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Bible Commentaries

John Dummelow's Commentary on the Bible

Jeremiah 20

Verses 1-18


Jeremiah’s Eleventh Prophecy (Reign of Jehoiakim). Prophecies Illustrated from the Work of the Potter

Jeremiah 18 gives and explains the figure of the potter’s clay, and tells of the effect upon the people. Jeremiah 19 gives and applies the figure of the potter’s broken vessel, while Jeremiah 20 describes the consequent sufferings of Jeremiah and his complaints.

The outrage on the prophet committed by Pashur (Jeremiah 20:2) would certainly not have been permitted in Josiah’s time. On the other hand, there seems from the language used to be still a chance for the people, and the calamity threatened had not yet arrived. Therefore we may date the symbolical actions early in Jehoiam’s reign.

Verses 1-18

1-6. Pashur’s act and Jeremiah’s reply.

2. Pashur] In chapter Jeremiah 38:1 two Pashurs are mentioned. This one is perhaps the father of Gedaliah there spoken of, while Pashur the son of Malchiah of that v. is probably identical with the Pashur of Jeremiah 21:1. The houses represented by both men were strong in numbers amongst the few priestly courses that returned from Babylon (Ezra 2:36-39).

3. Magormissabib] i.e. ’fear is on every side’: see on Jeremiah 6:25. The name is symbolic of his coming fate, consisting in part, at least, of remorse at the ruin which he had brought upon his country by opposing the warnings of Jeremiah and perhaps claiming prophetic powers. For other cases of names given to symbolise and sum up a prophetic message, cp. Shear-jashub, ’a remnant’ (only) ’shall return’ (Isaiah 7:8), and Maher-shalal-hash-baz, ’speedy spoliation’ (Isaiah 8:3.).

7-13. The prophet’s cry to God.

7. Deceived] RM ’enticed,’ to undertake his mission.

8. For since I spake, I cried out] RV ’for as often as I speak I cry out’ (complain loudly).

9. The prophet cannot refrain from delivering his message, though it entailed derision and mockery.

10. Report say they, etc.] the words of two groups of his foes, the first arguing that his language should be brought under the notice of those in power, the second undertaking to do so.

14-18. For the vehemence of the imprecations cp. Job 3:3; Job 10:18, and David’s address to Gilboa (2 Samuel 1:21). It is interesting to note that in later time, when the prophet had still more afflictions to endure, we no longer read of his trembling or bewailing the sufferings connected with his calling.

16. The cry.. the shouting] of war and trouble.

Verses 1-18

1-6. Pashur’s act and Jeremiah’s reply.

2. Pashur] In chapter Jeremiah 38:1 two Pashurs are mentioned. This one is perhaps the father of Gedaliah there spoken of, while Pashur the son of Malchiah of that v. is probably identical with the Pashur of Jeremiah 21:1. The houses represented by both men were strong in numbers amongst the few priestly courses that returned from Babylon (Ezra 2:36-39).

3. Magormissabib] i.e. ’fear is on every side’: see on Jeremiah 6:25. The name is symbolic of his coming fate, consisting in part, at least, of remorse at the ruin which he had brought upon his country by opposing the warnings of Jeremiah and perhaps claiming prophetic powers. For other cases of names given to symbolise and sum up a prophetic message, cp. Shear-jashub, ’a remnant’ (only) ’shall return’ (Isaiah 7:8), and Maher-shalal-hash-baz, ’speedy spoliation’ (Isaiah 8:3.).

7-13. The prophet’s cry to God.

7. Deceived] RM ’enticed,’ to undertake his mission.

8. For since I spake, I cried out] RV ’for as often as I speak I cry out’ (complain loudly).

9. The prophet cannot refrain from delivering his message, though it entailed derision and mockery.

10. Report say they, etc.] the words of two groups of his foes, the first arguing that his language should be brought under the notice of those in power, the second undertaking to do so.

14-18. For the vehemence of the imprecations cp. Job 3:3; Job 10:18, and David’s address to Gilboa (2 Samuel 1:21). It is interesting to note that in later time, when the prophet had still more afflictions to endure, we no longer read of his trembling or bewailing the sufferings connected with his calling.

16. The cry.. the shouting] of war and trouble.

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Bibliographical Information
Dummelow, John. "Commentary on Jeremiah 20". "John Dummelow's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/dcb/jeremiah-20.html. 1909.