Jeremiah 20:1–18 (NKJV)
20:1 Now Pashhur the son of Immer, the priest who was also chief governor in the house of the Lord, heard that Jeremiah prophesied these things. 2 Then Pashhur struck Jeremiah the prophet, and put him in the stocks that were in the high gate of Benjamin, which was by the house of the Lord.
3 And it happened on the next day that Pashhur brought Jeremiah out of the stocks. Then Jeremiah said to him, “The Lord has not called your name Pashhur, but Magor-Missabib. 4 For thus says the Lord: ‘Behold, I will make you a terror to yourself and to all your friends; and they shall fall by the sword of their enemies, and your eyes shall see it. I will give all Judah into the hand of the king of Babylon, and he shall carry them captive to Babylon and slay them with the sword. 5 Moreover I will deliver all the wealth of this city, all its produce, and all its precious things; all the treasures of the kings of Judah I will give into the hand of their enemies, who will plunder them, seize them, and carry them to Babylon. 6 And you, Pashhur, and all who dwell in your house, shall go into captivity. You shall go to Babylon, and there you shall die, and be buried there, you and all your friends, to whom you have prophesied lies.’ ”
The plots against Jeremiah came to fruition in this chapter. Pashhur, the governor, heard about Jeremiah’s prophecies and put him in stocks and struck him. When he brought Jeremiah before him the next day, Jeremiah renamed him with a name that meant, “fear on every side.” Jeremiah continued prophesying the plunder and defeat that would come on Judah, including exile to Babylon.
7 O Lord, You induced me, and I was persuaded;
You are stronger than I, and have prevailed.
I am in derision daily;
Everyone mocks me.
8 For when I spoke, I cried out;
I shouted, “Violence and plunder!”
Because the word of the Lord was made to me
A reproach and a derision daily.
9 Then I said, “I will not make mention of Him,
Nor speak anymore in His name.”
But His word was in my heart like a burning fire
Shut up in my bones;
I was weary of holding it back,
And I could not.
10 For I heard many mocking:
“Fear on every side!”
“Report,” they say, “and we will report it!”
All my acquaintances watched for my stumbling, saying,
“Perhaps he can be induced;
Then we will prevail against him,
And we will take our revenge on him.”
11 But the Lord is with me as a mighty, awesome One.
Therefore my persecutors will stumble, and will not prevail.
They will be greatly ashamed, for they will not prosper.
Their everlasting confusion will never be forgotten.
12 But, O Lord of hosts,
You who test the righteous,
And see the mind and heart,
Let me see Your vengeance on them;
For I have pleaded my cause before You.
13 Sing to the Lord! Praise the Lord!
For He has delivered the life of the poor
From the hand of evildoers.
14 Cursed be the day in which I was born!
Let the day not be blessed in which my mother bore me!
15 Let the man be cursed
Who brought news to my father, saying,
“A male child has been born to you!”
Making him very glad.
16 And let that man be like the cities
Which the Lord—overthrew, and did not relent;
Let him hear the cry in the morning
And the shouting at noon,
17 Because he did not kill me from the womb,
That my mother might have been my grave,
And her womb always enlarged with me.
18 Why did I come forth from the womb to see labor and sorrow,
That my days should be consumed with shame?
After Jeremiah’s strong response to Pashhur, he laments the path God has placed before him in terms just as strong. He regrets the ridicule and mockery that comes his way as he prophecies, but describes the Word of the Lord within him as fire shut up in his bones, so powerful that He cannot hold it in. He is thankful that God is like a mighty warrior, defending him from his mockers. He asks the Lord to exact vengeance upon them, delivering his life. Yet he turns right around and curses the day he was born, wishing that he had died in the womb. He even declares a curse on the man who told his father of his birth! This is a picturesque example of Jeremiah as the weeping prophet, the reluctant prophet, who is compelled to declare the word of the Lord. Even when the work is dangerous, frustrating, or simply overwhelming, the calling is without repentance, irrevocable. If God has called you, serve with excellence, anointing, and integrity!