Opening Prayer

Lord God, as I read your Word, give me faith to trust in all it says, give me understanding in what it means, and the will to do what it calls me to.


Jeremiah and Pashhur

20 When the priest Pashhur son of Immer, the official in charge of the temple of the Lord, heard Jeremiah prophesying these things, he had Jeremiah the prophet beaten and put in the stocks at the Upper Gate of Benjamin at the Lord’s temple. The next day, when Pashhur released him from the stocks, Jeremiah said to him, “The Lord’s name for you is not Pashhur, but Terror on Every Side. For this is what the Lord says: ‘I will make you a terror to yourself and to all your friends; with your own eyes you will see them fall by the sword of their enemies. I will give all Judah into the hands of the king of Babylon, who will carry them away to Babylon or put them to the sword. I will deliver all the wealth of this city into the hands of their enemies—all its products, all its valuables and all the treasures of the kings of Judah. They will take it away as plunder and carry it off to Babylon. And you, Pashhur, and all who live in your house will go into exile to Babylon. There you will die and be buried, you and all your friends to whom you have prophesied lies.’”

Jeremiah’s Complaint

You deceived[a] me, Lord, and I was deceived[b];
    you overpowered me and prevailed.
I am ridiculed all day long;
    everyone mocks me.
Whenever I speak, I cry out
    proclaiming violence and destruction.
So the word of the Lord has brought me
    insult and reproach all day long.
But if I say, “I will not mention his word
    or speak anymore in his name,”
his word is in my heart like a fire,
    a fire shut up in my bones.
I am weary of holding it in;
    indeed, I cannot.
10 I hear many whispering,
    “Terror on every side!
    Denounce him! Let’s denounce him!”
All my friends
    are waiting for me to slip, saying,
“Perhaps he will be deceived;
    then we will prevail over him
    and take our revenge on him.”

11 But the Lord is with me like a mighty warrior;
    so my persecutors will stumble and not prevail.
They will fail and be thoroughly disgraced;
    their dishonor will never be forgotten.
12 Lord Almighty, you who examine the righteous
    and probe the heart and mind,
let me see your vengeance on them,
    for to you I have committed my cause.

13 Sing to the Lord!
    Give praise to the Lord!
He rescues the life of the needy
    from the hands of the wicked.

14 Cursed be the day I was born!
    May the day my mother bore me not be blessed!
15 Cursed be the man who brought my father the news,
    who made him very glad, saying,
    “A child is born to you—a son!”
16 May that man be like the towns
    the Lord overthrew without pity.
May he hear wailing in the morning,
    a battle cry at noon.
17 For he did not kill me in the womb,
    with my mother as my grave,
    her womb enlarged forever.
18 Why did I ever come out of the womb
    to see trouble and sorrow
    and to end my days in shame?


  1. Jeremiah 20:7 Or persuaded
  2. Jeremiah 20:7 Or persuaded

New International Version (NIV)Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.


‘Sing to the Lord! Praise the Lord! He rescues the oppressed from the power of evil people.’1

Think Further

Here Jeremiah first speaks to Pashhur, the temple security guard (vs 1–6); then he speaks to God (vs 7–12); and finally, he speaks to himself (vs 14–20). Yesterday we read of him in the temple, announcing judgment on Jerusalem and Judah. In response, Pashhur had him beaten and imprisoned (v 2). On his release, he issued a devastating denouncement of Pashhur, giving the Lord’s new name for him, ‘Terror on Every Side’ (v 3), and announced comprehensive judgment on him, all his friends, and all of Judah.2 Exile in Babylon was certain, as was death and burial in a foreign land for Pashhur and his friends.

Surprisingly, after this confident pronouncement, Jeremiah accuses God of deceiving him (vs 7–12). It is all very well to give Pashhur a new name, but what about when Jeremiah’s foes hurl the same name at him (v 10)? He tried to keep silent but could not; his words just brought ridicule. However, this lament does not end on a negative note. As Jeremiah hears these taunts, he remembers that God is with him to deliver him, and he commits his cause to God. Verses 14–20 reflect even deeper despair. Jeremiah curses the day he was born and the man who announced his birth, ending with the unanswered question, ‘Why was I ever born?’ (v 18, NLT).

Nevertheless, the chapter is not totally negative. Verse 13 separates the two laments, setting the context for both. Jeremiah calls on the believing community to sing praises to the Lord who rescues the needy from their enemies. God remains the same today. If we bring our despair to him, we may experience a new revelation of the character and activity of God, who understands our disappointment when our hopes don’t eventuate.


Jeremiah’s song of praise emerged from the depths of his despair. If we have the courage to be honest with God, like Jeremiah, we can find renewed confidence for living.

Closing prayer

Where I am weak, gracious Lord, I ask that you make your strength known in and through me. In my darkest moments, help me to remember that you, my Redeemer, are for me.

Last Updated on October 20, 2023 by kingstar

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