The following message came to Jeremiah from the LORD in the tenth year of the reign of Zedekiah, king of Judah. This was also the eighteenth year of the reign of King Nebuchadnezzar.
Jerusalem was then under siege from the Babylonian army, and Jeremiah was imprisoned in the courtyard of the guard in the royal palace.
King Zedekiah had put him there, asking why he kept giving this prophecy: “This is what the LORD says: ‘I am about to hand this city over to the king of Babylon, and he will take it.
King Zedekiah will be captured by the Babylonians and taken to meet the king of Babylon face to face.
He will take Zedekiah to Babylon, and I will deal with him there,’ says the LORD . ‘If you fight against the Babylonians, you will never succeed.’”
At that time the LORD sent me a message. He said,
“Your cousin Hanamel son of Shallum will come and say to you, ‘Buy my field at Anathoth. By law you have the right to buy it before it is offered to anyone else.’”
Then, just as the LORD had said he would, my cousin Hanamel came and visited me in the prison. He said, “Please buy my field at Anathoth in the land of Benjamin. By law you have the right to buy it before it is offered to anyone else, so buy it for yourself.” Then I knew that the message I had heard was from the LORD .
So I bought the field at Anathoth, paying Hanamel seventeen pieces of silver for it.
I signed and sealed the deed of purchase before witnesses, weighed out the silver, and paid him.
Then I took the sealed deed and an unsealed copy of the deed, which contained the terms and conditions of the purchase,
and I handed them to Baruch son of Neriah and grandson of Mahseiah. I did all this in the presence of my cousin Hanamel, the witnesses who had signed the deed, and all the men of Judah who were there in the courtyard of the guardhouse.
Then I said to Baruch as they all listened,
“This is what the LORD of Heaven’s Armies, the God of Israel, says: ‘Take both this sealed deed and the unsealed copy, and put them into a pottery jar to preserve them for a long time.’
For this is what the LORD of Heaven’s Armies, the God of Israel, says: ‘Someday people will again own property here in this land and will buy and sell houses and vineyards and fields.’”
Then after I had given the papers to Baruch, I prayed to the LORD :
“O Sovereign LORD ! You made the heavens and earth by your strong hand and powerful arm. Nothing is too hard for you!
You show unfailing love to thousands, but you also bring the consequences of one generation’s sin upon the next. You are the great and powerful God, the LORD of Heaven’s Armies.
You have all wisdom and do great and mighty miracles. You see the conduct of all people, and you give them what they deserve.
You performed miraculous signs and wonders in the land of Egypt—things still remembered to this day! And you have continued to do great miracles in Israel and all around the world. You have made your name famous to this day.
“You brought Israel out of Egypt with mighty signs and wonders, with a strong hand and powerful arm, and with overwhelming terror.
You gave the people of Israel this land that you had promised their ancestors long before—a land flowing with milk and honey.
Our ancestors came and conquered it and lived in it, but they refused to obey you or follow your word. They have not done anything you commanded. That is why you have sent this terrible disaster upon them.
“See how the siege ramps have been built against the city walls! Through war, famine, and disease, the city will be handed over to the Babylonians, who will conquer it. Everything has happened just as you said.
And yet, O Sovereign LORD, you have told me to buy the field—paying good money for it before these witnesses—even though the city will soon be handed over to the Babylonians.”
Then this message came to Jeremiah from the LORD :
“I am the LORD, the God of all the peoples of the world. Is anything too hard for me?
Therefore, this is what the LORD says: I will hand this city over to the Babylonians and to Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, and he will capture it.
The Babylonians outside the walls will come in and set fire to the city. They will burn down all these houses where the people provoked my anger by burning incense to Baal on the rooftops and by pouring out liquid offerings to other gods.
Israel and Judah have done nothing but wrong since their earliest days. They have infuriated me with all their evil deeds,” says the LORD .
“From the time this city was built until now, it has done nothing but anger me, so I am determined to get rid of it.
“The sins of Israel and Judah—the sins of the people of Jerusalem, the kings, the officials, the priests, and the prophets—have stirred up my anger.
My people have turned their backs on me and have refused to return. Even though I diligently taught them, they would not receive instruction or obey.
They have set up their abominable idols right in my own Temple, defiling it.
They have built pagan shrines to Baal in the valley of Ben-Hinnom, and there they sacrifice their sons and daughters to Molech. I have never commanded such a horrible deed; it never even crossed my mind to command such a thing. What an incredible evil, causing Judah to sin so greatly!
“Now I want to say something more about this city. You have been saying, ‘It will fall to the king of Babylon through war, famine, and disease.’ But this is what the LORD, the God of Israel, says:
I will certainly bring my people back again from all the countries where I will scatter them in my fury. I will bring them back to this very city and let them live in peace and safety.
They will be my people, and I will be their God.
And I will give them one heart and one purpose: to worship me forever, for their own good and for the good of all their descendants.
And I will make an everlasting covenant with them: I will never stop doing good for them. I will put a desire in their hearts to worship me, and they will never leave me.
I will find joy doing good for them and will faithfully and wholeheartedly replant them in this land.
“This is what the LORD says: Just as I have brought all these calamities on them, so I will do all the good I have promised them.
Fields will again be bought and sold in this land about which you now say, ‘It has been ravaged by the Babylonians, a desolate land where people and animals have all disappeared.’
Yes, fields will once again be bought and sold—deeds signed and sealed and witnessed—in the land of Benjamin and here in Jerusalem, in the towns of Judah and in the hill country, in the foothills of Judah and in the Negev, too. For someday I will restore prosperity to them. I, the LORD, have spoken!”