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…
I. THE HOPES OF JEREMIAH'S ENEMIES. We have seen in the preceding passage (vers. 7-9) how the prophet 'was incessantly exposed to exceedingly irritating taunts from his enemies; and how the pain of these taunts in a measure tempted him to try if he could not escape the pain by ceasing to prophesy. Jehovah perfectly preserved him from this danger. The prophetic fire within him, divinely kindled and sustained, was too strong to be thus extinguished. It grew more and more, and the very taunts of the ungodly became as fuel to make it burn more fiercely. But this very faithfulness of the prophet only increased his danger as an object of persecution. His enemies will themselves begin to feel in danger from this continual reference to their evil doings. Mere mockery has itself a tendency to go further. Bengel, referring to the development of the persecuting spirit, as illustrated in the apostolic days, says, "The world begins with ridicule; then afterwards it proceeds to questioning; to threats; to imprisoning; to inflicting stripes; to murder (see 'Gnomon' on Acts 2:13). Jeremiah has already been for a night in prison, and he knows not how soon a longer and worse imprisonment may come. He hears threatenings on every hand. The name Magor-Missabib that, by Divine direction, he has applied to Pashur, is retorted on him, as being, in the opinion of his enemies, a name eminently appropriate to his present circumstances. So far as the human elements were concerned, his chances of safety appeared very poor indeed, His enemies are numerous and crafty; and, sharpened by self-interest, they needed no exhortation to be watchful. Those who compare these confessions of the prophet at different times with the experiences of Jesus at the hands of his enemies, will notice a remarkable parallelism. What Jesus said with respect to the scribes and Pharisees is peculiarly forcible when considered in the light of Jeremiah's trials: Ye are the children of them which killed the prophets" (Matthew 23:31).
II. THE SUFFICIENCY OF JEREMIAH'S PROTECTION. Here is the man of strong faith, and of a speech full of confidence and calmness. 'He may well be depressed; beset as he is with so much malice, brought into close contact with the worst wickedness of the h-man heart. But, on the other hand, he has this for his comfort, that, the closer wicked men come to him, the closer he finds himself to God. This is the service the wicked render to the witnesses of God, that, the more they persecute them, the more they press them towards the great Helper. The ungodly little dream of the service they render in this respect. So far as abiding results are concerned, the spirit of intolerance has done the direct contrary of what it was intended to do. The purposes of evil -might have been better served if the Church of Christ had had an easier time of it in the beginning. He who is potentially the mighty, terrible One in the midst of his people, needs the opposition of the wicked in order that all his power to defend his people may be known. This, indeed, is one of the lessons taught by the sufferings of Jesus even to death. Darkness was to get its hour and its power, that so the Light of the world might be more fully glorified. Never was it more emphatically true than when Jesus was laid in the grave, that Jehovah was with him as a mighty, terrible One. We look with the natural eye, and we see a cold corpse apparently gone the way of all flesh; we look with the eye of faith, and we discern One Standing by who at the appointed hour will raise that corpse, and make it the channel of manifestations of life such as were not possible before. - Y.
Parallel VersesKJV: 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.
WEB: For I have heard the defaming of many, terror on every side. Denounce, and we will denounce him, [say] all my familiar friends, those who watch for my fall; perhaps he will be persuaded, and we shall prevail against him, and we shall take our revenge on him.