Week 32 – Book of Jeremiah
Read: Jeremiah Chapter 32
“Anathoth, with its pasture lands,”is the hometown of Jeremiah. Located approximately 3 miles NE of Jerusalem, it is a Levitical town. In both Ezra Chapter 2 and Nehemiah Chapter 7, there is a list of the numbers of Hebrew people who return to Judah and Jerusalem after exile in Babylon. The lists include 128 men from Anathoth. The land that Jeremiah purchased is resettled.
No lands are given to Jacob’s son Levi who descendants provide the religious leadership for Israel. Moses and his brother Aaron are from the tribe of Levi. This priestly tribe finds its homelands in cities given to the Levites or priests “to live in with their pasture lands” for the cattle. (Joshua 21:2) These places are to come from the inheritance of the sons of Israel (Jacob). “Aaron the priest gets thirteen cities by lot” from the tribes of Judah and Simeon and Benjamin. (Joshua 21:4)
Specifically, from the tribe of Benjamin, there are four cities with pasture lands given, to include Anathoth. (1 Chronicles 6:60) While not for certain, one possible thought is that Anathoth is named for one of Benjamin’s grandsons, the son of Becher, Anathoth. All Becher’s sons are described as men of valor. (1 Chronicles 7:6-8,9) “Abiezer, one of David’s military leaders, was from Anathoth (1 Chronicles 11:28) as was the soldier Jehu (1 Chronicles 12:3) and the priest Abiathar (1 Kings 2:26).” Unfortunately Abiathar, who served during Solomon’s reign, is accused of a conspiracy. Anathoth is long known as a settlement in the Judean hills that cultivates crops, olives, vineyards, and is desirable pastureland for sheep.
With a writing style change from poetry to prose, Chapter 32 opens in 587 BC during Nebuchadnezzar’s eighteenth reign and a year before his final victory. The “deportation of the people was close at hand.” Zedekiah is the vassal king of Judah, and the Babylonian army occupy land surrounding Jerusalem, including Anathoth. Jeremiah is now I’m prison in the palace because of his prophesy. The prophesy even predicts Zedekiah’s captivity to Babylon.
Jeremiah’s cousin comes and asks him to buy some land in Anathoth. “The law calls for a kinsman to redeem any land that is likely to pass out of the control of the family (Lev. 25:25). It appears that this is what drives the family to ask Jeremiah to purchase the ancestral property.” Battles with the Babylonian army have been going on in the area for a year and buying the land seems like a poor investment. Yahweh tells Jeremiah to buy a field in Anathoth, in the territory of Benjamin. So, Jeremiah does, for seventeen shekels of silver.
We see this transaction is officially recorded – written on a scroll, sealed, and witnessed. Jeremiah takes the “deed of purchase and a sealed copy to Baruch, his scribe, with instructions from Yahweh to put them “in an earthenware jar.” The purpose signals hope, a hope that “houses, fields, and vineyards will once again be bought in this land.”
“True prayer begins with worship and focuses on the greatness of God.” In verse 16, we see Jeremiah’s prayer as he acknowledges God’s greatness, “You’ve made the heavens and earth by Your great power and outstretched arm. Nothing is too hard for You.” In this prayer, Jeremiah speaks to God’s great purpose and numerous good deeds, blessings, miracles, and promises.
“Pay attention!” The land that is purchased by Jeremiah will be given to the Chaldeans (Babylonians). These people will destroy and burn down the city. Repeated accusations of idol worship and rebellion and child sacrifice identity, again, the wicked behaviors. But near the end, God reminds, “they will be My people and I will be their God.” (v38) The “everlasting covenant” (v 40) remains, and God’s goodness will continue. Promises that God will return them to this land echo over the sounds of battle. “Fields will be bought for silver and deeds will be signed and sealed and witnessed in the territory of Benjamin… I will restore their fortunes.” (v44)
Ah, Lord God! It is you who have made
the heavens and the earth by your great power and by your outstretched
arm! Nothing is too hard for you. Jeremiah 32:17
Jeremiah’s prayer, Jeremiah 32:16-25, expresses a desire for the assurance of God’s will while acknowledging His righteousness. For Jerusalem, this is a time of despair and doubt, a time of war and weariness; yet the people’s rebellion toward God persists. Jeremiah focuses on God’s majesty and mystery as Creator, Judge, and Redeemer. Despite rebellion, God continues to embrace His people promising, “I have loved you with an everlasting love.” (Jeremiah 31:3)
About a year before the fall of Jerusalem, God tells the prophet Jeremiah to “buy a field” even though the land will soon be completely seized by the Babylonians. As God allows the city of Jerusalem to be destroyed by Nebuchadnezzar, King of Babylonia, the people continue their idolatry, giving offerings and worshiping false gods. Through fire and disease, famine and poverty, the buying of the field in this land becomes an “expression of confidence of a loving God’s promise of redemption.”
We are helpless to save ourselves. Regardless of a seemingly desperate desire to understand, we will not always have answers to our questions or doubts. Faith requires keeping our trust in the sovereignty of God, in the certainty of His everlasting love for us. After Jeremiah prays, God reassures with His rhetorical reply, “Behold, I am the LORD, the God of all flesh; is anything to difficult for me?” (Jeremiah 32:27) We, also, find our Blessed Assurance in this God who finds nothing too extraordinary!
I recently listened to an online sermon by Pastor Adrian Crawford from Tallahassee, FL, that is titled, “I Bought a Field.” Among many excellent and thought-provoking ideas, some really speak volumes. I am going to list a few of these. Please consider them and ponder their implications for living our best lives for Christ.
1- 1- “We either have ‘predictable faith’ or ‘profound faith’. He says that predictable faith is when we try to do it ourselves, try to keep control of things, try to hedge our bets. BUT profound faith is when we make “decisive decisions” and choose “directional obedience” and live with “determined hope”.
2- 2- Jeremiah’s buying of the field is like “putting a deposit down on hope”.
3- 3- “The church is the field at Anathoth.” The hope that comes with the promises of God.
4- 4- “Everyone has struggles just like us.” Our response should be LOVE not judgement. Be peace makers!
5- 5- As believers we are “earthen vessels” or like clay jars. Read 2 Corinthians 4:7-18
As you think through these words, ask yourself how Jeremiah demonstrated these ideas. Then, ask yourself, “How will I live a life of profound faith and love in Christ?”
 Tyndall Bible Dictionary, Anathoth
 Walking the Ancient Paths, A Commentary on Jeremiah; Kaiser, Walter C, p 375
 Ibid, p 382
 Wiersbe Study Bible Jeremiah Chapter 32