Jeremiah 20:1
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.
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(1) Pashur the son of Immer.—The description must be remembered as distinguishing him from the son of Melchiah of the same name in Jeremiah 21:1. We may probably identify him with the father of the Gedaliah named in Jeremiah 38:1 as among the “princes” that at a later date opposed the prophet’s work, and with the section of the priesthood, the sixteenth, named in 1Chronicles 24:14, as headed in the time of David by Immer. The name here (like that of “the sons of Korah”) may indicate simply the fact that he belonged to this section; or, possibly, the name of the patriarch (so to speak) who gave its name to it may have re-appeared from time to time in the line of his descendants. The name of Pashur appears again, after the Captivity, in Ezra 2:37-38.

Chief governor.—Better, deputy-governor. The word for governor is Nâgid, and this office was assigned to the high priest as the “ruler of the house of God” (1Chronicles 9:11; 2Chronicles 31:13). In the case of Zephaniah, who appears as Nâgid in Jeremiah 29:26, it was given to him as the “second priest” (2Kings 25:18; Jeremiah 52:14). Next in order to him was the Pakid, the deputy, or, perhaps, better, superintendent. Here Pashur is described by the combination of the two titles, possibly as implying that he was invested, though a “deputy,” with the full powers of the “governor.” By some commentators, however, the relation of the two words is inverted, the Nâgid being added to the Pakid, to imply that Pashur was the chief warden or overseer. As such, on either view, the act and the words of Jeremiah came under his official notice. That such words should be spoken in the court of the Temple to the multitude assembled there was, we must believe, something new, and Pashur was resolved at any cost to prevent its repetition.

Jeremiah 20:1. Pashur the son of Immer — Pashur was not the immediate son of Immer, but of Melchiah, as is expressly mentioned 1 Chronicles 9:12, and hereafter, Jeremiah 21:1. Immer was one of his predecessors, and head of the sixteenth sacerdotal class, 1 Chronicles 24:14. Pashur was not high-priest, as some of the ancients have thought, 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. This matter is further explained, by Blaney, thus: “The priests being distributed, by David, into twenty-four courses, under as many heads of families, and each of these courses officiating by turns in the temple service; the heads of each course were governors of the sanctuary; or, according to our translation, of the house of God. The meaning then will be, that these heads of the courses had not only the chief ordering of the service of the sanctuary, but were invested also with authority, at least within the precincts of the temple, to maintain peace and good order there. These persons I consider as being the same with those who in the New Testament are styled αρχιερεις, chief priests, being next in dignity and power to the high-priest. Pashur, it seems, was the head of the course of Immer. So that, if the course of Immer was at that time upon duty, Pashur was at the same time the acting ruler or commander in the temple. And this I conceive to be implied in the words here used, נגיד, implying his authority to command, and פקיד, that he was then in the exercise of it; and by virtue of that authority he took upon him to punish Jeremiah as a disturber of the peace. I have given this officer, or magistrate,” (namely, in his translation,) “the military title of commanding officer, because it was usual to consider the temple as a kind of garrison, held by high-priests under military subordination. And for this reason, no doubt, we find him called by the name of στρατηγος του ιερου, captain of the temple, Acts 4:1; Acts 5:24; Acts 5:26. In Luke 22:52, captains, στρατηγοι, are spoken of, in the plural number; which may perhaps be thus accounted for. As on the great festivals, not only the priests of the ordinary course, but the whole body of priests, were called upon to assist in the sacrifices; so on account of the multitudes that flocked to the temple at these times, the guards were also necessarily doubled, and, of course, a greater number of captains were on constant duty; and many, if not all these, came to assist in apprehending Jesus, as on a service which might be esteemed hazardous, on account of the number of his disciples.”20:1-6 Pashur smote Jeremiah, and put him in the stocks. Jeremiah was silent till God put a word into his mouth. To confirm this, Pashur has a name given him, Fear on every side. It speaks a man not only in distress, but in despair; not only in danger, but in fear on every side. The wicked are in great fear where no fear is, for God can make the most daring sinner a terror to himself. And those who will not hear of their faults from God's prophets, shall be made to hear them from their consciences. Miserable is the man thus made a terror to himself. His friends shall fail him. God lets him live miserably, that he may be a monument of Divine justice.Pashur, the father probably of the Gedaliah mentioned in Jeremiah 38:1, was the head of the 16th course (shift) of priests (marginal reference); the other Pashur Jeremiah 21:1 belonged to the fifth course, the sons of Melchiah. Both these houses returned in great strength from the exile. See Ezra 2:37-38.

