Jeremiah 20

Listen to Jeremiah 20

Jeremiah Persecuted by Pashhur

1 Now 1Pashhur the priest, the son of 2Immer, who was 3chief officer in the house of the LORD, heard Jeremiah prophesying these things.
2 Then 4Pashhur beat Jeremiah the prophet, and put him 5in the stocks that were in the upper 6Benjamin Gate of the house of the LORD.
3 The next day, when 7Pashhur released Jeremiah from the stocks, Jeremiah said to him, "The LORD does not call your name 8Pashhur, but Terror On Every Side.
4 For thus says the LORD: Behold, I will make you 9a terror to yourself and to all your friends. They shall fall by the sword of their enemies while you look on. And I will give all Judah into the hand of the king of Babylon. He shall carry them captive to Babylon, and shall strike them down with the sword.
5 Moreover, 10I will give all the wealth of the city, all its gains, all its 11prized belongings, and all the treasures of the kings of Judah into the hand of their enemies, who shall plunder them and seize them and carry them to Babylon.
6 And you, 12Pashhur, and all who dwell in your house, shall go into captivity. To Babylon you shall go, and there you shall die, and there you shall be buried, you and all your friends, 13to whom you have prophesied falsely."
7 O LORD, 14you have deceived me, and I was deceived; 15you are stronger than I, and you have prevailed. 16I have become a laughingstock all the day; everyone mocks me.
8 For whenever I speak, I cry out, I shout, 17"Violence and destruction!" For 18the word of the LORD has become for me 19a reproach and 20derision all day long.
9 If I say, "I will not mention him, or speak any more in his name," 21there is in my heart as it were a burning fire shut up in my bones, and 22I am weary with holding it in, and I cannot.
10 23For I hear many whispering. 24Terror is on every side! "Denounce him! 25Let us denounce him!" say all my 26close friends, 27watching for 28my fall. "Perhaps he will be deceived; then 29we can overcome him and take our revenge on him."
11 But 30the LORD is with me as a dread warrior; therefore my persecutors will stumble; 31they will not overcome me. 32They will be greatly shamed, for they will not succeed. Their 33eternal dishonor will never be forgotten.
12 O LORD of hosts, who tests the righteous, 34who sees the heart and the mind,[a] let me see your vengeance upon them, for to you have I committed my cause.
13 35Sing to the LORD; praise the LORD! For he has delivered the life of the needy from the hand of evildoers.
14 36Cursed be the day on which I was born! The day when my mother bore me, let it not be blessed!
15 Cursed be the man who brought the news to my father, "A son is born to you," 37making him very glad.
16 Let that man be like 38the cities that the LORD overthrew without pity; 39let him hear a cry in the morning and an alarm at noon,
17 40because he did not kill me in the womb; so my mother would have been my grave, and her womb forever great.
18 41Why did I come out from the womb 42to see toil and sorrow, and spend my days in shame?

Jeremiah 20 Commentary

Chapter 20

The doom of Pashur, who ill-treated the prophet. (1-6) Jeremiah complains of hard usage. (7-13) He regrets his ever having been born. (14-18)

Verses 1-6 Pashur smote Jeremiah, and put him in the stocks. Jeremiah was silent till God put a word into his mouth. To confirm this, Pashur has a name given him, "Fear on every side." It speaks a man not only in distress, but in despair; not only in danger, but in fear on every side. The wicked are in great fear where no fear is, for God can make the most daring sinner a terror to himself. And those who will not hear of their faults from God's prophets, shall be made to hear them from their consciences. Miserable is the man thus made a terror to himself. His friends shall fail him. God lets him live miserably, that he may be a monument of Divine justice.

Verses 7-13 The prophet complains of the insult and injury he experienced. But ver. ( 7 ) may be read, Thou hast persuaded me, and I was persuaded. Thou wast stronger than I; and didst overpower me by the influence of thy Spirit upon me. So long as we see ourselves in the way of God, and of duty, it is weakness and folly, when we meet with difficulties and discouragements, to wish we had never set out in it. The prophet found the grace of God mighty in him to keep him to his business, notwithstanding the temptation he was in to throw it up. Whatever injuries are done to us, we must leave them to that God to whom vengeance belongs, and who has said, I will repay. So full was he of the comfort of God's presence, the Divine protection he was under, and the Divine promise he had to depend upon, that he stirred up himself and others to give God the glory. Let the people of God open their cause before Him, and he will enable them to see deliverance.

