Jeremiah 34 Commentary

Jeremiah 34 really consists of two separate messages. We have verses 1-7 which deal with a message given to Zedekiah. And then we have the rest of the chapter which deals with the importance of keeping promises. And it teaches that lesson by using Zedekiah as a bad example that people shouldn’t follow.

We’ll begin with verses 1-7.

Zedekiah Will Not Die | Jeremiah 34:1-7

In Jeremiah 34:1-7 we’re finishing the so-called Book of Encouragement which started back in Jeremiah 30. And these final eight verses of this book within the book of Jeremiah is directed at the last king of Judah, whose name was Zedekiah.

Background | 34:1

Now, despite the fact that these first eight verses appear in the Book of Encouragement, the background to this section that we get in verse 1 seems to be anything but encouraging.

KJV Jeremiah 34:1 ¶ The word which came unto Jeremiah from the LORD, when

Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, and
all his army, and
all the kingdoms of the earth [of/under] his dominion, and
all the people,

fought against Jerusalem, and
against all the cities thereof, saying,

So, this is what Zedekiah is facing. His city, Jerusalem, is under siege. The end is near. And the end is certain.

Look at the list of all those who are against this king and this city.

Nebuchadnezzar, the most powerful man in the world at the time. His mighty army. And that army included people from all the kingdoms of the earth. It was composed of all people.

So, don’t miss the piling-on of people and groups who are coming to destroy Jerusalem and Zedekiah.

It’s the world against Zedekiah.

God’s Message to Zedekiah: Justice | 34:2-3

And rightly so. This massive onslaught against Zedekiah has been orchestrated by God himself because of his justice. That’s what we see in verses 2-3.

2 Thus saith the LORD, the God of Israel;

Go and speak to Zedekiah king of Judah, and tell him,

Thus saith the LORD;

Behold, I will give this city into the hand of the king of Babylon,
and he shall burn it with fire:

3 And thou shalt not escape out of his [hand/clutches],
but shalt surely be [taken/captured],
and delivered into his hand;
and thine eyes shall behold the eyes of the king of Babylon,
and he shall speak with thee [mouth/face] to [mouth/face],
and thou shalt go to Babylon.

And what we’ve seen throughout this book is that this ultimate destruction of Jerusalem has been threatened for a long time. God had been very patient with the rebellious Jews. But finally his patience has now transitioned into a meting-out of his justice. They’ve had his mercy for a long time. But due to their chronic sin and rebellion they will now have his justice.

And that justice is going to be doled out through Babylon, who is at the door, so-to-speak.

God’s Message to Zedekiah: Mercy | 34:4-5

So, we’ve seen the harrowing background for this story – the world against Zedekiah.

We’ve seen the justice of God in this situation.

But now we witness yet still more mercy of God in verses 4 and 5. God’s abundantly merciful encouraging promise to this wavering, bad king is this: “You will not die a violent death. Your death will be peaceful and honorable.”

4 Yet hear the word of the LORD, O Zedekiah king of Judah; Thus saith the LORD of thee,

Thou shalt not die by [the sword/in battle or by execution]:

5 But thou shalt die [in peace/a peaceful death]:

and [with/at the funeral will be] the burnings [of incense…] [of/experienced by] thy fathers,
the former kings which were before thee,

so shall they burn odours for thee;
and they will lament thee, saying,

[Ah/Alas/Poor, poor] [lord/master]!

for I have [pronounced/spoken] the word,

saith the LORD.

Now, this is in contrast to what God determined concerning one of the kings before Zedekiah. His name was Jehoiakim. He reigned for 11 years just like Zedekiah. And there was one king that separated Jehoiakim and Zedekiah by just a few months.

In Jeremiah 22:18-19, God said this of this king who preceded Zedekiah by a few months: “Therefore thus saith the LORD concerning Jehoiakim the son of Josiah king of Judah; They shall not lament for him, saying, Ah my brother! or, Ah sister! they shall not lament for him, saying, Ah lord! or, Ah his glory! He shall be buried with the burial of an ass, drawn and cast forth beyond the gates of Jerusalem.”

And yet, here we see the exact opposite for Zedekiah. Why?

Why does God decide for one king to die by violence and without honor while he spares the other king this dishonor?

Now, before we answer that, we need to remember that Zedekiah doesn’t get off easy. He pays for his sins. We’ll see him having to witness the murder of his own children right in front of his eyes before having those very eyes put out. So, Zedekiah definitely suffers for his rebellion against the Lord.

And yet, his death will be a peaceful one. His children’s’ death wasn’t peaceful. His eyes being put out certainly wasn’t peaceful. But his death would be. And his funeral would be an honorable one.


Well, God doesn’t say. But I do have two ideas.

First, while Zedekiah was evil in God’s eyes, he was – at least from my vantage point with what I know of him in Scripture – he was nowhere near as devoted to sheer evil as was Jehoiakim.

Jehoiakim was the one who brazenly tore up God’s word and burned it up. We’ll see that happen later on in this book. Jehoiakim was the one who killed a true prophet of the Lord and would have killed Jeremiah, except Jeremiah had someone important looking out for him – both God and a man who was higher up in society. When you think of Jehoiakim, think of a settled, smoldering hatred of God. Think of sheer evil that is bent on actively destroying God’s work.

Zedekiah is a little bit different. I think what we see of him in this book especially is the portrait of a wavering man. He does evil – not because he is settled on being as evil as he possibly can be – but because he just has no backbone. One minute he is wandering toward doing the right thing. But then he’s afraid of what will happen to him if he does right. Another time, he’s pressured into imprisoning Jeremiah in a well – not that Zedekiah wanted to do it. He just gave in to what others wanted because he was unprincipled. But then when someone else comes to Zedekiah and pleads to have Jeremiah released, Zedekiah lets him do it and even lends him some aid.

So, do you see some difference between these two kings? Jehoiakim – pure and active evil. Zedekiah – reluctant and wavering evil. Both are evil. But I do wonder if the sentence passed on each king is different according to the nature and intensity of their evil.

Jehoiakim is killed and buried without honor as payment for his severe opposition to God. Zedekiah is definitely punished, but he lives and when he finally dies he’s treated honorably.

So, that’s one possible reason that these two kings are treated differently.

The second is much more simple and is hard to prove. It’s been said that we can choose our sin, but God chooses our what? Our punishment.

When it comes down to it, both of these kings deserved violent deaths and dishonorable burials. Frankly, that’s the case with every son of Adam who’s ever lived. We all deserve nothing but punishment for our sin. And yet, God causes his rain to fall on the just and the unjust. Whenever God is good to man, he’s good despite man’s sin. God’s goodness is never deserved. He just is that kind of being – he’s good.

And even when he’s punishing a wavering king, like we see here, he can sovereignly decide to go a little easy on him. Again, Zedekiah doesn’t get off easy. But compared to what he – or really any of us – deserve, God was merciful to him.

Jeremiah Delivers God’s Message | 34:6-7

Well, after God had given that message to Zedekiah, it remained for Jeremiah to deliver it to the king. That’s what we see in verses 6 and 7.

