I can’t imagine purchasing some land while in prison, even if it were a good deal. From the sounds of it, Jeremiah would be helping a relative by taking this property off his hands. In the real estate market of that day, this property was probably virtually worthless. The value would lie in the memories and traditions the family had invested in this land!
I’m not sure Jeremiah felt he had any choice. He had received a vision from God that his cousin, Hanamel, would come forth with this very offer. We already know of Jeremiah’s great faithfulness. Listening to God was his priority even while enduring hardship, mockery, and imprisonment. It seems God was giving Jeremiah the opportunity for an inheritance which was certainly a strong declaration of hope for the future.
The first thing that darted through my mind as I read this passage was recollection of a recurring nightmare I’ve had where everything looks different. It is my house and my block, but there is absolutely nothing else that is recognizable. Frightening. Did Jeremiah feel like his vision of the future was like a horrible nightmare?
This is one dream that was going to come true. All that he had known would one day be gone, desolate, empty, and in ruins. None of us want to imagine our lives being turned upside down like that. To speak to the magnitude of the destruction, don’t forget that all “towns lay in ruins, crushed by the Lord’s fierce anger.” God does this “on purpose.”
Here Elisha performs two more miracles on God’s behalf, this time to make things right for his prophets. Our setting is during a time of famine. I can’t say that I’ve lived through a famine because of the present-day grocery store. But I can imagine before we had such convenience, weather patterns and food shortages in a particular area would be devastating.
I’m not sure the gourds were “poisonous” or deadly, as some of the stew was consumed. It’s more likely that the wild gourds would lead to stomach upset and be bitter or foul tasting. The miracle may have simply been the wisdom God gave Elisha to know how to fix it with a little flour. Rather than have a pot of ruined stew, Elisha made it edible so they would not go hungry. (Remember the salt from Chapter 2?)