1 Now Pashur the son of Immer the priest, who was also chief governor in the house of Yahweh, heard that Jeremiah prophesied these things.

"In much wisdom is much grief, and he that increaseth knowledge increaseth sorrow."

When such may be our mood in the changeful experiences and conditions of human nature, we cannot do better than act on the exhortation of James, who says,

"Take, my brethren, the prophets for an example of suffering, affliction and of patience."

2 Then Pashur smote Jeremiah the prophet, and put him in the stocks that were in the high gate of Benjamin, which was by the house of Yahweh.

None of us have been in the stocks. It is a form of penal infliction that has long gone out of use in Great Britain and some other countries, but here and there the stocks are to be seen as a relic of the past; and we may form some idea of the bodily suffering undergone by those who were put into them for even the short space of twenty-four hours as Jeremiah was. Hands and feet locked into holes in a wooden frame compelled the unhappy victim to sit in one position on the ground in a public place all the time.

We may be subject to disadvantages and annoyances on account of our faithfulness to the Truth, but we have nothing of this sort to endure. I imagine a single night in the stocks would make us feel our tribulation to be very light indeed. Yet here is an actual prophet of God, with the word of inspiration in his mouth, subjected to this extreme humiliation and distress.

At whose hands? Here is something to think of, at the hands of the "chief governor of the house of Yahweh" (v.1). One would expect barbarity from a heathen; from the head caretaker of the holy temple of God, it would be natural to expect something else. It was from God's own people that the prophets of God received their trouble. It was Jerusalem that killed the prophets and stoned those who were sent from God to her, down to God's own Son,

"with wicked hands crucified and slain."

Seasons 2.81

7 O Yahweh, thou hast deceived me, and I was deceived: thou art stronger than I, and hast prevailed: I am in derision daily, every one mocketh me.

He will supply our needs

If we suppose, as we are liable to suppose in the childhood of our faith, that this means abundance, and an abundance supplied to us in a way that will save us all forethought and trouble, we shall be disappointed, because there are other objects that God has with us-objects of self-abasement and trial of faith-requiring that we shall know what it is to be the poor of this world, and to have a taste of the purifying tribulation

"whereof all (the children) are partakers."

These objects must be realised in the process of our daily experience. God will fulfil the promise to supply our needs, but not in a way that will interfere with these objects, nor in the form or to the extent we might imagine to be necessary. We may be tempted to exclaim with Jeremiah sometimes, "O Lord, Thou hast deceived me," but the fault will lie with our own misinterpretation, and not with any failure in His Word, which is impossible.

"Neither tribulation, nor distress, persecution nor famine, nor death, nor nakedness, nor peril, nor sword, can separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord."

His love may require these very severities to secure for us a place in the haven of everlasting rest and joy at last.

Seasons 2.81

8 For since I spake, I cried out, I cried violence and spoil; because the word of Yahweh was made a reproach unto me, and a derision, daily.

They have hardened their necks

The people of Jerusalem, instigated by the religious leaders, persecuted Jeremiah for speaking the Word of Yahweh, which was distasteful to them. Is not this the present posture of affairs as regards the Truth? What is our offence against the religious community but just this, that we declare the word of the Lord in opposition to the traditions and ideas that are palatable to the people? We seek to bring them under the influence of the Word of God. We have no other aim-no other interest.

We seek to induce them to abandon the lying traditions of men and to embrace the authenticated verities of God's own revealed Truth; and for this we are hated and rejected with a bitterness of animus quite equal to that which led to the killing of the prophets, and quite equal to the repetition of the old sanguinary barbarities, if the nature of the times admitted of it.

Well, we look at Jeremiah and take comfort. If an original medium of God's living voice was so treated at the hands of God's actually chosen people and appointed priests, we need not be alarmed or surprised at a similar unfriendliness manifested towards the mere retailers of that Word.

Seasons 2.81

9 Then I said, I will not make mention of him, nor speak any more in his name [Shmo.]. But His word was in Mine heart [lev] as a burning fire [eish] shut up in my bones [ atzmot], and I was weary with forbearing [of holding back], and I could not stay.

Jeremiah was inclined to abstain from any further declaration of the words of the Lord in view of its evident uselessness, and the fact that it was only a cause of trouble. We may sometimes share this feeling, but if we let reason reign, we shall be exercised as he was, and feel His Word like a burning fire shut up, which will give us no rest till it have free and constant vent.

Seasons 2.81

14 Cursed be the day wherein I was born: let not the day wherein my mother bare me be blessed.


This is human weakness. The record of it is useful for all the children of God who have come after Jeremiah.

It is an evidence to us that the prophets were men of like infirmities to ourselves, and, further, it enables us to realise that the waves of darkness and despair that may sometimes overwhelm us in the extreme weakness characterising the earthly nature we now possess, are not for our destruction, nor even tokens of reprobation, but are simply part and parcel of the evil through which we are passing to the Kingdom and glory of God.

Even [so!], Jeremiah is able to burst out, as with a gleam of strong light in the darkness,

"Sing unto Yahweh: praise ye Yahweh, for He hath delivered the soul of the poor from the hand of evil-doers."

And we know, on the authority of Christ, that a high and a glorious place awaits him in the company of

"Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and all the prophets."

So even now in the midst of the burden and groaning of this evil state, the cloud lifts ever and anon, and reveals a vision of reality that enables us to rejoice in the hope of the glory of God and give thanks to His name.

And we may look forward with anticipation not unfounded that our faith and work will be accepted in Christ, that our sins and shortcomings will be forgiven, and that we shall be invited to a place in the glorious inheritance of the saints in light!

Seasons 2.81

18 Wherefore came I forth out of the womb to see labour and sorrow, that my days should be consumed with shame?

Who has trials that reach beyond the limits of Jeremiah's?

Have we black looks from enemies-false accusations-bitter taunts-deprivations and physical sufferings? Manifold were those which Jeremiah had to experience. Truly he was an example of "suffering affliction and of patience."

To an extent, the position of the prophet and that of nineteenth century saints is identical: both are the messengers and witnesses of God: both fulfil their mission in the midst of a superstitious, immoral, proud, cruel, godless people. Do we display Jeremiah's faithfulness? Are we fearless in making known the whole counsel of God?

Men of the prophet's stamp do not sacrifice the truth for popularity, for ease, or for fear of evil consequences, though the latter may involve the horrors of a dungeon or even death itself.

What animated Jeremiah? The hope of Israel. It was in this that his comfort lay-comfort which will surely find its sequel in "that day of sweet surprise." Let the mind picture the occasion. Jeremiah in the Kingdom of God and his adversaries cast out. Christ-the avenging judge-present to justify the righteous and to punish the wicked. What glory! What shame!

Bro AT Jannaway

The Christadelphian, Mar 1888