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Jeremiah Imprisoned

32 The word that came to Jeremiah from the Lord in the tenth year of Zedekiah king of Judah, which was the eighteenth year of [a]Nebuchadnezzar. Now at that time the army of the king of Babylon was besieging Jerusalem, and Jeremiah the prophet was shut up in the court of the guard, which was in the house of the king of Judah. For Zedekiah [the last] king of Judah had locked him up, saying, “Why do you prophesy [disaster] and say, ‘Thus says the Lord, “Behold, I am giving this city into the hand of the king of Babylon, and he shall take it; and Zedekiah king of Judah will not escape from the hand of the [b]Chaldeans, but he will surely be given into the hand of the king of Babylon, and he will speak with him face to face and see him eye to eye; and he will lead Zedekiah to Babylon, and he will be there until I visit him [for evaluation and judgment],” says the Lord. “If you fight against the Chaldeans, you will not succeed”’?”(A)

And Jeremiah [answered King Zedekiah and] said, “The word of the Lord came to me, saying, ‘Behold (listen carefully), Hanamel the son of Shallum your uncle is coming to you, saying, “Buy my field that is in [c]Anathoth, for you have the right of redemption to buy it [in accordance with the law].”’ Then Hanamel my uncle’s son came to me in the court of the guard in accordance with the word of the Lord, and he said to me, ‘Please buy my field that is at Anathoth, which is in the land of Benjamin, for you have the right of inheritance and the redemption is yours; buy it for yourself.’ Then I knew that this was the word of the Lord.

“I bought the field that was at Anathoth from Hanamel my uncle’s son, and weighed out the money for him, seventeen shekels of silver. 10 I signed the deed and sealed it, and called in witnesses, and weighed out the money on the scales. 11 So I took the deeds of the purchase, both the sealed copy containing the terms and conditions, and the unsealed copy; 12 and I gave the purchase deed to Baruch the son of Neriah, the son of Mahseiah, in the sight of Hanamel my uncle’s son and in sight of the witnesses who signed the purchase deed, in the presence of all the Jews who were sitting in the court of the guard. 13 And I commanded Baruch in their presence, saying, 14 ‘Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, “Take these deeds, both this purchase deed which is sealed and this unsealed deed, and put them in an earthen jar, that they may last a long time.” 15 For thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, “Houses and fields and vineyards will again be purchased in this land.”’

Jeremiah Prays and God Explains

16 “Now when I had delivered the purchase deed to Baruch the son of Neriah, I prayed to the Lord, saying, 17 ‘Ah Lord God! Behold, You have made the heavens and the earth by Your great power and by Your outstretched arm! There is nothing too difficult or too wonderful for You— 18 You who show lovingkindness to thousands, but repay the wickedness (sin, guilt) of the fathers into the bosom of their children after them [that is, calling the children to account for the sins of their fathers], O great and mighty God; the Lord of hosts is His name; 19 great [are You] in counsel and mighty in deed, whose eyes are open to all the ways of the sons of men, to reward or repay each one according to his ways and according to the fruit of his deeds; 20 who set signs and wonders in the land of Egypt, and even to this day [continues to do so] both in Israel and among mankind; and You have made a name for Yourself, as at this day. 21 You brought Your people Israel out of the land of Egypt with signs and wonders, with a strong hand and with an outstretched arm and with great terror; 22 and gave them this land, which You swore to their forefathers to give them, a land [of plenty] [d]flowing with milk and honey. 23 They entered and took possession of it, but they did not obey Your voice or walk in Your law; they have done nothing of all that You commanded them to do. Therefore You have caused all this disaster and suffering to come upon them. 24 See the siege ramps [of mounded earth that the enemy has built against the walls]; they have come up to the city to capture it. And the city is given into the hand of the Chaldeans [of Babylon] who fight against it, because of the sword, the famine and the virulent disease [that have overcome the people]. What You have spoken has come to pass, and behold, You see it. 25 Yet, O Lord God, You said to me, “Buy the field with money and get witnesses,” even though the city is given into the hands of the Chaldeans.’”

