For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope.
Romans 15:4



A Bible Study - Commentary by Jim Melough

Copyright 2003 James Melough 

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 Nebuchadnezzar.”


It has been calculated on the basis of this information that the prophecy was given between April 23 and October 17, 587 BC.


32:2.  “For then the king of Babylon’s army besieged Jerusalem: and Jeremiah the prophet was shut up in the court of the prison, which was in the king of Judah’s house.”


32:3.  “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.”


The Babylonians had laid siege to Jerusalem, and Jeremiah had been imprisoned by Zedekiah in what is believed to have been the guard house of the royal palace, because he had prophesied that God would deliver the city into the hands of the Babylonians.


32:4.  “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 to mouth, and his eyes shall behold his eyes;”


God had revealed to Jeremiah that Zedekiah would be captured and would be brought before Nebuchadnezzar for trial and sentencing.


32:5.  “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.”


“... visit” is used here in the sense of punishing.  Zedekiah would be executed.


32:6.  “And Jeremiah said, The word of the Lord came unto me, saying,”


32:7.  “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.”


God had advised Jeremiah that his cousin Hanameel would come to him asking him to buy his land in Anathoth, Jeremiah’s birthplace.  Hanameel’s reason for wishing to sell the land isn’t revealed, but it is generally conjectured that it was to raise money to buy food in the now famine-stricken city.  It is to be remembered, however, that Anathoth, just a few miles northeast of Jerusalem, was already in the possession of the Babylonians, so that from a human viewpoint it would be the height of folly to buy such property, hence God’s command to Jeremiah to buy the field no matter how foolish the purchase might seem.


Relative to the right of redemption, in Le 25:23-28 God had commanded that the land He had given each Israelite was not to be sold permanently, but was to be bought by the seller’s nearest relative, and was to revert to the possession of the original owner in the year of jubilee, the price being adjusted in proportion to the number of years remaining between the time of sale and the year of jubilee.  For an example of such a redemption purchase see Ruth 4:1-10


32:8.  “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.”


Hanameel’s coming as foretold by God was proof to Jeremiah that in spite of its seeming folly, he was to buy the field in Anathoth.


32:9.  “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 (about seven ounces).”


32:10.  “And I subscribed the evidence, and sealed it, and took witnesses, and weighed him the money in the balances.”


32:11.  “So I took the evidence of the purchase, both that which was sealed according to the law and custom, and that which was open:”


His subscribing the evidence means that he put everything in writing, the details being written on two documents, one being unsealed or open, the other sealed, i.e., rolled up and tied with a cord over which was placed clay or wax upon which was impressed Jeremiah’s personal seal.


32:12.  “And I gave the evidence 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 the book of the purchase, before all the Jews that sat in the court of the prison.”


32:13.  “And I charged Baruch before them, saying,”


32:14.  “Thus saith the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel; Take these evidences, this evidence of the purchase, both which is sealed, and this evidence which is open; and put them in an earthen vessel, that they may continue many days.”


32:15.  “For thus saith the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel; Houses and fields and vineyards shall be possessed again in this land.”


Baruch, a scribe and official in the court of king Zedekiah, is believed to have been the prophet’s amanuensis


What was declared symbolically in all of this was the truth that after the seventy years of Babylon captivity a remnant would return to Canaan and resume their lives there as a nation; but above and beyond this is a much larger picture: the redemption of men’s souls, and of the world itself, by the Lord’s atoning death.


Anathoth meaning affliction: answers is a picture of this world, see Mt 13:38, which is also a place of affliction, but also of God’s answers.


While in the dungeon, place of death, Jeremiah, at God's bidding, bought the field of Anathoth, the type being fulfilled at Calvary, for there the Lord bought or redeemed the world, and the men in it, and the price He paid was His own precious blood.


Jeremiah paid “seventeen shekels of silver,” literally "seven shekels, and ten pieces of silver," the seven pointing to the perfection of Christ's work; and ten, (number of God in government), to the truth that what occurred at Calvary was the outworking of God's decree for the redemption of the world and of men's souls.  The silver, emblem of redemption, declares symbolically that Calvary's work was that of redemption of the world and of the souls of the men in it.


Its being done in the presence of witnesses points also to Calvary: the multitude around the cross were the witnesses, though they themselves were ignorant of that fact.  The reference to the balances declares the truth that what the Lord Jesus Christ did at Calvary balanced the scales of justice.  His blood made full atonement for man’s sin.  It met all of God's claims, and all of man's desperate need.  The life forfeited by Adam's rebellion was given up by the last Adam.  The full redemption price was paid.


The two documents of evidence, the one open, the other sealed, represent the Old and the New Testament, the former with its enigmatic signs and symbols, types and shadows, representing the sealed evidence; the plain language of the NT representing that which was open.


