Jeremiah 20 Bible Commentary

John Wesley’s Explanatory Notes

(Read all of Jeremiah 20)

Verse 1

[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.

Immer — The course of Immer was the sixteenth course of the priests, 1 Chronicles 24:14. Pashur was his son, that is descended from him.

Verse 3

[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.

Not called — God's meaning was, not that he should by men be no longer called Pashur, but that his condition should not answer that name Pashur, which signifies, a flourishing priest; but Magor-missabib, that is, fear and terror on all sides.

Verse 7

[7] O LORD, thou hast deceived me, and I was deceived: thou art stronger than I, and hast prevailed: I am in derision daily, every one mocketh me.

Hast prevailed — Thou prevailedst against me. Jeremiah at first excused himself to God, chap. 1:6, but the Lord prevailed against him replying, verse 1:7, Say not, I am a child, for thou shalt go to all that I shall send thee, and whatsoever I command thee thou shalt speak, verse 1:9. This is all that is here meant, namely, God's over-ruling him contrary to his own inclinations.

Verse 8

[8] For since I spake, I cried out, I cried violence and spoil; because the word of the LORD was made a reproach unto me, and a derision, daily.

Since — Since I first began to be a prophet, I have faithfully discharged my office, and that with warmth and zeal.

Spoil — I have prophesied that violence and spoil was coming.

Because — Because of that scorn and derision with which they treated him.

Verse 9

[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.

I said — He did not speak this openly, but in his heart.

But — He found in his heart a constraint to go on.

Verse 10

[10] For I heard the defaming of many, fear on every side. Report, say they, and we will report it. All my familiars watched for my halting, saying, Peradventure he will be enticed, and we shall prevail against him, and we shall take our revenge on him.

Prevail — Desiring nothing more than that I might be enticed to speak or do something which they might make matter of a colourable accusation.

Verse 11

[11] But the LORD is with me as a mighty terrible one: 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.

But — The prophet recovering himself out of his fit of passion, encourageth himself in his God, whom he calls the mighty and terrible one, so declaring his faith in the power of God, as one able to save him, and in the promise and good will of God toward him; therefore he saith, The Lord is with me; such was the promise of God to this prophet, when he first undertook the prophetical office, chap. 1:8. Be not afraid of their faces, for I am with thee to deliver thee saith the Lord: from hence be concludes, that though he had many that pursued after his life, yet they should stumble in their ways of violence, and should not prevail.

Ashamed — That they should be ashamed of what they had done, or be brought to shame for what they had done; for prosper they should not: or they acted like fools, and did not deal prudently for themselves (so this word is translated, Isaiah 52:13,) yea, they should become a reproach, and their reproach should be a lasting perpetual reproach that should not be forgotten.

Verse 14

[14] Cursed be the day wherein I was born: let not the day wherein my mother bare me be blessed.

Cursed — This sudden change makes some think that these words proceeded from Jeremiah rather as a repetition of a former passion into which the abuses of his enemies had put him, than as the immediate product of his spirit at this time.

Verse 16

[16] And let that man be as the cities which the LORD overthrew, and repented not: and let him hear the cry in the morning, and the shouting at noontide;

The cities — Sodom and Gomorrah; by the cry in the morning and shouting at noon, he means the shouts and noises that enemies make when they break in upon a place.