Jeremiah 20:10
For I heard the defaming of many, fear on every side. Report, say they, and we will report it. All my familiars watched for my halting, saying, Peradventure he will be enticed, and we shall prevail against him, and we shall take our revenge on him.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(10) The defaming of many.—Another quotation from the Psalms (Psalm 31:13), where the Authorised Version has “the slander of many.”

Fear on every side.—The Magor-missabib still rings in the prophet’s ears, and, for himself as for others, is the burden of his cry. It may be noted that this also comes from the same verse of the psalm just quoted.

Report, say they, and we will report it.—Better, do you report. The words are not spoken as to the prophet, but are those with which his persecutors encouraged each other to inform against him. (Comp. Jeremiah 11:19; Jeremiah 18:18.)

All my familiars.—Literally, every man of my peace, i.e., the men who used to greet him with the wonted “Peace be with thee.” The same phrase is used in the “familiar friends” of Psalm 41:9, but it does not in itself describe the intimacy of friendship, but rather the courtesy and good-will of acquaintances who thus salute each other.

Watched for my halting.—Comp. Psalm 35:15 (where the same word is rendered “adversity”) and Psalm 38:17.

He will be enticed.—The same word as the “deceived” of Jeremiah 20:7. They were on the look-out for some rash and hasty word spoken in prophetic zeal, and the prophet, in the bitterness of his soul, looked on their work and that of Jehovah as tending to the same result. Compare the conduct of the Scribes and Pharisees towards our Lord (Matthew 12:10; Matthew 22:15; Mark 12:13).

Jeremiah 20:10-11. For I heard the defaming of many — The slanderous, injurious reports that were raised concerning me; fear on every side — Hebrew, magor-missabib; as if he had said, The name given to Pashur would have suited me; fear, or cause for fear, was on every side of me. These words are found verbatim in the original, (Psalm 31:13,) where the sense of them seems to be exactly the same as here, namely, from the slanderous reports raised upon him, he had reason to apprehend some evil design against his life, as well from treacherous friends as from open enemies. Report, say they, &c. — This seems to be spoken of the enemies of the prophet, exciting one another to accuse him of being in the interest of the Babylonians against his country. Blaney joins this clause with the preceding, thus: Report ye terror all around, and we will report it: all my familiar friends watch for my halting; perhaps, say they, he may be drawn aside, so that we may prevail against him, and we may take our revenge of him. But, &c. — The prophet, having given vent to his painful apprehensions in the preceding gloomy reflections, begins here to rise above his fears, and to encourage himself in his God. The Lord is with me — Is on my side, to take my part against my enemies, and to defend me from their malicious designs upon me; as a mighty and terrible one — Mighty to defend, support, and save me, and terrible to confound and avenge me of them! The Lord had said to him, when he first undertook the prophetic office, (Jeremiah 1:8,) Be not afraid of their faces: for I am with thee to deliver thee. This promise he now recollects, and confiding in the power, love, and faithfulness of God to make it good, he concludes that though he had many enemies who pursued after his life, he should be protected, and they should fail of accomplishing their wicked purpose. Therefore my persecutors shall stumble — In their ways of violence, and not prevail against me. They shall be greatly ashamed — Of what they have done, or shall be brought to shame for it. Their everlasting confusion — That is, their ignominy and disgrace; shall never be forgotten — They shall not forget it themselves, but it shall be to them a constant and lasting vexation whenever they think of it; and others shall not forget it, but it shall leave upon them an indelible reproach.20:7-13 The prophet complains of the insult and injury he experienced. But ver. 7 may be read, Thou hast persuaded me, and I was persuaded. Thou wast stronger than I; and didst overpower me by the influence of thy Spirit upon me. So long as we see ourselves in the way of God, and of duty, it is weakness and folly, when we meet with difficulties and discouragements, to wish we had never set out in it. The prophet found the grace of God mighty in him to keep him to his business, notwithstanding the temptation he was in to throw it up. Whatever injuries are done to us, we must leave them to that God to whom vengeance belongs, and who has said, I will repay. So full was he of the comfort of God's presence, the Divine protection he was under, and the Divine promise he had to depend upon, that he stirred up himself and others to give God the glory. Let the people of God open their cause before Him, and he will enable them to see deliverance.The defaming - Rather, "the talking." The word refers to people whispering in twos and threes apart; in this case plotting against Jeremiah. Compare Mark 14:58.

