Jeremiah said, “Yahweh’s word came to me, saying, ‘Behold, Hanamel the son of Shallum your uncle will come to you, saying, “Buy my field that is in Anathoth; for the right of redemption is yours to buy it.” ’ ”
“So Hanamel my uncle’s son came to me in the court of the guard according to Yahweh’s word, and said to me, ‘Please buy my field that is in Anathoth, which is in the land of Benjamin; for the right of inheritance is yours, and the redemption is yours. Buy it for yourself.’
“Then I knew that this was Yahweh’s word. I bought the field that was in Anathoth of Hanamel my uncle’s son, and weighed him the money, even seventeen shekels of silver. I signed the deed, sealed it, called witnesses, and weighed the money in the balances to him. So I took the deed of the purchase, both that which was sealed, containing the terms and conditions, and that which was open; and I delivered the deed of the purchase to Baruch the son of Neriah, the son of Mahseiah, in the presence of Hanamel my uncle’s son, and in the presence of the witnesses who signed the deed of the purchase, before all the Jews who sat in the court of the guard.
“I commanded Baruch before them, saying, Yahweh of Armies, the God of Israel, says: ‘Take these deeds, this deed of the purchase which is sealed, and this deed which is open, and put them in an earthen vessel, that they may last many days.’ For Yahweh of Armies, the God of Israel says: ‘Houses and fields and vineyards will yet again be bought in this land.’
Here we read that God uses Jeremiah as a physical example once again. This time, he was told by God that his cousin would be coming in an attempt to sell him Israeli land that was to be kept in his family. I think it’s good to consider how bad this transaction was. We already read that Jerusalem was under siege. This means that there were troops that had most likely already ravaged the surrounding countryside of Jerusalem. Land in Jerusalem was about to be worthless and the surrounding lands of Judah probably already were. To make matters worse, Jeremiah was in custody. Now, we have already read in the law that it was a legal obligation to help your family by buying their land when they were in need. This kind of buying was more like what we would call leasing today in that you could use the land but then return it to its owners during the Year of Jubilee. So what we have here is Jeremiah’s cousin coming to him while Jeremiah is in jail, obligating him to give him money for worthless land. At this point, the witnesses probably thought Jeremiah had gone totally mad, but Jeremiah was told by God to buy this land, so he did.
The wonder of this whole exercise is that God was not only encouraging the heart of His prophet, but He was using him to tell those who would hear that Israel had a future. Jeremiah made it clear before his witnesses that “Houses and fields and vineyards will yet again be bought in this land.” Jeremiah’s purchase was a good investment because he had the most critical element of a good investment. He had knowledge of the future. He was buying a very real inheritance for his family and as we already read in the history of Israel, they did end up returning to the land, little-by-little, 70 years later.
When we trust in God, we may look crazy on the outside. The truth can be missed because of our own ideas about how things work. Even when we consider investments, we should seek out the truth by believing everything God tells us first. Others may not understand our actions, but we will be encouraged in our hearts as we rest on the truth of God’s word.