Jeremiah 18:20
Parallel Verses
English Standard Version
Should good be repaid with evil? Yet they have dug a pit for my life. Remember how I stood before you to speak good for them, to turn away your wrath from them.

King James Bible
Shall evil be recompensed for good? for they have digged a pit for my soul. Remember that I stood before thee to speak good for them, and to turn away thy wrath from them.

American Standard Version
Shall evil be recompensed for good? for they have digged a pit for my soul. Remember how I stood before thee to speak good for them, to turn away thy wrath from them.

Douay-Rheims Bible
Shall evil be rendered for good, because they have digged a pit for my soul? Remember that I have stood in thy sight, so speak good for them, and turn away thy indignation from them.

English Revised Version
Shall evil be recompensed for good? for they have digged a pit for my soul. Remember how I stood before thee to speak good for them, to turn away thy fury from them.

Webster's Bible Translation
Shall evil be recompensed for good? for they have digged a pit for my soul. Remember that I stood before thee to speak good for them, and to turn away thy wrath from them.

Jeremiah 18:20 Parallel
Keil and Delitzsch Biblical Commentary on the Old Testament

Such obduracy is unheard of amongst the peoples; cf. a like idea in Jeremiah 2:10. שׁעררת equals שׁערוּרה, Jeremiah 5:30. מאד belongs to the verb: horrible things hath Israel very much done equals very horrible things have they done. The idea is strengthened by Israel's being designated a virgin (see on Jeremiah 14:17). One could hardly believe that a virgin could be guilty of such barefaced and determined wickedness. In Jeremiah 18:14. the public conduct is further described; and first, it is illustrated by a picture drawn from natural history, designed to fill the people with shame for their unnatural conduct. But the significance of the picture is disputed. The questions have a negative force: does it forsake? equals it does not forsake. The force of the first question is conditioned by the view taken of מצּוּר ; and שׂדי may be either genitive to צוּר, or it may be the accusative of the object, and be either a poetic form for שׂדה, or plural c. suff. 1. pers. (my fields). Chr. B. Mich., Schur., Ros., Maur., Neum. translate according to the latter view: Does the snow of Lebanon descending from the rock forsake my fields? i.e., does it ever cease, flowing down from the rock, to water my fields, the fields of my people? To this view, however, it is to be opposed, a. that "from the rock" thus appears superfluous, at least not in its proper place, since, according to the sense given, it would belong to "snow of Lebanon;" b. that the figure contains no real illustrative truth. The watering of the fields of God's people, i.e., of Palestine or Judah, by the snow of Lebanon could be brought about only by the water from the melting snow of Lebanon soaking into the ground, and so feeding the springs of the country. But this view of the supply for the springs that watered the land cannot be supposed to be a fact of natural history so well known that the prophet could found an argument on it. Most recent commentators therefore join מצּוּר שׂדי, and translate: does the snow of Lebanon cease from the rock of the field (does it disappear)? The use of עזב with מן is unexampled, but is analogous to עזב חסד מעם, Genesis 24:27, where, however, עזב is used transitively.

But even when translated as above, "rock of the field" is variously understood. Hitz. will have it to be Mount Zion, which in Jeremiah 17:3 is called my mountain in the field, and Jeremiah 21:13, rock of the plain; and says the trickling waters are the waters of Gihon, these being the only never-drying water of Jerusalem, the origin of which has never been known, and may have been commonly held to be from the snow of Lebanon. Graf and Ng., again, have justly objected that the connection between the snow of Lebanon and the water-springs of Zion is of too doubtful a kind, and does not become probable by appeal to Psalm 133:3, where the dew of Hermon is said to descend on the mountains of Zion. For it is perfectly possible that a heavy dew after warm days might be carried to Jerusalem by means of the cool current of air coming down from the north over Hermon (cf. Del. on Psalm 133:3); but not that the water of the springs of Jerusalem should have come from Lebanon. Like Ew., Umbr., Graf, and Ng., we therefore understand the rock of the field to be Lebanon itself. But it is not so called as being a detached, commanding rocky mountain, for this is not involved in the sig. of שׂדי (see on Jeremiah 17:3); nor as bulwark of the field (Ng.), for צוּר does not mean bulwark, and the change of מצּוּר into מצור, from מצור, a hemming in, siege, would give a most unsuitable figure. We hold the "field" to be the land of Israel, whence seen, the summit of Lebanon, and especially the peak of Hermon covered with eternal snows might very well be called the rock of the field.

(Note: "Hermon is not a conical mountain like Tabor, with a single lofty peak and a well-defined base, but a whole mountain mass of many days' journey in circuit, with a broad crest of summits. The highest of these lie within the Holy Land, and, according to the measurements of the English engineers, Majors Scott and Robe (1840), rise to a height of 9376 English feet - summits encompassed by far-stretching mountain ridges, from whose deep gloomy valleys the chief rivers of the country take their rise.... Behind the dark green foremost range (that having valleys clothed with pine and oak forests) high mountains raise their domes aloft; there is a fir wood sprinkled with snow as with silver, a marvellous mingling of bright and dark; and behind these rises the broad central ridge with its peaks covered with a deep and all but everlasting snows." - Van de Velde, Reise, i. S. 96f. Therewith cf. Robins. Phys. Geogr. p. 315: "In the ravines round about the highest of the two peaks, snow, or rather ice, lies the whole year round. In summer this gives the mountain, when seen from a distance, the appearance of being surrounded with radiant stripes descending from its crown.")

