Now Pashhur son of Immer, the priest in charge of the Temple of the Lord, heard what Jeremiah was prophesying. So he arrested Jeremiah the prophet and had him whipped and put in stocks at the Benjamin Gate of the Lord’s Temple.
The next day, when Pashhur finally released him, Jeremiah said, “Pashhur, the Lord has changed your name. From now on you are to be called ‘The Man Who Lives in Terror.’ For this is what the Lord says: ‘I will send terror upon you and all your friends, and you will watch as they are slaughtered by the swords of the enemy. I will hand the people of Judah over to the king of Babylon. He will take them captive to Babylon or run them through with the sword. And I will let your enemies plunder Jerusalem. All the famed treasures of the city—the precious jewels and gold and silver of your kings—will be carried off to Babylon. As for you, Pashhur, you and all your household will go as captives to Babylon. There you will die and be buried, you and all your friends to whom you prophesied that everything would be all right.’” (Jeremiah 20:1-6)
This event took place during the reign of Jehoiakim of Judah. Jeremiah preached at the Valley of Ben Hinnom, the center of idolatry in the city. He also preached in the Temple, which should have been the center of true worship. Both places attracted many people; both were places of false worship.
Pashhur was the official in charge of maintaining order in the Temple (see Jeremiah 29:26 for a description of the responsibility). He was also a priest and had pretended to be a prophet. After hearing Jeremiah’s words, Pashhur had him beaten and put in the stocks instead of taking his message to heart and acting on it. Pashhur may have thought he was a strong leader, but he was really a coward.
This prophecy of destruction came true in three waves of invasion by Babylon. The first wave happened within the year (605 b.c.). Pashhur was probably exiled to Babylon during the second wave in 597 b.c. when Jehoiachin was taken captive. The third invasion occurred in 586 b.c.
The truth sometimes stings, but our reaction to the truth shows what we are made of. We can deny the charges and destroy evidence of our misdeeds, or we can take the truth humbly to heart and let it change us. Which will you choose?