Chief governor - Or, "deputy governor." The Nagid or governer of the temple was the high priest 1 Chronicles 9:11, and Pashur was his Pakid, i. e., deputy (see Jeremiah 1:10 note). Zephaniah held this office Jeremiah 29:26, and his relation to the high priest is exactly defined 2 Kings 25:18; Jeremiah 52:24. The Nagid at this time was Seraiah the high priest, the grandson of Hilkiah, or (possibly) Azariah, Hilkiah's son and Jeremiah's brother 1 Chronicles 6:13, Ezra 7:1.


Jer 20:1-18. Jeremiah's Incarceration by Pashur, the Principal Officer of the Temple, for Prophesying within Its Precincts; His Renewed Predictions against the City, &c., ON His Liberation.

1. son—descendant.

of Immer—one of the original "governors of the sanctuary and of the house of God," twenty-four in all, that is, sixteen of the sons of Eleazar and eight of the sons of Ithamar (1Ch 24:14). This Pashur is distinct from Pashur, son of Melchiah (Jer 21:1). The "captains" (Lu 22:4) seem to have been over the twenty-four guards of the temple, and had only the right of apprehending any who were guilty of delinquency within it; but the Sanhedrim had the judicial power over such delinquents [Grotius] (Jer 26:8, 10, 16).Pashur, smiting Jeremiah.for this prophecy, receiveth a new name, and a fearful doom, Jeremiah 20:1-6. Jeremiah’s impatience under their treachery and contempt, Jeremiah 20:7-10. He rejoiceth in hope of vengeance, Jeremiah 20:11-13. Curseth his birth, Jeremiah 20:14-18.

The course of Immer was the sixteenth course of the priests, as we read in 1 Chronicles 24:14.

Pashur was his son, that is, descended from him through many generations. It is neither much material for us to know, nor very easy to determine, in what sense he is called the

chief governor of the temple, whether he was deputy to the high priest, or the head of his course, which at that time waited in the temple, or had some place as captain of the temple, to take notice of any disorders should be committed there, contrary to the law. Certain it is he was no high priest, for then he could not have been one of the course of Immer.

Heard that Jeremiah prophesied these things; either he heard Jeremiah himself, (which is most probable,) or somebody told him what Jeremiah had prophesied in the temple, which was within his charge and jurisdiction.

Now Pashur the son of Immer the priest,.... Not the immediate son of Immer, but one that descended from him after many generations; for Immer was a priest in David's time, to whom the sixteenth course of the priests fell by lot, 1 Chronicles 24:14;

who was also chief governor in the house of the Lord; the temple; not the high priest, since he was of the course of Immer; perhaps he was the head of the course to which he belonged, the chief of the priests of that course. 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. Who

heard that Jeremiah prophesied these things; some that heard him in the court of the temple prophesying of the evil that should come upon the city, and places adjacent to it, went and told the chief governor of it. Though the words may be rendered, "now Pashur heard (u)----Jeremiah prophesying these things"; he heard him himself; either he was one of the ancients of the priests that went with him to Tophet, and heard him there; or, however, when he came from thence, and stood and prophesied in the court of the temple, he heard him.

(u) "audivit autem", Paschchurus, Schmidt; "audiens autem", Paschhur, Junius & Tremellius, Piscator.

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.
Jeremiah 20:1. Now Pashhur the son of Immer the priest] The name seems to have been a common one. In Jeremiah 21:1 and Jeremiah 38:1 a P. “son of Malchiah” is mentioned, and in the latter v. we find a third (possibly, however, identical with the present one), who was father of Gedaliah. Doubt has been thrown on the authentic character of this passage, inasmuch as in later times Immer (Ezra 2:37; Ezra 10:20; Nehemiah 7:40; Nehemiah 11:13) and apparently Pashhur (see on Ezra 2:38 in C.B.) were the names of priestly families, while in Jeremiah they are personal names. Moreover, since in b.c. 537 the priestly house of Immer was 1052 strong (Ezra 2:37 and so Nehemiah 7:40), it cannot have been named after the father of this P. But “son of Immer,” as Co. points out, may only mean a member of the family named after him as ancestor. Du. maintains that there is no room for the P. of the text here, as Jeremiah 29:26 shews that the predecessor of the Zephaniah, there mentioned as holding the same office, was not P. but Jehoiada. Erbt, on the other hand, points out that the office need not be the same, for in Jeremiah 52:24 we find that Zephaniah is but one of several officers of the Temple, and so, at the time to which Jeremiah 29:26 belongs, may have been the chief of the three “keepers of the door,” and not successor to the office here held by Pashhur.

