Magor-Missabib; Or, the Fate of a False Prophet
Jeremiah 20:3-6
And it came to pass on the morrow, that Pashur brought forth Jeremiah out of the stocks. Then said Jeremiah to him…

The person here mentioned cannot with certainty be identified. He will the better serve as a type and representative of his kind. There is no age or country that has not had its Pashur.


1. Its character. Absolute and despotic. At the suggestion of his own evil heart. Capable of destroying civil rights and character itself. The whole civil and sacred machinery of the laud was at his disposal. The public trusted him. The state of things condemned by Jeremiah it was his immediate interest to support, and in turn he could rely upon official support. He identifies himself with the ruling party and becomes its representative and mouthpiece. Vested rights, traditional religion, etc., are his watchwords, because he owes everything to them.

2. How it was acquired. Family connection - "the son of Immer the priest." Not by striving to reform abuses, but by fostering and upholding the status quo. He who was so oblivious to the wrongs of which the prophet spoke could not have been scrupulous as to the means by which he rose to position and influence. Oriental corruption and intrigue had doubtless had their part in securing his elevation. ("Pashur" probably means "extension," "pride," "eminence.")

3. How it was employed. Hastily, on the passionate impulse of the moment. Without regard to the essential justice of the case. And when the error is discovered no true repentance or effort at amends is visible. Cf. the time-serving policy of Agrippa (Acts 26:32).

II. THE CHARACTER AND DESTINY HE EARNED. By making himself the champion of apostle Judah, and insulting the prophet of God, he is sentenced to the same fate, but in a peculiar and aggravated degree.

1. It would be his fortune to be looked upon as the representative and embodiment of the system of falsehood which had ruined his country. He who prophesied falsely will be justly punished by such an association. Instead of saying, "It was Moloch or Astarte that deceived us," the victims of the common disaster, will say, - "It was the prophet of these false gods who led us astray." How readily does personal influence acquire such a representative character! There are many evil forces and influences at work in society, the state, the Church, etc., which would cease to exist were it not for their accidental connection with some personage who becomes their advocate or their bulwark.

2. His character and influence would be exposed. The assurances he had given would one by one be falsified by the fulfillments of Jeremiah's predictions. Instead of being honored and looked up to, he would become a loathing and a byword. He would outlive his credit, his self-esteem, and his happiness. Shunned by others, he would be unable to trust himself. Each fresh catastrophe would deepen his disgrace and remorse. A "terror round about" would be the name he would earn.

3. His exemption from immediate destruction would but enhance his punishment. Like the criminal obliged to stand in the dock and hear all the counts of his indictment made good by the evidence of witnesses, he should outlive the first effects of the national ruin, see all his statements falsified, bear the reproach of his own wicked lies, and yet linger on when life had ceased to be desirable. There is a grotesqueness about this punishment that would make it ludicrous were it not so sad and awful. A more severe punishment could hardly be conceived. And yet it is not more than Pashur deserved. Would that our modern "prophets of lies" could be compelled to witness the consequences of their advice and example! A modified degree of this experience has, indeed, been the sentence inflicted upon many a good man. But Christ takes up the entail of sin and breaks it. We may do better than to stand by and see the evil consequences of former folly; it is for us to strive to rectify them. So the past may be retrieved and the evil days redeemed by those who have been servants of sin "turning many to righteousness." - M.

Parallel Verses
KJV: 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.

WEB: It happened on the next day, that Pashhur brought forth Jeremiah out of the stocks. Then Jeremiah said to him, Yahweh has not called your name Pashhur, but Magormissabib.

The Behavior of the Wicked Towards the Truth
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