Jeremiah 32:1-25 Jeremiah Buys A Field And Prays To The LORD.
The tenth year of Zedekiah’s reign, would put this passage at 597 B.C., the time of the second of three waves of exile (v. 1). King Nebuchadnezzar besieged Jerusalem, as Jeremiah was shut up in Zedekiah’s court, in his house (v. 2), because he had predicted the captivity, and the capture and exile of Zedekiah himself (vv. 3-5). It is in this context that Jeremiah is presented with a real estate opportunity. One might imagine that this would hardly be the time to consider buying property, but it is the LORD who gives Jeremiah a heads up about his uncle Shallum’ son Hanamel presenting him with the option of exercising his right of redemption to buy his field. Hanamel, like Boaz’s kin, was telling Jeremiah that he was next in line to redeem the property as his right of inheritance (vv. 6-8a Cf. Ruth 4:4 Cf. Lev. 25:25). There were clearly still Israelites who were committed to living under the rule of the law-word of the covenant. Jeremiah then “knew that this was the word of the LORD” (v. 8b).
Jeremiah redeemed the field that was in Anathoth, which is in the country of Benjamin, “signed the deed and sealed it, took witnesses, and weighed the money on the scales,” of 17 shekels of silver (vv. 9-10). We are then told that Jeremiah took both the sealed deed (according to custom and law), and the open (purchase) deed, and gave them to one Baruch in the presence of Hanamel and the other witnesses who also had signed the deed, before everyone in the court of the prison (vv. 11-12). Then he charged Baruch to put them in an earthen vessel, no doubt to ensure that they would be preserved until the time that he would be freed from prison (vv. 13-14). This was all an act of faith by Jeremiah, as a result of the promise in the covenant of inheritance in the land. “For thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel: ‘Houses and fields and vineyards shall be possessed again in this land.’” (v. 15) When he thus delivered the deeds to Baruch he then prayed (v. 16).
Jeremiah addresses the LORD first of all as the sovereign creator and sustainer of the whole of creation, saying that nothing was too hard for him (v. 17 Cf. II Kgs 19:15; Lk. 18:27). The LORD’s lovingkindness refers to his commitment in the covenantal bond – to thousands (v. 18a Cf. Dt. 5:9-10). However, he also repays the iniquity of apostates in the covenant, including their children who they represent in the covenant. This is why Jeremiah refers to God “the Great, the mighty God whose name is the LORD of hosts” (v. 18b Cf. 10:16; Is. 9:6). The LORD is great and mighty in both word and deed (v. 19), for his “eyes are open to all the ways of the sons of men, to give everyone according to his ways and according to the fruit of his doings.” (v. 19) There is a great deal of theology in Jeremiah’s address to the LORD. He addresses the LORD as the one whose counsel is our guide (Cf. Is. 28:29). The LORD sees everything (Cf. Prov. 5:21), and based on this knowledge, judges (Cf. 17:10).
Jeremiah confesses that the LORD made a name for himself, so to speak, with signs and wonders of redemption for his people, going back to the exodus from Egypt, filling their enemies with terror (vv. 20-21). Again Jeremiah refers to the land being promised, of which the people took possession for the LORD (vv. 22-23a), but they failed to obey the law-word of the covenant, as the fitting response to being redeemed (v. 23b). The siege of the city was taking place, just as the LORD had spoken to and through Jeremiah (v. 24). In contrast to Jeremiah, who as the leader of the faithful remnant redeemed a field of inheritance, the apostates in the city wanted to LORD to do the same for it and them – yet the city was “given into the hand of the Chaldeans” (v. 25). So the LORD’s response to Jeremiah encapsulated the situation of this entire period, which was one of covenant lawsuit judgment and curse upon the apostates, but the promise of redemption for the remnant.