1 “Now Pashur the son of Immer the priest, who was also chief governor in
the house of the LORD, heard that Jeremiah prophesied these things.”
The continuation of the preceding narrative. Pashur the son of Immer. This man
belonged to the sixteenth of the sacerdotal families or classes (I Chronicles 24:14).
Another of the same name is referred to in ch. 21:1 (see note). The one here mentioned
was “chief overseer” (there were several inferior overseers, II Chronicles 31:13); the
eminence of the position appears from the fact that Zephaniah, Pashur’s successor
(ch.29:26), is second only to the high priest (ch.52:24).
2 “Then Pashur smote Jeremiah the prophet,” - Pashur, being charged with
the police of the temple, smites Jeremiah, i.e. causes stripes to be given him (a legal
punishment, Deuteronomy 25:3; compare II Corinthians 11:24), “and put him in
the stocks” - literally, that which distorts — some instrument of punishment which
held the body in a bent or crooked position (compare ch.29:26). The “stocks” were
sometimes kept in a special house (II Chronicles 16:10); these mentioned here,
however, apparently stood in public, “that were in the high gate of Benjamin,
which was by the house of the LORD.” The gate, then, was one of the temple
gates, and is called “the upper” to distinguish it from one of the city gates which
bore the same name (ch. 37:13; 38:7). It is presumably the same which is called
“the new gate of the Lord’s house” (ch. 26:10; 36:10), as having been
comparatively lately built (II Kings 15:35).
3 “And it came to pass on the morrow, that Pashur brought forth
Jeremiah out of the stocks. Then said Jeremiah unto him, The
LORD hath not called thy name Pashur, but Magormissabib.”
Symbolic change of name. Not... Pashur, but Magormissabib;
i.e. terror on every side. There is probably no allusion to the (by
no means obvious) etymology of Pashur. Jeremiah simply means to say that
Pashur would one day become an object of general horror (see on vv. 10).
4 “For thus saith the LORD, Behold, I will make thee a terror to
thyself, and to all thy friends: and they shall fall by the sword of
their enemies, and thine eyes shall behold it: and I will give all
Judah into the hand of the king of Babylon, and he shall carry them
5 “Moreover I will deliver all the strength of this city,” - rather, the stores –
“and all the labors thereof,” - rather, the fruits of labor; i.e. the profits.
“and all the precious things thereof, and all the treasures of the kings
and take them, and
carry them to
6 “And thou, Pashur, and all that dwell in thine house shall go into
captivity: and thou shalt come to
and shalt be buried there, thou, and all thy friends, to whom thou
hast prophesied lies.” - (compare ch.14:13). Pashur, then, claimed to be
a prophet. Compare the prophecy against Shebna (Isaiah 22:15-19).
Since we find, in ch. 29:26, Pashur’s office occupied by another, it is probable
that the prediction was fulfilled by the captivity of Pashur with Jehoiachin.
Pashur (vs. 1-6)
At length the smoldering opposition to Jeremiah breaks out into open
persecution. Hitherto, though he has been answered by words (ch. 18:18) and
threatened with violence, no overt act has been committed. Secret enemies have
elaborated dark designs, which are alarming enough but come to no serious issue.
But now violent hands are laid upon the prophet; and it is not an obscure band of
illegal conspirators who contrive evil against him, but the official head of the
temple guards formally arrests him and executes upon him the recognized
punishment of a criminal. This action bears testimony to the excitement produced
by the burning words of the discourse in the
were the utterances of the prophet that no one dared to touch him then; but
when he confirmed them in the temple courts the circumstances were altered,
and, either from alarm or from rage, Pashur, the chief of the temple police, laid
hold of the prophet and brought him to severe punishment. The conduct of
Pashur and the fate that is threatened him deserve our careful examination.
THE CONDUCT OF PASHUR
Jehovah. Such a man should have been able to recognize a true
prophet of Jehovah as his fellow-servant. Yet he was first in persecuting
him. Official religious positions are no guarantees for spiritual wisdom.
But it is scandalous when the professed leaders of the Church are
foremost in resisting the declaration of Divine truth and the execution
of the will of God.
allowed himself to be carried away by a flood of popular indignation,
influences of class jealousy, or impulses of personal spite, Judicial crimes
are always the most atrocious crimes. They poison justice at its very
Fountain, they abuse high trusts, they disorganize society! (In my
view, I see the Judicial System
very things in a very anti-Christly way – I reiterate – “poison justice
and “disorganize society” - CY -2011)
not answer Jeremiah, so he attempted to repress him. Unable to refute the
arguments of the prophet, he endeavored to restrain the utterance of them.