6 ¶ Then Jeremiah the prophet spake all these words unto Zedekiah king of Judah in Jerusalem,

7 When the king of Babylon’s army fought

against Jerusalem, and
against all the cities of Judah that were left,
against Lachish, and
against Azekah:

for these defenced cities remained of [all…] the cities of Judah.

And again here we see the utter hopelessness of Judah’s – and Zedekiah’s – situation. Babylon is here. They’re fighting against three main cities. Why only three? Because as it says – these were the only three left.

How would you like to be the king that inherits the kingdom of the former David and Solomon? The kingdom which was formerly so mighty and so opulent? The king who now is left with only three cities of all that Israel once possessed. How sad.

This is Zedekiah’s situation. He was totally dependent on the Lord’s mercy, and he probably didn’t even think that way about his situation. And yet, the Lord extended mercy to this evil king – despite his evil and his rebellion.

So, God ends the Book of Encouragement by encouraging an evil king who had resisted him. God would see to it that this king lived through the worst of what was to come and that his future burial would be an honorable one.

The Importance of Keeping Promises: Negatively | Jeremiah 34:8-22

Then we reach verse 8 in Jeremiah 34. And we’re brought into a totally new circumstance.

Background | 34:8-11

What we’re going to read is an inspired story. And as with all stories, there’s a portion of it that’s used to set the scene. We see that happening in verses 8-11.

KJV Jeremiah 34:8 ¶ This is the word that came unto Jeremiah from the LORD,

Zedekiah Made a Covenant to Release Slaves | 34:8-9

First of all, in verses 8 and 9 we’ll hear about Zedekiah and all Judah making a covenant – making a promise to do something. Let’s read.

after that the king Zedekiah had made a covenant with all the people which were at Jerusalem, to [proclaim liberty unto them/grant their slaves freedom];

9 That every man should let his manservant, and every man his maidservant, being an Hebrew or an Hebrewess, go free;

that none should [serve himself of them, to wit, of/enslave] a Jew his brother.

OK, so, Zedekiah, the last king of Judah, made a covenant – he and all the people who were still around in Jerusalem. They promised to let their Hebrew slaves go free.

People Released Their Slaves | 34:10

And true to their word, Zedekiah and all the Jews released their slaves according to verse 10.

10 Now when all the [princes/officials/leaders], and all the people, which had entered into the covenant, heard that every one should let his manservant, and every one his maidservant, go free, that none should serve themselves of them any more, then they obeyed, and let them go.

Wow! Did you hear that toward the end of that verse? The people obeyed! You don’t hear very much about that in this book. Most of what God has had to say regards their disobedience. But here we see them making a move toward obedience. They are obeying. They made a promise and they’re actually making steps toward keeping that promise.

People Took Back Their Slaves | 34:11

But then the people do what we’d expect them to do in verse 11. They break their promise and take back their Hebrew slaves.

11 But afterward they [turned/changed their minds], and caused the servants and the handmaids, whom they had let go free, to return, and brought them into subjection for servants and for handmaids.

So, that’s the background to the rest of what we’ll hear in this chapter. The people all made a promise before God to let their Hebrew slaves go. And they let them go. But then they took them back, breaking their promise which they made before God.

God’s Response | 34:12-22

And so now, from verse 12 to verse 22 we have God’s response to these realities. To summarize, he’s not happy with what they did and he will need to punish their disobedience to him.

12 Therefore the word of the LORD came to Jeremiah from the LORD, saying,

13 Thus saith the LORD, the God of Israel;

God Released Israelite Slaves from Egypt | 34:13

So, first, God is going to reason with these oppressors. He brings them back to a time when they as a people – all of them – were slaves. And according to verse 13, God released them from that slavery in Egypt.

I made a covenant with your fathers in the day that I brought them forth out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of [bondmen/bondage/slavery], saying,

So, God delivered the Hebrew slaves from Egypt. He released them from their bondage, just like Zedekiah and all Judah promised to do and initially did.

God Commanded Israelites to Release Israelites | 34:14

And when God delivered all the Hebrews from slavery, he commanded them something in particular, that God reminds them of in verse 14.

14 At the end of seven years let ye go every man his brother an Hebrew, which hath been sold unto thee; and when he hath served thee six years, thou shalt let him go free from thee:

So, if you were wondering what the background was to this whole situation, here it is. God allowed Hebrews to sell themselves into slavery to other Hebrews. Maybe one of them had fallen on hard times. Well, an option for that kind of Hebrew would be to sell himself into slavery to a fellow Hebrew.

But here’s the key! If a Hebrew sold himself to another Hebrew, the “buyer” who bought his fellow-countryman had to let the “bought” Hebrew go after 6 years. Without fail. When that seventh year rolled around, it was time to let that guy go. God said!

So, that was God’s command to the former slaves – let your enslaved brothers go after 6 years of work.

Former Jews Didn’t Obey | 34:14

But according to the end of verse 14, the Hebrews of old time didn’t obey God on this point.

but your fathers hearkened not unto me, neither inclined their ear.

Current Jews Didn’t Obey | 34:15-16

And now, God is going to tell them that they themselves have not obeyed him in this matter, either. Even though it seemed like maybe there was a glimmer of hope that they might actually turn from their ways and Submit to God’s Sovereignty in this relatively minor area.

Started with Obedience | 34:15

God communicates to the Jews that he was mindful that they were actually on their way to doing right in verse 15.

15 And ye [were now turned/recently repented/recently showed a change of heart], and had done right in my sight, [in/by] proclaiming liberty every man to his neighbour; and ye had made a covenant before me in the house which is called by my name:

We didn’t know this before, but they actually made their promise in the Temple – before God’s holy presence. Before the God who cannot lie and only speaks truth. He is truth itself. They made their promise in his presence.

Things looked good for a moment.

Ended with Disobedience | 34:16

But then verse 16. They turned back from doing right.

16 But ye [turned/turned around/turned right around] and [polluted/profaned] my name [and did not honor me…], and caused every man his servant, and every man his handmaid, whom ye had set at liberty at their pleasure, to return, and brought them into subjection, to be unto you for servants and for handmaids.

Breaking your promises pollutes God’s name. It makes him look bad when his people make promises and then don’t keep them. We all need to be careful to keep any promises that we make – and to make only promises that we intend to keep.

God Will Repay | 34:17-22

Because God doesn’t take kindly to his name being polluted and profaned.

And here in the book of Jeremiah at least, God has some really harsh judgements to mete out on those who take his name “in vain” – those who make promises but break them. I think you can summarize verses 17-22 as “God Will Repay.” Let’s read.

17 Therefore thus saith the LORD;

Ye have not hearkened unto me, in [proclaiming liberty/granting freedom], every one to his brother, and every man to his neighbour:

And here’s a sarcastic turn of phrase that God employs to proclaim judgement on his promise-breaking people.

behold, I [proclaim a liberty for you/grant you freedom], saith the LORD,

[the freedom to die…] [to the sword/in war],
[to the pestilence/by starvation], and
[to the famine/by disease];

and I will make you to be removed into all the kingdoms of the earth.

