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Jeremiah 20:1-6

Context
Jeremiah is Flogged and Put in A Cell

20:1 Now Pashhur son of Immer heard Jeremiah prophesy these things. He was the priest who was chief of security 1  in the Lord’s temple. 20:2 When he heard Jeremiah’s prophecy, he had the prophet flogged. 2  Then he put him in the stocks 3  which were at the Upper Gate of Benjamin in the Lord’s temple. 4  20:3 But the next day Pashhur released Jeremiah from the stocks. When he did, Jeremiah said to him, “The Lord’s name for you is not ‘Pashhur’ but ‘Terror is Everywhere.’ 5  20:4 For the Lord says, ‘I will make both you and your friends terrified of what will happen to you. 6  You will see all of them die by the swords of their enemies. 7  I will hand all the people of Judah over to the king of Babylon. He will carry some of them away into exile in Babylon and he will kill others of them with the sword. 20:5 I will hand over all the wealth of this city to their enemies. I will hand over to them all the fruits of the labor of the people of this city and all their prized possessions, as well as all the treasures of the kings of Judah. Their enemies will seize it all as plunder 8  and carry it off to Babylon. 20:6 You, Pashhur, and all your household 9  will go into exile in Babylon. You will die there and you will be buried there. The same thing will happen to all your friends to whom you have prophesied lies.’” 10 

1 tn Heb “chief overseer/officer.” The translation follows the suggestion of P. C. Craigie, P. H. Kelley, J. F. Drinkard, Jeremiah 1-25 (WBC), 267, based on the parallel passage in 29:26-27 where this official appears to have been in charge of maintaining order in the temple.

sn Judging from a comparison of this passage with Jer 29:26-27 and that passage in turn with 2 Kgs 25:18, Pashhur held an office second in rank only to the high priest. He was in charge of keeping order in the temple and took offense at what he heard Jeremiah saying.

2 tn Heb “And Pashhur son of Immer, the priest and he [= who] was chief overseer [or officer] in the house of the Lord heard Jeremiah prophesying these words/things 20:2 and Pashhur had the prophet Jeremiah flogged.” This verse and the previous one has been restructured in the translation to better conform with contemporary English style.

3 tn The meaning of this word is uncertain. It occurs only here, in 29:26 where it is followed by a parallel word that occurs only there and is generally translated “collar,” and in 2 Chr 16:10 where it is preceded by the word “house of.” It is most often translated “stocks” and explained as an instrument of confinement for keeping prisoners in a crooked position (from its relation to a root meaning “to turn.” See BDB 246 s.v. מַהְפֶּכֶת and KBL 500 s.v. מַהְפֶּכֶת for definition and discussion.) For a full discussion including the interpretation of the ancient versions see W. L. Holladay, Jeremiah (Hermeneia), 1:542-43.

4 sn A comparison of Ezek 8:3 and 9:2 in their contexts will show that this probably refers to the northern gate to the inner court of the temple. It is called Upper because it was on higher ground above the gate in the outer court. It is qualified by “in the Lord’s temple” to distinguish it from the Benjamin Gate in the city wall (cf. 37:13; 38:7). Like the Benjamin Gate in the city wall it faced north toward the territory of the tribe of Benjamin.

5 tn This name is translated rather than transliterated to aid the reader in understanding this name and connect it clearly with the explanation that follows in the next verse. For a rather complete discussion on the significance of this name and an attempt to explain it as a pun on the name “Pashhur” see J. A. Thompson, Jeremiah (NICOT), 455, n. 35.

sn The name Pashhur is essentially a curse pronounced by Jeremiah invoking the Lord’s authority. The same phrase occurs in Jer 6:25; 46:5; 49:29 which are all in the context of war. In ancient Israelite culture the change in name denoted a change in status or destiny. See, for example, the shift from Jacob (“He grabs the heel” and “Cheater” or “Deceiver,” Gen 25:26; 27:36) to Israel (“He perseveres with God,” Gen 32:28).

6 tn Heb “I will make you an object of terror to both you and your friends.”

7 tn Heb “And they will fall by the sword of their enemies and [with] your eyes seeing [it].”

8 tn Heb “Take them [the goods, etc.] as plunder and seize them.”

9 tn Heb “all who live in your house.” This included his family and his servants.

10 sn As a member of the priesthood and the protector of order in the temple, Pashhur was undoubtedly one of those who promulgated the deceptive belief that the Lord’s presence in the temple was a guarantee of Judah’s safety (cf. 7:4, 8). Judging from the fact that two other men held the same office after the leading men in the city were carried into exile in 597 b.c. (see Jer 29:25-26 and compare 29:1-2 for the date and 2 Kgs 24:12-16 for the facts), this prophecy was probably fulfilled in 597. For a similar kind of oracle of judgment see Amos 7:10-17.



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