26 Then came the word of the Lord to Jeremiah, saying, 27 “Behold, I am the Lord, the God of all flesh; is there anything too difficult for Me?” 28 Therefore thus says the Lord, “Behold, I am about to give this city into the hand of the Chaldeans and into the hand of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, and he will take it. 29 The Chaldeans who are fighting against this city will come in and set this city on fire and burn it, along with the houses on whose roofs incense has been offered to Baal and drink offerings have been poured out to other gods to provoke Me to anger.(B) 30 For the children of Israel and the children of Judah have done only evil in My sight from their youth; for the children of Israel have been provoking Me to anger by the [idols that are the] work of their hands,” says the Lord. 31 “From the day that they built it [during the reign of [e]Solomon], even to this day, this city has been such a provocation of My anger and My wrath, that I must remove it from My sight,(C) 32 because of all the evil of the children of Israel and of the children of Judah which they have done to provoke Me to anger—they, their kings, their princes, their priests, their prophets, the men of Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem. 33 They have turned their back to Me and not their face; though I taught them repeatedly, yet they would not listen and receive instruction. 34 But they put their detestable things (idols) in the house which is called by My [f]Name, to defile it. 35 They built the high places [for worship] of Baal in the Valley of Ben-hinnom (son of Hinnom) to make their sons and their daughters pass through the fire to [worship and honor] Molech—which I had not commanded them nor had it entered My mind that they should do this repulsive thing, to cause Judah to sin.(D)

36 “Now therefore thus says the Lord God of Israel concerning this city of which you say, ‘It is given into the hand of the king of Babylon by sword and by famine and by virulent disease.’ 37 Behold, I will gather them out of all countries to which I have driven them in My anger, in My wrath and in great indignation; and I will bring them back to this place and make them live in safety. 38 They will be My people, and I will be their God; 39 and I will give them one heart and one way, that they may [reverently] fear Me forever, for their own good and for the good of their children after them. 40 I will make an everlasting covenant with them that I will do them good and not turn away from them; and I will put in their heart a fear and reverential awe of Me, so that they will not turn away from Me.(E) 41 I will rejoice over them to do them good, and I will faithfully plant them in this land with all My heart and with all My soul. 42 For thus says the Lord, ‘Just as I have brought all this great disaster on this people, so I am going to bring on them all the good that I am promising them. 43 Fields will be bought in this land of which you say, “It is desolate, without man or animal; it is given into the hands of the Chaldeans.” 44 People will buy fields for money, sign deeds, seal them, and call in witnesses in the land of Benjamin, in the places around Jerusalem, in the cities of Judah, in the cities of the hill country, in the cities of the lowland, and in the cities of the South (the Negev); for I will restore their fortunes and release them from exile,’ says the Lord.”

Restoration Promised

33 Then the word of the Lord came to Jeremiah the second time, while he was still confined in the court of the guard, saying, “Thus says the Lord who made the earth, the Lord who formed it to establish it—the Lord is His name, ‘Call to Me and I will answer you, and tell you [and even show you] great and mighty things, [things which have been confined and hidden], which you do not know and understand and cannot distinguish.’ For thus says the Lord, the God of Israel, concerning the houses of this city and the houses of the kings of Judah which are torn down to make a defense against the siege ramps and against the sword,(F) ‘While they (the besieged Jews) are coming to fight against the Chaldeans and to fill the houses with the dead bodies of men whom I have slain in My anger and in My wrath, for I have hidden My face [in disgust] from this city because of all their wickedness. Behold, [in the restored Jerusalem] I will bring to it health and healing, and I will heal them; and I will reveal to them an abundance of peace (prosperity, security, stability) and truth. I will restore the fortunes of Judah and the fortunes of Israel and will rebuild them as they were at first. I will cleanse them from all their wickedness (guilt) by which they have sinned against Me, and I will pardon (forgive) all their sins by which they rebelled against Me. Jerusalem will be to Me a name of joy, praise and glory before all the nations of the earth which will hear of all the good that I do for it, and they shall fear and tremble because of all the good and all the peace (prosperity, security, stability) that I provide for it.’