Here we recognize the folly, the injustice, and the cruelty of such
persecution: the folly, for to silence a voice is not to destroy the unpleasant
truth it declares; injustice, for nothing can be more unfair than to do
violence to a man for uttering words which we cannot deny to be true;
and cruelty, for it is a man’s duty to make known what he believes to be
Jeremiah was sensitive and naturally retiring, yet was bold in the conviction of
truth, the sense of duty, and the consciousness of the Divine presence. Pashur’s
policy proved a failure. Jeremiah was not silenced by scourge and stocks.
Pashur was to see the words of the Jeremiah verified by experience. (It reminds
me of the words of Micaiah to Zedekiah in I Kings 22:25 – “Behold, thou shalt
see in that day, when thou shalt go into an inner chamber to hide thyself.” – CY –
2011) Pashur tried to silence the warning voice; but could not stay the
approaching evil. They who have rejected warnings will be dismayed and
confounded when they see them realized in facts.
Pashur was to witness the calamity of his nation. Probably there was a
genuine love of his country in this man. His attack on Jeremiah may have
been influenced by a sincere desire for the national welfare. But if so he
had put his country before his God. His punishment would come in the
humiliation of his nation. Patriotism is no excuse for resisting the will of
God. The godless patriot may be punished by seeing the troubles that are
brought on his country through its irreligion.
The next seven verses is a lyric passage, expressing the conflict in the prophet’s
mind owing to the mockery and the slander which his preaching has
brought upon him, and at the same time his confidence of victory through
the protection of Jehovah.
7 “O LORD, thou hast deceived me, and I was deceived:” - rather, thou
didst entice me, and I let myself be enticed. Jeremiah refers to the hesitation he
originally felt to accepting the prophetic office (ch.1.). The verb does not mean “to
deceive,” but “to entice” (so rendered in v. 10, Authorized Version), or “allure.”
The same word is used in that remarkable narrative of “the spirit” who offered
to “entice” (Authorized Version, to “persuade”) Ahab to “go up and fall at
Ramoth-Gilead” (I Kings 22:21). The expression implies that all events are, in
some sense, caused by God, even those which are, or appear to be, injurious to
the individual - “thou art stronger than I, and hast prevailed:” – rather, thou
didst take hold on me, and didst prevail. The expression is like “Jehovah spake
thus to me with a grasp of the hand” (Isaiah 8:11) - “I am in derision daily,
every one mocketh me.”
Many have entered God’s service with much confidence in the joy and but little
anticipation of the trouble it would bring. Ultimately the servants of God will triumph,
and the trouble will be all forgotten and swallowed up in victory. But if the darker
experience were clearly revealed at first, it would throw such a shadow over the
future that the ultimate triumph would be scarcely thought of, and thus a more false
idea of the whole course of life would be produced than that which comes from
hiding from us some of its darker scenes.
If the trouble must be faced it need not be anticipated (Matthew 6:34). If God
hides approaching trouble from us He does not forget to provide against it. He
takes the burden of it upon Himself, so that when the trouble is revealed the grace
to endure it is also revealed. Moreover, on the whole, the blessedness of the
service of God vastly outweighs its distresses. If the alarm of the latter drove us from
the service, the result would be loss to ourselves. It is, therefore, merciful in God
to condescend to our weakness and thus lead us on through partial views of
truth until we are strong enough to grasp the whole. Still, when the
prospect of trouble is revealed it should be faced. Something of this must
be considered by us or we may make an ignominious failure. Jeremiah was
warned of opposition. Christ discouraged rash, heedless enthusiasm (Luke 9:57-58),
and bade men count the cost of his service. We should believe that a great reward
in heaven will compensate for the patient endurance of these brief earthly troubles.
“For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a
far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory” – (II Corinthians 4:17)
8 “For since I spake, I cried out, I cried violence and spoil;” - rather, For
as often as I speak, I must shout; I must cry, Violence and spoil; I can take up
no other tone but that of indignant denunciation, no other theme but that of the acts
of injustice constantly committed (not merely, nor indeed chiefly, against the prophet
himself) -“because the word of the LORD was made (rather, is made) a reproach
unto me, and a derision, daily.”
9 “Then I said, I will not make mention of Him, nor speak any more in
His name. But His word was in mine heart as a burning fire shut up
in my bones, and I was weary with forbearing, and I could not stay.”