Its being given to Baruch blessed, son of Neriah my lamp is Jehovah, son of Maaseiah Jehovah is a refuge, is the symbolic declaration of the truth that the Scriptures have been given to us, for we are blessed; Jehovah is our light and our refuge.


The placing of the evidence in an earthen vessel to preserve it "for many days" continues to emphasize that the "evidence" has been given to us (the earthen vessels) for the "many days" until the Lord comes back to take possession of what He has redeemed at such cost: first rapturing His Church home to heaven, and then returning seven years later with her to take possession of the earth and inaugurate His millennial kingdom.


The promise that houses and fields and vineyards would be possessed again in that land, was fulfilled after the "many years" of the Babylonian captivity, when the remnant left Babylon, and returned to the land in obedience to God's word.

The type will be fulfilled in the Millennium when the repentant, believing Israel yet to emerge from the Great Tribulation, will be established again in Canaan.


32:16.  “Now when I had delivered the evidence of the purchase unto Baruch the son of Neriah, I prayed unto the Lord, saying,”


32:17.  “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:”


It isn’t readily apparent why Jeremiah offered this prayer of praise and worship, unless it is that he was overwhelmed by the far-reaching extent of what had been revealed to him.  He began by declaring his assurance of God’s omnipotence as displayed in creation, that display convincing him that nothing was impossible to such a God.  We would enjoy a greater measure of peace if we ourselves stopped more frequently to consider that He Who has created all things simply by a word, is the same One Who loves us, and desires only to bless us, and to remember that nothing except our disobedience can frustrate that desire.


32:18.  “Thou shewest lovingkindness unto thousands, and recompensest the iniquity of the fathers into the bosom of their children after them: the Great, the Mighty God the Lord of hosts (armies), is his name,”


He next considers God’s lovingkindness, which is matched by His ability to punish wrongdoing, but we are to remember that His recompensing “the iniquity of the fathers into the bosom of their children after them” is not prompted by vindictive caprice.  It is according to the unchangeable principle that obedience commands His blessing; disobedience, His chastisement.  The children obviously are those who ape the disobedience of their fathers.  And again, the prophet emphasizes the might and power of Jehovah.  He is the One Who controls the activity, not only of earth’s multitudes, but of the angelic and demonic legions also.


32:19.  “Great in counsel (advice, plan, prudence, purpose), and mighty in work: 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:”


The Jerusalem Bible renders the first part of this verse, “Great in purpose, mighty in execution.”  Not even men’s thoughts are hidden from this omniscient, omnipresent God Who requites each man, not only according to his deeds, but according to the motive behind them.


32:20.  “Which hast set (performed) signs and wonders in the land of Egypt, even unto this day, and in Israel, and among other men: and hast made thee a name, as at this day.”


32:21.  “And has 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;”


The “signs and wonders” are generally taken to be the miracles God performed in Egypt in connection with the deliverance of Israel, and which are still remembered.  But that same miraculous power was also exercised on behalf of Israel in dividing the Red Sea, feeding them with manna for forty years in the desert, and in His division of Jordan to bring them into Canaan, to cite just a few.  And there had been other miracles, e.g., the preservation of Daniel’s three friends in the fiery furnace, and the preservation of Daniel in the lions’ den, and many others.


The remembrance of these and other miracles had caused God’s name to be feared amongst the nations.  It is a sorry reflection on today’s world, however, and particularly apostate Christendom, that God’s miracles for the most part are scornfully relegated to the realm of mythology, while His greatest miracle, the death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ, has become little more than the basis for moneymaking and revelry at Christmas and Easter.


32:22.  “And hast given them this land, which thou didst swear to their fathers to give them, a land flowing with milk and honey;”


32:23.  “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 to come upon them:”


A further cause for Israel to praise and worship God was His giving them the land of Canaan with all its abundance; but sinful Israel had quickly forgotten, and had worshiped idols as their benefactors.  Apostate Christendom has likewise forgotten her indebtedness to God’s love, mercy, and grace; and also worships the counterparts of Israel’s idols: money, pleasure, education, and a host of lesser “gods.”  And she too is about to experience the judgment of the God Whose patience she has long since exhausted, for everything in the world points to the imminence of the Tribulation judgments that will leave the world in the ruined state typified by desolated Canaan as a result of the Babylonian invasion.


32:24.  “Behold the mounts, 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, and of the famine, and of the pestilence: and what thou hast spoken is come to pass; and, behold, thou seest it.”


“... the mounts” were the siege ramps or mounds that had been built against the city walls by the attackers.  By the sword, famine, and disease, God was about to deliver Jerusalem into the hand of the Chaldeans, the name of a people from the region of Ur, and which eventually came to be used as a synonym for all of Babylon.  God had foretold all this through His prophets, and now His word was being fulfilled, as will every word He has ever spoken.