Report ... - Rather, "Do you report, and we will report him: i. e., they encourage one another to give information against Jeremiah.

My familiars - literally, "the men of my peace" Psalm 41:9. In the East the usual salutation is "Peace be to thee:" and the answer, "And to thee peace." Thus, the phrase rather means acquaintances, than familiar friends.

Enticed - literally, "persuaded, misled," the same word as "deceived Jeremiah 20:7." Compare Mark 12:13-17.

10. For—not referring to the words immediately preceding, but to "I will not make mention of Him." The "defaming" or detraction of the enemy on every side (see Ps 31:13) tempted him to think of prophesying no more.

Report … we will report—The words of his adversaries one to the other; give any information against him (true or false) which will give color for accusing him; and "we will report it," namely, to the Sanhedrim, in order to crush him.

familiars—literally, "men of my peace"; those who pretended to be on peaceable terms with me (Ps 41:9). Jeremiah is a type of Messiah, referred to in that Psalm. (See Jer 38:22; Job 19:19; Ps 55:13, 14; Lu 11:53, 54).

watched for my halting—(Ps 35:15, Margin, "halting"; Ps 38:17; 71:10, Margin). Gesenius not so well translates, according to Arabic idiom, "those guarding my side" (that is, my most intimate friends always at my side), in apposition to "familiars," and the subject of "say" (instead of "saying"). The Hebrew means properly "side," then "halting," as the halt bend on one side.

enticed—to commit some sin.

The prophet here rendereth a reason why he thought of giving over his work as a prophet, his ears were continually filled with the obloquies and reproaches of such as reproached him, and besides he was afraid on all hands, there were so many traps laid for him, so many devices devised against him. They did not only take all advantages against him, but they sought advantages and invited others to raise up false stories of him. They said to men like themselves, Raise but you the report, we will blow it abroad.

All my familiars watched for my halting; not only strangers, but those that I might have expected the greatest kindness from, those that pretended most courteously, watched for opportunities to do me mischief and lay in wait for my halting.

Saying, Peradventure he will be enticed, and we shall prevail against him; desiring nothing more than that I might be enticed to speak or do something which they might make matter of a colourable accusation.

And we shall take our revenge on him; that so they might satisfy their malice upon me. This hath always been the genius of wicked men; Job and David both made complaints much like this, Job 19:19 Psalm 31:13 55:12-14. Thus it fared with Christ himself. The same spirit which yet possesseth wicked men was found in wicked men in all former times. And this ought to be a great relief to the people of God under the like measures, to consider that the servants are not above their Lord, and wicked men thus of old persecuted the prophets. For I heard the defaming of many, fear on every side,.... It was brought to the prophet's ears by some of his friends, how he was defamed by many, and these great and mighty ones, as the word also signifies; how his character was aspersed; his good name taken away; and false and scandalous reports were raised of him from all quarters; which filled him with fear all around, so that he might quickly expect fresh trouble from one side or another; see Psalm 31:13; and this was a reason of his entering into the above resolution to leave off prophesying: though some understand it as an additional reason to the former for going on with it; being not only inwardly pressed to it in spirit, but outwardly provoked by the usage of his enemies. Some retain the words "Magormissabib", untranslated, and render the whole thus, "for I heard the defaming of many magormissabibs"; of many such as Pashur, so called, Jeremiah 20:3; but neither the accents nor the syntax will admit of it; since there is an accent on many, which makes a stop, and "magormissabib" is in the singular number: rather it may be rendered, "I have heard the defaming of many; even of magormissabib", that is, of Pashur and his associates;

report, say they, and we will report it; these are the words of the defamers, whether Pashur and his accomplices, or the great ones, the princes and nobles, the priests and false prophets, that more especially bore a grudge to Jeremiah; addressing themselves to the common people, and such who were most acquainted with the prophet, and his manner of life; saying, tell us what you can of him, right or wrong, true or false, that may be any ways improved against him, and we shall tell it to the king, or to the sanhedrim, the court of judicature, and get him punished for it; or we shall take care to have it spread about city and country, and so blast his character and credit with the people, that none will after regard his prophecies;

all my familiars watched for my halting; or, "every man of my peace" (f); who pretended to be at peace, and to be friendly with him, and wished well unto him, spoke fair to his face, as if they were cordial friends, and fond of the most intimate acquaintance with him; perhaps the men of Anathoth, the birth place of Jeremiah, are here meant; whom the priests at Jerusalem, or others, had engaged on their side, narrowly to observe what was said and done by him, of which any handle could be made against him to the government; and accordingly they did; they watched his words, and observed his actions, if they could catch at anything that was imprudently or inadvertently said or done, or what could be misconstrued to his disadvantage;

saying, peradventure he will be enticed; to say or do something that may be laid hold on, and be produced against him, to the ruin of him; he not being on his guard, and knowing of no design against him:

and we shall prevail against him; gain our point, get him accused, condemned, and punished:

and we shall take our revenge on him; for inveighing so severely against their sins, which they could not bear; and for threatening them with punishments that should be inflicted on them, which they liked not to hear.

