Jeremiah 20:8
For since I spoke, I cried out, I cried violence and spoil; because the word of the LORD was made a reproach to me, and a derision, daily.
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(8) I cried out, I cried.—The two Hebrew words are not, as in the English, alike, the first being the cry of complaint, the second of protest: When I speak (the tense implies from the beginning of his work till now), I complain; I call out (against) violence and spoil. They had formed the burden of his discourses, he had borne his witness against them, and yet “the word of Jehovah” so proclaimed by him had exposed him simply to derision. He had been the champion of the people’s rights, and yet they mocked and scorned him.

Jeremiah 20:8-9. For since I spake, I cried out, I cried violence and spoil — Or, rather, as Houbigant renders it, For since I spake, and cried against iniquity, and denounced desolation, the word of the Lord, &c. — Blaney’s translation is nearly to the same sense: For as often as I speak, whether I cry out against injustice or proclaim devastation, the word of Jehovah is turned against me into matter of reproach and derision continually. The prophet means that, upon account of declaring what God had revealed to him, he was reckoned an enemy to his country, and a false prophet. Then I said — Namely, within myself, for he did not speak this to any one; I will not make mention of him — Or, of it, namely, the word of God, or the message God had appointed him to deliver; nor speak any more in his name — I resolved no more to declare what God had revealed to me concerning the calamities which he was about to bring on Judah and Jerusalem. But his word was in my heart as a burning fire — It glowed inwardly, and must have vent: I found myself so pressed in spirit, felt such a burning ardour within my breast, such an immediate and powerful impulse of the prophetic spirit constraining me to speak, that I could no more be easy without executing God’s commands, than if a burning fire had been shut up in my bones. The conviction of his own mind that he ought to speak, his zeal for the glory of God, his indignation at the sins of the people, and his compassion for their souls, would not suffer him to rest, or allow him to forbear declaring God’s message.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.Translate," For as often as I speak, I must complain; I call out, Violence and spoil."

From the time Jeremiah began to prophesy, he had had reason for nothing but lamentation. Daily with louder voice and more desperate energy he must call out "violence and spoil;" as a perpetual protest against the manner in which the laws of justice were violated by powerful men among the people.

8. Rather, "Whenever I speak, I cry out. Concerning violence and spoil, I (am compelled to) cry out," that is, complain [Maurer]. English Version in the last clause is more graphic, "I cried violence and spoil" (Jer 6:7)! I could not speak in a calm tone; their desperate wickedness compelled me to "cry out."

because—rather, "therefore," the apodosis of the previous sentence; because in discharging my prophetic functions, I not merely spake, but cried; and cried, violence … ; therefore the word of the Lord was made a reproach to me (Jer 20:7).

For since I spake, I cried out: if the particle be translated since, as we translate it, the meaning is, Since I first began to be a prophet, I have faithfully discharged my prophetical office, and that with some warmth and zeal.

I cried violence and spoil: some understand it of the violence which he himself experienced: others understand it of those acts of injustice and violence which were found amongst the people; he cried out against them: others understand it as a denunciation of judgment; he prophesied that violence and spoil was coming upon them.

Because the word of the Lord was made a reproach unto me, and a derision, daily; because of that scorn and derision with which they treated him. But others think that it were better translated surely than because, as it is in many texts, Isaiah 60:9 63:16, &c. It is not much material which way we translate it, for it appeareth, from 2 Chronicles 36:16, that this people’s mocking of God’s messengers, despising his words, and misusing his prophets, was one great cause of the wrath of God coming upon them; and it is certain that Jeremiah was made such a scorn and derision to them. For since I spake, I cried out,.... Or, "when I speak, I cry" (a); whensoever I speak in the name of the Lord, and deliver message from him to the people, I lift up my voice and cry aloud, that all may hear and understand; and as showing zeal, fervour, and diligence: or, "I cry" with grief and trouble at the usage I meet with, and the contempt that is cast upon the word; or because of what I am obliged to declare to them, as follows. The Targum takes in both sense, of the word thus,

"for at the time that I prophesy, I lift up my voice, weeping, and crying.''

I cried violence and spoil: or, "proclaimed" it (b), for a different word is here used; that is, he publicly declared the rapine and oppression they were guilty of, inveighed against it, and reproved them for it; and foretold the violence of the enemy, and the spoil that he should make of them, when he should come upon them, even the king of Babylon; as well as cried out and complained of the injurious treatment he himself met with from them;

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" (c), &c; yet he went on publishing and proclaiming it: or, "surely the word of the Lord was made a reproach" (d), &c; 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.

(a) "quum loquor exclamavi, i.e. loquor exclamans", Gataker. (b) "clamo", Pagninus, Junius & Tremellius; "proclamo", Piscator. (c) "quamvis". (d) "Verum, verbum Domini", so some in Vatablus; "utique", De Dieu, Gataker.

For since I spoke, I cried out, I cried violence and {e} spoil; because the word of the LORD was made a reproach to me, and a derision, daily.

(e) He shows that he did his office in that he reproved the people of their vices and threatened them with God's judgments: but because he was derided and persecuted for this, he was discouraged, and would have stopped preaching, except that God's spirit forced him to it.