32:25.  “And thou hast said unto me, O Lord God, Buy thee the field for money, and take witnesses; for the city is given into the hand of the Chaldeans.”


The prophet thus expressed his incredulity at God’s having commanded him to buy the field in Anathoth, when the whole land was about to become the possession of the Babylonians.  He obviously didn’t see that that purchase was the symbolic assurance from God that Babylon’s dominion would be temporary, and that He, the God of eternity, would ultimately destroy Babylon, and deliver His people, restoring them again to the land He had given their fathers and them.


32:26.  “Then came the word of the Lord unto Jeremiah, saying,”


32:27.  “Behold, I am the Lord, the God of all flesh: is there any thing too hard for me?”


Jeremiah’s doubts were answered by God’s question as to whether anything was impossible to the Creator of all things, the answer, of course, being No.  That same assurance is given to God’s people in every age to comfort them in every adversity.  Nothing is impossible to Him.  Everything that happens is by His permission or direction, and is used for the ultimate blessing of those who belong to Him.


32:28.  “Therefore thus saith the Lord; Behold, I will give this city into the hand of the Chaldeans, and into the hand of Nebuchadressar king of Babylon, and he shall take it:”


Nebuchadressar is an alternate form of the better known name Nebuchadnezzar, and it was not by his might that Jerusalem would fall, but by God’s.


32:29.  “And the Chaldeans, that fight against this city, shall come and set fire on 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.”


After describing what the Chaldeans (Babylonians) would do to the city as His agents, God went on to explain why He was having them work this destruction: Israel’s idolatry had provoked His anger; and we are missing the point if we fail to see in this the explanation for the coming Tribulation judgments which are about to devastate today’s equally idolatrous world.  It too has provoked His wrath by worshiping money, power, pleasure, sports, education, and a host of other “gods.”


32:30.  “For the children of Israel and the children of Judah have only done evil before me from their youth: for the children of Israel have only provoked me to anger with the work of their hands, saith the Lord”


Judah, the two southern tribes, had failed to heed the warning given them by God’s having had Israel, the ten northern tribes, carried captive into Assyria c.720 BC, and had repeated Israel’s sins, hence their being delivered into the hand of the Babylonians, who in 605 and 597 BC had subdued Israel, but who in 586 BC finally destroyed Jerusalem, and carried the bulk of the people into captivity, that captivity lasting for seventy years.


32:31.  “For this city hath been to me as a provocation of mine anger and of my fury from the day that they built it even unto this day; that I should remove it from before my face.”


“... this city (Jerusalem)” is used as a synonym for the southern kingdom, Judah and Benjamin, the people having provoked God’s anger by their sinful living since the day He had brought them into Canaan.  Now, having exhausted His patience, they were about to be cast out of it.


As Judah had had the example of Israel’s destruction by Assyria, to warn them against repeating her sins, so has Christendom had the example of both to similarly warn her, but she too has ignored the warning, and is now about to suffer God’s wrath in the form of the impending Tribulation judgments that will leave the world as devastated as those past judgments had left Israel and Judah.


32:32.  “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.”


The evil was systemic: every section of society was infected: from the king to the priests and prophets, to the common man, righteousness was not to be found within the nation; nor is it to be found today within all the borders of apostate Christendom, which is also about suffer God’s wrath in the coming Tribulation.


32:33.  “And they have turned unto me the back, and not the face: though I taught them, rising up early and teaching them, yet they have not hearkened to receive instruction..”


In stubborn rebellion they had turned their backs on God, refusing to listen, ignoring His teaching; and again, their evil conduct is replicated by apostate Christendom.


32:34.  “But they set their abominations in the house, which is called by my name, to defile it.”


They had actually set up idols in the Temple, other translations of “abominations” being detestable: disgusting: horrid: loathsome; and anyone who thinks that their sin isn’t duplicated in apostate Christendom today, has but to look at the pictures and statutes of Mary found in every Roman Catholic church building, and before which the “worshipers” kneel while making the sign of the cross.  This is nothing less than a part of the old Babylonian system dressed up in Christian garb, and is no less an abomination in God’s sight.


32:35.  “And they built the high places of 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.”


Since what is written in this verse has already been discussed in our study of 7:31, it is suggested that the reader consult the comments on that verse.


32:36.  “And now therefore thus saith the Lord, the God of Israel, concerning this city, whereof ye say, It shall be delivered into the hand of the king of Babylon by the sword, and by the famine, and by the pestilence;”


The Babylon destruction of Jerusalem wasn’t to be the end of the story, however, for this verse is the introduction to a further revelation God was about to give to Jeremiah concerning it.


