Notes on Jeremiah 20

With Jeremiah having given the Lord’s words in C-19, this same word came back to one who was in position of authority within the government. Pashhur was of priestly stock (similar to the prophet Jeremiah), and he did not care for what Jeremiah said at all; in order to thwart what Jeremiah said, Jeremiah was arrested and “flogged” (NET) while placed in bondage stocks. This humiliating beating was the result of faithfully proclaiming the Lord’s word to the people; this resulted in two things: first, Pashhur received word from the Lord that his name would be changed to indicate that he would lose his mind as he felt the weight of the outside world falling him on him (he would be a terror to himself) and that he would be taken into captivity and die away from his homeland (20:1-6). Second, Jeremiah expressed his great lament to the Lord for all that he experienced (20:7-18). The weight of the outside world was pressuring Jeremiah (as well), as he expressed it in this lament, but he really couldn’t have refused the Lord because the Lord’s pressure was even greater than that which he felt from others. Jeremiah felt overwhelmed. A key to Jeremiah getting through all of this was his desire to please the Lord rather than any desire to please the local people. His lament went from recognition of pressure felt to a lament concerning that fact that he was even born!