18 And I will give the men that have transgressed my covenant, […continues in verse 20…] which have not performed the words of the covenant which they had made before me, when they cut the calf in twain, and passed between the parts thereof,

That’s just speaking of the ceremony they would perform when making solemn covenants. You can see God doing this very thing back in Genesis with Abraham.

19 The princes of Judah, and
the princes of Jerusalem,
the eunuchs, and
the priests, and
all the people of the land, which passed between the parts of the calf;

20 […continued from verse 18…] I will even give them into the hand of their enemies,
and into the hand of them that seek their life:

and their dead bodies shall be for meat unto the fowls of the heaven,
and to the beasts of the earth.

21 And Zedekiah king of Judah and his princes will I give into the hand of their enemies, and into the hand of them that seek their life, and into the hand of the king of Babylon’s army, which [are gone up/have withdrawn] from you.

Now, that last statement should make us pause and consider what was just said.

Verse 21 says that Babylon’s army had gone up from Jerusalem. They had retreated or left in some way. How did that happen? Why did that happen?

Here’s my theory. This was quite possibly an act of mercy on the part of God in response to the Jews doing right. Wouldn’t that be awesome? If that’s what’s happening here, then we see a glimpse of God’s mercy and desire to bless his people’s least efforts at obedience. I mean, they somehow took note of what we’d consider maybe a relatively minor point of the Mosaic Law. And all of a sudden God responds by removing Babylon from them!

And don’t miss how major that would have been. Babylon has been THE threat that God has been promising all throughout this book. I mean, they’re the ultimate punishment in God’s eyes. And he’s been threatening the rebellious Jews with their coming and attacking and conquering. He’s made their coming to be a virtual certainty. From all that we’ve read, there’s no getting out of their coming and destroying the Jews.

And all of a sudden, one little act that tended toward obedience – and BOOM God starts removing this great threat from his people. Do you get the sense that God is really quite inclined to respond to his people’s Submitting to His Authority?

But, alas, the people’s obedience was short-lived. And so God promises to bring back Babylon in verse 22.

22 Behold, I will command, saith the LORD, and cause them to return to this city; and they shall fight against it, and take it, and burn it with fire: and I will make the cities of Judah a desolation without an inhabitant.

And I’ll end this message with two final thoughts.

First, this going back and forth that we see here in this chapter – of starting to obey and then ultimately disobeying – is what we’re going to see from this last king of Judah – Zedekiah. This is his modus operandi.

Second, Jeremiah 34:8-22 show the negative side of the importance of keeping promises. And you might think that this promise that they made and kept was really a small matter. Most of them did too, probably. And maybe they would have defended themselves, saying something like “Well, what’s the big deal? It’s a minor command! You really expect us to follow that?!”

And where that’s significant is in the next chapter. Because the next chapter shows the importance of keeping promises in a positive light. In that chapter we’ll see the Rechabites. These men were given some obscure command from some ancient member of their clan a long time ago. And we’ll see them obeying that command and being held out as a model for the rest of their countrymen.

So, may the Lord help us this week to keep the promises we make and to make only promises we intend to keep.

Jeremiah 33 3 Meaning

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Jeremiah 33 3 Meaning | Intro

And now that he’s reminded Jeremiah of who he is and what he’s truly able to do, verse 3…

3 Call unto me [in prayer…], and I will answer thee, and [shew/tell] thee great and [mighty/hidden/mysterious] things, which thou [knowest/have known/still x know about] not.

Jeremiah 33 3 Meaning | Context

Now, in context this is God encouraging Jeremiah to pray so that he could continue to declare to Jeremiah the wonderful blessings that he had in store for Israel.

Jeremiah 33 3 Meaning | Can We Use It?

How do we appropriate this verse? Can we?

I think we can. We can take away from this verse the fact that God encourages his people to pray for blessings. It’s OK to ask God for good things – for mercy – for forgiveness.

Jeremiah 33 3 Meaning | Praying for God’s Will

And it’s always a good thing to pray to God that he would accomplish things you know to be his will. Maybe you don’t know the timing in which he wants to accomplish his will. But that doesn’t matter! Pray for it anyway.

Jeremiah 33 3 Meaning | God Wants Us To Do This

God doesn’t get angry at you for asking him to do the things he’s already determined to do. He doesn’t grow impatient with our pathetic cries. He doesn’t think little of our repeated appeals to him for what we know he wants to do.

Jeremiah 33 3 Meaning | Salvation of All Men

Just one example. You can think of others. Does God want to save all men? Yes, we do. God desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. Well, then pray for your lost family members and friends and government officials as if God wants to save them – because he does!

So, we know that God wants us to pray for his will to happen on earth from passages like Jeremiah 33:3.

Jeremiah 33 3 Meaning | Back to the Context

But in the immediate context, let’s recognize that this was the Lord speaking to Jeremiah and encouraging him to pray that God would continue to reveal the wonderful blessings that he planned to shower upon his people Israel in the Millennium.

Back to our Jeremiah 33 Commentary.

Jeremiah 33 Commentary

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Jeremiah 33 is a continuation of the Book of Encouragement and of Jeremiah 32’s encouragement to Jeremiah to buy a field.

Jeremiah 33 Commentary | Background

We begin the passage with a very brief introduction to the circumstances under which God spoke to Jeremiah about Israel’s future. It’s so brief because it really just a continuation of what God was saying back in Jeremiah 32.

KJV Jeremiah 33:1 ¶ Moreover the word of the LORD came unto Jeremiah [the/a] second time, while he was [yet/still] [shut up/confined] in the [court/courtyard] of the [prison/guard/guardhouse], saying,

So, just like in Jeremiah 32, here in this chapter the prophet is still in prison. He’s confined within a city which itself is a confinement for so many Jews who would end up losing their lives to the invading Babylonian army. And all this was happened because of their constant and chronic sin and rebellion against their God.

Jeremiah 33 Commentary | An Encouragement to Pray

Now, the first statement God makes to Jeremiah is to encourage him to pray in verses 2 and 3.

2 Thus saith the LORD the [maker/doer] [thereof/of the earth/of these things],

Now, what does this mean? The Lord is the “maker thereof”? The maker of what? I think in context from what we saw in Jeremiah 32, the Lord is here declaring himself to be the maker or the doer of what he’s been promising his people. He’s the one who makes these plans for the future restoration of his people Israel. He’s the one who accomplishes those amazing promises. That’s what the Lord is claiming that he does here in verse 2.

Moving on…

the LORD that [formed/planned] it [again, these promises to bless Israel in the Millennium…], to establish it [those promises…]; the LORD is his name;

And then you’re sure to want to read our Jeremiah 33 3 Meaning article.

Jeremiah 33 Commentary | Current State of the Houses of Jerusalem

And as we’ve seen at least a few times so far in this book, God often starts his discussion of future blessings for his people with a reminder of where they were currently as a nation. He does that yet again in verses 4 and 5 where the Lord calls to mind the current state of Jerusalem. And he actually points to the houses in that city.

