Jeremiah 20

1 Now Pashhur, the son of Immer the priest, who was chief officer in the LORD’s house, heard Jeremiah prophesying these things. 2 Then Pashhur struck Jeremiah the prophet, and put him in the stocks that were in the upper gate of Benjamin, which was in the LORD’s house. 3 On the next day, Pashhur released Jeremiah out of the stocks. Then Jeremiah said to him, “the LORD has not called your name Pashhur, but Magormissabib. 4 For the LORD says, ‘Behold, I will make you a terror to yourself, and to all your friends; and they shall fall by the sword of their enemies, and your eyes shall see it; and I will give all Judah into the hand of the king of Babylon, and he shall carry them captive to Babylon, and shall kill them with the sword. 5 Moreover I will give all the riches of this city, and all its gains, and all the precious things of it, yes, all the treasures of the kings of Judah will I give into the hand of their enemies; and they shall make them captives, and take them, and carry them to Babylon. 6 You, Pashhur, and all who dwell in your house shall go into captivity; and you shall come to Babylon, and there you shall die, and there you shall be buried, you, and all your friends, to whom you have prophesied falsely.’” 7 LORD, you have persuaded me, and I was persuaded; you are stronger than I, and have prevailed. I have become a laughing-stock all day. Every one mocks me. 8 For as often as I speak, I cry out; I cry, Violence and destruction! Because the LORD’s word has been made a reproach to me, and a derision, all day. 9 If I say, I will not make mention of him, nor speak any more in his name, then there is in my heart as it were a burning fire shut up in my bones, and I am weary with holding it in, and I can’t. 10 For I have heard the defaming of many, “Terror on every side! Denounce, and we will denounce him!” say all my familiar friends, those who watch for my fall. “Perhaps he will be persuaded, and we shall prevail against him, and we shall take our revenge on him.” 11 But the LORD is with me as an awesome mighty one. Therefore my persecutors shall stumble, and they shall not prevail. They shall be utterly disappointed, because they have not dealt wisely, even with an everlasting dishonor which shall never be forgotten. 12 But, the LORD of Armies, who tests the righteous, who sees the heart and the mind, let me see your vengeance on them; for to you have I revealed my cause. 13 Sing to the LORD, praise the LORD; for he has delivered the soul of the needy from the hand of evildoers. 14 Cursed is the day in which I was born. Don’t let the day in which my mother bore me be blessed. 15 Cursed is the man who brought news to my father, saying, “A boy is born to you,” making him very glad. 16 Let that man be as the cities which the LORD overthrew, and didn’t repent. Let him hear a cry in the morning, and shouting at noontime; 17 because he didn’t kill me from the womb; and so my mother would have been my grave, and her womb always great. 18 Why did I come out of the womb to see labor and sorrow, that my days should be consumed with shame?

(Previous Chapter)    •    (Next Chapter)

Questions about today’s reading? See if Matthew Henry can help.
Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary, 1706

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 Jer. 20:7 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.

Back to Top