Chapter thirty-two opens with a time reference to 587 B.C. (Jeremiah 32:1). Nebuchadnezzar had Jerusalem under siege for the third time, and this would be the final captivity during which Jerusalem and the Temple would finally be destroyed. This time frame covers through chapter thirty-four. King Zedekiah was furious with Jeremiah’s prophecies against Jerusalem, the Temple, and Zedekiah’s family, so he had Jeremiah confined within the Temple campus (Jeremiah 32:2-5).
Jeremiah 32:6-15 seems like an innocuous story that has nothing to do with Jeremiah’s prophecy. However, this is another instance when God used a common situation to reveal an important truth to and through Jeremiah. In this case, God told Jeremiah that a relative would offer to sell him a piece of property in his hometown and that he should purchase it. Jeremiah did, having the normal paperwork drawn up legally and placed into a clay jar. Jeremiah, though, was confused, so he prayed to God, acknowledging his sovereignty in all things and his care for Israel in the past (Jeremiah 32:16-25). However, because of God’s promise to give Judah over to Nebuchadnezzar, Jeremiah could not understand why he should have purchased this property. In his response, God affirmed everything that Jeremiah had said about him. He is sovereign, and he did promise destruction for Judah (Jeremiah 32:26-36). Yet God had something else to say as well. Even though Nebuchadnezzar would certainly invade and overthrow Judah, God promised that he will certainly gather Israel and Judah back to their land, rule over them personally, and provide them with forever peace and security (Jeremiah 32:37-44). So it was true that the land would be lost, but it would be only temporary. Jeremiah’s purchase was a visual promise that “fields will again be bought with silver, and deeds of purchase signed, sealed, and witnessed.”