Jer 20:1-18. Jeremiah's
Incarceration by Pashur, the Principal Officer of the Temple, for
Prophesying within Its Precincts; His Renewed Predictions against the
City, &c., ON His
of Immer—one of the original
"governors of the sanctuary and of the house of God," twenty-four in
all, that is, sixteen of the sons of Eleazar and eight of the sons of
Ithamar (1Ch 24:14).
This Pashur is distinct from Pashur, son of Melchiah (Jer 21:1). The "captains" (Lu 22:4) seem to have been over the twenty-four
guards of the temple, and had only the right of apprehending any
who were guilty of delinquency within it; but the Sanhedrim had the
judicial power over such delinquents [Grotius] (Jer 26:8, 10, 16).
2. The fact that Pashur was of the same order
and of the same family as Jeremiah aggravates the indignity of the blow
(1Ki 22:24; Mt 26:67).
stocks—an instrument of torture with
five holes, in which the neck, two hands, and two feet were thrust, the
body being kept in a crooked posture (Jer 29:26). From a Hebrew root, to "turn,"
or "rack." This marks Pashur's cruelty.
high—that is, the upper gate
gate of Benjamin—a gate in the temple
wall, corresponding to the gate of Benjamin, properly so called, in the
city wall, in the direction of the territory of Benjamin (Jer 7:2;
37:13; 38:7). The temple gate
of Benjamin, being on a lofty position, was called "the high gate," to
distinguish it from the city wall gate of Benjamin.
3. Pashur—compounded of two roots,
meaning "largeness (and so 'security') on every side"; in
antithesis to Magor-missabib, "terror round about" (Jer 20:10; Jer 6:25; 46:5; 49:29; Ps 31:13).
4. terror … to all thy friends—who
have believed thy false promises (Jer 20:6). The sense must be in order to accord
with "fear round about" (Jer 20:3). I
will bring terror on thee and on all thy friends, that terror arising
from thyself, namely, thy false prophecies. Thou and thy prophecies
will be seen, to the dismay both of thee and thy dupes, to have caused
their ruin and thine. Maurer's
translation is therefore not needed, "I will give up thee and all thy
friends to terror."
5. strength—that is, resources.
labours—fruits of labor, gain,
6. prophesied lies—namely, that God
cannot possibly leave this land without prophets, priests, and teachers
("the wise") (Jer 18:18;
7. Jeremiah's complaint, not unlike that of
Job, breathing somewhat of human infirmity in consequence of his
imprisonment. Thou didst promise never to give me up to the will of
mine enemies, and yet Thou hast done so. But Jeremiah misunderstood
God's promise, which was not that he should have nothing to suffer, but
that God would deliver him out of sufferings (Jer 1:19).
deceived—Others translate as
Margin, "Thou hast enticed" or "persuaded me,"
namely, to undertake the prophetic office, "and I was persuaded," that
is, suffered myself to be persuaded to undertake what I find too hard
for me. So the Hebrew word is used in a good sense (Ge 9:27, Margin; Pr 25:15; Ho
stronger than I—Thou whose strength I
could not resist hast laid this burden on me, and hast prevailed (hast
made me prophesy, in spite of my reluctance) (Jer 1:5-7); yet, when I exercise my office, I am
treated with derision (La 3:14).
8. Rather, "Whenever I speak, I cry
out. Concerning violence and spoil, I (am compelled to) cry
out," that is, complain [Maurer].
English Version in the last clause is more graphic, "I cried
violence and spoil" (Jer 6:7)! I
could not speak in a calm tone; their desperate wickedness compelled me
to "cry out."
because—rather, "therefore," the
apodosis of the previous sentence; because in discharging my
prophetic functions, I not merely spake, but cried; and
cried, violence … ; therefore the word of the Lord was
made a reproach to me (Jer 20:7).
9. his word was—or literally,
"there was in my heart, as it were, a burning fire," that is, the
divine afflatus or impulse to speak was as … (Job 32:18,
19; Ps 39:3).
weary with forbearing, and I could
not—"I labored to contain myself, but I could not" (Ac 18:5; compare Jer 23:9;
1Co 9:16, 17).
10. For—not referring to the words
immediately preceding, but to "I will not make mention of Him." The
"defaming" or detraction of the enemy on every side (see Ps 31:13) tempted him to think of
prophesying no more.
Report … we will report—The
words of his adversaries one to the other; give any information against
him (true or false) which will give color for accusing him; and "we
will report it," namely, to the Sanhedrim, in order to crush him.
familiars—literally, "men of my
peace"; those who pretended to be on peaceable terms with me (Ps 41:9). Jeremiah is a type of Messiah,
referred to in that Psalm. (See Jer
38:22; Job 19:19; Ps 55:13, 14; Lu 11:53, 54).
watched for my halting—(Ps 35:15, Margin, "halting"; Ps 38:17;
71:10, Margin). Gesenius not so well translates, according to
Arabic idiom, "those guarding my side" (that is, my most
intimate friends always at my side), in apposition to
"familiars," and the subject of "say" (instead of "saying"). The
Hebrew means properly "side," then "halting," as the halt bend
on one side.
enticed—to commit some sin.
11. not prevail—as they hoped to do
(Jer 20:10; Jer 15:20).
prosper—in their plot.
12. triest the righteous—in latent
contrast to the hasty judgments of men (Jer 11:20; 17:10).
opened—that is, committed (compare
2Ki 19:14; Ps 35:1).
13. delivered … soul—This
deliverance took place when Zedekiah succeeded Jeconiah.
14-18. The contrast between the spirit of this
passage and the preceding thanksgiving is to be explained thus:
to show how great was the deliverance (Jer 20:13), he subjoins a picture of what his
wounded spirit had been previous to his deliverance; I had
said in the time of my imprisonment, "Cursed be the day"; my
feeling was that of Job (Job 3:3, 10, 11, whose words Jeremiah therefore copies).
Though Jeremiah's zeal had been stirred up, not so much for self as for
God's honor trampled on by the rejection of the prophet's words, yet it
was intemperate when he made his birth a subject for cursing,
which was really a ground for thanksgiving.
15. A man child—The birth of a son is in
the East a special subject of joy; whereas that of a daughter is
often not so.
16. the cities—Sodom and Gomorrah.
cry … morning …
noontide—that is, Let him be kept in alarm the whole
day (not merely at night when terrors ordinarily prevail,
but in daytime when it is something extraordinary) with
terrifying war shouts, as those in a besieged city (Jer 18:22).
17. he—"that man" (Jer 20:15, 16).
from the womb—that is, at that time
while I was still in the womb.