4 For thus saith the LORD, the God of Israel, concerning the houses of this city, and concerning the houses of the kings of Judah, which are [thrown/torn] down [by/to make a defense against] the [mounts/siege mounds/siege ramps], and [by/against] the sword;

5 They [come/go] to fight with the Chaldeans, but it is to fill [them/the houses] with the dead bodies of men, whom I have slain in mine anger and in my fury, and for all whose wickedness I have hid my face from this city.

So, this is the current state of Israel a year or two before Babylon finally takes their city and kills most of them and exiles the rest of them out of their land.

God is acknowledging in verse 5 that the Judeans are going out to fight with Babylon. And yet, all they will accomplish is to die so that their dead bodies can be thrown into those ruined houses in Jerusalem. That’s apparently where many of these men would be “buried” if you can call it that – in these houses of rubble.

And these men will fail – not necessarily because they were poor fighters or because they didn’t have a will to fight – rather these warriors would fail and be killed because God was on the side – not of his people the Jews – but God was on the side of the Babylonians – the ones whom he sent to attack and destroy his own people!

So, as usual, the picture God paints of the current situation of the Jews is pretty bleak.

Jeremiah 33 Commentary | Future Restoration

And against that backdrop, the Lord will now in verses 6 through 9 speak of the glorious restoration that he had – and still has – in store for his people Israel.

Jeremiah 33 Commentary | Healing

The Lord begins by speaking of healing his people in the future.

6 [Behold/But], I will bring [to…] it health and [cure/healing], and I will [cure/heal] them, and will reveal unto them the abundance of peace and truth.

So, is this literal physical health that God is promising here? Or is a poetic way of saying that God is going to generally make things go well with them?

I think that God here is promising to literally physically heal his people the Jews in the Millennium. And we tend to recoil from that kind of promise. We’re so used to people to subscribe to what’s called the Prosperity Gospel that any time there’s a promise of physical healing in the Scripture, we look askance at it.

To acknowledge that God will physically heal his people in the Millennium is not to adopt the Prosperity Gospel. It is to acknowledge what God’s word says is to come for God’s people – not now, but in the Millennium.

The basic problem with the Prosperity Gospel is that it sees promises given by God that are for the Millennium and it forces those promises back into the Church Age – now. This interpretation of Scripture fools people and gives them unrealistic expectations. When the promises they say are relevant for this age don’t come to pass – because God intends them for another time – then it can wreck people’s faith in God’s promises.

The Prosperity Gospel is a heresy – it divides Christ’s church. The preachers of that so-called “gospel” lead people away from the truth. We’ve had this happen to people who have attended this very church. I’ve worked with people in the business world who have imbibed this Americanized form of Christianity and I’ve seen the change in focus it leads to for its adherents.

So, let me be clear – the Prosperity Gospel and any other form of teaching that tells you that healing and fortune are for this age – that tells you that if you don’t have these things somehow you are lacking faith – that kind of teaching is a perverted gospel – the kind which the Apostle Paul said in Galatians is no Gospel at all and is rather something that even if an angel is preaching to you, that angel is to be accursed – anathema.

Alright – so now I don’t think anyone will mistake how I think about physical healing being promised to Christians in this Church Age in which we live.

And now, let me repeat that what we have in verse 6 is a promise of literal physical healing for God’s people in the Millennium. And that is totally in keeping with other statements made in the Scripture concerning this 1,000-year reign of Jesus Christ – known as the Millennium. Animals will no longer be killing each other – or humans, for that matter. People will live hundreds of years. And this passage fits in with those facts. God will heal his people in the Millennium.

And he’ll give them an abundance of peace and truth.

Again, what a contrast to what they were currently experiencing. The people of Judah were full of falsehood. But a time of truth is coming. The people of Judah were experiencing non-stop war. But a time of peace is coming. They were experiencing starvation and disease. But a time is coming when God will be their healer.

Jeremiah 33 Commentary | Return of Judah and Israel

God continues in verse 7 with promising to bring all of Israel and Judah back to their land in the Millennium.

7 And I will cause the captivity of Judah and the captivity of Israel to return, and will build them, as at the first.

Jeremiah 33 Commentary | Sin Forgiven

And we can think that likely verse 7 has already started in our day. And by the way, that should fill us with excitement and expectation. The Jews are back in their land. That kind of thing is so closely tied in with the Millennium that if we didn’t have all sorts of evidence to the contrary we might be tempted to think that the Millennium is upon us right now! But it isn’t.

And one of the many evidences that that is the case – that the Millennium is not here yet – is the promise in verse 8 that when God restores the Jews to their that he will cleanse them of all their sin. That hasn’t happened yet. So, let’s read…

8 And I will cleanse them from all their iniquity, whereby they have sinned against me; and I will pardon all their iniquities, whereby they have sinned, and whereby they have transgressed against me.

Jeremiah 33 Commentary | Jerusalem

And lastly, in this small section of Millennial promises, God says that Jerusalem is in for an amazing amount of grace and blessing.

9 And [it/the city] shall be to me a name of joy, a praise and an honour before all the nations of the earth, which shall hear all the good that I do unto them: and they shall fear and tremble for all the goodness and for all the prosperity that I [procure unto/provide for] it. [NET – The nations will tremble in awe at all the peace and prosperity that I will provide for it.’]

The nations will hear about all the good that God will do for Jerusalem and they will tremble. Has that ever happened to you? Have you ever seen God bless someone so much that you just tremble about it? That hasn’t happened to me. But it will happen – with all the nations in the Millennium who see the great blessings and prosperity that God will bring upon his city Jerusalem.

Jeremiah 33 Commentary | Current Destruction

Now in verses 10 and 11 we have another cycle of God’s declaring the current destruction of Judah and contrasting that with the restoration that he has planned for them in the future.

So, start with verse 10 and the destruction that Judah was currently then experiencing.

10 ¶ Thus saith the LORD;

Again there shall be heard in this place, which ye say shall be desolate without man and without beast, even in the cities of Judah, and in the streets of Jerusalem, that are desolate, without man, and without inhabitant, and without beast,

There’s a highlighting of the current destruction of Judah.

Jeremiah 33 Commentary | Future Restoration

Now for the future restoration and blessing.

There will be heard in that place…

11 The voice of joy, and the voice of gladness,
the voice of the bridegroom, and the voice of the bride,
the voice of them that shall say,

Praise the LORD of hosts: for the LORD is good;
for his mercy endureth for ever:

and of them that shall bring the sacrifice of praise into the house of the LORD.

For I will cause to return the captivity of the land, as at the first, saith the LORD.

Jeremiah 33 Commentary | Current Destruction and Future Restoration

Again, in verses 12 and 13 we have a third cycle of current misery contrasted with future blessings.

12 ¶ Thus saith the LORD of hosts;

Again in this place, which is desolate without man and without beast, and in all the cities thereof, shall be an habitation of shepherds causing their flocks to lie down.

