King James Bible
with Catholic Commentary by George Leo Haydock

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Jeremiah 20

The doom of Pashur, who ill-treated the prophet. (1-6) Jeremiah complains of hard usage. (7-13) He regrets his ever having been born. (14-18)

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The doom of Pashur, who ill-treated the prophet

1 Now Pashur 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 Pashur smote 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 came to pass on the morrow, that Pashur brought forth Jeremiah out of the stocks. Then said Jeremiah unto him, The LORD hath not called thy name Pashur, but Magormissabib.

4 For thus saith the LORD, Behold, I will make thee a terror to thyself, and to all thy friends: and they shall fall by the sword of their enemies, and thine eyes shall behold it: and I will give all Judah into the hand of the king of Babylon, and he shall carry them captive into Babylon, and shall slay them with the sword.

5 Moreover I will deliver all the strength of this city, and all the labours thereof, and all the precious things thereof, and all the treasures of the kings of Judah will I give into the hand of their enemies, which shall spoil them, and take them, and carry them to Babylon.

6 And thou, Pashur, and all that dwell in thine house shall go into captivity: and thou shalt come to Babylon, and there thou shalt die, and shalt be buried there, thou, and all thy friends, to whom thou hast prophesied lies.

Jeremiah complains of hard usage

7 O LORD, thou hast deceived me, and I was deceived; thou art stronger than I, and hast prevailed: I am in derision daily, every one mocketh me.

8 For since I spake, I cried out, I cried violence and spoil; because the word of the LORD was made a reproach unto me, and a derision, daily.

9 Then I said, I will not make mention of him, nor speak any more in his name. But his word was in mine heart as a burning fire shut up in my bones, and I was weary with forbearing, and I could not stay.

10 For I heard the defaming of many, fear on every side. Report, say they, and we will report it. All my familiars watched for my halting, saying, Peradventure he will be enticed, and we shall prevail against him, and we shall take our revenge on him.

11 But the LORD is with me as a mighty terrible one: therefore my persecutors shall stumble, and they shall not prevail: they shall be greatly ashamed; for they shall not prosper: their everlasting confusion shall never be forgotten.

12 But, O LORD of hosts, that triest the righteous, and seest the reins and the heart, let me see thy vengeance on them: for unto thee have I opened my cause.

13 Sing unto the LORD, praise ye the LORD: for he hath delivered the soul of the poor from the hand of evildoers.

He regrets his ever having been born

14 Cursed be the day wherein I was born: let not the day wherein my mother bare me be blessed.

15 Cursed be the man who brought tidings to my father, saying, A man child is born unto thee; making him very glad.

16 And let that man be as the cities which the LORD overthrew, and repented not: and let him hear the cry in the morning, and the shouting at noontide;

17 Because he slew me not from the womb; or that my mother might have been my grave, and her womb to be always great with me.

18 Wherefore came I forth out of the womb to see labour and sorrow, that my days should be consumed with shame?

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G Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

Ver. 1. Son, or descendant. His father was Melchia. C. xxi. 1. and 1 Par. ix. 12. C. — Chief: high priest, (Theod.) or rather a chief officer, (C. xxix. 25.) or prince, (Matt. xxvi. 27. Tolet. Grot.) whose duty it was to take up impostors. He treated Jeremias in this light. C. — See Lu. xxii. 52. H.

Ver. 2. Struck, or seized. Grot. — Upper gate, nearer the temple. C.

Ver. 3. Phassur. This name signifies, increase and principality; and therefore is here changed to Magor-Missabib, or “fear on every side,” to denote the evils that should come upon him in punishment of his opposing the word of God. Ch. — Aquila renders Posseur, “a stranger,” and S. Jer. “blackness of visage.” H. — It may also mean, “one who causes paleness.” C. — Mogur may signify “fear or distress.” Sept. and Syr. “an exile.” H. — He deserved to be thus treated. v. 6. C. — He would be terrified by many enemies. W.

Ver. 6. Lie. He was therefore a false prophet, and vexed that Jeremias should contradict him. C.

Ver. 7. Thou hast deceived, &c. The meaning of the prophet is not to charge God with any untruth; but what he calls deceiving, was only the concealing from him, when he accepted of the prophetical commission, the greatness of the evils which the execution of that commission was to bring upon him. Ch. — Heb. “thou hast enticed me,” when I declined the office. T. — God never promised that he should suffer no persecution. H. — Jeremias might also have supposed that he was to be sent to the Gentiles. C. i. 5. S. Jer. in C. xxv. 18. — The oriental languages are much more lofty than ours, and express common things in the strongest manner. C. — We may perceive the different emotions of fear and joy (D.) with which the prophet was actuated, like S. Paul, and our Saviour himself. The saints evince the weakness of man and the power of divine grace. C. — Heb. “If thou, Lord, hast deceived me, I am,” &c. Tournemine.

Ver. 8. Day. They keep asking where are these enemies from the north, the plagues? &c. C. — He is sorry to see the word of God despised, (Theod.) and is guilty of a venial pusillanimity, concluding that his words had no good effect. M.

Ver. 9. And there, or “for,” &c. I was grieved continually. Sanctius. — I could not however refrain from speaking. Acts xvii. 16. and 1 Cor. ix. 16. Job xxxii. 18.

Ver. 10. Side, seeking an opportunity to ruin me, as the Pharisees did our Saviour. Ps. xl. 10. C. — Prot. “familiars watched for my halting, saying, peradventure he,” &c. H.

Ver. 12. Let me see, &c. This prayer proceeded not from hatred or ill-will, but zeal of justice. Ch. — He expresses in a human manner a future punishment.

Ver. 13. Sing. God having shewn that his prayer should be heard, he gives thanks, (C.) and thus shews that what he is going to say proceeds not from impatience. Theod.

Ver. 14. Cursed, &c. In these and the following words of the prophet, there is a certain figure of speech to express with more energy the greatness of the evils to which his birth had exposed him. Ch. — The wicked would deem the day of his birth cursed, or unlucky. M. — Jeremias was now in prison, (Grot.) and people in pain express themselves forcibly, particularly in the East. v. 7. Job iii. 2. C. — Perhaps no man had announced the tidings of his birth, or he might be no longer living to feel the effects of a curse: as the day was certainly irrevocably past. H.

Ver. 16. Repented, is decree for the ruin of Sodom being fixed. — Noon. This is more extraordinary than at midnight. Let him always be terrified with dismal sounds. C.

Ver. 17. Who. Sept. “because he (the Lord. D. T.) slew me not in my mother’s womb.” H. — Syr. Grot. &c. explain the Heb. in the same sense, though it may also agree with the Vulg. from the womb, or as soon as I was born. O that I had never seen the light! C. — He abstracts from the effects of original sin. T. — It is better not to exist than to be in constant misery. Mat. xxvi. S. Jer. W. — The prophet bewailed the abuse which was made of God’s word, by unbelievers. v. 8. H.