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Anathoth

Anathoth was one of the Levite cities of refuge. It was located within the tribal territory of Benjamin, about 3 miles north of Jerusalem. During Bible History, two of King David's "mighty men," Abiezer and Jehu, and (at least) one of the high priests, Abiathar, were from Anathoth. Perhaps the most famous person from Anathoth however was the prophet Jeremiah.

Anathoth In Bible History

Anathoth was assigned to be one of the Cities Of Refuge during the time of Joshua:

Israelite Tribal Lands

"And out of the tribe of Benjamin, Gibeon with her suburbs, Geba with her suburbs, Anathoth with her Suburbs, and Almon with her suburbs; four cities." (Joshua 21:17-18 KJV)

Abiezer, one of David's "mighty men," was from Anathoth:

"These be the names of the mighty men whom David had ... Abiezer the Anethothite" (2 Samuel 23:8,27 KJV)

Jehu "the Antothite" was also a mighty man from Anathoth:

"Now these are they that came to David to Ziklag, while he yet kept himself close because of Saul the son of Kish: and they were among the mighty men, helpers of the war. They were armed with bows, and could use both the right hand and the left in hurling stones and shooting arrows out of a bow, even of Saul's brethren of Benjamin. The chief was Ahiezer, then Joash, the sons of Shemaah the Gibeathite; and Jeziel, and Pelet, the sons of Azmaveth; and Berachah, and Jehu the Antothite" (1 Chronicles 12:1-3 KJV)

The high priest Abiathar was from Anathoth. As a fulfillment of what The Lord said would happen because of Eli's weakness (see The Lines Of Eleazar and Ithamar), King Solomon removed disloyal Abiathar and appointed Zadok, of the line of Eleazar, in his place.

"And unto Abiathar the priest said the king, Get thee to Anathoth, unto thine own fields; for thou art worthy of death: but I will not at this time put thee to death, because thou barest The Ark of The Lord God [see also Raiders Of The Lost Ark] before David my father, and because thou hast been afflicted in all wherein my father was afflicted. So Solomon thrust out Abiathar from being priest unto The Lord [see also YHVH, Adonai, Jehovah, LORD]; that he might fulfil the word of The Lord, which he spake concerning the house of Eli in Shiloh." (1 Kings 2:26-27 KJV)

A very different sort of mighty man was also from Anathoth - Jeremiah the prophet, who was also a Levite (see Levites):

"The words of Jeremiah the son of Hilkiah, of the priests that were in Anathoth in the land of Benjamin" (Jeremiah 1:1 KJV)

"Jeremiah of Anathoth, which maketh himself a prophet to you" (Jeremiah 29:27 KJV)

When Jesus Christ said "A prophet is not without honour, save in his own country, and in his own house" (Matthew 13:57 KJV) He wasn't speaking only of His own time. Jeremiah also experienced how a true prophet of God is sometimes opposed by those closest to him. The people of Anathoth rejected and even sought to kill Jeremiah; in doing so they brought the wrath of God upon themselves:

"Therefore thus saith The Lord of the men of Anathoth, that seek thy life, saying, Prophesy not in the name of The Lord, that thou die not by our hand: Therefore thus saith The Lord of hosts, Behold, I will punish them: the young men shall die by the sword; their sons and their daughters shall die by famine: And there shall be no remnant of them: for I will bring evil upon the men of Anathoth, even the year of their visitation." (Jeremiah 11:21-23 KJV)

Jeremiah warned of the coming devastation of all of Judah (see Why Babylon?), but he also spoke of their future return (unlike the northern kingdom, the "Lost Ten Tribes" who haven't yet returned - see The Galilee Captivity). As an enduring sign of that confidence in God's word, Jeremiah purchased a piece of land from his cousin Hanameel in Anathoth at the very time that the kingdom of Judah was falling to the Babylonians.

"And Jeremiah said, The word of The Lord came unto me, saying, 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."

"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. 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. And I subscribed the evidence, and sealed it, and took witnesses, and weighed him the money in the balances. So I took the evidence of the purchase, both that which was sealed according to the law and custom, and that which was open: 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."

"And I charged Baruch before them, saying, Thus saith The Lord of hosts, the God of Israel; Take these evidences, this evidence of the purchase, both which is sealed, and this evidence which is open; and put them in an earthen vessel, that they may continue many days. For thus saith The Lord of hosts, the God of Israel; Houses and fields and vineyards shall be possessed again in this land." (Jeremiah 32:6-15 KJV)

Fact Finder: Who was the prophet Jeremiah's close associate in Anathoth?
See Baruch


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