Hanameel was the cousin of Jeremiah and the son of Jeremiah’s uncle, Shallum. Jeremiah is imprisoned by Zedekiah, the king of Judah for foretelling about the fall of Judah and how Zedekiah would be taken captive by Nebuchadrezzar, the king of Babylon. This account is given in Jeremiah 32. In fact, Hanameel is mentioned as, what would seem to be an absurd and unrelated response, to the question that king Zedekiah has for Jeremiah. The king’s question to Jeremiah was, why do you prophesy about the impending doom of Judah and my captivity? Jeremiah’s response is that “Hanameel, the son of his uncle Shallum would come and ask Jeremiah to buy his land that is in Anathoth”. This response that Jeremiah gives is indicative of the fact that despite the fact that Judah will be taken captive, God will be gracious to let his people be restored and have possession. And just as the Lord had promised, Hanameel came and offered his land to be bought by Jeremiah, according to the word of the LORD. Hanameel’s actions and response confirmed the word of the Lord for Jeremiah and Jeremiah buys that property.
What can we learn from Hanameel?
Cursorial inspection of this character Hanameel reveals that he obeyed the voice of God and did as he was told by God, even if it meant that he would have to sell his own property. In obeying, he confirmed God’s word to his cousin Jeremiah. Sometimes God wants us to give/sell our possessions as a means to demonstrate our obedience to Him. In obeying God, we may be confirming God’s word for someone else.
Furthermore, deeper inspection reveals a hidden treasure from the Bible. Hanameel was the son of Shallum. Hanameel in Hebrews means “God is gracious”; Shallum in Hebrew means “payback” or “revenge”. Though God is Just and requires payback for our sinfulness, He is also at the same time a loving and gracious God. Hanameel represents the grace of God over His payback or revenge. Infact, God’s grace must never be separated from God’s justness to payback sin. Jesus represents the grace of God, but the Cross represents God’s payback for sin, for the wages of sin is death. We cannot speak of Jesus and his grace without talking about God’s hatred for sin and the Cross as his payback. Hanameel – God is gracious.
Jeremiah 32:1-12 (KJV)
1 The word that came to Jeremiah from the LORD in the tenth year of Zedekiah king of Judah, which was the eighteenth year of Nebuchadrezzar.
2 For then the king of Babylon’s army besieged Jerusalem: and Jeremiah the prophet was shut up in the court of the prison, which was in the king of Judah’s house.
3 For Zedekiah king of Judah had shut him up, saying, Wherefore dost thou prophesy, and say, Thus saith the LORD, Behold, I will give this city into the hand of the king of Babylon, and he shall take it;
4 And Zedekiah king of Judah shall not escape out of the hand of the Chaldeans, but shall surely be delivered into the hand of the king of Babylon, and shall speak with him mouth to mouth, and his eyes shall behold his eyes;
5 And he shall lead Zedekiah to Babylon, and there shall he be until I visit him, saith the LORD: though ye fight with the Chaldeans, ye shall not prosper.
6 And Jeremiah said, The word of the LORD came unto me, saying,
7 Behold, Hanameel the son of Shallum thine uncle shall come unto thee saying, Buy thee my field that is in Anathoth: for the right of redemption is thine to buy it.
8 So Hanameel mine uncle’s son came to me in the court of the prison according to the word of the LORD, and said unto me, Buy my field, I pray thee, that is in Anathoth, which is in the country of Benjamin: for the right of inheritance is thine, and the redemption is thine; buy it for thyself. Then I knew that this was the word of the LORD.
9 And I bought the field of Hanameel my uncle’s son, that was in Anathoth, and weighed him the money, even seventeen shekels of silver.
10 And I subscribed the evidence, and sealed it, and took witnesses, and weighed him the money in the balances.
11 So I took the evidence of the purchase, both that which was sealed according to the law and custom, and that which was open:
12 And I gave the evidence of the purchase unto Baruch the son of Neriah, the son of Maaseiah, in the sight of Hanameel mine uncle’s son, and in the presence of the witnesses that subscribed the book of the purchase, before all the Jews that sat in the court of the prison.