10 “Thus says the Lord, ‘Yet again there will be heard in this place of which you say, “It is a [desolate] waste, without man and without animal”—even in the cities of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem that are desolate, without man and without inhabitant and without animal— 11 the [sound of the] voice of joy and the voice of gladness, the voice of the bridegroom and the voice of the bride, the [song-filled] voice of those who say,

“Give praise and thanks to the Lord of hosts,
For the Lord is good;
For His [steadfast] lovingkindness (mercy) endures forever”;

and of those who bring a thank offering into the house of the Lord. For I will restore the fortunes of the land as they were at first,’ says the Lord.

12 “Thus says the Lord of hosts, ‘There will again be in this desolate place—[a place] without man or animal—and in all its cities, pastures for shepherds who rest their flocks. 13 In the cities of the hill country, in the cities of the lowland, in the cities of the South (the Negev), in the land of Benjamin, in the places around Jerusalem and in the cities of Judah, the flocks will again pass under the hand of the one who counts them,’ says the Lord.

The Davidic Kingdom

14 ‘Behold, the days are coming,’ says the Lord, ‘when I will fulfill the good word and promise which I have made regarding the house of Israel and the house of Judah. 15 In those days and at that time I will cause a righteous Branch of David to spring forth; and He (the Messiah) shall execute justice and righteousness on the earth.(G) 16 In those days Judah will be saved and [the people of] Jerusalem will live in safety; and this is the name by which she will be called: the Lord Our Righteousness (Justice).’ 17 For thus says the Lord, ‘David shall never lack a man (descendant) to sit on the throne of the house of Israel; 18 and the Levitical priests shall never lack a man (descendant) to offer burnt offerings before Me and to burn grain offerings and to prepare sacrifices all day long.’”

19 The word of the Lord came to Jeremiah, saying, 20 “Thus says the Lord, ‘If you can break My covenant for the day and My covenant for the night, so that day and night do not take place at their appointed times, 21 then My covenant may also be broken with David My servant so that he will not have a son to reign on his throne, and [My covenant may also be broken] with the Levitical priests, My ministers. 22 As the host of [the stars of] heaven cannot be counted and the sand of the sea cannot be measured, so I will multiply the descendants of David My servant and the Levites who minister to Me.’”

23 And the word of the Lord came to Jeremiah, saying, 24 “Have you not noticed what this people have spoken, saying, ‘The two families [Israel the northern kingdom, and Judah the southern kingdom] which the Lord chose, He has rejected’? Thus they despise My [chosen] people, no longer are they [considered] as a nation in their sight. 25 Thus says the Lord, ‘If My covenant with day and night does not stand, and if I have not established the fixed patterns of heaven and earth, [the whole order of nature,] 26 then I would [also] reject the descendants of Jacob and David My servant, not taking from his descendants rulers over the descendants of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. But I will restore their fortunes, and will have mercy on them.’”(H)

A Prophecy against Zedekiah

34 The word that came to Jeremiah from the Lord when Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon and all his army, with all the kingdoms of the earth that were under his sovereignty and all the peoples, were fighting against Jerusalem and against all of its cities: “Thus says the Lord God of Israel, ‘Go and speak to Zedekiah king of Judah and tell him: “Thus says the Lord, ‘Behold, I am giving this city into the hand of the king of Babylon, and he will set it on fire and burn it down. You will not escape from his hand, for you will definitely be captured and handed over to him; you will see the king of Babylon eye to eye, and he will speak with you face to face; and you will go to Babylon.’”’ Yet hear the word of the Lord, O Zedekiah king of Judah! Thus says the Lord concerning you, ‘You will not die by the sword. You will die in peace; and as spices were burned for [the memory and honor of] your fathers, the former kings who reigned before you, so shall a [ceremonial] burning be made for you; and people will lament (grieve) for you, saying, “Alas, lord (master)!”’ For I have spoken the word,” says the Lord.

