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Jeremiah Buys a Field June 6, 2017

Posted by flashbuzzer in Books, Christianity.
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Here are my thoughts on Jeremiah 32.

Summary: In this passage, we see that Jeremiah’s prophecies of judgment have compelled King Zedekiah to confine him to the royal palace in Jerusalem.

God then instructs Jeremiah to purchase the field that belongs to his cousin, Hanamel son of Shallum. This ostensibly mundane act is designed to convey an important message to the people of Judah: God will allow them to dwell in peace in their homeland – after their exile in Babylon.

Indeed, He wants to encourage His people in the midst of the Babylonian siege of Jerusalem. He reinforces this point by reiterating His message from the previous passage.

Thoughts: In verse 17, Jeremiah asserts the omnipotence of God based on His act of creation; God affirms this fact in verse 27. This assertion reminds me of a praise song that was a staple of the worship sets at my old church during the early 1990s. Indeed, I never thought that one could write a praise song using material from a book about a “weeping prophet,” but this verse has disabused me of that notion. I should note that I have not heard this song in a worship setting in many years; if any readers have been more fortunate in that regard, that would be neat.

The key event in this passage involves Jeremiah purchasing the field that belongs to his cousin, Hanamel. Calvin offers some insights on this point:

This seemed strange, for the enemies had possessed that part of the country, and no Jews could venture out into their fields. The prophet must have seemed insane to buy a field that was then in the possession of the enemy. But this was the way God intended to show that after the Jews had been deprived of the possession of the land for a time, they would go back to it, so that everyone would return to his own property; and thus everything would be totally their own, after God had shown them mercy.

I am curious as to how God compelled Hanamel to make an offer of his field to Jeremiah. Did Hanamel sense that God was working through him in this regard? Did Jeremiah understand the point that God was making in verse 15? Did Baruch son of Neriah and the other witnesses in the royal palace understand the significance of this transaction? What were the thoughts and emotions of the guards in the royal palace at that time? Did the guards make an effort to prevent Hanamel and Jeremiah from carrying out this transaction?

Here, we see that Jeremiah uses seventeen shekels of silver to purchase the field that belonged to Hanamel. Perhaps these seventeen shekels of silver are analogous to the acts of worship and service that we perform as believers. In particular, one could say that Jeremiah was effectively making a deposit on this field; since it was occupied by the Babylonians, it was unclear as to whether he would ever acquire it. Similarly, we perform acts of worship and service in anticipation of an eternal reward – yet we cannot see that reward at this time. Instead of losing hope, though, I sense that God calls us to emulate the faith that Jeremiah displays here. He calls us to make a (spiritual) deposit on eternal treasures – on a daily basis – and trust that He will give them to us in His timing.

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