13 In the cities of the [mountains/hill country], in the cities of the [vale/Shephelah/western foothills], and in the cities of the [south/Negeb], and in the land of Benjamin, and in the places about Jerusalem, and in the cities of Judah,

shall the flocks pass again under the hands of him that [telleth/counts] them, saith the LORD.

At this point I just want to say that this is happening in a way right now. The Jews are back in their land. They are raising animals like we see prophesied in these two verses. And I’m impressed with the fact that Christ could come back at any moment and set in motion the seven years of Tribulation followed by this wonderful Millennium we keep hearing about in this book.

This could start at any moment. What’s left to be fulfilled before it happens? Christ could return for us at any moment.

Filter the troubling events happening in our country through this reality, friends. You get to serve and know the Lord until you die or Christ returns – at which time you’ll be with him forever in glory! And that time is drawing ever nearer. It’s not a cliché to say that this could happen today! It’s absolutely true. It’s what the Lord himself has led us to believe. He’s coming at any moment. And the fact that some of the blessings that he’s promised for the Millennium are practically upon us – this urges us on to a greater zeal for his business. You don’t know when Christ is coming to put an end to this age and begin to usher in his reign in Jerusalem. May the Lord help us to wake up and serve him with all of our heart and all of our days!!! Even these last days that we find ourselves living in.

Jeremiah 33 Commentary | Continuation of King and Priests

And speaking of our coming king, he’s not just our king. He’s the King of the Jews. And God has promised those people that their king will come in the Millennium. In fact, the Lord promises the continuation of both king and priests in verses 14-22.

Jeremiah 33 Commentary | Already Promised

To begin, in verse 14, the Lord points to the fact that he’s already promised this kind of thing before.

14 ¶ Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will perform that good thing which I have promised unto the house of Israel and to the house of Judah.

He’s already promised this then. Promised what?

Jeremiah 33 Commentary | Messianic King Promised

What we see in verse 15 – a Messianic king, known as the Branch.

15 In those days, and at that time, will I cause [the Branch of righteousness/a Righteous Branch] to grow up [unto/for] David; and he shall execute judgment and righteousness in the land.

Do you remember where the Lord has already promised – in this very book – to send a Davidic king that he refers to as the Branch? It’s Jeremiah 23.

Jeremiah 33 Commentary | His Effect on Judah and Jerusalem

And much of what he said there is very similar to what he’s going to say here. Including the content of verse 6 here where the Lord speaks of the coming Messianic kings’ overall effect on Judah and Jerusalem.

16 In those days shall Judah be saved, and Jerusalem shall dwell safely: and this is the name wherewith [she/Jerusalem] shall be called, The LORD [is…] our righteousness.

So, this Messianic figure known as the Branch will come and bring peace and security to Judah and Jerusalem.

By the way, in Jeremiah 23 it says that the Branch will do these things to Judah and Israel. Now, here the emphasis is on Judah and Jerusalem.

There’s one more difference between this passage and Jeremiah 23. In Jeremiah 23 it’s the Branch himself that will be known as the Lord our righteousness. But here in this passage we have that the city of Jerusalem will be given that name.

Now, when we read that the Branch – Jesus Christ – will be called “the Lord Our Righteousness” we see there that Jesus is 1) the Lord Jehovah/Yahweh and 2) that he is our righteousness. But now we see that the city of Jerusalem is given the same title as the Messianic king. Why?

It seems that the answer has to do with the fact that Jerusalem and the king in her midst during the Millennium are very closely connected. And what a contrast that future time will be to what the Jews in Jeremiah were experiencing. The city of Jerusalem at that point had little to do with righteousness and little to do with their righteous God. But that will all change one day.

Jeremiah 33 Commentary | The Lord’s Solemn Promise

And if anyone is tempted to think that this promise of a future king is something other than absolutely literal, then God is going to give them verses 17 and 18 to correct their thinking.

17 ¶ For thus saith the LORD;

David shall never [want/lack] a man to sit upon the throne of the house of Israel;

18 Neither shall the priests the Levites [want/lack] a man before me to offer burnt offerings, and to kindle meat offerings, and to do sacrifice continually.

But there are no Levites right now and there is no Davidic king. So, what do these verses mean? Catch the fact that God promises a Davidic king as long as there is something for that king to sit upon and rule from. As long as there is a throne there will be a king. There hasn’t been a throne in Jerusalem since the destruction by the Babylonians. No throne, no king.

Similar with the Levites. If there’s no Temple in which to burn sacrifices, then there are no priests. But when the throne and when the Temple are restored in Jerusalem, then God will bring back the king and the priests just as he’s promising here.

Jeremiah 33 Commentary | Celestial and Terrestrial Promises

Well, maybe you’re still really doubting that God is going to bring this to pass. After all, it seems that none of the Jews in our time even know their tribe. How will the Levites in the Millennium actually know that they’re Levites? And any number of similar objections might be cited to try to make this promise mean something different from what it seems to mean.

Well, God is again going to give more assurance to any doubters that he is really, really going to do this. We see this happening in verses 19 through 22.

19 ¶ And the word of the LORD came unto Jeremiah, saying,

20 Thus saith the LORD;

Jeremiah 33 Commentary | Day & Night vs. David and Levites

And here’s one way that God is going to try to convince everyone that he’s going to someday again have a Davidic king ruling in Jerusalem and Levitical priests ministering in Jerusalem. If day and night cease, then his promise of these Millennial realities will also be null and void.

If ye can break my covenant of the day, and my covenant of the night, and that there should not be day and night in their season;

21 Then may also my covenant be broken with David my servant, that he should not have a son to reign upon his throne; and with the Levites the priests, my ministers.

Jeremiah 33 Commentary | Stars and Sand vs. David and Levites

And here’s one more way that God is going to double-down on this amazing promise of his. As soon as humanity is able to count the stars and the sand, that’s when his promise concerning David and the Levites will be repealed – a.k.a., NEVER!

22 As the host of heaven cannot be numbered, neither the sand of the sea measured: so will I multiply the seed of David my servant, and the Levites that minister unto me.

Jeremiah 33 Commentary | Continuation of Israel and Judah

And it’s not only David and the Levites that God is concerned with. The Lord more broadly wants the Jews — and really even us Christians — to have faith in the fact that he will not completely cast off Israel and Judah.

23 ¶ Moreover the word of the LORD came to Jeremiah, saying,

Jeremiah 33 Commentary | Despite What People Think

24 Considerest thou not what this people have spoken, saying,

The two families which the LORD hath chosen, he hath even cast them off?

thus they have [despised/little regard for] my people, that they should be no more a nation [before them/in their estimation].

So, people of that day even were writing off Israel and Judah, saying they had no future or hope. And you have folks like that today. Some preachers that you or I would appreciate on some level would minimize the fact that God has a future plan for Israel and Judah that is separate in some way from his plan for the Church. This is part of what’s known as Covenant Theology. In some way, Israel/Judah and the Church are one in the same in that system of theology.

But what we’ve already heard in this book and what we hear all over the Bible and what we’ll continue to hear for the rest of this chapter is that God is not done with Israel – literal, Jewish, descended-from-Abraham Israel.