Then Jeremiah the prophet spoke all these words to Zedekiah king of Judah in Jerusalem when the army of the king of Babylon was fighting against Jerusalem and against all the remaining cities of Judah, against Lachish and Azekah, for these were the [only] fortified cities among the cities of Judah.

The word came to Jeremiah from the Lord after King Zedekiah had made a covenant (solemn pledge) with all the [Hebrew] people who were [slaves] in Jerusalem to proclaim liberty to them: that every man should let his Hebrew slaves, male and female, go free, so that no one should make a slave of a Jew, his brother. 10 So all the princes and all the people who had entered into the covenant agreed that everyone would let his male servant and his female servant go free, and that no one would keep them in bondage any longer; they obeyed, and set them free. 11 But afterward they backed out [of the covenant] and made the male servants and the female servants whom they had set free return [to them], and brought the male servants and the female servants again into servitude.

12 Therefore the word of the Lord came to Jeremiah from the Lord, saying, 13 “Thus says the Lord, the God of Israel, ‘I made a covenant (solemn pledge) with your forefathers in the day that I brought them out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage, saying, 14 “At the end of seven years each of you shall set free his Hebrew brother who has sold himself [into servitude] or who has been sold to you and has served you six years, you shall release him from [serving] you; but your forefathers did not listen [submissively] to Me or obey Me.(I) 15 So then you recently turned and repented, doing what was right in My sight, each man proclaiming release [from servitude] to his countryman [who was his bond servant]; and you had made a covenant before Me in the house which is called by My [g]Name. 16 Yet you backed out [of the covenant] and profaned My Name, and each man took back his servants, male and female, whom had been set free in accordance with their desire, and you brought them into servitude [again] to be your male servants and your female servants.”’

17 “Therefore says the Lord, ‘You have not obeyed Me; you have not proclaimed liberty to your brother and your countryman. Behold (listen very carefully), I am proclaiming liberty to you—[liberty to be put] to the sword, [liberty] to [be ravaged by] the virulent disease, and [liberty] to [be decimated by] famine,’ says the Lord; ‘and I will make you a horror and a warning to all the kingdoms of the earth. 18 The men who have violated My covenant, who have not kept the terms of the solemn pledge which they made before Me when they split the [sacrificial] calf in half, and then afterwards walked between its separated pieces [sealing their pledge to Me by placing a curse on themselves should they violate the covenant—those men I will make like the calf]!(J) 19 The princes of Judah, the princes of Jerusalem, the high officials, the priests, and all the people of the land who passed between the parts of the calf, 20 I will give into the hand of their enemies and into the hand of those who seek their lives. And [like the body of the calf] their dead bodies will be food for the birds of the sky and the beasts of the earth. 21 Zedekiah king of Judah and his princes I will place into the hand of their enemies and into the hand of those who seek their life, and into the hand of the army of the king of Babylon which has withdrawn from you. 22 Behold, I am going to command [the Chaldeans who rule Babylon],’ says the Lord, ‘and I will bring them back to this city; and they will fight against it and take it and set it on fire. I will make the cities of Judah a desolation without inhabitant.’”

Footnotes

  1. Jeremiah 32:1 In Hebrew there are two ways of spelling the name of the ruler of Babylon resulting in two English variations: Nebuchadnezzar and Nebuchadrezzar.
  2. Jeremiah 32:4 The ruling tribe in Babylonia.
  3. Jeremiah 32:7 See note 1:1.
  4. Jeremiah 32:22 This phrase referred to the abundant fertility of the land of Canaan. Milk (typically that of goats and sheep) was associated with abundance; “honey” referred mainly to syrups made from dates or grapes and was the epitome of sweetness. Bees’ honey was very rare and was considered the choicest of foods.
  5. Jeremiah 32:31 Solomon was the first king of Israel to participate in idolatry.
  6. Jeremiah 32:34 See note Deut 12:5.
  7. Jeremiah 34:15 See note Deut 12:5.

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