|Washington Allston (1779-1843): Jeremiah dictating to Baruch||; Yale University|
Jeremiah 32:1-3a, 6-15
Rose of Sharon
How is it this jailed Jeremiah
Had such a love for his country,
And, conversely, such humility
About himself, held under guard,
Babylon laying siege at the gates,
With no cavalry to rescue,
That with a straight face he could foresee
Everything coming up roses,
Houses and fields and vineyards bought?
He knew One who'd surely ransom,
The redeemed returning and singing,
Not to make the place great again,
But so one day, one could take that deed
From the pot, and put a flower in it.
Scott L. Barton
The word that came to Jeremiah from the Lord in the tenth year of King Zedekiah of Judah, which was the eighteenth year of Nebuchadrezzar. At that time the army of the king of Babylon was besieging Jerusalem, and the prophet Jeremiah was confined in the court of the guard that was in the palace of the king of Judah, where King Zedekiah of Judah had confined him.
Jeremiah said, The word of the Lord came to me: Hanamel son of your uncle Shallum is going to come to you and say, “Buy my field that is at Anathoth, for the right of redemption by purchase is yours.” Then my cousin Hanamel came to me in the court of the guard, in accordance with the word of the Lord, and said to me, “Buy my field that is at Anathoth in the land of Benjamin, for the right of possession and redemption is yours; buy it for yourself.” Then I knew that this was the word of the Lord.
And I bought the field at Anathoth from my cousin Hanamel, and weighed out the money to him, seventeen shekels of silver. I signed the deed, sealed it, got witnesses, and weighed the money on scales. Then I took the sealed deed of purchase, containing the terms and conditions, and the open copy; and I gave the deed of purchase to Baruch son of Neriah son of Mahseiah, in the presence of my cousin Hanamel, in the presence of the witnesses who signed the deed of purchase, and in the presence of all the Judeans who were sitting in the court of the guard. In their presence I charged Baruch, saying, Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel: Take these deeds, both this sealed deed of purchase and this open deed, and put them in an earthenware jar, in order that they may last for a long time. For thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel: Houses and fields and vineyards shall again be bought in this land.
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What We Owe
How tempting that we read this tale
As if we are allied
With Lazarus, whose sores dogs licked,
Until, at Abra'm's side,
He saw the justice done unto
The man who ate his fill,
Without a glance at brother Laz,
Or gestures of goodwill;
We make it out a moral tale
That we should be "more" good,
And be not arrogant or proud,
And humbly share our food -
Or else! That's partly true, except
Just skip the fear and shame,
Since showing God is "just" to all
Is always our Lord's aim;
That is, the nature of the One
Who made both great and small
Is that the gifts of God who loves
Come, without fail, to all!
But why the torment? You might ask,
Does such a thing exist?
Or as his wont, a parable
By Jesus 'bout the risk
Of thinking that, when we've been blessed
But then, things turn out bad,
It seems that those once down and out
Should dare not then be glad
Because God's gifts have come to them!
Instead, with tables turned,
Our hell is thinking that we're owed
By those whom we had spurned;
Thus, Jesus rises from the dead
So we will always know
God's work of giving everything
Makes giving what we owe.
Scott L. Barton
“There was a rich man who was dressed in purple and fine linen and who feasted sumptuously every day. And at his gate lay a poor man named Lazarus, covered with sores, who longed to satisfy his hunger with what fell from the rich man’s table; even the dogs would come and lick his sores. The poor man died and was carried away by the angels to be with Abraham. The rich man also died and was buried. In Hades, where he was being tormented, he looked up and saw Abraham far away with Lazarus by his side. He called out, ‘Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue; for I am in agony in these flames.’ But Abraham said, ‘Child, remember that during your lifetime you received your good things, and Lazarus in like manner evil things; but now he is comforted here, and you are in agony. Besides all this, between you and us a great chasm has been fixed, so that those who might want to pass from here to you cannot do so, and no one can cross from there to us.’ He said, ‘Then, father, I beg you to send him to my father’s house— for I have five brothers—that he may warn them, so that they will not also come into this place of torment.’ Abraham replied, ‘They have Moses and the prophets; they should listen to them.’ He said, ‘No, father Abraham; but if someone goes to them from the dead, they will repent.’ He said to him, ‘If they do not listen to Moses and the prophets, neither will they be convinced even if someone rises from the dead.’”