(f) "omnis homo pacis meae", Montanus, Cocceius, Schmidt; "omnes viri pacis meae", Munster, Vatablus.

For I heard the defaming of many, fear on every side. {f} Report, say they, and we will report it. All my friends watched for my fall, saying, Perhaps he will be enticed, and we shall prevail against him, and we shall take our revenge on him.

(f) Thus the enemies conferred together to know what they had heard him say, that they might accuse him of it, read Isa 29:21.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
10. defaming] lit. probably, whispering. Cp. Psalm 31:13.

watch for my halting] Cp. Psalm 35:15; Psalm 38:17.

enticed] into some act, which will lay him open to attack.Verse 10. - For I heard, etc.; rather, For I have heard the whispering of many; there is terror on every side. Inform (say they), and let us inform against him. This gives us the reason for Ms momentary inclinations to silence. He was surrounded by bitter enemies, who were no longer content with malicious words, but urged each other on to lay an information against him with the authorities as a public criminal. The first clause agrees verbatim with part of Psalm 31:13 (this is one of the psalms attributed, by a too bold conjecture, to Jeremiah). "There is terror on every side" (see above, ver. 3, and also note on Jeremiah 6:25) means "everything about me inspires me with terror." All my familiars is, literally, all the men of my peace; i.e. all those with whom I have been on terms of friendship (same phrase, Jeremiah 38:22). Watched for my halting; i.e. either laid traps for me or waited for me to commit some error for them to take advantage cf. The phrase, "my halting," is borrowed (?) from Psalm 35:15; Psalm 38:18 (Hebrew). He will be enticed; viz. to say something on which a charge of treason can be based. Jeremiah 20:4. "For thus hath Jahveh said: Behold, I make thee a terror to thyself and to all thy friends, and they shall fall by the sword of their enemies and thine eyes behold it; and all Judah will I give into the hand of the king of Babylon, that he may carry them captive to Babylon and smite them with the sword. Jeremiah 20:5. And I will give all the stores of this city, and all its gains, and all its splendour, and all the treasures of the kings of Judah will I give into the hand of their enemies, who shall plunder them and take and bring them to Babylon. Jeremiah 20:6. And thou, Pashur, and all that dwell in thine house shall go into captivity, and to Babylon shalt thou come, and there die, and there be buried, thou and all thy friends, to whom thou hast prophesied lyingly." - Pashur will become a fear or terror to himself and all his friends, because of his own and his friend's fate; for he will see his friends fall by the sword of the enemy, and then he himself, with those of his house and his friends not as yet slain, will go forth into exile to Babylon and die there. So that not to himself merely, but to all about him, he will be an object of fear. Ng. wrongly translates נתנך למגור, I deliver thee up to fear, and brings into the text the contrast that Pashur is not to become the victim of death itself, but of perpetual fear of death. Along with Pashur's friends, all Judah is to be given into the hand of the king of Babylon, and be partly exiled to Babylon, partly put to death with the sword. All the goods and gear of Jerusalem, together with the king's treasures, are to be plundered and carried off by the enemy. We must not press "all thy friends" in Jeremiah 20:4 and Jeremiah 20:6; and so we escape the apparent contradiction, that while in Jeremiah 20:4 it is said of all the friends that they shall die by the sword, it is said of all in Jeremiah 20:6 that they shall go into exile. The friends are those who take Pashur's side, his partisans. From the last clause of Jeremiah 20:6 we see that Pashur was also of the number of the false prophets, who prophesied the verse of Jeremiah's prediction, namely, welfare and peace (cf. Jeremiah 23:17; Jeremiah 14:13). - This saying of Jeremiah was most probably fulfilled at the taking of Jerusalem under Jechoniah, Pashur and the better part of the people being carried off to Babylon.
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