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Jeremiah Persecuted by Pashhur

20

Now the priest Pashhur son of Immer, who was chief officer in the house of the Lord, heard Jeremiah prophesying these things. 2Then Pashhur struck the prophet Jeremiah, and put him in the stocks that were in the upper Benjamin Gate of the house of the Lord. 3The next morning when Pashhur released Jeremiah from the stocks, Jeremiah said to him, The Lord has named you not Pashhur but “Terror-all-around.” 4For thus says the Lord: I am making you a terror to yourself and to all your friends; and 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 kill them with the sword. 5I will give all the wealth of this city, all its gains, all its prized 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. 6And you, Pashhur, and all who live in your house, shall go into captivity, and to Babylon you shall go; there you shall die, and there you shall be buried, you and all your friends, to whom you have prophesied falsely.

 

Jeremiah Denounces His Persecutors

7

O Lord, you have enticed me,

and I was enticed;

you have overpowered me,

and you have prevailed.

I have become a laughingstock all day long;

everyone mocks me.

8

For whenever I speak, I must cry out,

I must 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,”

then within me there is something like a burning fire

shut up in my bones;

I am weary with holding it in,

and I cannot.

10

For I hear many whispering:

“Terror is all around!

Denounce him! Let us denounce him!”

All my close friends

are watching for me to stumble.

“Perhaps he can be enticed,

and we can prevail against him,

and take our revenge on him.”

11

But the Lord is with me like a dread warrior;

therefore my persecutors will stumble,

and they will not prevail.

They will be greatly shamed,

for they will not succeed.

Their eternal dishonor

will never be forgotten.

12

O Lord of hosts, you test the righteous,

you see the heart and the mind;

let me see your retribution upon them,

for to you I have committed my cause.

 

13

Sing to the Lord;

praise the Lord!

For he has delivered the life of the needy

from the hands of evildoers.

 

14

Cursed 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, saying,

“A child is born to you, a son,”

making him very glad.

16

Let that man be like the cities

that the Lord overthrew without pity;

let him hear a cry in the morning

and an alarm at noon,

17

because he did not kill me in the womb;

so my mother would have been my grave,

and her womb forever great.

18

Why did I come forth from the womb

to see toil and sorrow,

and spend my days in shame?

 


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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 Liberation.

1. son—descendant.

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 (2Ki 15:35).

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, wealth.

6. prophesied lies—namely, that God cannot possibly leave this land without prophets, priests, and teachers ("the wise") (Jer 18:18; compare Jer 5:31).

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 2:14).

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.




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