Jeremiah 20:3
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.
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(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.
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). Jeremiah 20:3When 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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