Jeremiah chapter 20

A corrupt priest named Pashhur rejects the message of Jeremiah. He has Jeremiah tortured and put in the stocks. Jeremiah complains to the LORD God.





VERSE 1. Now Pashhur, the son of Immer the priest, who was chief officer in the LORD’s house, heard Jeremiah prophesying these things.

chief officer in the LORD’s house. Pashhur was the head of the temple police.


VERSE 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.

NIV translation. he had Jeremiah the prophet beaten and put in the stocks at the Upper Gate of Benjamin at the LORD’s temple.

he had Jeremiah the prophet beaten. Pashhur seized Jeremiah and had him flogged with 40 lashes of a whip.

These corrupt spiritual leaders were all too eager to have Jeremiah be beaten and tortured.

The reason was that Jeremiah had embarrassed them. He spoke in public of how corrupt they really were.

The Christian movement has all sorts of corrupt leaders. An obvious example is the medieval bishops, who were all to eager to have opposers tortured and killed. Think of the Inquisition. Think of the many heroes of the faith that Catholic bishops had arrested, tortured, and burned at the stake.


VERSE 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.

Magormissabib. That is, “terror on every side.”


VERSE 4. For the LORD says, ‘Behold, I will make you a terror to yourself and to all your friends. They will fall by the sword of their enemies, and your eyes will see it. I will give all Judah into the hand of the king of Babylon, and he will carry them captive to Babylon, and will kill them with the sword.


VERSE 5. Moreover I will give all the riches of this city, and all its gains, and all its precious things, yes, I will give all the treasures of the kings of Judah into the hand of their enemies. They will make them captives, take them, and carry them to Babylon.


VERSE 6. You, Pashhur, and all who dwell in your house will go into captivity. You will come to Babylon, and there you will die, and there you will be buried, you, and all your friends, to whom you have prophesied falsely.’ ”




VERSE 7. LORD, you have persuaded me, and I was persuaded. You are stronger than I, and have prevailed. I have become a laughingstock all day. Everyone mocks me.

NASB translation. O LORD, You have deceived me and I was deceived; You have overcome me and prevailed. I have become a laughingstock all day long; Everyone mocks me.

NAB translation. 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.

You have deceived me. This is one of Jeremiah’s most famous sayings.

I have become a laughingstock. Everyone was mocking Jeremiah. Again we see how difficult his ministry was.


VERSE 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.


VERSE 9. If I say, I will not make mention of him, or speak any more in his name, then there is in my heart as it were a burning fire shut up in my bones. I am weary with holding it in. I can’t.

NAB translation. I say to myself, ‘I will not mention him, I will speak 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.

it becomes like fire burning in my heart. The truth about God is hard to keep corked up inside us. To remain silent is not natural.

Our natural impulse is to speak God’s truth to family and friends, neighbors and passer-by. Our natural impulse is to evangelize our city and state, nation and world.

Then why are so many Christians silent about the infinite treasure they have found? Fear? A lack of love for other people? Not knowing how to speak about the faith?


VERSE 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 will prevail against him, and we will take our revenge on him.”


VERSE 11. But the LORD is with me as an awesome mighty one. Therefore my persecutors will stumble, and they won’t prevail. They will be utterly disappointed, because they have not dealt wisely, even with an everlasting dishonor which will never be forgotten.


VERSE 12. But the LORD of Hosts, who tests the righteous, who sees the heart and the mind, let me see your vengeance on them, for I have revealed my cause to you.


VERSE 13. Sing to the LORD! Praise the LORD, for he has delivered the soul of the needy from the hand of evildoers.



NOTE: the following passage is very much like Job chapter 3.


VERSE 14. Cursed is the day in which I was born. Don’t let the day in which my mother bore me be blessed.

NASB translation. Cursed be the day when I was born; Let the day not be blessed when my mother bore me!

Cursed be the day when I was born. Some people say that Jeremiah was clinically depressed. They point to declarations such as this for their proof.

However, his outbursts are a simple assessment of how miserable his life was as a prophet.

Job 3:1. After this Job opened his mouth, and cursed the day of his birth.


VERSE 15. Cursed is the man who brought news to my father, saying, “A boy is born to you,” making him very glad.

Job 3:3. “Let the day perish in which I was born, the night which said, ‘There is a boy conceived.’


VERSE 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;


VERSE 17. because he didn’t kill me from the womb. So my mother would have been my grave, and her womb always great.


VERSE 18. Why did I come out of the womb to see labor and sorrow, that my days should be consumed with shame?


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Unless otherwise noted, all Bible quotations on this page are from the World English Bible and the World Messianic Edition. These translations have no copyright restrictions. They are in the Public Domain.


Author: todd

At Explore the Faith, I share insights into the Bible and theological writings. If you like what I write, become my partner by donating. Help me reach the world for the Lord Jesus Christ.