Jeremiah (Ch 19-20)

Chapter 19 is foreshadowed, represented, and confirmed the destruction of Jerusalem, by the breaking of a potter’s vessel the prophet had in his hand; and by the place where he was bid to do this, and did it.

Jeremiah 19

1 Thus saith the Lord: “Go and get a potter’s earthen bottle, and take some of the elders of the people and the elders of the priests. — the prophet was to get or buy a earthen bottle and take the elders and the priests; those who were the greatest and principal men of the city, which include members of the Sanhedrin, and to go with the prophet to be witnesses of what were said and done, and to see the bottle broke.

And go forth unto the Valley of the Son of Hinnom, which is by the entry of the East Gate, and proclaim there the words that I shall tell thee, — which is by the entry of the east gate; the way into and out of Jerusalem, which lay through the east gate of the city;

— the Targum calls it “the dung gate” through which the filth of the city was carried out, and laid near it.

and say, ‘Hear ye the word of the Lord, O kings of Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem. Thus saith the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel: Behold, I will bring evil upon this place, of which whosoever heareth, his ears shall tingle. — behold, I will bring evil upon this place; the evil of punishment for the evil of sin; such as the sword, famine and captivity; meaning not on that spot of ground where the prophet with the elders were, but upon the city of Jerusalem and upon all the land of Judea.

Because they have forsaken Me and have estranged this place, and have burned incense in it unto other gods, whom neither they nor their fathers nor the kings of Judah have known, and have filled this place with the blood of innocents. — and have filled this place with the blood of innocents; young children that were sacrificed to idols, as they were in the valley of Hinnom, which seems to be the place principally intended; so that they were not only guilty of idolatry, but of murder; and of the murder even their own babes; cruelty which was shocking and unheard of!

They have built also the high places of Baal, to burn their sons with fire for burnt offerings unto Baal, which I commanded not nor spoke it, neither came it into My mind. — to burn their sons with fire unto Baal; from this as well as from some other places, it is plain that they slew and burned human victims to Baal as well as to Moloch; if these two names were not given, as some suppose they were, to one and the same idol.

Therefore behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that this place shall no more be called Tophet, nor the Valley of the Son of Hinnom, but the Valley of Slaughter. — that this place shall no more be called Tophet: as it had been, from the beating of drums in it, that the cries and shrieks of infants burnt in the fire might not be heard by their parents;

— nor the valley of the son of Hinnom; which was its name in the times of Joshua, and long before it was called Tophet; but now it should have neither names;

— but the valley of slaughter; or, “of the slain” as the Targum says; from the multitude of those that should be killed here, at the siege and taking of Jerusalem; or that should be brought hither to be buried.

And I will make void the counsel of Judah and Jerusalem in this place, and I will cause them to fall by the sword before their enemies and by the hands of them that seek their lives; and their carcasses will I give to be meat for the fowls of the heaven and for the beasts of the earth. — and I will make void the counsel of Judah and Jerusalem in this place… the counsel which they took in this place and agreed to, in offering their sons and daughters to idols; and which they took with these idols and their priests;

— and I will cause them to fall by the sword before their enemies: such as sallied out from the city, or attempted to make their escape;

— and by the hands of them that seek their lives; and so would not spare them, when they fell into them;

— and their carcasses will I give to be meat for the fowls of the heaven, and for the beasts of the earth: signifying that they should have no burial, but their slain bodies should lie upon the earth, and be fed upon by fowls and beasts.

And I will make this city desolate and a hissing. Every one that passeth thereby shall be astonished and hiss, because of all the plagues thereof. — and I will make this city desolate, and an hissing… an hissing to its enemies; an hissing because it was desolate; when its walls should be broken down, its houses burnt with fire, and its inhabitants put to the sword, or carried away as captives;

— everyone that passeth thereby shall be astonished, and hiss; surprised to see its desolation; that a city once so famous and flourishing should be reduced to such a miserable condition; and yet hiss by way of detestation and abhorrence of it, and others for joy at its ruin;

— because of all the plagues thereof: by which it was brought to desolation, as the sword, famine, burning, and captivity.

