Jeremiah 20

Listen to Jeremiah 20
1 Now Pashur the son of Immer the priest, who was also chief governor in the house of the LORD, heard that Jeremiah prophesied these things.
2 Then Pashur smote Jeremiah the prophet, and put him in the stocks that were in the high gate of Benjamin, which was by the house of the LORD.
3 And it came to pass on the morrow, that Pashur brought forth Jeremiah out of the stocks. Then said Jeremiah unto him, The LORD hath not called thy name Pashur, but Magormissabib.[a]
4 For thus saith the LORD, Behold, I will make thee a terror to thyself, and to all thy friends: and they shall fall by the sword of their enemies, and thine eyes shall behold it: and I will give all Judah into the hand of the king of Babylon, and he shall carry them captive into Babylon, and shall slay them with the sword.
5 Moreover I will deliver all the strength of this city, and all the labours thereof, and all the precious things thereof, and all the treasures of the kings of Judah will I give into the hand of their enemies, which shall spoil them, and take them, and carry them to Babylon.
6 And thou, Pashur, and all that dwell in thine house shall go into captivity: and thou shalt come to Babylon, and there thou shalt die, and shalt be buried there, thou, and all thy friends, to whom thou hast prophesied lies.
7 O LORD, thou hast deceived me, and I was deceived:[b] thou art stronger than I, and hast prevailed: I am in derision daily, every one mocketh me.
8 For since I spake, I cried out, I cried violence and spoil; because the word of the LORD was made a reproach unto me, and a derision, daily.
9 Then I said, I will not make mention of him, nor speak any more in his name. But his word was in mine heart as a burning fire shut up in my bones, and I was weary with forbearing, and I could not stay.
10 For I heard the defaming of many, fear on every side. Report, say they, and we will report it. All my familiars* watched for my halting*, saying, Peradventure he will be enticed, and we shall prevail against him, and we shall take our revenge on him.
11 But the LORD is with me as a mighty terrible one: therefore my persecutors shall stumble, and they shall not prevail: they shall be greatly ashamed; for they shall not prosper: their everlasting confusion shall never be forgotten.
12 But, O LORD of hosts, that triest the righteous, and seest the reins and the heart, let me see thy vengeance on them: for unto thee have I opened my cause.
13 Sing unto the LORD, praise ye the LORD: for he hath delivered the soul of the poor from the hand of evildoers.
14 Cursed be the day wherein I was born: let not the day wherein my mother bare me be blessed.
15 Cursed be the man who brought tidings to my father, saying, A man child is born unto thee; making him very glad.
16 And let that man be as the cities which the LORD overthrew, and repented not: and let him hear the cry in the morning, and the shouting at noontide*;
17 Because he slew me not from the womb; or that my mother might have been my grave, and her womb to be always great with me.
18 Wherefore came I forth out of the womb to see labour and sorrow, that my days should be consumed with 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.

Footnotes 2

  • [a]. Magormissabib: that is, Fear round about
  • [b]. was deceived: or, was enticed

Chapter Summary

INTRODUCTION TO JEREMIAH 20

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