Verses 14-18 When grace has the victory, it is good to be ashamed of our folly, to admire the goodness of God, and be warned to guard our spirits another time. See how strong the temptation was, over which the prophet got the victory by Divine assistance! He is angry that his first breath was not his last. While we remember that these wishes are not recorded for us to utter the like, we may learn good lessons from them. See how much those who think they stand, ought to take heed lest they fall, and to pray daily, Lead us not into temptation. How frail, changeable, and sinful is man! How foolish and unnatural are the thoughts and wishes of our hearts, when we yield to discontent! Let us consider Him who endured the contradiction of sinners against himself, lest we should be at any time weary and faint in our minds under our lesser trials.

Cross References 42

  • 1. Jeremiah 21:1; Jeremiah 38:1; 1 Chronicles 9:12; [Ezra 2:38]
  • 2. 1 Chronicles 24:14; Ezra 2:37
  • 3. [Jeremiah 29:26]
  • 4. [See ver. 1 above]
  • 5. Jeremiah 29:26; Acts 16:24
  • 6. Jeremiah 37:13
  • 7. [See ver. 1 above]
  • 8. [See ver. 1 above]
  • 9. See Jeremiah 6:25
  • 10. [2 Kings 20:17]; See 2 Kings 24:12-16; 2 Kings 25:13-17
  • 11. Job 28:10; Ezekiel 22:25
  • 12. Jeremiah 21:1; Jeremiah 38:1; 1 Chronicles 9:12; [Ezra 2:38]
  • 13. See Jeremiah 14:14
  • 14. [Ezekiel 14:9]
  • 15. [2 Peter 1:21]
  • 16. Psalms 119:51; Lamentations 3:14
  • 17. Jeremiah 6:7
  • 18. Jeremiah 6:10
  • 19. Psalms 44:13; Psalms 79:4
  • 20. Psalms 44:13; Psalms 79:4
  • 21. Job 32:18, 19; Psalms 39:3
  • 22. Jeremiah 6:11
  • 23. Psalms 31:13
  • 24. See Jeremiah 6:25
  • 25. [Jeremiah 36:16, 20]
  • 26. Psalms 41:9; Psalms 55:13; [Jeremiah 9:4; Jeremiah 38:22]
  • 27. [Psalms 56:6]
  • 28. Psalms 35:15
  • 29. Jeremiah 1:19; Jeremiah 5:22
  • 30. See Jeremiah 1:8
  • 31. See Jeremiah 1:8
  • 32. Jeremiah 17:18; Jeremiah 23:40
  • 33. Jeremiah 23:40
  • 34. See Jeremiah 11:20
  • 35. [Psalms 35:9, 10; Psalms 109:30, 31]
  • 36. Jeremiah 15:10; Job 3:3
  • 37. [John 16:21]
  • 38. Genesis 19:25; Isaiah 13:19
  • 39. Jeremiah 18:22
  • 40. [Job 3:10, 11]
  • 41. [Job 3:20]
  • 42. [Lamentations 3:1, 2]

Footnotes 1

Chapter Summary


This chapter gives an account of the usage that Jeremiah met with from many for his prophecies, and the effect it had upon him. He was smitten and put in the stocks by Pashur the priest, who released him the next day, Jer 20:1-3; upon which he prophesies again of the delivery of the city of Jerusalem, with all its riches, and of the whole land, to the Chaldeans; and particularly that Pashur should be a terror to himself and all his friends; and that both he and they should be carried captive into Babylon, and die, and be buried there, Jer 20:4-6; and then he complains of his being mocked at by the people for the word of the Lord; which he therefore determined to make no more mention of, but was obliged to it; and of the defamations of him, and snares that were laid for him, Jer 20:7-10; under which he is supported with the consideration of the Lord's being with him, and that his enemies should not prevail, but be confounded; and appeals to him, and calls for vengeance from him on them; and, in the view of deliverance, not only praises the Lord himself, but calls upon others to join with him in it, Jer 20:11-13; and yet, after all, the chapter is concluded with his cursing the day of his birth, and the man that brought his father the news of it, Jer 20:14-18.

Jeremiah 20 Commentaries

The English Standard Version is published with the permission of Good News Publishers.