And as we see from verse 24, God has a plan for Israel concerning the Millennium that will happen despite what anyone thinks – whether that anyone lived in Jeremiah’s day or our day or whenever. God is not done with national, ethnic Israel and Judah.

Jeremiah 33 Commentary | As Certain as Day and Night

Well, how certain is God to execute his plan for Israel and Judah? According to verses 25 and 26 he’s as certain as the cycle of day and night that we have experienced every single day of our life and will continue to experience until the day of our death.

25 Thus saith the LORD;

If my covenant be not with day and night, and if I have not appointed the ordinances of heaven and earth;

26 Then will I cast away the seed of Jacob, and David my servant, so that I will not take any of his seed to be rulers over the seed of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob: for I will cause their captivity to return, and have mercy on them.

God will literally physically restore Israel to their land. He will literally have a Davidic king to rule on the literal throne in literal Jerusalem. Accompanying that king will be literal Levitical priests ministering in a literal Temple and offering literal sacrifices once more.

You don’t believe it? God would strongly disagree. Only if the cycle of day and night stop would his plans for the future concerning Israel stop. Only if we could somehow count the stars in heaven and the sand on the shore can we say that God has utterly cast off and forgotten about his people Israel.

No, these things will surely happen. And they’ll happen because the one who made these promises is both able and willing to carry them out at exactly the right time.

That’s our God. He’s powerful, loving, just, and totally honest. Let’s seek to live a life this week that’s a praise to this awesome Lord of ours.

Jeremiah 32 Summary

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For our study on the first 15 verses of chapter 32, read our Jeremiah 32 Commentary.

Jeremiah 32 Summary | Jeremiah Prays to God

And the shock of God having a future for Israel isn’t lost on Jeremiah. This message from God prompts the prophet to pray. And I think what we’re going to see in verses 16-25 is the prophet working through accepting this shocking promise from God by means of speaking with the one who made this amazing promise.

16 ¶ Now when I had delivered the [evidence/deed] of the purchase unto Baruch the son of Neriah, I prayed unto the LORD, saying,

By the way, since there’s no mention of Jeremiah removing himself to some private place – as if there were any such places in his prison – he is likely praying in front of all the witnesses that were there in the prison.

Jeremiah 32 Summary | You Created the World and Are Omnipotent

Now, Jeremiah begins his struggle with God’s promise in prayer by recognizing that God is the omnipotent Creator of everything. And therefore, even this promise would be possible for him to carry out.

17 Ah Lord GOD! behold, thou hast made the heaven and the earth by thy great power and stretched out arm, and there is nothing too hard for thee:

So, that’s what God has done that would allow him to carry out his amazing promise of restoring Israel to their land.

Jeremiah 32 Summary | God’s Holy Character

Next, Jeremiah focuses on God’s good and holy character. And this character is what at one time causes him to judge the Jews in Jeremiah’s day and at the same time allows him to promise undeserved blessing on future generations.

18 Thou shewest [lovingkindness/steadfast love/unfailing love] unto thousands, [and/but] [recompensest/repay] the iniquity of the fathers into the bosom of their children after them: the Great, the Mighty God, the LORD of hosts, is his name,

19 Great in counsel, and mighty in [work/deed]: for thine eyes are open upon all the ways of the sons of men: to give every one according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings:

Jeremiah 32 Summary | Exodus from Egypt

And as so often happens in prayers in the Old Testament, Jeremiah’s prayer includes a reminder to himself and to the Lord of God’s past deliverance of Israel from bondage in Egypt.

20 Which hast [set/shown] signs and wonders in the land of Egypt, [even unto this day/which have had lasting effects], and in Israel, and among other [men/mankind]; and hast made thee a name, as at this day;

In other words, God earned himself a lasting reputation through his delivering his people from Egypt.

21 And hast brought forth thy people Israel out of the land of Egypt with signs, and with wonders, and with a strong hand, and with a stretched out arm, and with great terror;

And of course, after God brought Israel out of Egypt, he brought them into the land he promised them. The land from which they would soon be ejected because of their sin.

22 And hast given them this land, which thou didst swear to their fathers to give them, a land flowing with milk and honey;

Jeremiah 32 Summary | The People’s Abuse of God

And verse 23 gets at the reason for their being ejected from the land.

23 And they came in, and possessed it; but they obeyed not thy voice, neither walked in thy law; they have done nothing of all that thou commandedst them to do: therefore thou hast caused all this [evil/disaster] to come upon them:

Jeremiah 32 Summary | God’s Punishment Evident

And the evidence of God’s imminent sending of them out of their land was all around them according to verse 24.

24 Behold the [mounts/siege mounds/siege ramps], they are come unto the city to take it; and the city is given into the hand of the Chaldeans, that fight against it, because of [the sword/war], and of [the famine/starvation], and of [the pestilence/disease]: and what thou hast spoken is come to pass; and, behold, thou seest it.

Jeremiah 32 Summary | God’s Promise of Restoration

All of this was past or present for Judah and for Jeremiah. God’s creating the world. God’s bringing Israel out of Egypt. God’s bringing Israel into the land. And then of course presently for Jeremiah, God had brought the Babylonians to destroy and exile his people.

And so, that brings Jeremiah to his concluding comment in his prayer. In contrast to the troubling realities he was facing, this is the truth that had just come to him and he was still trying to digest it.

25 [And/Yet] thou hast said unto me, O Lord GOD,

Buy thee the field for money, and take witnesses;

[for/though] the city is given into the hand of the Chaldeans.

And there Jeremiah ends his prayer. He laid the whole situation out before the Lord. And again this is more implicit than explicit. But I think the idea is that the prophet is struggling to put it all together in his mind.

He needed convincing at the beginning of this chapter that the message that God had given him about his cousin coming was indeed God’s message. And based on God’s response to Jeremiah’s prayer in the rest of this chapter, I again sense that the prophet needed some reassurance. This promise seemed so amazing. So contrary to what they were currently experiencing. It’s not that Jeremiah doubted. But he seems to be reaching out for some assurance that this indeed was what God was going to bring to pass in the future.

Jeremiah 32 Summary | God Responds

So, God does respond to the prophet with the assurance he was looking for. And God does so by affirming two truths that seem at first to perhaps contradict or work against each other. First, in verses 26-35 the Lord confirms that he must punish the rebellious Judeans. But second, in verses 36-44 the Lord affirms that he will indeed restore the descendants of these sinful Judeans to this very land from which he must eject them.

Jeremiah 32 Summary | God Must Punish

So, let’s look at verses 26-35 where God states the current reality for the people of Judah – punishment for their sins.

26 ¶ Then came the word of the LORD unto Jeremiah, saying,

27 Behold, I am the LORD, the God of all flesh: is there any thing too [hard/difficult] for me?

So, the Lord begins by repeating what Jeremiah had already acknowledged in verse 17. Nothing is too hard for the Lord.