8. Violence and spoil] directed generally against himself. Cp. Jeremiah 5:26-28, Jeremiah 9:4.

a reproach unto me, and a derision] Words applied to his own case by the great Florentine, Savonarola, “I have had nothing but tribulations, derision, and reproach.” Clark’s Savonarola, p. 169.Verse 8. - For since I spake, I cried out, etc.; rather, For as often as I speak, I must shout; I must cry, Violence and spoil; I can take up no other tone but that of indignant denunciation, no other theme but that of the acts of injustice constantly committed (not merely, nor indeed chiefly, against the prophet himself). Was made; rather, is made. When the chief overseer of the temple, Pashur, heard this prophecy, he had the prophet beaten, and put him over-night in the stocks at the upper gate of Benjamin in the temple. Pashur is by the appellation: son of Immer, distinguished from other priests of this name, e.g., Pashur, son of Malchijah, 1 Chronicles 9:12. It cannot be determined whether Immer is here the name of the 16th class of priests (1 Chronicles 24:14) or of one of the greater priestly clans (Ezra 2:37; Nehemiah 7:40). Pashur held the office of פּקיד נגיד, chief overseer in the house of God. נגיד is an official name attached to פּקיד to explain it. In the latter word lies the idea of overseeing, while the former denotes the official standing or rank of the overseer. The position of נגיד was a high one, as may be seen from the fact that the priest Zephaniah, who, according to Jeremiah 29:26, held this post, is quoted in Jeremiah 52:24 (2 Kings 25:18) as next to the high priest. The compound expression without article implies that there were several נגידים of the temple. In 2 Chronicles 35:8 there are three mentioned under Josiah; which is not contradicted by 2 Chronicles 31:13; 1 Chronicles 9:11; Nehemiah 11:11, where particular persons are called 'נגיד. As chief overseer of the temple, Pashur conceived it to be his duty to take summary magisterial steps against Jeremiah, for his public appearance in the temple. To put this procedure of the priest and temple-warden in its proper light, Jeremiah is designated by the name of his office, הנּביא.

(Note: As this official designation of Jeremiah is not found in Jeremiah 1-19, but occurs frequently in the succeeding chapters, recent critics have taken it to be an idle addition of the editor of the later prophecies, and have laid stress on the fact as a proof of the later composition, or at least later editing, of these pieces; cf. Graf, S. xxxix. Ng., etc. This assumption is totally erroneous. The designation of Jeremiah as הנּביא occurs only where the mention of the man's official character was of importance. It is used partly in contradistinction to the false prophets, Jeremiah 28:5-6, Jeremiah 28:10-12, Jeremiah 28:15, to the elders, priests, and false prophets, Jeremiah 29:1, Jeremiah 29:29; Jeremiah 37:3, Jeremiah 37:6,Jeremiah 37:13; Jeremiah 42:2, Jeremiah 42:4, to the king, Jeremiah 32:2; Jeremiah 34:6; Jeremiah 37:2, and partly to distinguish from persons of other conditions in life, Jeremiah 43:6; Jeremiah 45:1; Jeremiah 51:59. We never find the title in the headings of the prophecies save in Jeremiah 25:2, with reference to the fact that here, Jeremiah 20:4, he upbraids the people for not regarding the sayings of all the prophets of the Lord; and in the oracles against foreign peoples, Jeremiah 46:1, Jeremiah 46:13; Jeremiah 47:1; Jeremiah 49:34, and Jeremiah 50:1, where the name of his calling gave him credentials for these prophecies. - There is no further use of the name in the entire book.)

In virtue of the summary authority which belonged to him (cf. Jeremiah 29:26), Pashur smote the prophet, i.e., caused him to be beaten with stripes, perhaps according to the precept Deuteronomy 25:3, cf. 2 Corinthians 11:24, and then threw him into prison till the following day, and put him in the stocks. מהפּכת, twisting, was an instrument of torture by which the body was forced into a distorted, unnatural posture; the culprit's hands and feet were presumably bound, so as to keep the position so; see on 2 Chronicles 16:10, cf. with Acts 16:24. The upper gate of Benjamin in the house of Jahveh is the northern gate at the upper, i.e., inner court of the temple, the same with the upper gate or the gate of the inner court, looking northwards, Ezekiel 9:2 and Ezekiel 8:3. By the designation "which is in the house," etc., it is distinguished from the city gate of like name, Jeremiah 37:13; Jeremiah 38:7. - When on the next day Pashur released the prophet from imprisonment, the latter made known to him the divine punishment for his misdeed: "Not Pashur will Jahveh call thy name, but Magor-Missabib" (i.e., Fear round about). The name is expressive of the thing. And so: Jahveh will call the name, is, in other words, He will make the person to be that which the name expresses; in this case, make Pashur to be an object of fear round about. Under the presumption that the name Magor-Missabib conveyed a meaning the most directly opposed to that of Pashur, comm. have in various ways attempted to interpret פּשׁחוּר. It is supposed to be composed of פּוּשׁ, Chald. augeri, and חוּר, nobilitas, with the force: abundantia claritatis (Rashi); or after Arab. fs̀, gloriatus est de nobilitate (Simonis); or from Arab. hsh, amplus fuit locus, and the Chald. סחור, circumcirca: de securitate circumcirca; or finally, by Ew., from פּשׁ from פּוּשׁ, spring, leap, rejoice (Malachi 3:18), and חור equals חול, joy round about. All these interpretations are arbitrary. פּוּשׁ sig. leap and gallop about, Malachi 3:18 and Habakkuk 1:8, and in Niph. Nahum 3:18, to be scattered (see on Habakkuk 1:8); and x#ap@f sig. in Lamentations 3:11 to tear. But the syllable chowr חור can by no means have the sig. of מסּביב claimed for it. Nor are there, indeed, sufficient grounds for assuming that Jeremiah turned the original name upside down in an etymological or philological reference. The new name given by Jeremiah to Pashur is meant to intimate the man's destiny. On "Fear round about," see on Jeremiah 6:25. What the words of the new name signify is explained in Jeremiah 20:4-6.

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