Jeremiah 20

Chapter 20

1 When the priest Pashhur, the son of Immer, who was the chief officer in the house of the Lord, heard Jeremiah proclaiming this prophecy, 2 he ordered him to be scourged, and then placed him in the stocks at the Upper Gate of Benjamin in the house of the Lord.

3 The next morning, after Pashhur had released Jeremiah from the stocks, Jeremiah said to him, “The Lord’s name for you is not Pashhur but ‘Terror-on-Every-Side.’ 4 For thus says the Lord, ‘I will make you a terror to yourself and to all your friends. They will fall by the sword of their enemies before your very eyes. And I will deliver all Judah to the king of Babylon, and he will take the people captive and carry them off to Babylon or put them to the sword.

5 “ ‘All the wealth of this city, all of its cherished possessions, and all of the treasures of the kings of Judah I will hand over as plunder to their enemies who will seize it and carry it off to Babylon. 6 Furthermore, you, Pashhur, and all the members of your household will be taken into captivity and led off to Babylon. There you will die, and there you will be buried, you and all your friends, because you have prophesied falsely to them.’ ”

Jeremiah’s Confession[a]

7 O Lord, you deceived me,
and I allowed myself to be deceived.
You were too powerful for me,
and you have prevailed.
All day long I am an object of ridicule;
everyone mocks me.
8 Whenever I speak, I must cry out;
my message is violence and destruction.
For the word of the Lord has caused me to endure
reproach and derision all day long.
9 If I say, “I will not mention him
or speak any longer in his name,”
within me I experience a fire burning in my heart
and imprisoned in my bones.
I am weary holding it in,
and I can no longer do so.
10 For I hear many whispering,
“Terror surrounds us.
Denounce him! Let us denounce him!”
All those who were my close friends
are waiting for me to stumble, saying,
“Perhaps we can trick him,
and we will be able to prevail
and take our revenge against him.”
11 But the Lord is at my side
like a mighty warrior.
Therefore, my persecutors will stumble,
and they will not prevail.
Because of their failure,
they will be greatly shamed,
and the disgrace that they will endure
will be everlasting and unforgettable.
12 O Lord of hosts, you test the righteous
and probe the mind and the heart.
Let me behold your retribution on them,
for to you I have committed my cause.
13 Sing to the Lord;
praise the Lord.
For he has rescued the life of the poor
from the power of the wicked.
14 Cursed be the day
on which I was born!
May the day when my mother bore me
be forever unblessed.
15 Cursed be the man
who brought the news to my father.
“A child, a son, has been born to you,”
thereby bringing great joy to his heart.
16 Let that man be like the cities
that the Lord overthrew without mercy.
Let him hear the cry of warning in the morning
and shouts of battle at noon
17 because he did not kill me in the womb.
Then my mother would have been my grave,
with her womb confining me forever.
18 Why did I come forth from the womb
to see toil and sorrow
and spend my days in shame?


  1. Jeremiah 20:7 These pages from the prophet’s personal diary were scrupulously preserved by his disciples and slipped, here and there, in his book. We have already met these “confessions” of the prophet (Jer 11:18—12:6; 15:10-21; 17:12-18; 18:18-23); here, three of the most direct and effective passages are introduced.

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