Then I said, etc.; rather, And when I say, I will not make mention of Him, etc.,
then it becometh (i.e. I am conscious of a feeling) in my heart as a burning fire shut
up in my bones; and I weary myself to hold it in, but cannot. The prophet has
repeatedly been tempted to withdraw from the painful duty, but his other and higher
self overpowers these lower bayings for peace and quiet. The fire of the Divine
wrath against sin burns so fiercely within him that he cannot help resuming
10 “For I heard the defaming of many, fear on every side. Report, say
they, and we will report it.” - For I heard, etc.; rather, For I have heard the
whispering of many; there is terror on every side. Inform (say they), and let
us inform against him. This gives us the reason for Jeremiah’s momentary
inclinations to silence. He was surrounded by bitter enemies, who were no longer
content with malicious words, but urged each other on to lay an information
against him with the authorities as a public criminal. The first clause agrees
verbatim with part of Psalm 31:13 (this is one of the psalms attributed,
by a too bold conjecture, to Jeremiah). “There is terror on every side” (see
above, v. 3, and also note on ch. 6:25) means “everything about me inspires
me with terror”- “All my familiars” – literally, all the men of my peace; i.e.
all those with whom I have been on terms of friendship (same phrase, ch. 38:22) –
“watched for my halting,” - i.e. either laid traps for me or waited for me to commit
some error for them to take advantage of. (Compare the degradation of the modern
media in their frenzies to promote ideas in our day much like these enemies of
Jeremiah did then – I find it interesting that the Bible exposes all such “satanic
influences” in a manner that we can understand! - CY – 2011) The phrase,
“my halting,” is borrowed (?) from Psalm 35:15; 38:17 (Hebrew) - “saying,
Peradventure he will be enticed,” - i.e. – to say something on which a charge
of treason can be based - “and we shall prevail against him, and we shall
take our revenge on him.”
The names of those spying on Jeremiah are not given; we know little of their
characters and actions; yet the despicable conduct here ascribed to them proclaims
them to have been of low and shallow natures. A spy can persecute a prophet. A gnat
can sting a lion. Mean and despicable creatures that can do little good have
considerable power of doing harm. This shows the great need of
restrain the outrages of wickedness which are so easily executed.
They were numerous. The prophet stood alone beset on every side with malicious
spies. How difficult to be faithful in that dreadful solitude of a crowd of unsympathizing
persons! They were Jeremiah’s familiar acquaintances. Religious and political
differences separate the best of friends. Jesus was betrayed by one of His
disciples! When a man’s own near acquaintances turn against him the very ground
he stands upon seems to be breaking away from beneath his feet. Such men have
peculiar power for harm.
The persecution of spies must have been peculiarly harassing. It was done behind
Jeremiah’s back, their reports were false and misrepresented the truth; their work
was constant, as they were always watching Jeremiah, and their behavior was
malicious in trying to take advantage of Jeremiah in an unguarded moment.
11 “But the LORD is with me as a mighty terrible one:” - rather, as a
formidable warrior. They shall not prevail. This was in fact, the Divine promise to
Jeremiah at the outset of his ministry (ch.1:19) - “therefore my persecutors shall
stumble, and they shall not prevail: they shall be greatly ashamed; for they
shall not prosper: their everlasting confusion shall never be forgotten.”
Jeremiah took refuge in God. God sees “the reins and the heart” (v.12);
God is righteously watchful of all that His creatures say and do and in the end
will justify His servants and reward the unrighteous. “The eyes of the Lord
are upon the righteous, and His ears are open unto their cry. The face
of the Lord is against them that do evil, to cut off the remembrance
of them from the earth.” Psalm 34:15-16)
12 “But, O LORD of hosts, that triest the righteous, and seest the reins
and the heart, let me see thy vengeance on them: for unto thee have
I opened my cause.” Repeated, with slight variations, from ch.11:20.
13 “Sing unto the LORD, praise ye the LORD: for He hath delivered
the soul of the poor from the hand of evildoers.” In the confidence of faith
Jeremiah sees himself already delivered. He writes in the style of the psalmists,
who constantly pass from the language of prayer to that of fruition.
Jeremiah closes his prayer with praise. No sooner has he asked for God’s help than
he feels so assured of receiving it that he anticipates it in imagination, and breaks forth
into grateful song as though he were already enjoying it. This is a proof of genuine faith.
“Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen”
(Hebrews 11:1). It influences our whole being — the imagination among other faculties
— so that it enables us to conceive the good thing trusted for so vividly and so
confidently that the thought of it affects the mind just as strongly as if we saw the object
with our eyes and grasped it in our hands. Such an effect is a test of the earnestness and
faith of prayer. Some people could not be more surprised than by receiving the
exact answer to their prayers.
Jeremiah was not delivered immediately. His life was beset with danger to the end.
