This is the word the Lord spoke to Jeremiah in the tenth year Zedekiah was king of Judah, which was the eighteenth year of Nebuchadnezzar.
At that time the army of the king of Babylon was surrounding Jerusalem. Jeremiah the prophet was under arrest in the courtyard of the guard, which 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 hand the city of Jerusalem over to the king of Babylon, and he will capture it.
Zedekiah king of Judah will not escape from the Babylonian army, but he will surely be handed over to the king of Babylon. And he will speak to the king of Babylon face to face and see him with his own eyes.
The king will take Zedekiah to Babylon, where he will stay until I have punished him,' says the Lord. 'If you fight against the Babylonians, you will not succeed.'")
While Jeremiah was in prison, he said, "The Lord spoke this word to me:
Your cousin Hanamel, son of your uncle Shallum, will come to you soon. 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 duty 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 and said to me, 'Buy for yourself my field near Anathoth in the land of Benjamin. It is your right and duty 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, weighing out seven ounces of silver for him.
I signed the record and sealed it and had some people witness it. I also weighed out the silver on the scales.
Then I took both copies of the record of ownership -- the one that was sealed that had the demands and limits of ownership, and the one that was not sealed.
And I gave them to Baruch son of Neriah, the son of Mahseiah. My cousin Hanamel, the other witnesses who signed the record of ownership, and many Jews sitting in the courtyard of the guard saw me give the record of ownership to Baruch.
"With all the people watching, I told Baruch,
'This is what the Lord All-Powerful, the God of Israel, says: Take both copies of the record of ownership -- the sealed copy and the copy that was not sealed -- and put them in a clay jar so they will last a long time.
This is what the Lord All-Powerful, the God of Israel, says: In the future my people will once again buy houses and fields for grain and vineyards in the land of Israel.'
"After I gave the record of ownership to Baruch son of Neriah, I prayed to the Lord,
Oh, Lord God, you made the skies and the earth with your very great power. There is nothing too hard for you to do.
You show love and kindness to thousands of people, but you also bring punishment to children for their parents' sins. Great and powerful God, your name is the Lord All-Powerful.
You plan and do great things. You see everything that people do, and you reward people for the way they live and for what they do.
You did miracles and wonderful things in the land of Egypt. You have continued doing them in Israel and among the other nations even until today. So you have become well known.
You brought your people, the Israelites, out of Egypt using signs and miracles and your great power and strength. You brought great terror on everyone.
You gave them this land that you promised to their ancestors long ago, a fertile land.
They came into this land and took it for their own, but they did not obey you or follow your teachings. They did not do everything you commanded. So you made all these terrible things happen to them.
"Look! The enemy has surrounded the city and has built roads to the top of the walls to capture it. Because of war, hunger, and terrible diseases, the city will be handed over to the Babylonians who are attacking it. You said this would happen, and now you see it is happening.
But now, Lord God, you tell me, 'Buy the field with silver and call in witnesses.' You tell me this while the Babylonian army is ready to capture the city."
Then the Lord spoke this word to Jeremiah:
"I am the Lord, the God of every person on the earth. Nothing is impossible for me.
So this is what the Lord says: I will soon hand over the city of Jerusalem to the Babylonian army and to Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, who will capture it.
The Babylonian army is already attacking the city of Jerusalem. They will soon enter it and start a fire to burn down the city and its houses. The people of Jerusalem offered sacrifices to Baal on the roofsn of those same houses and poured out drink offerings to other idols to make me angry.
From their youth, the people of Israel and Judah have done only the things I said were wrong. They have made me angry by worshiping idols made with their own hands," says the Lord.
"From the day Jerusalem was built until now, this city has made me angry, so angry that I must remove it from my sight.
I will destroy it, because of all the evil the people of Israel and Judah have done. The people, their kings and officers, their priests and prophets, all the people of Judah, and the people of Jerusalem have made me angry.
They turned their backs to me, not their faces. I tried to teach them again and again, but they wouldn't listen or learn.
They put their hateful idols in the place where I have chosen to be worshiped, so they made it unclean.
In the Valley of Ben Hinnom they built places to worship Baal so they could burn their sons and daughters as sacrifices to Molech. But I never commanded them to do such a hateful thing. It never entered my mind that they would do such a thing and cause Judah to sin.
"You are saying, 'Because of war, hunger, and terrible diseases, the city will be handed over to the king of Babylon.' But the Lord, the God of Israel, says about Jerusalem:
I forced the people of Israel and Judah to leave their land, because I was furious and very angry with them. But soon I will gather them from all the lands where I forced them to go, and I will bring them back to this place, where they may live in safety.
The people of Israel and Judah will be my people, and I will be their God.
I will make them truly want to be one people with one goal. They will truly want to worship me all their lives, for their own good and for the good of their children after them.
"I will make an agreement with them that will last forever. I will never turn away from them; I will always do good to them. I will make them want to respect me so they will never turn away from me.
I will enjoy doing good to them. And with my whole being I will surely plant them in this land and make them grow."
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 the good things that I promise to do for them.
You are saying, 'This land is an empty desert, without people or animals. It has been handed over to the Babylonians.' But in the future, people will again buy fields in this land.
They will use their money to buy fields. They will sign and seal their agreements and call in witnesses. They will again buy fields in the land of Benjamin, in the area around Jerusalem, in the towns of Judah and in the mountains, in the western hills, and in southern Judah. I will make everything as good for them as it once was," says the Lord.
Scripture taken from the New Century Version. Copyright © 1987, 1988, 1991 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.