Desperate situations can lead to desperate measures. They can also lead to counterfeit repentance. That essentially appears to be the idea behind the latter portion of Jeremiah thirty-four. Now, at first glance, the counterfeit had some of the external markings of the true. After all, when you begin reading verses 8 through 10 you hear what appears to be a bit of good news: “The word that came to Jeremiah from the LORD” (vs.8a) came “after King Zedekiah had made a covenant with all the people who were at Jerusalem to proclaim liberty to them” (vs.8b).
Perhaps to your surprise, Jeremiah 32, in large measure, concerns the real estate purchase of a prophet. Now, to be clear, you wouldn’t expect this chapter to show up on a must read list of books for any beginning real estate investor. In fact, on the surface, this acquisition had just about all the makings of a bad deal. First, consider where Jeremiah was – in prison (Jer. 32:2-3). Not exactly the place from whence you’d expect such transactions to occur. Second, as many investors will tell you, a primary mark of a good piece of land is location. As the saying goes, ‘Location, location, location.’ Well, Jeremiah was about to buy a plot of land that was likely already invaded and overrun by the Babylonians. After all, if the Babylonians had already surrounded Jerusalem (vs.2) they likely already subdued Anathoth, which was only a few miles away from Jerusalem (vs.7). But Jeremiah didn’t make this purchase because he lacked the savvy foresight of a prudent investor or the sense to understand that captured land does not hold much value, he did it because the God who spoke through him also spoke to him. Yahweh predicted that he would have this opportunity, and Jeremiah knew that God wanted him to buy the land to make a point. But before we see the point first we ought to hear the word of LORD that came to Jeremiah (vs.6),
We have a rare occasion here in Jeremiah 26. No, not Jeremiah being persecuted by the people of Judah. That has become standard fare. And no, it’s not the fact that Jeremiah was preaching a sermon in temple courts – we saw that in Jeremiah 7 (and this may be an amplified narrative of that event). Here we have an exceptional occurrence where the people and princes of Judah ‘go to bat’ on behalf of God’s prophet. In Israel’s history you can say that times like this came around ‘once in a blue moon,’ i.e. very rarely. Let’s create some context and then jump into our text.