And I will cause them to eat the flesh of their sons and the flesh of their daughters, and they shall eat every one the flesh of his friend in the siege and straits with which their enemies and they that seek their lives shall straiten them.’ — and I will cause them to eat the flesh of their sons, and the flesh of their daughters… for want of food; the famine should be so great and pressing. Jeremiah, that foretells this, was a witness of it, and has left it on record, Lamentations 4:10;

— and they shall eat everyone the flesh of his friend; the Targum interprets it, the goods or substance of his neighbour; which is sometimes the sense of eating the flesh of another; as it is to be taken in a literal sense;

— in the siege by their enemies, they that seek their lives shall straiten them; the siege of Jerusalem would be so severe, that no provision could be carried into the city for the relief of its inhabitants;

— though this was fulfilled at the Babylonish captivity, yet more fully when Jerusalem was besieged by Vespasian and Titus, and in the times of Hadrian. Josephus q gives us a most shocking scene of a woman eating her own son.

10 “Then shalt thou break the bottle in the sight of the men that go with thee,

11 and shalt say unto them, ‘Thus saith the Lord of hosts: Even so will I break this people and this city, as one breaketh a potter’s vessel that cannot be made whole again; and they shall bury them in Tophet till there be no place to bury. — and they shall bury them in Tophet, till there be no place: where there should be such great numbers slain; or whither such multitudes of the slain should be brought out of the city to be buried there, that at length there would not be room to receive any more dead;

— or, as the Syriac version renders it, “and in Tophet they shall bury, for want of a place to bury” in; in such a filthy, abominable, and accursed place shall their carcasses lie, where they were guilty of idolatry, and sacrificed their innocent babes, there being no other place to bury them.

12 Thus will I do unto this place, saith the Lord, and to the inhabitants thereof, and even make this city as Tophet. — make this city as Tophet; as full of slaughtered men and women as that had been of the blood of innocent children; and as filthy, abominable and execrable a place as that; and to lose its name as that is foretold it should, Jeremiah 19:6; and as Jerusalem did, after the desolation of it by Hadrian.

13 And the houses of Jerusalem and the houses of the kings of Judah shall be defiled as the place of Tophet, because of all the houses upon whose roofs they have burned incense unto all the host of heaven, and have poured out drink offerings unto other gods.’” — and the houses of the kings of Judah; the palaces of the king, princes, and nobles of Judah, one as well as their relatives;

— shall be defiled os Tophet; as that was defiled with the bodies and bones of the slain, and with the faith of the city brought unto it; so the houses of great and small, high and low, should be defiled with the carcasses of the slain that should lie unburied there; their houses should be their graves, and they buried in the ruins of them;

— or, “the houses of Jerusalem, and the houses of the kings of Judah, which are defiled” with the idolatries after mentioned, shall be as Tophet, places of slaughter.

14 Then came Jeremiah from Tophet, whither the Lord had sent him to prophesy; and he stood in the court of the Lord’S house and said to all the people, — and he stood in the court of the Lord’s house, and said to all the people; this was the court of the temple, called the outward court, or the court of the Israelites, where all the people met;

— here the prophet placed himself, on purpose to deliver his prophecy to all the people; even the same as he had delivered at Tophet to the people and the priests.

15 “Thus saith the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel: ‘Behold, I will bring upon this city and upon all her towns all the evil that I have pronounced against it, because they have hardened their necks, that they might not hear My words.’” — all the evil that I have pronounced against it; or decreed against it, as the Targum says; all that he had purposed, and all that he had threatened, or spoke of by Jeremiah, for whatever he has said he will do, and whatsoever he has solved upon, and declared he will do, God will assuredly bring to pass;

— because they have hardened their necks, that they might not hear his words; they turned their backs upon him, pulled away the shoulder, stopped their ears that they might not hear what was said by the prophets from the Lord; they neither inclined their ears to hearken to, nor bowed their necks to receive the yoke of his precepts;

— but, on the contrary, as was their general character, a stiffnecked people and uncircumcised in heart and ears, obstinate and disobedient; and this was the cause of their ruin, by which it appeared to be just and righteous.

Jeremiah 20

Pashur, the son of Malchiah, was a priest, who was sent by king Zedekiah to Jeremiah to inquire of the Lord regarding the impending attack of King Nebuchadnezzar II of Babylon (Jeremiah 21:1). In Jeremiah 38:1-6, this Pashur was also one of four men who advised Zedekiah to put Jeremiah to death for his prophecies of doom but who ended up throwing him into a cistern.

