An opening of the hopeⅠ Cousin HanamelJeremiah 32:1-44
We have seen the collapse of David dynasty and the destruction of the kingdom of Judah, and the work of Jeremiah and Baruch of Egypt where the Jews had emigrated. Jeremiah is the end almost there, but because a message of Jeremiah that we have not yet touched remains, we will go back a little and want to hear those message.
This morning is from Chapter 32. Because there is it "in the tenth year of Zedekiah king" (1), Jeremiah was imprisoned in "dungeon vaults in the house of the secretary Jonathan" by the main battle group, and was almost to starve to death, but, it was known to Zedekiah king, and was rescued from the dungeon; it seems to be having been in "the court (prison) of the monitoring" of the royal palace (37:21). It was also tough fate of the kingdom of Judah and though he had been monitored in the prison, but there was still some margin, so, Jeremiah seemed to be considerably free. As before being caught, for the ministry of the prophet, he got out and talked to people. People of main battle group heard it, and it became the articles of Chapter 38 desperate, but this is the previous.
From where did he hear it? Cousin Hanamel has visited Jeremiah from Anathoth. Because escape group has gone through the encircling net of army of Babylon, probably, there would have been a secret passage somewhere. He was able to arrive to the royal palace, without being blamed in the Jerusalem castle. It is thought that probably he would have a contact with someone of the main battle group, or have gotten a guide. "Buy my field, please, that is at Anathoth, which is in the land of Benjamin; for you have the right of possession and the redemption is yours; buy it for yourself." (32:8) This was for the promise that Jeremiah was not able to fulfill; because, Jeremiah was going to go to Anatoth, for buying and selling land, at the time that the Babylon armies retreated at one time, but he was caught by a sentry and he was put into "the oubliette of the arched ceiling" (37:12-13). Because it is said, "for you have the right of redemption to buy it", would it be that someone of the Hanamel's family had gotten the land which has been the land of Jeremiah's family originally? Then, their person image which was shrewd in the profit, and was going to part with land not troubled with life, seems to appear. However, "repurchase" does not mean the transfer to owners of the original necessarily; maybe, it might have had been really need. In any case, they would have given up that the future is not in the kingdom of Judah anymore. They abandoned Anathoth, and were trying to migrate to other lands. Maybe, they might had decided to leave Israel, and might had decided to go abroad.
Ⅱ Land of Anathoth
Jeremiah has known that the proposal of cousin was given by the Lord (8). There was the words from the Lord in Verse 7, "Behold, Hanamel the son of Shallum your uncle is coming to you, saying, 'Buy for yourself my field which is at Anathoth, for you have the right of redemption to buy it.'". Jeremiah did not know what it means, but he thought probably there would be a plan of the Lord; and he decided to take the opportunity which was given by Hanamel. "And I bought the field which was at Anathoth from Hanamel my uncle's son, and I weighed out the silver for him, seventeen shekels of silver. And I signed and sealed the deed, and called in witnesses, and weighed out the silver on the scales. Then I took the deeds of purchase, both the sealed copy containing the terms and conditions, and the open copy; and I gave the deed of purchase to Baruch the son of Neriah, the son of Mahseiah, in the sight of Hanamel my uncle's son, and in the sight of the witnesses who signed the deed of purchase, before all the Jews who were sitting in the court of the guard. And I commanded Baruch in their presense, saying, 'Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, "Take these deeds, this sealed of purchase, and this open deed, this sealed deed of purchase, and this open deed, and put them in an earthenware jar, that they may last a long time."'" (9-14)
17 shekels of silver or was the appropriate price, I do not know it; but when we think about the shrine tax which lasted a long time in Jewish having been required with half shekel per one male over the age of 20 in a year, it is surely a large amount of money. In this situation, it is surprise that Jeremiah was able to provide so much money. However, because there was a protector for prophet activity, it would be that there was a support of God. And, (probably), Baruch became one of the witnesses, and at the same time, he became a person to store that deed. Because it was one of the important work of the certified public secretary, it would not be off the mark altogether, if we imagine that the place to keep and save the deed, it was a house of Baruch. Possibly, the place that Jeremiah stayed in Jerusalem was his home. Is it imaginary overdoing? However, in this situation, the house and land have become already only a little value. 17 shekel as a price of land which Hanamel got, however, it does not come totally transmitted that there was pain, but it was a big amount of money, and it may be said that was totally snatched.
But, Jeremiah followed the word of God by purchasing the field. It says that the fields and vineyards and home will come to be bought in this country again; the purchase of the field had a symbolic meaning saying that peace of Israel will be brought. There is it, "For thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, 'Houses and fields and vineyards shall again be bought in this land.'" (15).
Ⅲ An opening of the hope
Verse 17-25 is the prayer of Jeremiah. However, this prayer is a question of him; it is saying "why?". "Behold, the siege and the city is given into the hand of the sword, the famine, and the pestilence; and what Thou hast spoken has come to pass; and, behold, Thou seest it. And Thou hast said to me, O Lord God, "Buy for yourself the field with a money, and call in witnesses" --- although the city is given into the land of the Chaldeans.'" (24-25) Is there any meaning to that I have bought a field? While looking at the present conditions of Jerusalem which was just going to be extinct, this was a question that arose to Jeremiah. A sight of the bloody end of the war is spreading in all around. Do You still say peace will be back again?
The answer of God is severe. The light expectation Jeremiah might have, was rejected; "Behold, I am about to give this city into the hand of the Chaldeans and into the hand of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, and he shall take it," (28), and a plan of God did not have the change. Probably, Hanamel is thought to be the tip of the iceberg of Israeli people who was running around for a profit in those days. Why did he come to Jeremiah? It seems the fight over such a profit would have been among the relatives of Anathoth. Why such judgment was going to be carried out?; it was anger to such people. For Israel, land was a blessing irreplaceable which had given from God; so, passing the land to the sons from the parents, to the grandsons from the sons, it was their faith as "God is their God". They were going to part with such important land without a pain; it was because they have ignored God. And, would it not be a modern social situation itself? We are looking away from the important things, and saying ”money!, money!" with changing our eye color.
Verse 36 "therefore" continues to the words of Verse 43, (Verse 37-42 is revision of the editor); this "therefore" has connected a salvation and judgement. Jeremiah had to hear that the judgement of God was not the judgement for judgement. That was the answer to Jeremiah. This Chapter 32 is provided as preface of Chapter 30-31 which has said "I have loved you with an everlasting love"; and it seems that God is going to engrave one step of new hope to this land, now by answer to Jeremiah. Jeremiah who heard so, does not state an objection anymore. "Now therefore thus says the Lord ... 'And fields shall be bought in this land of which you say, "It is desolation, without man or beast; it is given into the hand of the Chaldeans." 'Men shall buy fields for money, sign and seal deeds, and call in witnesses in the land of Benjamin, in the environs of Jerusalem, in the cities of Judah, in the cities of the hill country, in the cities of the lowland, and in the cities of the Negev; for I will restore their fortunes,' declares the Lord." (36, 43-44) Baruch had seen a tangle of Jeremiah, and the resolution which God gave to him, in the immediate vicinity. As Jeremiah had stood in the faith, Baruch would have also stood in the same place. That faith was the first step to the hope (Romans 5:1-5). We also hope to stand in such a faith. And I wish also heartily that modern people who is running around for a profit to remember the standing place which is not like Hanamel.