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Pashhur Arrests Jeremiah

20 Pashhur son of Immer was a priest and the chief of temple security. He heard what I had said, and so he hit me.[a] Then he had me arrested and put in chains[b] at the Benjamin Gate in the Lord’s temple.[c] The next day, when Pashhur let me go free, I told him that the Lord had said:

No longer will I call you Pashhur. Instead, I will call you Afraid-of-Everything.[d] You will be afraid, and you will bring fear to your friends as well. You will see enemies kill them in battle. Then I will have the king of Babylonia take everyone in Judah prisoner, killing some and dragging the rest away to Babylonia. He will clean out the royal treasury and take everything else of value from Jerusalem.

Pashhur, you are guilty of telling lies and claiming they were messages from me. That’s why I will have the Babylonians take you, your family, and your friends as prisoners to Babylonia, where you will all die and be buried.

Jeremiah Complains to the Lord

You tricked me, Lord,
    and I was really fooled.
You are stronger than I am,
    and you have defeated me.
People never stop sneering
    and insulting me.
You have let me announce
    only destruction and death.
Your message has brought me
nothing but insults
    and trouble.
Sometimes I tell myself
not to think about you, Lord,
    or even mention your name.
But your message burns
in my heart and bones,
    and I cannot keep silent.

10 I heard the crowds whisper,
    “Everyone is afraid.
Now’s our chance
    to accuse Jeremiah!”
All of my so-called friends
are just waiting
    for me to make a mistake.
They say, “Maybe Jeremiah
    can be tricked.
Then we can overpower him
    and get even at last.”

11 But you, Lord,
are a mighty soldier,
    standing at my side.
Those troublemakers
will fall down and fail—
    terribly embarrassed,
    forever ashamed.

12 Lord All-Powerful,
    you test those who do right,
and you know every heart
    and mind.
I have told you my complaints,
so let me watch you
    take revenge on my enemies.
13 I sing praises to you, Lord.
You rescue the oppressed
    from the wicked.

14 Put a curse on the day I was born!
    Don’t bless my mother.
15 Put a curse on the man
who told my father,
“Good news!
    You have a son.”
16 May that man be like the towns
    you destroyed without pity.
Let him hear shouts of alarm
in the morning
    and battle cries at noon.
17 He deserves to die
for not killing me
    before I was born.
Then my mother’s body
    would have been my grave.
18 Why did I have to be born?
Was it just to suffer
    and die in shame?

Footnotes

  1. 20.2 hit me: Or “beat me up” or “had me beaten up.”
  2. 20.2 in chains: Or “in the stocks” (a wooden frame with holes for the hands, neck, or feet of a prisoner) or “in a prison cell.”
  3. 20.2 the Benjamin Gate in the Lord’s temple: The Hebrew text has “the upper Benjamin Gate in the temple”; the lower Benjamin Gate may have been the city gate of that name.
  4. 20.3 Afraid-of-Everything: Hebrew “Magor-Missabib.”