1 Now Pashhur the son of Immer the priest, who was also chief governor in the house of the Lord, heard that Jeremiah prophesied these things. — Pashur was not a high-priest, but only captain, or overseer of the temple. In this capacity he had power to arrest and put in prison the false prophets, and those who caused any disturbance in the temple;

— Pashur was, it seems a distant son of, and the head of the course of Immer, the sixteenth course of the priests fell by lot of of 24 courses 1 Chronicles 24:14; this Pashur was the son of Malchiah, (Jeremiah 21:1);

— the Targum calls him the “sagan” of the priests. There was such an officer, who was called the “sagan” or deputy to the high priest, who upon certain occasions acted for him; and some think that this man was in the same office; though others take him to be the same with the captain of the temple, Acts 4:1

Then Pashhur 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. — then Pashur, by virtue of the police- and judicial power vested in him, which he believed he must exercise in this instance, smote Jeremiah, the prophet, whose office is here purposely mentioned, and put him in the stocks, a five-holed instrument of torture in which the neck, the two hands, and the two feet were thrust.

And it came to pass on the morrow that Pashhur brought forth Jeremiah out of the stocks. Then said Jeremiah unto him, “The Lord hath not called thy name Pashhur, but Magormissabib [that is, Fear round about]. — but Magormissabib; or, “fear round about”; signifying that terrors should be all around him, and he should be in the utmost fright and consternation;

— the Targum says, “but there shall be gathered together against thee those that kill with the sword round about;” meaning the Chaldeans, which would make him a “Magormissabib” – changing from place to place; that is, going into captivity; a stranger and wanderer.

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. — for thus saith the Lord, behold, I will make thee a terror to thyself, and to all thy friends… this is an interpretation of the name given, “Magormissabib” and shows that it was not a mere name he had, but that he should be what that signifies;

— his conscience should be filled with terror at the judgements of God coming upon him for his sins; and which could not be concealed from others, but he should be seized with such tremblings and shakings, and be such a spectacle of horror, that his own familiar friends, instead of delighting in his company, should shun and run away from him.

Moreover I will deliver all the strength of this city and all the labors 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, who shall despoil them and take them and carry them to Babylon. — and all the precious things thereof; all their plate and jewels, the rich furniture of their houses, and whatsoever was laid up in their treasures as rare and valuable;

— and all the treasures of the kings of Judah will I give into the hand of their enemies; which they in successive reigns had been laying up in store for years together; see Isaiah 39:6.

And thou, Pashhur, 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.’” — and thou, Pashur, and all that dwell in thine house, shall go into captivity… particularly he and his family should not escape;

— and thou shalt come to Babylon; though sore against thy will: and there thou shalt die, and shalt be buried there; even in a defiled land, and to be buried in such a land;

— to whom thou hast prophesied lies; not only because he had so ill used Jeremiah, a true prophet of the Lord; but because he was a false prophet, and his friends had hearkened to his lies, and disbelieved those prophecies that came from the Lord himself.

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. — O Lord, thou hast deceived me, and I was deceived… what follows from hence to the end of the chapter is thought to have been said by the prophet, when in the stocks, or in prison, and shows mixture of courage and weakness in him; a struggle between flesh and spirit, and the force of a temptation under which he laboured, arising from difficulties and discouragements in his work; and he not only complains to God, but of him; that he had deceived him;

— when he first called him to be a prophet, by telling him that he should be set over nations and kingdoms, to pull them down, Jeremiah 1:10; which he understood of foreign nations, but now found his own people were meant;

— or by giving him reason to expect honour and ease, whereas he met with nothing but disrespect and trouble; and that he should have divine protection and success against his opposers, Jeremiah 1:18; whereas he was now delivered into their hands, and used in the most reproachful manner; but be it so, this was all a mistake of the prophet, and no deception of God;

— I am in derision daily, everyone mocketh me; he was the laughing stock of everyone of the people of Israel, from the highest to the lowest; princes, priests, and people, all derided him and his prophecies, and that continually, every day, and all the day long, and especially when he was in the stocks; though it was not only his person they mocked, but the word of the Lord by him, as appears from Jeremiah 20:8.

For when I spoke, I cried out; I cried, “Violence and despoliation!” because the word of the Lord was made a reproach unto me and a derision daily. — because the word of the Lord was made a reproach unto me, and a derision daily; which is a reason either why he cried with grief and sorrow; or why he cried violence and spoil, ruin and destruction: or, “though the word of the Lord was” yet he went on proclaiming it;

— or, “surely the word of the Lord was made a reproach” either because of the matter of it, it not being believed, or the manner in which it was delivered; or because it was not immediately fulfilled.