32:37.  “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:”


Each generation reflected a phase in the total history of Israel, but the Babylonian captivity was the punishment meted out only to the evil generation of that particular day.  Another generation would follow, with whom God’s dealings would be very different.  As the one addressed was to be scattered, the succeeding one would be gathered back from all the lands of their dispersion; and as the one had been punished for its wickedness, so would the next one be blessed for its obedience.  Both, however, are but prototypes of a generation still future: the one that will experience the terrible Tribulation judgments, but out of which will come a repentant believing remnant that will be the Israel which will inherit the millennial blessings forfeited by the disobedience of its predecessors.


Relative to the words used here to describe God’s displeasure: anger is related to the rapid breathing associated with passion; fury, with the heat or fervor of great anger; and wrath, with the rage, strife, or indignation of anger.  They combine to paint a picture of anger so great that it embodies all the degrees described here.


32:38.  “And they shall be my people, and I will be their God:”


There have been partial fulfillments of this in the past, e.g., the remnant that returned from Babylon at the end of the seventy years, but complete fulfillment awaits the Millennium.


32:39.  “And I will give them one heart, and one way, that they may fear me for ever, for the good of them, and of their children after them:”


This will be fulfilled in the repentant, believing remnant that will emerge from the Great Tribulation, for as discussed already, millennial conditions will be more conducive to godly living than those of any other age, since Satan and his angels will be imprisoned in the bottomless pit, and overt sin will be punished with death.


“... one heart, and one way” means simply that their purified hearts will produce a purified walk or manner of life, a reminder to us that profession of faith in the Lord Jesus Christ ought to be confirmed by righteous living.


“... and their children after them” is not to be understood as implying that in the Millennium one generation will die and be replaced with their children, for as noted already, no believer will die in that halcyon age.  It means that each generation born in the Millennium will be born into a world where everything will be conducive to righteousness, rather than to the evil that has marked the world in the preceding six thousand years.


32:40.  “And I will make an everlasting covenant with them that I will not turn away from them, to do them good; but I will put my fear in their hearts, that they shall not depart from me.”


This will apply to everyone who passes out of the Great Tribulation into the Millennium.  God will never cease to do them good; and He will never permit anything to entice them from walking before Him in willing reverential obedience.  The same covenant will also govern relations between Him and each new generation of believers during those thousand years.


Relative, however, to those who refuse to be born again during that age, the very fact that there will be rebellion in their hearts appears to preclude God’s implanting the same reverential

fear in those hearts, for in that age as in every other, the natural heart will be at enmity with God.  The only fear that will hinder the expression of that hatred will be the fear of being instantly struck dead.


32:41.  “Yea, I will rejoice over them to do them good, and I will plant them in this land assuredly with my whole heart and with my whole soul.”


God will then rejoice in being able to bless them unreservedly, their past incomplete obedience having made His full blessing impossible.


32:42.  “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 them.”


It is to be remembered that the people had left Him no alternative but to punish them, their disobedience consisting not simply of sins of omission, but of deliberate commission, and that of the most heinous character: idolatry, in addition to a deliberate commission of everything else He had forbidden, and failure to do any of the good He had enjoined.


In the Millennium there will be no such hindrances to His bestowing fulness of blessing.


32:43.  “And fields shall be bought in this land, whereof ye say, It is desolate without man or beast; it is given into the hand of the Chaldeans.”


This explains God’s purpose in having commanded His servant to buy the field in Anathoth when everything seemed to declare the utter absurdity of such a thing.  That command had been given, as is every other, by Him Who knows the end from the beginning, and Who works all things together for good to those whose love for Him is manifested in obedience.


32:44.  “Men shall buy fields for money, and subscribe evidences, 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, and in the cities of the valley, and in the cities of the south: For I will cause their captivity to return, saith the Lord.”


“I will cause their captivity to return,” means that God would cause them to return again from captivity.  All of this had a partial fulfillment when the remnant returned at the end of the seventy-year Babylonian captivity, but very clearly complete fulfillment awaits the Millennium, for the descendants of that remnant were again expelled from the land in AD 70, and apart from the few who have been returning since the restoration of Jewish autonomy in 1948, still remain dispersed amongst the nations.  That restoration of Jewish autonomy in 1948, however, is the clear warning that the terrible Tribulation judgments are about to break, for Christ’s assurance was that the generation witnessing that return would not have passed from the earth until all is fulfilled relative to those judgments that are to precede Israel’s permanent settlement in Canaan in the Millennium, see Mt 24:34; Mk 13:30; Lk 21:32. 



[Jeremiah 33]



     Scripture portions taken from the Holy Bible, King James Version
© 2000-2005 James Melough