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Bible Commentaries

Bell's Commentary on the Bible

Jeremiah 20

Verses 1-18

  1. Intro:
    1. Remember last week we left Jeremiah down at the Potsherd Gate(Dung gate) smashing pottery(19:10).
    2. Q: Do you ever have mood swings?
      1. Moods = frame of mind, disposition.
    3. We’ll see God’s servants are human & have changes in their feelings.
      1. Yet, Jeremiah still is bold before men, & broken before God!
    4. We’ll watch Jeremiah’s moods hit the top of both sides of the pendulum.
    5. Outline: Proclamation & Prayer, Delight & Despair!
    6. Read – starting from 19:14 to 20:6.
  2. PROCLAMATION (1-6)
    1. ​​​​​​​Threats become reality to Jeremiah!
    2. Vs.1 Pashhur – We have 3 Pashhur’s in Jeremiah.
      1. Son of Immer(20:1); Melchiah(21:1); Gedaliah(38:1)…all 3 enemies of Jer. & wanted to silence him.
      2. Pashhur was an [1] assistant to the high priest [2] & the chief security officer for the Temple.
        1. One of Pashhur’s job’s was to punish people who committed offenses against the temple.
    3. Vs.2 Stocks(mahpeket) – Heb word from the verb “to twist”.
      1. Implying that the twist frame clamped the victim in a position that would become increasingly distressing. (Derek Kidner)
    4. Vs.2b – Adding shame to pain – was the location of the stocks.
      1. Everyone could see them; he spent all night bent & twisted; this was right after a beating; & this was only the 1st of several acts of persecution against Jeremiah.
        1. They’ll threaten to kill him(26); accuse him falsely, then imprison him(37); put him into a pit(38) where he remains an official prisoner till Neb. sets him free(39).
    5. Vs.3,4 Magor Missabib{!""# !$∓ &'i∓(} – “Terror on every side, or terror from all around.”
      1. Jeremiah has already used this phrase in 6:25.
      2. And he will use it again in 46:5, 49:5, 29. {These describe what would happen to Jeremiah when the Babylonian army finally moved in.}
    6. Vs.4 – Here he goes again!(preachen machine!)
      1. Here is the 1st time Jeremiah names Babylon as the invader.
        1. If they knew their scriptures though Isaiah Already predicted the captivity & Babylon as the aggressor. (Is.6:11-13; 11:11,12; 39:6)
        2. Jeremiah will give the length of their captivity(70 years) in ch.25.
        3. Now the name “Babylon(The tool of God’s discipline)” will be used 161 times throughout the book.
    7. Vs.6 “& be buried there” – Ouch! For a Jew to be buried outside his own land was considered a judgment. {Gentile land was unclean}
      1. I guess God figured Pashhur & friends were “preaching lies” & “encouraging idol worship” so they’d be right at home in Babylon anyway.
  3. PRAYER (7-12)
    1. ​​​​​​​Vs.7 - Complaining to God; Hitting rock bottom; Depression!
      1. Quote Spurgeon (pg.55 #318)
      2. “Emotional stability is an attitude. It is refusing to yield to depression and fear, even when black clouds float overhead.” (Dr. Dobsen)
    2. This is the last of Jeremiah’s recorded laments.
      1. Here is grief & joy; prayer & despair; praise & perplexity all thrown into the same blender.
      2. Jer. runs from mnt. top to valley, mnt. top to valley.
    3. “Induced” – deceived, persuaded, enticed, seduced.
      1. Lord, you’ve taken advantage of me & lured me into ministry, you’ve overpowered me & prevailed(7).
        1. Side note: We read of no record of this in ch.1!
        2. On the other hand Jeremiah was told up front this would be difficult. He was just told he would have to grow to keep going forward(12:5).
      2. “Oh no, I’m being placed into the grouping of the ‘false prophets!’ I’ve been made a decoy to lure myself & others to ruin.”
    4. “everyone mocks me” – Jeremiah is suffering from C.L.S. That’s “Chicken Little Syndrom”(sky is falling); & W.W.W. That’s Wolf,Wolf Wolf! (The boy who cried Wolf!)
    5. vs.9b – Jer. suffers from “Acute Prophetitis!” Jeremiah lived above his moods & did God’s will regardless of how he felt!
      1. He dealt w/3 imp. issues [1] God’s will(7-9) [2] His daily danger(10-13) [3] His Despair(14-18).
      2. Often when a servant of god finds themselves in trouble, they’re tempted to question their call! (like Jer.’s doing)
        1. What should they do about it? {Talk to God about it!}
      3. Jeremiah realizes the fiery message he cannot contain is the word from God!!!
    6. Vs.10 – It seems like they take the name Jer. gave to Pashhur & give it to Jer.
    7. Vs.11,12 – He emerges from his doubt’s. Yet, like Tarzan swinging from tree to tree, Jeremiah goes from courage to seeking revenge, to worship.
      1. This was a prayer he prayed back in 11:20. (did he pray this often?)
      2. Listen to Jeremiah’s cure for his depression in 11a. “The Lord is w/me!”
        1. Abide with me-fast falls the eventide; The darkness deepens: Lord, with me abide; When other helpers fail, and comforts flee,Help of the helpless, O abide with me. [Henry Francis Lyte]
  4. DELIGHT (13)
    1. ​​​​​​​Joy! – By committing his cause to the Lord he had every right to sing.
      1. Ps.62:8 “Trust in Him at all times, you people; Pour out your heart before Him; God is a refuge for us.”
      2. Earl Riney said, “The stars are constantly shining, but often we do not see them until the dark hours.” {Jer. just saw the stars!}
      3. Billy Sunday, “If there is no Joy in your religion, there’s a leak in your Christianity somewhere.”
        1. But this didn’t last long…Jeremiah just sprung a leak (14-18)!
  5. DESPAIR (14-18)
    1. ​​​​​​​When we speak this way, we seem to forget all the wonderful blessings we have enjoyed throughout life.
      1. Johnson Oatman’s Hymn “When upon life’s billows”. {He wrote over 5000 hymns(1856-1922), ran a busy Mercantile Business, & was an administrator of a large Insurance Company in New Jersey. – This hymn was sung each night of the welsh Revivals} Read
      2. Suffering has a way of erasing the happy memories & putting sad memories in their place.
      3. Remember His mercies help encourage us in times of troubles.
        1. I give people Ps.77(emphasis on vs.10) 5.1.3.2.Now I have this one in vs.11.
      4. “It takes both the rain and the sunshine to make a rainbow.”
    2. Vs.18 “Why did I come forth from…” – Because God had a special plan for his life, & God doesn’t make mistakes! (same with you!}
  6. End:
    1. Q: Have you felt like giving up lately? Press on! “It’s always too soon to quit.”
    2. Q: How do you battle depression? - Take a dose of vs.11
Copyright Statement
These files are the property of Brian Bell.
Text Courtesy of Calvary Chapel of Murrieta. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Bell, Brian. "Commentary on Jeremiah 20". "Bell's Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/cbb/jeremiah-20.html. 2017.