The LORD spoke his word to Jeremiah during Zedekiah's tenth year as king of Judah. (This was Nebuchadnezzar's eighteenth year as king.)
At that time the army of the king of Babylon was blockading Jerusalem. The prophet Jeremiah was locked up in the courtyard of the prison. This prison was in the palace of the king of Judah.
When King Zedekiah of Judah locked up Jeremiah, Zedekiah asked him, "Why are you prophesying? You are saying, 'This is what the LORD says: I'm going to hand this city over to the king of Babylon, and he will capture it.
King Zedekiah of Judah will not escape from the Babylonians. He will certainly be handed over to the king of Babylon. He will talk to Nebuchadnezzar in person and look him in the eye.
Nebuchadnezzar will take Zedekiah to Babylon, and Zedekiah will stay there until I deal with him, declares the LORD. When you fight the Babylonians, you won't win.'"
Jeremiah said, "The LORD spoke his word to me. He said,
'Jeremiah, your cousin Hanamel, son of Shallum, is going to come to you and say, "Buy my field that is in Anathoth, because as the closest relative it is your responsibility to buy it."'
"Then, as the LORD had said, my cousin Hanamel came to me in the courtyard of the prison. He said to me, 'Please buy my field that is in Anathoth in the territory of Benjamin. It is your responsibility to purchase it, because the rights of the closest relative belong to you. Buy it for yourself.' Then I knew that the LORD had spoken to me.
"So I bought the field in Anathoth from my cousin Hanamel and gave him the money. The field cost seven ounces of silver.
I signed the deed, sealed it, had people witness the signing of the deed, and paid out the silver.
Then I took the sealed copy of the deed, containing the terms and conditions, as well as an unsealed copy.
I gave the copies of the deeds to Baruch, son of Neriah and grandson of Mahseiah. I did this in the presence of my cousin Hanamel and the witnesses who had signed the deed and in the presence of all the Jews who were sitting in the courtyard of the prison.
Then I gave Baruch these orders:
'This is what the LORD of Armies, the God of Israel, says: Take both of these documents, both the sealed and the unsealed copies of the deed. Put them in a clay jar so that they will last a long time.
This is what the LORD of Armies, the God of Israel, says: My people will again buy houses, fields, and vineyards in this land.'
"After I had given the copies to Baruch, son of Neriah, I prayed to the LORD. I prayed,
'Almighty LORD, you made heaven and earth by your great strength and powerful arm. Nothing is too hard for you.
You show mercy to thousands of generations. However, you punish children for the wickedness of their parents. You, God, are great and mighty. Your name is the LORD of Armies.
You make wise plans and do mighty things. You see everything the descendants of Adam do. You reward them for the way they live and for what they do.
You performed miraculous signs and amazing things in Egypt. To this day you are still doing them in Israel. You made a name for yourself that continues to this day.
You brought your people from Egypt with miraculous signs and amazing things, with a mighty hand and a powerful arm, and with great terror.
You gave them the land that you swore with an oath to give their ancestors, the land flowing with milk and honey.
They entered and took possession of it. However, they refused to obey you or to follow your teachings. They didn't do anything you commanded them to do, so you brought all this disaster on them.
"'See how the dirt ramps have been built up around the city to capture it! Because of wars, famines, and plagues, the city will be handed over to the Babylonians who are attacking it. What you have threatened to do has happened, as you can see.
Yet you, Almighty LORD, told me to buy a field with money and get witnesses to confirm it, although the city was handed over to the Babylonians.'"
The LORD spoke his word to Jeremiah. He said,
"I am the LORD God of all humanity. Nothing is too hard for me.
This is what the LORD says: I'm going to hand this city over to the Babylonians and King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon. They will capture it.
"The Babylonians who are attacking this city will break in, set this city on fire, and burn it down. They will burn down the houses of people who made me furious by going up to the roofs to burn incense to Baal and to pour out wine offerings to other gods.
Ever since they were young, the people of Israel and Judah have done what I consider evil. The people of Israel have made me furious by what they've done," declares the LORD.
"The people in this city have made me so angry and furious from the day they built it to this day. So now I must remove this city from my presence.
"The people of Israel and Judah have made me furious because they are evil. The people, their kings and officials, their priests and prophets, and the Judeans and those who live in Jerusalem
have turned their backs, not their faces to me. I taught them again and again, but they refused to listen and learn.
They set up their detestable idols in the temple that is called by my name, and they dishonored it.
In the valley of Ben Hinnom they built worship sites for Baal to sacrifice their sons and daughters to Molech. I didn't ask them to do this. It never entered my mind. I didn't make Judah sin.
"You have said this about the city, 'Because of wars, famines, and plagues it will be handed over to the king of Babylon.' Now this is what the LORD God of Israel says:
I am going to gather the people from all the lands where I scattered them in my anger, fury, and terrifying wrath. I will bring them back to this place and make them live here securely.
They will be my people, and I will be their God.
I will give them the same attitude and the same purpose so that they will fear me as long as they live. This will be for their own good and for the good of their children.
I will make an eternal promise to them that I will never stop blessing them. I will make them fear me so that they will never turn away from me.
I will enjoy blessing them. With all my heart and soul I will faithfully plant them in this land.
"This is what the LORD says: As I brought all these disasters on these people, so I will bring on them all these blessings that I have promised them.
You have said that this land is a wasteland, without people or animals living in it. You have also said that it has been handed over to the Babylonians. But people will once again buy fields in this land.
They will buy fields for money, sign deeds, seal them, and have people witness the signing of the deeds. This will happen in the territory of Benjamin, in the region of Jerusalem, in the cities of Judah, in the cities on the mountains, in the hill country, and in the Negev because I will bring them back from their captivity," declares the LORD.