Jeremiah – Chapter 20

The Bible – Old Testament



Chapter 20


1 Jeremiah was heard prophesying these things by the priest Pashhur, son of Immer, chief officer in the house of the LORD.


So he had the prophet scourged and placed in the stocks at the upper Gate of Benjamin in the house of the LORD.


2 The next morning, after Pashhur had released Jeremiah from the stocks, the prophet said to him: Instead of Pashhur, the LORD will name you «Terror on every side.»


3 For thus says the LORD: Indeed, I will deliver you to terror, you and all your friends. Your own eyes shall see them fall by the sword of their enemies. All Judah I will deliver to the king of Babylon, who shall take them captive to Babylon or slay them with the sword.


All the wealth of this city, all it has toiled for and holds dear, all the treasures of the kings of Judah, I will give as plunder into the hands of their foes, who shall seize it and carry it away to Babylon.


You Pashhur, and all the members of your household shall go into exile. To Babylon you shall go, you and all your friends; there you shall die and be buried, because you have prophesied lies to them.


4 You duped me, O LORD, and I let myself be duped; you were too strong for me, and you triumphed. All the day I am an object of laughter; everyone mocks me.


Whenever I speak, I must cry out, violence and outrage is my message; The word of the LORD has brought me derision and reproach all the day.


I say to myself, I will not mention him, I will speak in his name no more. But then it becomes like fire burning in my heart, imprisoned in my bones; I grow weary holding it in, I cannot endure it.


Yes, I hear the whisperings of many: «Terror on every side! Denounce! let us denounce him!» All those who were my friends are on the watch for any misstep of mine. «Perhaps he will be trapped; then we can prevail, and take our vengeance on him.»


But the LORD is with me, like a mighty champion: my persecutors will stumble, they will not triumph. In their failure they will be put to utter shame, to lasting, unforgettable confusion.


O LORD of hosts, you who test the just, who probe mind and heart, Let me witness the vengeance you take on them, for to you I have entrusted my cause.


Sing to the LORD, praise the LORD, For he has rescued the life of the poor from the power of the wicked!


5 Cursed be the day on which I was born! May the day my mother gave me birth never be blessed!


Cursed be the man who brought the news to my father, saying, «A child, a son, has been born to you!» filling him with great joy.


Let that man be like the cities which the LORD relentlessly overthrew; Let him hear war cries in the morning, battle alarms at noonday,


because he did not dispatch me in the womb! Then my mother would have been my grave, her womb confining me forever.


Why did I come forth from the womb, to see sorrow and pain, to end my days in shame?


1 [1] Chief officer in the house of the LORD: head of the temple police; cf ⇒ Jeremiah 29:26. By entering the temple court (⇒ Jeremiah 19:14), Jeremiah had put himself under Pashhur’s jurisdiction.

2 [3] Terror on every side: Pashhur will share the fate of doomed Jerusalem and will experience personally all that the people as a whole have had to endure.

3 [4] Babylon: mentioned here for the first time as the land of exile. The prophecy probably dates from after 605B.C., when Nebuchadnezzar defeated Egypt and made the Chaldean empire dominant in Syria and Palestine.

4 [7] You duped me: to be understood in the light of Jeremiah’s intimate dealings with God; cf ⇒ Jeremiah 15:18.

5 [14-18] Deception, sorrow and terror have brought the prophet close to the point of despair; nevertheless he has expressed his utmost confidence in the triumph of God’s will (⇒ Jeremiah 20:11-13); cf ⇒ Job 3:3-12.