saw me give the record of ownership to Baruch.
“With all the people watching, I said to Baruch, ‘This is what the Lord of heaven’s armies, the God of Israel, says: Take both copies of the record of ownership. Take both the sealed copy and the copy that was not sealed. And put them in a clay jar. Do this so that they will last a long time. This is what the Lord of heaven’s armies, the God of Israel, says: In the future my people will once again buy houses. They will also buy fields for grain and vineyards in the land of Israel.’
“I gave the record of ownership to Baruch son of Neriah. Then I prayed to the Lord. I said: Oh, Lord God, you made the skies and the earth. You made them with your very great power. There is nothing too wonderful for you to do. Lord, you show love and kindness to thousands of people. But you also bring punishment to children for their fathers’ sins. Great and powerful God, your name is the Lord of heaven’s armies. You plan and do great things, Lord. You see everything that people do. You reward people for the way they live and for what they do. Lord, you did miracles and wonderful things in the land of Egypt. You have kept on doing them even until today. You did miracles in Israel and among the other nations. You have become well known. Lord, you used signs and miracles and brought your people, the Israelites, out of Egypt. You used your great power and strength to do those things. You brought great terror on everyone. Lord, you gave this land to the people of Israel. This is the land you promised to their ancestors long ago. It’s a land where much food grows. The people of Israel came into this land and took it for their own. But those people did not obey you. They did not follow your teachings. They did not do the things you commanded. So you made all these terrible things happen to them.
“And now, the enemy has surrounded the city. They are building roads to the top of the walls. There will be war, hunger and terrible diseases. These will cause the city to be handed over to the Babylonians. They are attacking the city now. Lord, you said this would happen. And now you see it is happening. But now, Lord God, you are telling me, ‘Buy the field with silver. Choose some men to watch while I purchase it.’ You are telling me this while the Babylonian army is ready to capture the city.”
Then the Lord spoke his word to Jeremiah: “I am the Lord. I am the God of every person on the earth. You know that nothing is impossible for me. So this is what I say: I will soon give the city of Jerusalem to the Babylonian army. And I will give it to Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon. That army will capture the city. The Babylonian army is already attacking the city of Jerusalem. They will soon enter the city and start a fire to burn down the city. They will also burn down the houses. The people of Jerusalem made me angry. They offered sacrifices to Baal on the roofs of their houses. And the people poured out drink offerings to other idols. The people of Israel and Judah have done only the things I said were wrong. They have done this since they were young. They have made me angry by worshiping idols made with their own hands,” says the Lord. “From the day Jerusalem was built until now, they have made me very angry. Jerusalem has made me so angry I must remove it from my sight. I will destroy it. This is because of the evil the people of Israel and Judah have done. The people, their kings and officers have made me angry. Their priests and prophets have made me angry. All the men of Judah and the people of Jerusalem have made me angry. They turned their backs to me. I tried to teach them again and again. But they wouldn’t listen to me. I tried to correct them, but they wouldn’t listen. They put their hated idols in the place where I have chosen to be worshiped. In this way they made it unclean. In the Valley of Ben Hinnom those people built places to worship Baal. They built them so they could burn their sons and daughters as sacrifices to Molech. But I never commanded them to do such a hated thing. I never even thought of it! This would make Judah sin.
“You are saying, ‘There will be war, hunger and terrible diseases. So the city will be handed over to the king of Babylon.’ But the Lord, the God of Israel, says: I have forced the people of Israel and Judah to leave their land. I was very furious and angry with them. But I will gather them from the land where I forced them to go. I will bring them back to this place. I will let them live in peace and safety. The people of Israel and Judah will be my people. And I will be their God. I will make them want to be truly one people. They will have one goal. They will truly want to worship me all their lives. They will do this for their own good and for their children after them.
“I will make an agreement with them. This agreement will last forever. And I will never turn away from them. I will always be good to them. I will make them want to respect me. Then they will never turn away from me. I will enjoy doing good to them. And I will surely plant them in this land and make them grow. I will do this with my whole being.”
This is what the Lord says: “I have brought this great disaster to the people of Israel and Judah. In the same way I will bring good things to them. I promise to do good things for them. You are saying, ‘This land is an empty desert. There are no people or animals here. The Babylonian army defeated this country.’ But in the future, people will once again buy fields in this land. They will use their money and buy fields. They will sign and seal their agreements. People will witness their signing records of ownership. They will again buy fields in the land of Benjamin and in the area around Jerusalem. They will buy fields in the towns of Judah and in the mountains. They will buy them in the western mountain slopes and in southern Judah. This is because I will make everything as good as it once was,” says the Lord.