Yahweh tells Jeremiah to buy a piece of land with a deed at the very moment that Jerusalem is besieged. When Jeremiah asks why, Yahweh responds that he will exile the people before bringing them back, at which point they will buy parcels of land with deeds of sale.
Yahweh will restore the economy: “Fields shall be purchased, and deeds written and sealed, and witnesses called… for I will restore their fortunes” (v. 44)
III. Select Verses
1-2: The word which came to Jeremiah from the LORD in the tenth year of King Zedekiah of Judah, which was the eighteenth year of Nebuchadrezzar. At that time the army of the king of Babylon was besieging Jerusalem, and the prophet Jeremiah was confined in the prison compound attached to the palace of the king of Judah.
7-8: Hanamel, the son of your uncle Shallum, will come to you and say, “Buy my land in Anathoth, for you are next in succession to redeem it by purchase.” And just as the LORD had said, my cousin Hanamel came to me in the prison compound and said to me, “Please buy my land in Anathoth, in the territory of Benjamin; for the right of succession is yours, and you have the duty of redemption. Buy it.” Then I knew that it was indeed the word of the LORD.
14-15: Thus said the LORD of Hosts, the God of Israel: “Take these documents, this deed of purchase, the sealed text and the open one, and put them into an earthen jar, so that they may last a long time.” For thus said the LORD of Hosts, the God of Israel: “Houses, fields, and vineyards shall again be purchased in this land.”
24-25: Here are the siegemounds, raised against the city to storm it; and the city, because of sword and famine and pestilence, is at the mercy of the Chaldeans who are attacking it. What You threatened has come to pass — as You see. Yet You, Lord GOD, said to me: Buy the land for money and call in witnesses — when the city is at the mercy of the Chaldeans!”
43-44: And fields shall again be purchased in this land of which you say, “It is a desolation, without man or beast; it is delivered into the hands of the Chaldeans.” Fields shall be purchased, and deeds written and sealed, and witnesses called in the land of Benjamin and in the environs of Jerusalem, and in the towns of Judah; the towns of the hill country, the towns of the Shephelah, and the towns of the Negeb. For I will restore their fortunes — declares the LORD.
1-6. Introduction 1-2a. General introduction: prophecy during Nebuchadnezzar’s siege of Jerusalem during the reign of Zedekiah 2b-5. The prophecy of exile that landed Jeremiah in prison 6. Introduction proper 7-25. The Deed 7-8. Proof of prophecy: Hanamel asks Jeremiah to buy his land, as Yahweh foretold 9-10. Jeremiah buys the land and writes a deed 11-15. Symbolic act: Jeremiah gives the deed to Baruch son of Neriah to keep, for fields will be purchased again in the land 16-25. Jeremiah’s complaint 16. Introduction 17-23a. Hymnic praise: kindness, might, judiciousness, miracles in Egypt, giving the land 23b. The people have sinned, which led to their punishment 24-25. Petition: How could Yahweh speak to Jeremiah about a land deed in the midst of Jerusalem’s destruction? 26-44. Yahweh’s response 26. Introduction 27. Self praise (hymnic): Yahweh can do anything 28-29. The Babylonians will capture and destroy the idolatrous city 30-35. The people are guilty of idolatry 36-37. Yahweh will gather in the exiles 38-41. The new covenant, when the people will not turn away 42-44. The land will be resettled and people will write deeds (hence the symbolic action)
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VI. Works Used
(see “Commentaries” page)
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