Observe the omission of the article before Lebanon, whereby it comes about that the name is joined appellatively to "snow:" the Lebanon-snow. And accordingly we regard the waters as those which trickle down from Hermon. The wealth of springs in Lebanon is well known, and the trickling water of Lebanon is used as an illustration in Sol 4:15. ינּתשׁוּ, are rooted up, strikes us as singular, since "root up" seems suitable neither for the drying up of springs, nor for: to be checked in their course. Dav. Kimchi thought, therefore, it stood for ,ינּתשׁוּomittuntur; but this word has not this signification. Probably a transposition has taken place, so that we have ינתשׁו for ינּשׁתוּ, since for נשׁת in Niph. the sig. dry up is certified by Isaiah 19:5. The predicate, too, זרים is singular. Strange waters are in 2 Kings 19:24 waters belonging to others; but this will not do here. So Ew. derives זר from זרר, press, urge, and correspondingly, קרים from קוּר, spring, well up: waters pouring forth with fierce pressure. In this case, however, the following נוזלים would be superfluous, or at least feeble. Then, מים קרים, Proverbs 25:25, is cold water; and besides, זרר means constinxit, compressit, of which root-meaning the sig. to press forth is a contradiction. There is therefore nothing for it but to keep to the sig. strange for זרים; strange waters equals waters coming from afar, whose springs are not known, so that they could be stopped up. The predicate cold is quite in keeping, for cold waters do not readily dry up, the coldness being a protection against evaporation. Such, then, will be the meaning of the verse: As the Lebanon-snow does not forsake the rock, so the waters trickling thence do not dry up. From the application of this general idea, that in inanimate nature faithfulness and constancy are found, to Israel's bearing towards God arises a deeper significance, which shows why this figure was chosen. The rock in the field points to the Rock of Israel as the everlasting rock, rock of ages (Isaiah 30:29 and Isaiah 26:4), and the cold, i.e., refreshing waters, which trickle from the rock of the field, point to Jahveh, the fountain of living water, Jeremiah 2:13 and Jeremiah 17:13. Although the snow does not forsake Lebanon, Israel has forgotten the fountain of living water from which water of life flows to it; cf. Jeremiah 2:13.

Jeremiah 18:20 Parallel Commentaries

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge


1 Samuel 24:17-19 And he said to David, You are more righteous than I: for you have rewarded me good, whereas I have rewarded you evil...

Psalm 35:12 They rewarded me evil for good to the spoiling of my soul.

Psalm 38:20 They also that render evil for good are my adversaries; because I follow the thing that good is.

Psalm 109:4,5 For my love they are my adversaries: but I give myself to prayer...

Proverbs 17:13 Whoever rewards evil for good, evil shall not depart from his house.

John 10:32 Jesus answered them, Many good works have I showed you from my Father; for which of those works do you stone me?

John 15:25 But this comes to pass, that the word might be fulfilled that is written in their law, They hated me without a cause.


Jeremiah 18:22 Let a cry be heard from their houses, when you shall bring a troop suddenly on them: for they have dig a pit to take me...

Job 6:27 Yes, you overwhelm the fatherless, and you dig a pit for your friend.

Psalm 7:15 He made a pit, and dig it, and is fallen into the ditch which he made.

Psalm 35:7 For without cause have they hid for me their net in a pit, which without cause they have dig for my soul.

Psalm 57:6 They have prepared a net for my steps; my soul is bowed down: they have dig a pit before me...

Psalm 119:95 The wicked have waited for me to destroy me: but I will consider your testimonies.

Proverbs 26:27 Whoever digs a pit shall fall therein: and he that rolls a stone, it will return on him.

Ecclesiastes 10:8 He that digs a pit shall fall into it; and whoever breaks an hedge, a serpent shall bite him.


Jeremiah 7:16 Therefore pray not you for this people, neither lift up cry nor prayer for them, neither make intercession to me...

Jeremiah 11:14 Therefore pray not you for this people, neither lift up a cry or prayer for them...

Jeremiah 14:7-11,20-22 O LORD, though our iniquities testify against us, do you it for your name's sake: for our backslidings are many...

Jeremiah 15:1 Then said the LORD to me, Though Moses and Samuel stood before me, yet my mind could not be toward this people...

Genesis 18:22-32 And the men turned their faces from there, and went toward Sodom: but Abraham stood yet before the LORD...

Psalm 106:23 Therefore he said that he would destroy them, had not Moses his chosen stood before him in the breach, to turn away his wrath...

Ezekiel 22:30,31 And I sought for a man among them, that should make up the hedge, and stand in the gap before me for the land...

Zechariah 3:1,2 And he showed me Joshua the high priest standing before the angel of the LORD, and Satan standing at his right hand to resist him...

Cross References
1 Samuel 19:4
And Jonathan spoke well of David to Saul his father and said to him, "Let not the king sin against his servant David, because he has not sinned against you, and because his deeds have brought good to you.

Psalm 35:7
For without cause they hid their net for me; without cause they dug a pit for my life.

Psalm 35:12
They repay me evil for good; my soul is bereft.

Psalm 57:6
They set a net for my steps; my soul was bowed down. They dug a pit in my way, but they have fallen into it themselves. Selah

Psalm 106:23
Therefore he said he would destroy them-- had not Moses, his chosen one, stood in the breach before him, to turn away his wrath from destroying them.

Psalm 109:4
In return for my love they accuse me, but I give myself to prayer.

Proverbs 17:13
If anyone returns evil for good, evil will not depart from his house.

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