Jeremiah 20

Jeremiah and Pashhur

1 When the priest Pashhur son of Immer, the official in charge of the temple of the LORD, heard Jeremiah prophesying these things,
2 he had Jeremiah the prophet beaten and put in the stocks at the Upper Gate of Benjamin at the LORD’s temple.
3 The next day, when Pashhur released him from the stocks, Jeremiah said to him, “The LORD’s name for you is not Pashhur, but Terror on Every Side.
4 For this is what the LORD says: ‘I will make you a terror to yourself and to all your friends; with your own eyes you will see them fall by the sword of their enemies. I will give all Judah into the hands of the king of Babylon, who will carry them away to Babylon or put them to the sword.
5 I will deliver all the wealth of this city into the hands of their enemies—all its products, all its valuables and all the treasures of the kings of Judah. They will take it away as plunder and carry it off to Babylon.
6 And you, Pashhur, and all who live in your house will go into exile to Babylon. There you will die and be buried, you and all your friends to whom you have prophesied lies.’ ”

Jeremiah’s Complaint

7 You deceived[a] me, LORD, and I was deceived[b] ; you overpowered me and prevailed. I am ridiculed all day long; everyone mocks me.
8 Whenever I speak, I cry out proclaiming violence and destruction. So the word of the LORD has brought me insult and reproach all day long.
9 But if I say, “I will not mention his word or speak anymore in his name,” his word is in my heart like a fire, a fire shut up in my bones. I am weary of holding it in; indeed, I cannot.
10 I hear many whispering, “Terror on every side! Denounce him! Let’s denounce him!” All my friends are waiting for me to slip, saying, “Perhaps he will be deceived; then we will prevail over him and take our revenge on him.”
11 But the LORD is with me like a mighty warrior; so my persecutors will stumble and not prevail. They will fail and be thoroughly disgraced; their dishonor will never be forgotten.
12 LORD Almighty, you who examine the righteous and probe the heart and mind, let me see your vengeance on them, for to you I have committed my cause.
13 Sing to the LORD! Give praise to the LORD! He rescues the life of the needy from the hands of the wicked.
14 Cursed be the day I was born! May the day my mother bore me not be blessed!
15 Cursed be the man who brought my father the news, who made him very glad, saying, “A child is born to you—a son!”
16 May that man be like the towns the LORD overthrew without pity. May he hear wailing in the morning, a battle cry at noon.
17 For he did not kill me in the womb, with my mother as my grave, her womb enlarged forever.
18 Why did I ever come out of the womb to see trouble and sorrow and to end 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 45

  • 1. S 1 Chronicles 24:14
  • 2. 2 Kings 25:18; Luke 22:52
  • 3. Deuteronomy 25:2-3; S Jeremiah 1:19; Jeremiah 15:15; Jeremiah 37:15; 2 Corinthians 11:24
  • 4. S Job 13:27; Jeremiah 29:26; Acts 16:24; Hebrews 11:36
  • 5. S Job 29:7; Jeremiah 37:13; Jeremiah 38:7; Zechariah 14:10
  • 6. Hosea 1:4
  • 7. S ver 10; S Psalms 31:13
  • 8. Jeremiah 29:21
  • 9. Jeremiah 21:10; Jeremiah 25:9
  • 10. Jeremiah 13:19; Jeremiah 39:9; Jeremiah 52:27
  • 11. S 2 Kings 25:15; Jeremiah 17:3
  • 12. S 2 Kings 20:17
  • 13. S Jeremiah 14:15; Lamentations 2:14
  • 14. S Exodus 5:23; Exodus 22:16
  • 15. Isaiah 8:11; Amos 3:8; 1 Corinthians 9:16
  • 16. Job 12:4
  • 17. S Job 17:2; S Psalms 119:21
  • 18. Jeremiah 6:7; Jeremiah 28:8
  • 19. S 2 Chronicles 36:16; S Jeremiah 6:10
  • 20. Jeremiah 44:16
  • 21. S Psalms 39:3; S Jeremiah 4:19
  • 22. S Job 4:2; S Jeremiah 6:11; Amos 3:8; Job 32:18-20; Acts 4:20
  • 23. Psalms 31:13; Jeremiah 6:25
  • 24. Nehemiah 6:6-13; Isaiah 29:21
  • 25. S Job 19:14; S Jeremiah 13:21; Psalms 41:9
  • 26. S Psalms 57:4; S Jeremiah 18:22; Luke 11:53-54
  • 27. S 1 Kings 19:2
  • 28. S 1 Samuel 18:25; S Jeremiah 11:19
  • 29. Jeremiah 1:8; Romans 8:31
  • 30. Jeremiah 15:15; Jeremiah 17:18
  • 31. S Psalms 129:2; Jeremiah 15:20
  • 32. S Jeremiah 7:19; Jeremiah 23:40
  • 33. S Psalms 7:9; S Jeremiah 17:10
  • 34. Deuteronomy 32:35; S Romans 12:19; Psalms 54:7; Psalms 59:10
  • 35. Psalms 62:8; Jeremiah 11:20
  • 36. S Isaiah 12:6
  • 37. Psalms 34:6; Psalms 35:10
  • 38. S Psalms 97:10
  • 39. S Job 3:8,16; Job 3:3; Jeremiah 15:10
  • 40. S Genesis 19:25
  • 41. S Jeremiah 6:26
  • 42. S Job 3:16; S Job 10:18-19
  • 43. S Job 3:10-11; S Ecclesiastes 4:2
  • 44. S Genesis 3:17; S Job 5:7
  • 45. S 1 Kings 19:4; Psalms 90:9; Psalms 102:3

Footnotes 2

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

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