Jeremiah 20:3
And it came to pass on the morrow, that Pashur brought forth Jeremiah out of the stocks. Then said Jeremiah to him, The LORD has not called your name Pashur, but Magormissabib.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(3) Magor-missabib.—The words are a quotation from Psalm 31:13, and are rightly rendered, “Fear is round about;” they had already been used by the prophet in Jeremiah 6:25. We may venture to think that the Psalm had been his comfort in those night-watches of suffering, and that he now uttered the words which described the bitterness of the Psalmist’s sorrow, as at last feeling sure that they belonged to his persecutor rather than to himself. It is scarcely necessary to seek a special significance in the name of Pashur as contrasted with this new nomen et omen; but Hebrew scholars, according to various, and it must be owned, conjectural etymologies, have found in it the ideas of wide-spread joy, “joy round about,” or else of freedom and deliverance. The prophet repeats the combination in Jeremiah 46:5; Jeremiah 49:29; Lamentations 2:22, and it had evidently become a kind of “burden” in both senses of the word, weighing on the prophet’s thoughts and finding frequent utterance. The word that stands for “fear” is a rare one, and outside the passages now referred to is found only in Isaiah 31:9.

Jeremiah 20:3-5. Jeremiah said, The Lord hath not called — Rather, doth not call thy name Pashur; but Magor-missabib — That is, Terror on every side, or, Terror to all around, as the name is explained in the next verse. God’s giving him this name: signifies his changing the circumstances or condition of the person so named, agreeably to the meaning of the name given him, or that he would render him such as he called him. So when God called Abram by the new name of Abraham, he assigns the reason, “For a father of many nations have I made thee,” Genesis 17:5. I will deliver all the strength of this city — All its wealth, the word חסן, here used, being frequently translated treasures: see Proverbs 15:6; Ezekiel 22:25. It may also include whatever strengthened and defended it, especially the men of war; and all the labours thereof — Or, all the workmanship thereof; that is, all the fruit of the people’s labours; all their fine buildings, or whatever its artificers had erected with labour and cost; and all the precious things thereof — Whatever was valuable in the eyes of the greatest persons among them; will I give into the hands of their enemies — The Babylonians shall spoil and make a prey of them all.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.Magor-missabib - See Jeremiah 6:25 note. Jeremiah uses it no less than five times, having probably adopted it as his watchword from Psalm 31:13. 3. Pashur—compounded of two roots, meaning "largeness (and so 'security') on every side"; in antithesis to Magor-missabib, "terror round about" (Jer 20:10; Jer 6:25; 46:5; 49:29; Ps 31:13). Possibly by this time the mad-brained priest thought he had done more than he could justify by law, for if he were a false prophet, the judgment of him belonged not to him, but to the sanhedrim; he had nothing to do to smite him. Possibly he brought him forth in order to his bringing him before the sanhedrim; but it doth not appear that he did so, though Jeremiah’s following words to him might reasonably be thought provocative enough, if he had designed any formal charge against him. He had it seemeth no more to say to Jeremiah, but Jeremiah (to whom God had appeared in the prison that night, while he was separated from communion with men, and revealed to him what end this hot-headed priest should come to) had something to say to him. God’s meaning was, not that he should by men be no longer called Pashur, (for doubtless after this he was called by the same name he had before,) but his state and condition should not answer the name Pashur, which signifies, as some say, a noble, flourishing priest; or, as others, one who by his authority maketh others to tremble; but

Magor-missabib, that is, fear and terror on all sides. And it came to pass on the morrow,.... After the prophet was put into the stocks; so that he was there all night:

that Pashur brought forth Jeremiah out of the stocks; either to bring him before the priests, or the sanhedrim, to be examined; or in order to dismiss him, being either admonished by his friends, or convicted in his own conscience that he had done a wrong thing;

then said Jeremiah unto him; when he had brought him out, not being at all intimidated by him, and having a word from the Lord for him:

the Lord hath not called thy name Pashur; which, according to Jerom, signifies "blackness of mouth"; and, according to others, "diffusing paleness"; one that terrified others, and made their faces look pale; but now it should be otherwise, and he himself should be filled with terror, and have paleness of thee: but, according to a late etymologist, it signifies one abounding or "increased in liberty" (x), who in a little time would become a captive; for it is not suggested hereby that he should no more be called by this name, but that he should be in a condition which would not answer to it, but to another, as follows:

but Magormissabib; or, "fear round about"; signifying that terrors should be all around him, and he in the utmost fright and consternation. The Septuagint version renders it "one removing"; changing from place to place; that is, going into captivity; a stranger and wanderer, as the Syriac version. The Targum is,

"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".

(x) "abundantiam", & liberum sonat", Hiller. Onomast. Sacr. p. 302. Paschchur, "auctus libertate", ib. p. 904.

And it came to pass on the morrow, that Pashur brought forth Jeremiah out of the stocks. Then said Jeremiah unto him, The LORD hath not called thy name Pashur, but Magormissabib.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
3. Magor-missabib] meaning, terror on every side. The LXX wrongly render, foreigner, obtaining this sense from the fact that the Hebrew roots for terror and sojourn in a foreign country are identical in form. The name is to be significant of his fate, which doubtless was to go into exile with Jehoiachin, as well as of the consternation of himself and his friends at the failure of their policy of reliance on Egypt against Chaldaea. For the expression cp. Jeremiah 20:10, Jeremiah 6:25, Jeremiah 46:5, Jeremiah 49:29; Lamentations 2:22, and for the protest on the part of the prophet cp. Isaiah 22:15 ff.; Amos 7:10 ff; Acts 16:37.Verse 3. - Symbolic change of name. Not... Pashur, but Magor-missabib; i.e. terror on every side. There is probably no allusion to the (by no means obvious) etymology of Pashur. Jeremiah simply means to say that Pashur would one day become an object of general horror (see on ver. 10). 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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