Jeremiah 20:9

9 If I say, "I will not mention him, or speak any more in his name," 1there is in my heart as it were a burning fire shut up in my bones, and 2I am weary with holding it in, and I cannot.

Jeremiah 20:9 Meaning and Commentary

Jeremiah 20:9

Then I said, I will not make mention of him, nor speak any
more in his name
Not that he publicly said this before his enemies, or privately to his friends, but he said it in his heart; he thought, nay, resolved, within himself, to prophesy no more; since no credit was given to him, but contempt cast on him; he was disgraced, and God was dishonoured, and no good done; wherefore he concluded it was better to be silent, and not mention the name of God, and say nothing of any message he had from him, since it was to no purpose. A temptation that oftentimes besets a minister of the word, because of the ill usage he meets with, the ill success of his ministry; and is but a temptation, as such see it to be sooner or later, as Jeremiah did; but [his word] was in mine heart as a burning fire shut up in my bones;
which wanted vent, and must have it, and which only could be quenched by being divulged; and which, until it was done, he was in the utmost pain, as if he had been all on fire; his conscience accused him; his heart smote and condemned him; a woe was to him; see ( 1 Corinthians 9:16 ) ; or "there was in mine heart as a burning fire" F5 a principle of love to God, and to the souls of men; a zeal for his glory, and the good of his countrymen; which made him uneasy, and constrained him to break his former resolution: for the phrase, "his word", is not in the original text; though it is in like manner supplied by the Targum,

``and his words became in mine heart as fire burning and overflowing my bones;''
and so Kimchi,
``and the word of the Lord was in my heart as fire burning;''
and also Jarchi; the prophecy was as fire, to which it is compared, ( Jeremiah 23:29 ) ; and I was weary with forbearing;
to speak; weary to hold it in: and I could not [stay];
or I could not hold it in any longer; I was obliged to speak in the name of the Lord again, and deliver whatever message he was pleased to send me

F5 (yblb hyhw) "atqui est", Junius & Tremellius; "et exstitit", Piscator; "sed factum est in corde meo", Schmidt.

Jeremiah 20:9 In-Context

7 O LORD, you have deceived me, and I was deceived; you are stronger than I, and you have prevailed. I have become a laughingstock all the day; everyone mocks me.
8 For whenever I speak, I cry out, I shout, "Violence and destruction!" For the word of the LORD has become for me a reproach and derision all day long.
9 If I say, "I will not mention him, or speak any more in his name," there is in my heart as it were a burning fire shut up in my bones, and I am weary with holding it in, and I cannot.
10 For I hear many whispering. Terror is on every side! "Denounce him! Let us denounce him!" say all my close friends, watching for my fall. "Perhaps he will be deceived; then we can overcome him and take our revenge on him."
11 But the LORD is with me as a dread warrior; therefore my persecutors will stumble; they will not overcome me. They will be greatly shamed, for they will not succeed. Their eternal dishonor will never be forgotten.

Cross References 2

  • 1. Job 32:18, 19; Psalms 39:3
  • 2. Jeremiah 6:11
The English Standard Version is published with the permission of Good News Publishers.