After the time to which our text refers, he met with worse troubles than any that had
hitherto befallen him. The Christian must not expect a sudden and perfect escape
from all distress and temptation the moment he prays to God for help. Perfect
deliverance can only come with the conquest of the last enemy, death.
(Isaiah 25:6-9; I Corinthians 15:52-58) -“Now is our salvation” — our perfect
deliverance — “nearer than when we first believed” (Romans 13:11), but it is
not yet enjoyed.
It is, nevertheless, a blessing for which we may be truly thankful at once.
For it is positively assured to the Christian. The heir of a great inheritance
may rejoice in his prospects, though for the present he is in want. But
earthly pleasures of hope are checked by fears of possible disappointment.
The buds may be nipped by frost; the promising young man may break
down before achieving any great work. Nevertheless God is too powerful,
as well as too faithful, TO FAIL IN FULFILLING HIS PROMISES!
Therefore we should anticipate the praises of heaven on earth, sing the songs
heights though valleys of humiliation and waters of death may lie between.
(There was an orphanage called
when I was a child – the next county below Pulaski in which I was born! - CY –
In the next five verses Jeremiah curses the day of his birth. The passage is a
further development of the complaint in ch.15:10, and stands in no connection
with the consolatory close of the preceding passage. There is a very striking
parallel in Job 3:3-12.
14 “Cursed be the day wherein I was born: let not the day wherein my
mother bare me be blessed. 15 Cursed be the man who brought tidings to
my father, saying, A man child is born unto thee; making him very glad.”
16 And let that man be as the cities which the LORD overthrew,” - As the
cities which the Lord overthrow. It is, so to speak, the “technical term” for the
arkdiscovery.com. for some very interesting sidelights – CY – 2011) - So deeply
imprinted was the tradition on the Hebrew mind, that a special word was appropriated
to it, which at once called up thoughts of the awful justice of God (see ch. 49:18;
50:40; Genesis 19:25; Isaiah 1:7 (?); 13:19; Amos 4:11; Deuteronomy 29:22-23) –
“and repented not: and let him hear the cry in the morning, and the shouting
at noontide;” - The cry of the besieged for help; the shouting of the suddenly
appearing assailants (compare ch.15:8).
17 “Because he slew me not from the womb; or that my mother might
have been my grave, and her womb to be always great with me.
18 Wherefore came I forth out of the womb to see labor and sorrow,
that my days should be consumed with shame?”
Jeremiah Cursing the Day of His Birth (vs. 14-18)
TROUBLE MAY LEAD A GOOD MAN TO THE VERGE OF
DESPAIR. Jeremiah was a prophet, a good man, a man of faith, a man of
prayer. Yet he cursed the day of his birth. Jeremiah was not without
precedents for his conduct. Jonah, Job and Elijah had regarded existence as a
curse, and cried passionately for death. Jeremiah had great provocations to
despair. His mission seemed to be a failure; his old friends had become
spies in league with his inveterate foes; he stood alone, watched, maligned,
hated, cruelly misjudged. We cannot be surprised that his patience broke
down. Though impatience and a yielding to despair are proofs of
weakness, they are far less culpable than unfaithfulness. Many would have
quietly declined the tasks which Jeremiah manfully performed, though they
led him to the verge of despair. It must be noted that, though the prophet
cursed the day of his birth, he did not flee from the mission of his life;
though he longed for death, he did not commit suicide. (See II Samuel 17 –
Notes on Suicide – this web site – CY – 2011)
hasty thought in a mood of gloom and distress. Life is too large and
multifarious to be estimated in this way. There are recuperative energies in
all of us beyond what we can imagine in our moments of weakness.
(a design of God, our Father – CY – 2011)
despair is to complain of the justice of God. The mistake of Jeremiah’s
hasty impatience is apparent when we consider the value of his life.
Jeremiah’s life worthless! Why, it was the most valuable life of the age.
There may be persons of whom it can be said that it were better for those
men if they had never been born. But these are not the men who are usually
most ready to despair of their lives. The despondent may take courage
from the mistake of Jeremiah, and know that when they think their lives
most worthless they may really be of most service.
mystery to the Jew, Christ has shown us the blessedness of sorrow, the
glory of the cross, the utility of sacrifice.
Christians have the example of the suffering Christ, the sympathy and
healing of the great Physician and the new baptism of the Spirit,
to help them to endure the baptism of sorrow.
of trouble. “Lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world!”
veil from eternal things and makes known the “far more exceeding and
eternal weight of glory.” (II Corinthians 4:17)
ü It assures us that no true life can ultimately fail,
ü that no true man lives in vain, that, though evil may
vaunt itself in the present,
ü ultimately TRUTH and RIGHT SHALL TRIUMPH!
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