28 Therefore thus saith the LORD;

Behold, I [will give/am giving] this city into the hand of the Chaldeans, and into the hand of Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon, and he shall take it:

29 And the Chaldeans, that fight against this city, shall come and set fire [on/to] this city, and burn it with the houses, upon whose roofs they have offered incense unto Baal, and poured out drink offerings unto other gods, to provoke me to anger.

So, yet again the reason for God’s destroying Judah was no secret. They were worshipping other gods. And so he draws attention to the very places where that false worship is happening and targets them for destruction – their homes in this case.

And God continues justifying his destruction of Judah.

30 For the children of Israel and the children of Judah have only done evil before me from their [youth/earliest history]: for the children of Israel have only provoked me to anger with the work of their hands, saith the LORD.

31 For [the people of…] this city hath been to me as a provocation of mine anger and of my [fury/wrath] from the day that they built it even unto this day; [so…] that I [should/will] remove it from before my face,

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, and their prophets, and the men of Judah, and the inhabitants of Jerusalem.

33 And they have turned [unto me the back/away from me], and not [the face/to me]: though I taught them, [rising up early and teaching them/persistently/over and over again], yet they have not hearkened to receive instruction.

34 But they set their [abominations/disgusting idols] in the house, which is called by my name, to defile it.

35 And they built the high places of [worship for…] Baal, which are in the valley of the son of Hinnom, to cause their sons and their daughters to pass through the fire unto Molech; which I commanded them not, neither came it into my mind, that they should do this abomination, to cause Judah to sin.

So, in light of their disgusting idolatry which included sacrificing their own children, God had to punish.

Jeremiah 32 Summary | God Will Restore

But that’s not the whole story. Yes, God had to punish. But now in verses 36-44 the Lord will promise to restore the descendants of these people to their land someday.

36 ¶ And now therefore thus saith the LORD, the God of Israel, concerning this city, whereof ye [rightly] say,

It shall be delivered into the hand of the king of Babylon by the sword, and by the famine, and by the pestilence;

OK, what they see and what they’re saying are accurate. But here’s what’s going to happen that’s a total reversal of what was presently the case for Jeremiah and his contemporaries.

37 Behold, I will gather them out of all countries, whither I have driven them in mine anger, and in my fury, and in great wrath; and I will bring them again unto this place, and I will cause them to dwell safely:

38 And they shall be my people, and I will be their God:

By the way, this hasn’t happened yet. It’s coming in the Millennium as we saw from chapter 31. This is the same language that’s used in that chapter of the effects of the New Covenant which will be fully in force with Israel and Judah in the Millennium.

39 And I will give them [one heart, and one way/a single-minded purpose], that they may fear me for ever, for the good of them, and of their children after them:

Again, this hasn’t happened yet. Neither has the following.

40 And I will make an everlasting covenant with them, that I will not turn away from them, to do them good; [but/and] I will put my fear in their hearts, that they shall not depart from me.

41 Yea, I will rejoice over them to do them good, and I will plant them in this land [assuredly/faithfully] with my whole heart and with my whole soul.

And so, the rest of these promises are yet future. What about verse 41? Is God’s planting the people in the land necessarily only going to happen in the Millennium? Because, we have some Jews back there right now as we speak. And actually, they have a nation called Israel.

That’s a little bit trickier. If they weren’t in their land, then I’d be tempted to think this would happen in the Millennium. But since they’re there now, I’m left with two possibilities.

First and in my mind unlikely is that they’ll be sent out of their land again before the Millennium. I really hope that’s not the case. And yet, if it happens I’m not going to lose faith in God’s word.

The second possibility is that God is starting to bring about Millennial blessings right now and will bring them fully to pass in the Millennium. And he can do that. Just because he tells us that he will do certain things in the Millennium doesn’t mean he can’t do them in any way before the Millennium. Right? Like the New Covenant. It’s not fully in effect like Jeremiah 31 tells us will happen. But it is certainly in effect for us Gentiles right now in a sense.

So, much of Israel is back in its land right now. I hope they stay that way. But whether they do or not, there will be a final gathering-in of Israel to their land under the New Covenant in the Millennium.

Alright, now the Lord brings his reassuring the prophet to a conclusion in verses 42-44 by summarizing what he’s just said.

42 ¶ For thus saith the LORD; Like as I have brought all this great evil upon this people, so will I bring upon them all the good that I [have promised/am promising] them.

43 And fields shall be bought in this land, whereof ye [correctly] say,

It is desolate without man or beast; it is given into the hand of the Chaldeans.

44 Men shall buy fields for money, and [subscribe/sign] [evidences/deeds], and seal them, and take witnesses in the land of Benjamin, and in the places about Jerusalem, and in the cities of Judah, and in the cities of the [mountains/hill country], and in the cities of the valley, and in the cities of the south: for I will [cause their captivity to return/restore their fortunes/restore them to their land], saith the LORD.

All that the Lord has promised he will certainly bring to pass in his own timing.

What has God promised you that hasn’t been fully realized yet? Here are a few things promised to Christians that we don’t have yet:

  1. The resurrection and redemption of your body.
  2. Reigning with Christ.
  3. Judging angels.
  4. No more pain or tears or sickness or dying.
  5. Jesus Christ’s constant literal physical presence with you.
  6. Your being reunited to loved ones who have fallen asleep in Christ.
  7. No more flesh – no more sinful nature.

You and I don’t see these things yet. You and I might need assurance that these promises will happen.

Take comfort from Jeremiah 32. What God promises he is able also to perform. And he will perform it.

God has convinced his prophet, Jeremiah. Let him convince you.

Jeremiah 32 Commentary

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Jeremiah 32 is a continuation of the “Book of Encouragement.”

Jeremiah 32 Commentary | Background: Jeremiah in Prison, Judah 2 Years from Exile

Jeremiah starts this chapter by giving us some background. He’s going to relate to us a story of something that happened to him. So, just like with all stories we need to have the scene set for us.

We’ll read verses 1 through 5.

KJV Jeremiah 32:1 ¶ The word that came to Jeremiah from the LORD in the tenth year of Zedekiah king of Judah, which was the eighteenth year of Nebuchadrezzar.

By the way, Nebuchadnezzar’s final siege of Jerusalem happened in Zedekiah’s 11th year in the 5th month. We just heard that the events in Jeremiah 32 are happening in Zedekiah’s 10th year. So the events of this chapter are a mere year and a half – at most – away from Jerusalem’s final blow from the Babylonians.

Now, leading up to that fateful final siege of Jerusalem, we witness the following happening…

2 For then the king of Babylon’s army besieged Jerusalem:

So Babylon took several months to gain access to Jerusalem. Meanwhile, Jerusalem was “shut up” so to speak within its own walls.

Jeremiah also was “shut up” somewhere…

and Jeremiah the prophet was shut up in the court of the prison, which was in the king of Judah’s house.

Why was the prophet incarcerated?

3 For Zedekiah king of Judah had shut him up, saying,

Wherefore dost thou prophesy, and say,

Thus saith the LORD,

Behold, I will give this city into the hand of the king of Babylon, and he shall take it;

4 And Zedekiah king of Judah shall not escape out of the hand of the Chaldeans, but shall surely be delivered into the hand of the king of Babylon, and shall speak with him [mouth/face] to [mouth/face], and his eyes shall behold his eyes;

5 And he shall lead Zedekiah to Babylon, and there shall he be until I visit him, saith the LORD:

though ye fight with the Chaldeans, ye shall not prosper.