chief officer] lit. overseer, ruler, but the latter word in MT. “is probably a gloss, identifying Jeremiah’s ‘overseer’ (see Jeremiah 29:26) with the ‘ruler’ often mentioned in later times in connexion with the Temple, 1 Chronicles 9:11 (= Nehemiah 11:11); 2 Chronicles 31:13; 2 Chronicles 35:8.” Dr.In Jeremiah 19:6-13 the threatened punishment is given again at large, and that in two strophes or series of ideas, which explain the emblematical act with the pitcher. The first series, Jeremiah 19:6-9, is introduced by בּקּותי, which intimates the meaning of the pitcher; and the other, Jeremiah 19:10-13, is bound up with the breaking of the pitcher. But both series are, Jeremiah 19:6, opened by the mention of the locality of the act. As Jeremiah 19:5 was but an expansion of Jeremiah 7:31, so Jeremiah 19:6 is a literal repetition of Jeremiah 7:32. The valley of Benhinnom, with its places for abominable sacrifices (תּפת, see on Jeremiah 7:32), shall in the future be called Valley of Slaughter; i.e., at the judgment on Jerusalem it will be the place where the inhabitants of Jerusalem and Judah will be slain by the enemy. There God will make void (בּקּותי, playing on בּקבּק), i.e., bring to nothing; for what is poured out comes to nothing; cf. Isaiah 19:3. There they shall fall by the sword in such numbers that their corpses shall be food for the beasts of prey (cf. Jeremiah 7:33), and the city of Jerusalem shall be frightfully ravaged (Jeremiah 19:8, cf. Jeremiah 18:16; Jeremiah 25:9, etc.). מכּתה (plural form of suffix without Jod; cf. Ew. 258, a), the wounds she has received. - In Jeremiah 19:9 is added yet another item to complete the awful picture, the terrible famine during the siege, partly taken from the words of Deuteronomy 28:53. and Leviticus 26:29. That this appalling misery did actually come about during the last siege by the Chaldeans, we learn from Lamentations 4:10. - The second series, Jeremiah 19:10-13, is introduced by the act of breaking the pitcher. This happens before the eyes of the elders who have accompanied Jeremiah thither: to them the explanatory word of the Lord is addressed. As the earthen pitcher, so shall Jerusalem - people and city - be broken to pieces; and that irremediably. This is implied in: as one breaks a potter's vessel, etc. (הרפה for הרפא). The next clause: and in Tophet they shall bury, etc., is omitted by the lxx as a repetition from Jeremiah 7:32, and is object to by Ew., Hitz., and Graf, as not being in keeping with its context. Ew. proposes to insert it before "as one breaketh;" but this transposition only obscures the meaning of the clause. It connects very suitably with the idea of the incurable breaking in sunder. Because the breaking up of Jerusalem and its inhabitants shall be incurable, shall be like the breaking of a pitcher dashed into countless fragments, therefore there will be lack of room in Jerusalem to bury the dead, and the unclean places of Tophet will need to be used for that purpose. With this the further thought of Jeremiah 19:12 and Jeremiah 19:13 connects simply and suitably. Thus (as had been said at Jeremiah 19:11) will I do unto this place and its inhabitants, ולתת, and that to make the city as Tophet, i.e., not "a mass of sherds and rubbish, as Tophet now is" (Graf); for neither was Tophet then a rubbish-heap, nor did it so become by the breaking of the pitcher. But Josiah had turned all the place of Tophet in the valley of Benhinnom into an unclean region (2 Kings 23:10). All Jerusalem shall become an unclean place like Tophet. This is put in so many words in Jeremiah 19:13 : The houses of Jerusalem shall become unclean like the place Tophet, namely, all houses on whose roofs idolatry has been practised. The construction of הטּמאים causes some difficulty. The position of the word at the end disfavours our connecting it with the subject בּתּי, and so does the article, which does not countenance its being taken as predicate. To get rid of the article, J. D. Mich. and Ew. sought to change the reading into תּפתּה טמאים, after Isaiah 30:33. But תּפתּה means a Tophet-like place, not Tophet itself, and so gives no meaning to the purpose. No other course is open than to join the word with "the place Tophet:" like the place Tophet, which is unclean. The plural would then be explained less from the collective force of מקום than from regard to the plural subject. "All the houses" opens a supplementary definition of the subject: as concerning all houses; cf. Ew. 310, a. On the worship of the stars by sacrifice on the housetops, transplanted by Manasseh to Jerusalem, see the expos. of Zephaniah 1:5 and 2 Kings 21:3. 'והסּך, coinciding literally with Jeremiah 7:18; the inf. absol. being attached to the verb. finit. of the former clause (Ew. 351, c.). - Thus far the word of the Lord to Jeremiah, which he was to proclaim in the valley of Benhinnom. - The execution of the divine commission is, as being a matter of course, not expressly recounted, but is implied in Jeremiah 19:14 as having taken place.
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