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 hold back. — then I said, I will not make mention of him, nor speak any more in his name… not that he publicly said this before his enemies, or privately to his friends, but he said it in his heart; he thought, nay, resolved, within himself, to prophesy no more; since no credit was given to him, but contempt cast on him;

— “there was in mine heart as a burning fire” which made him uneasy, and constrained him to break his former resolution: for the phrase, “his word” is not in the original text; though it is in like manner supplied by the Targum, “and his words became in mine heart as fire burning and overflowing my bones;” or, “and the word of the Lord was in my heart as fire burning;” or Rashi says prophecy was as fire, to which it is compared, Jeremiah 23:29.

10 For I heard the defaming of many, fear on every side. “Report,” say they, “and we will report it!” All in my company watched for my halting, saying, “Perhaps he will be enticed, and we shall prevail against him; and we shall take our revenge on him.” — for I heard the defaming of many, as they talked about him and his office in a derogatory manner: Fear on every side, or, “Terror round about!” an attempt to deride the prophecy against Pashur;

— report, say they, and we will report it, that is, they want people to bring any sort of accusation against Jeremiah, and they would immediately act upon such information in bringing the matter to the attention of the authorities and having him punished. All my familiars, men who enjoyed his confidence, whom he considered his friends, watched for my halting, for any indication of stumbling on his part, saying, 

— perhaps he will be enticed, be induced to commit some sin, and we shall prevail against him, getting the better of Jeremiah in this situation, and we shall take our revenge on him. Over against this behavior of his false friends the prophet states the firm conviction of his heart.

11 But the Lord is with me as a mighty, fearsome 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. — but the Lord is with me as a mighty terrible one, as a mighty hero to defend him; 

— therefore my persecutors shall stumble, come to grief in the very way in which they hoped to see the prophet humbled, and they shall not prevail, as they had hoped to; they shall be greatly ashamed, for they shall not prosper, have no success in their plotting and scheming against him; 

— their everlasting confusion shall never be forgotten, they would be heaped with eternal disgrace, the ignominy of which would attach to them forever. This confidence on the part of Jeremiah now finds expression in a fervent appeal to the Lord to take his part and defend his cause.

12 But, O Lord of hosts, who 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. — let me see thy vengeance on them; his enemies and persecutors; he does not seek vengeance himself, but desires it of the Lord;

— he does not ask to see his vengeance, but the Lord’s vengeance on them, what he thought was just and proper to inflict on them; he knew that vengeance belonged to the Lord, and therefore left it with him, and prayed for it from him;

— the Targum says, “let me see the vengeance of thy judgements on them.”

13 Sing unto the Lord, praise ye the Lord; for He hath delivered the soul of the poor from the hand of evildoers. — for he hath delivered the soul of the poor from the hand of evil doers; or, “the life of the poor”; meaning himself, a poor destitute person, few or none to stand by him but the Lord, who had delivered him out of the hand of Pashur and his accomplices.

14 Cursed be the day wherein I was born; let not the day wherein my mother bore me be blessed. — cursed be the day wherein I was born… if this was said immediately upon the foregoing, it was a most strange and sudden change of frame indeed that the prophet came into, from praising God, to cursing the day of his birth; wherefore some have thought it was delivered at another time, when in great anguish of spirit; 

at this sudden change of the prophet’s discourse, it is not unlikely that these words of complaint were uttered before the foregoing, which are expressive of confidence in God and gratitude for deliverance.

15 Cursed be the man who brought tidings to my father, saying, “A manchild 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, — and let that man be as the cities which the Lord overthrew… in his fury, as the Targum and Septuagint add. Meaning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah, who were utterly destroyed, and were never recovered;

— and repented not; whose sentence God never repented of, nor revoked: this was very severe and uncharitable, to wish for so sore a destruction upon an innocent person.

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 Why came I forth out of the womb to see labor and sorrow, that my days should be consumed with shame? — that my days should be consumed with shame? through the bad usage of him, the reproach that was cast upon him, and the contempt he had to carry for prophesying in the name of the Lord;

— all this shows that there are fragilities and vulnerabilities in the best of men, and what they are when left to themselves; how weak, foolish and fragile they could be. And Jeremiah recording all his weaknesses and failings, is an argument of the uprightness and sincerity of the man Jeremiah; and of the truth and integrity of his records in the Scriptures.

~ by Joel Huan on November 10, 2021.

One Response to “Jeremiah (Ch 19-20)”

  1. […] Study of Chapters 19 and 20 HERE ~ —— […]

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