Jeremiah 20:8
For since I spake, I cried out, I cried violence and spoil; because the word of the LORD was made a reproach unto 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. Jeremiah 20:8The Prophet's Complaints as to the Sufferings Met with in his Calling. - This portion contains, first, a complaint addressed to the Lord regarding the persecutions which the preaching of God's word draws down on Jeremiah, but the complaint passes into a jubilant cry of hope (Jeremiah 20:7-13); secondly, a cursing of the day of his birth (Jeremiah 20:13-18). The first complaint runs thus:

Jeremiah 20:7-13

"Thou hast persuaded me, Jahveh, and I let myself be persuaded; Thou hast laid hold on me and hast prevailed. I am become a laughter the whole day long, every one mocketh at me. Jeremiah 20:8. For as often as I speak, I must call out and cry violence and spoil, for the word of Jahveh is made a reproach and a derision to me all the day. Jeremiah 20:9. And I said, I will not more remember nor speak more in His name; then was it in my heart as burning fire, shut up in my bones, and I become weary of holding out, and cannot. Jeremiah 20:10. For I heard the talk of many: Fear round about! Report, and let us report him! Every man of my friendship lies in wait for my downfall: Peradventure he will let himself be enticed, that we may prevail against him and take our revenge on him. Jeremiah 20:11. But Jahveh stands by me as a mighty warrior; therefore shall my persecutors stumble and not prevail, shall be greatly put to shame, because they have not dealt wisely, with everlasting disgrace which will not be forgotten. Jeremiah 20:12. And, Jahveh of hosts that trieth the righteous, that seeth reins and heart, let me see Thy vengeance on them, for to Thee have I committed my cause. Jeremiah 20:13. Sing to Jahveh, praise Jahveh, for He saves the soul of the poor from the hand of the evil-doers."

This lament as to the hatred and persecution brought upon him by the preaching of the word of the Lord, is chiefly called forth by the proceedings, recounted in Jeremiah 20:1, Jeremiah 20:2, of the temple-warden Pashur against him. This is clear from the מגור ; for, as Nהg. truly remarks, the use of this expression against the prophet may certainly be most easily explained by the use he had so pregnantly made of it against one so distinguished as Pashur. Besides, the bitterness of the complaint, rising at last to the extent of cursing the day of his birth (Jeremiah 20:14.), is only intelligible as a consequence of such ill-usage as Pashur had already inflicted on him. For although his enemies had schemed against his life, they had never yet ventured positively to lay hands on his person. Pashur first caused him to be beaten, and then had him kept a whole night long in the torture of the stocks. From torture like this his enemies might proceed even to taking his life, if the Lord did not miraculously shield him from their vengeance. - The complaint, Jeremiah 20:7-13, is an outpouring of the heart to God, a prayer that begins with complaint, passes into confidence in the Lord's protection, and ends in a triumph of hope. In Jeremiah 20:7 and Jeremiah 20:8 Jeremiah complains of the evil consequences of his labours. God has persuaded him to undertake the office of prophet, so that he has yielded to the call of God. The words of Jeremiah 20:7 are not an upbraiding, nor are they given in an upbraiding tone (Hitz.); for פּתּה does not mean befool, but persuade, induce by words to do a thing. חזק used transitively, but not as 1 Kings 16:22, overpower (Ros., Graf, etc.); for then it would not be in keeping with the following ותּוּכל, which after "overpower" would seem very feeble. It means: lay hold of; as usually in the Hiph., so here in Kal. It thus corresponds to חזקת יד, Isaiah 8:11, denoting the state of being laid hold of by the power of the Spirit of God in order to prophesy. תּוּכל, not: Thou hast been able, but: Thou hast prevailed, conquered. A sharp contrast to this is presented by the issue of his prophetic labours: I am become a laughing-stock all the day, i.e., incessantly. כּלּה, its (the people's) entirety equals all the people. - In Jeremiah 20:8 "call" is explained by "cry out violence and spoil:" complain of the violence and spoliation that are practised. The word of Jahveh is become a reproach and obloquy, i.e., the proclamation of it has brought him only contempt and obloquy. The two cases of כּי are co-ordinate; the two clauses give two reasons for everybody mocking at him. One is objective: so often as he speaks he can do nothing but complain of violence, so that he is ridiculed by the mass of the people; and one is subjective: his preaching brings him only disgrace. Most comm. refer "violence and spoiling" to the ill-usage the prophet experiences; but this does not exhaust the reference of the words.

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