Jeremiah 20 Jeremiah Opposed To The Apostates Including Pashur.
Jeremiah’s words against the apostates in the nation did not go over well with them, so that Pashur, a priest and “chief governor in the house of the LORD” (v. 1), decided to take action against him. Jeremiah was also a priest, so Pashur must have assumed he was doing his job in striking Jeremiah and putting him in stocks, “in the high gate of Benjamin,” the family from which Jeremiah came (v. 2 Cf. 1:1). However, Jeremiah may have been born to be a priest like Pashur, but he was also called to be a prophet, and it was because of the word of the LORD that Jeremiah preached that Pashur treated him the way he did. So when the next day came, and Pashur released Jeremiah from the stocks, Jeremiah informed Pashur that his name would no longer be Pashur, but instead the LORD was calling him Magor-Missabib, meaning “fear on every side” (v. 3).
Such would be the condition of the people under the judgment of the LORD, even as the LORD would bring upon them death and captivity at the hands of the king of Babylon (v. 4). Furthermore, all the wealth of the nation would be carried away to Babylon (v. 5). As for Pashur, he and his whole family would be taken captive to Babylon, and there Pashur would die (v. 6a). Pashur claimed to be a prophet also, but with this outcome it would become clear to everyone that he was false and Jeremiah was true (v. 6b). The LORD had persuaded Jeremiah to fulfill his role as his prophet, being stronger than him, but it meant opposition from his own people (v. 7). Jeremiah cried out concerning the violence and plundering to come, but he wanted to cease preaching this message because it was met only with daily derision and mockery (vv. 8-9a).
However, the word of the LORD was in his heart, the very core of his being, “like a burning fire,” which he was weary in trying to hold back (v. 9b). He had been preaching that they would be overcome by fear on every side, just like Magor-Missabib, but instead they used this expression in an attempt to make Jeremiah fearful of them (v. 10). Nevertheless, Jeremiah had a strength which came directly from the LORD. From a human stand point he may have been alone, but he was in company with the LORD, and this was enough. He knew that his persecutors would stumble and be ashamed, they would not prevail in their efforts, nor would they prosper. Instead they would be given over to an everlasting confusion, the reward of those who reject the word of the LORD (v. 11). Jeremiah prays for the vengeance of the LORD, for only the LORD knows what is in the hearts and minds of men (v. 12).
The LORD also tests the righteous, to see if what they do and profess is indeed what is in their hearts and minds. The remnant are those who agree with the LORD and live accordingly, and they praise the LORD when he delivers the life of the poor, like that of Jeremiah (v. 13). However, this was not necessarily something which Jeremiah himself cared to do. Instead, like Job, Jeremiah wished that he had never been born, asking for a cursing on the day of his birth, and a curse upon the one who announced his birthday, even wishing that he would have killed him instead (vv. 14-17). Jeremiah lamented that he seemed to be born for nothing but “labor and sorrow,” that his “days should be consumed with shame” (v. 18). However, it was better to be shamed by men, rather than by God, and Jeremiah was privileged to be the LORD’s spokesman. He himself acknowledge that the poor would find cause for singing and praising the LORD (v. 13).