1Now the priest Pashhur,a son of Immer, chief officer in the house of the LORD,* heard Jeremiah prophesying these things. 2So he struck the prophet and put him in the stocks at the upper Gate of Benjamin in the house of the LORD.b 3The next morning, after Pashhur had released Jeremiah from the stocks, the prophet said to him:c “Instead of Pashhur, the LORD names you ‘Terror on every side.’* 4For thus says the LORD: Indeed, I will hand you over to terror, you and all your friends. Your own eyes shall see them fall by the sword of their enemies. All Judah I will hand over to the power of the king of Babylon,* who shall take them captive to Babylon or strike them down with the sword. 5All the wealth of this city, all its resources and its valuables, all the treasures of the kings of Judah, I will hand over to their enemies, who will plunder it and carry it away to Babylon.d 6You, Pashhur, and all the members of your household shall go into exile. To Babylon you shall go; there you shall die and be buried, you and all your friends, because you have prophesied lies to them.”e
Jeremiah’s Interior Crisis
7You seduced me,* LORD, and I let myself be seduced;
you were too strong for me, and you prevailed.
All day long I am an object of laughter;
everyone mocks me.
8Whenever I speak, I must cry out,
violence and outrage I proclaim;
The word of the LORD has brought me
reproach and derision all day long.
9I say I will not mention him,
I will no longer speak in his name.
But then it is as if fire is burning in my heart,
imprisoned in my bones;
I grow weary holding back,
10Yes, 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 can be tricked; then we will prevail,
and take our revenge on him.”g
11But the LORD is with me, like a mighty champion:
my persecutors will stumble, they will not prevail.
In their failure they will be put to utter shame,
to lasting, unforgettable confusion.h
12LORD of hosts, you test the just,
you see mind and heart,
Let me see the vengeance you take on them,
for to you I have entrusted my cause.i
13Sing to the LORD,
praise the LORD,
For he has rescued the life of the poor
from the power of the evildoers!j
14Cursed be the day*
on which I was born!
May the day my mother gave me birth
never be blessed!k
15Cursed be the one who brought the news
to my father,
“A child, a son, has been born to you!”
filling him with great joy.
16Let that man be like the cities
which the LORD relentlessly overthrew;
Let him hear war cries in the morning,
battle alarms at noonday,l
17because he did not kill me in the womb!
Then my mother would have been my grave,
her womb confining me forever.m
18Why did I come forth from the womb,
to see sorrow and pain,
to end my days in shame?n
* [20:1] Chief officer in the house of the LORD: head of the Temple police; cf. 29:26. By entering the Temple court (19:14), Jeremiah had put himself under Pashhur’s jurisdiction.
* [20:3] Terror on every side: the name indicates the siege that will beset Jerusalem.
* [20:4] Babylon: mentioned here for the first time in Jeremiah as the land of exile. The prophecy dates from after 605 B.C., when Nebuchadnezzar defeated Egypt and made the Babylonian (Chaldean) empire dominant in Syria and Palestine.
* [20:7] You seduced me: Jeremiah accuses the Lord of having deceived him; cf. 15:18.
* [20:14–18] Deception, sorrow and terror have brought the prophet to the point of despair; nevertheless he maintains confidence in God (vv. 11–13); cf. Jb 3:3–12.
d. [20:5] 2 Kgs 20:17; 24:12–16.
e. [20:6] Jer 14:13–14; 28:15.
g. [20:10] Jb 19:19; Ps 31:13; Lk 20:20.
j. [20:13] Ps 35:9–10; 109:30–31.
k. [20:14] Jer 15:10; Jb 3:1–10; 10:18.
l. [20:16] Gn 19:25; Is 13:19.