Jeremiah was incarcerated because he was telling a king who was under God’s judgement a message from the Lord, which the king did not want to hear.

And – brothers and sisters – to the extent that we are delivering God’s message to this nation which is under God’s righteous judgement, we can expect the same treatment. In the coming days, resolve to suffer well for Jesus Christ and his message – wherever the Lord might have you suffer.

Well, that’s the background to this story in Jeremiah 32.

Jeremiah is in a pretty discouraging place in his life. He’s been ministering to his people for at least a few decades. He’s been delivering a very unpopular message to people who are violently opposed to what he’s preaching. And by the way, the people who are so opposed to God’s message are the very people that are supposedly “God’s people.” Now Jeremiah has been imprisoned by the vacillating king Zedekiah for doing only what God had commanded him to do. And to make matters worse, the army of the most powerful country in the world is outside of the city in which he is currently incarcerated.

Imagine your mindset in a situation like that. If you do, then you’ll be better acquainted with the temptations and struggles that Jeremiah likely would have been facing at this time in his life.

Jeremiah 32 Commentary | God Tells Jeremiah to Buy Land from his Cousin

Now, in the midst of this chaos and uncertainty and discouragement, God comes to Jeremiah with a message of hope and encouragement.

He tells the prophet to buy some land from his cousin in Jeremiah 32:6-7.

6 ¶ And Jeremiah said,

The word of the LORD came unto me, saying,

7 Behold, Hanameel the son of Shallum thine uncle shall come unto thee, saying,

Buy thee my field that is in Anathoth: for the right of redemption is thine to buy it.

Anathoth – if you recall – is the city in Benjamin from which Jeremiah hailed. His family lived there. And so God tells Jeremiah that one of his cousins is going to come to him and offer some land for him to buy.

Now, let’s get the picture right in our minds. Jeremiah is in jail. Jerusalem is under siege by Babylon. We’re less than 2 years away from the utter destruction and exile of Judah from their land. And somehow this cousin is supposed to get through all of that and offer Jeremiah a piece of land for him to purchase.

Could God make that happen?

Jeremiah 32 Commentary | Jeremiah’s Cousin Comes

Yes, he could. And that’s what we see come to pass in verse 8.

8 So Hanameel mine uncle’s son came to me in the court of the prison according to the word of the LORD, and said unto me,

Buy my field, I pray thee, that is in Anathoth, which is in the country of Benjamin: for the right of inheritance is thine, and the redemption is thine; buy it for thyself.

Then I knew that this was the word of the LORD.

There are a few things that are remarkable here.

First, that this cousin of Jeremiah’s actually got to him! Maybe Babylon had to withdraw for a few weeks from the siege. That wasn’t an unknown event to have happen in those days and under those circumstances.

The other possibility is that maybe Jeremiah’s cousin actually lived in Jerusalem at that time, though his field was in Anathoth. I tend to think this is more likely the case because as Babylon swept through the land to arrive at Jerusalem I would assume that they would have captured anyone who was out in the open and not in a walled city.

So, I think either possibility could work. And in the end I don’t think we have enough data to be conclusive. But at least those possibilities could be in our minds as we read the story to try to get an idea of what was actually happening.

The other noteworthy thing in this 8th verse is Jeremiah’s last statement. He says that the coming of his cousin made him conclusively convinced that God’s word was … God’s word. Jeremiah struggled to really accept God’s promise of his cousin coming until … his cousin came.

It’s this statement along with another reality or two in this chapter that make me think that Jeremiah needed some convincing by the Lord at this stage in his life.

I imagine Jeremiah here almost like John the Baptist when he sent the message to Jesus, asking him whether he was the one they’d been looking for or if they should keep looking. At that time in John’s life, he was imprisoned just like Jeremiah. He had been serving God faithfully all of his life, just like Jeremiah. And yet he was experiencing some really dark times in his life. And he needed convincing by God himself.

And in both the case of John and of Jeremiah, God was pleased to convince his servant. And the Lord is still able and we might find him also willing to do this same thing for anyone like that here right now.

Jeremiah 32 Commentary | Jeremiah Buys Land

Well, the cousin came and offered his land to Jeremiah for him to purchase. And so, Jeremiah goes ahead, now convinced that this was indeed God’s will, and he buys the land from his cousin in Jeremiah 32:9-12.

9 ¶ And I bought the field of Hanameel my uncle’s son, that was in Anathoth, and weighed him the money, even seventeen shekels of silver.

10 And I [subscribed/signed] the [evidence/deed of purchase], and sealed it, and took witnesses, and weighed him the money in the balances.

11 So I took the [evidence/deed] of the purchase, both that which was sealed according to the law and custom, and that which was open:

12 And I gave the [evidence/deed] of the purchase unto Baruch the son of Neriah, the son of Maaseiah, in the sight of Hanameel mine uncle’s son, and in the presence of the witnesses that [subscribed/signed] the [book/deed] of the purchase, before all the Jews that sat in the court of the prison.

This sounds a lot like what I did a few years ago when I purchased a home. Signing deeds. Making copies of them. Bringing payment or something to substitute for it. Having people there to witness the transaction. Doing everything according to law and custom. Some things don’t change very much over the centuries and even from culture to culture.

And by the way, this is the first we hear of Baruch, who turns out to be something of an assistant to the prophet Jeremiah. His name shows up in this chapter as well as chapters 36, 43, and 45.

Jeremiah 32 Commentary | Jeremiah Charges Baruch

And in this situation, Baruch happens to be the one that Jeremiah charges with keeping these two copies of the deed of purchase that Jeremiah just signed. We see that in verses 13-15.

13 And I charged Baruch before them, saying,

14 Thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel;

Take these [evidences/deeds], this [evidence/deed] of the purchase, both which is sealed, and this evidence which is open; and put them in an earthen vessel, that they may [continue/last/be preserved] [many days/a long time].

Why does God through Jeremiah want these two copies of this deed put in an earthen vessel?

15 For thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel;

Houses and fields and vineyards shall be [possessed/bought] again in this land.

That’s the punch line – if you will – of the story up to this point. God is going to develop his message from here. But all that precedes verse 15 is really leading up to the promise that is contained in that verse.

Houses, fields, and vineyards will again be possessed in the land of Israel – from the perspective of Jeremiah’s day.

And don’t miss the shock that this message would have been to the people of that time – even to the prophet Jeremiah. Remember what’s happening all around the Jews at this moment. The Babylonians are there. They’ve laid siege to the city. It’s only a matter of months before it all comes crashing down. It would seem to most Jews at that time that life as they knew it was over.

And, really, it was. But God now is looking past their current tragedy that they brought on their own selves and is telling them of a future for their land and their descendants. Not because of what they themselves did and how they were behaving themselves – but in spite of their sin and rebellion against the Lord.