Jeremiah 20 – Skeptic's Annotated Bible answered

A response and reply to the notes on Jeremiah 20 in the Skeptic's Annotated Bible (SAB).

King James Version

SAB comment

My comment

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

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 the LORD.

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 Magor-missabib.

4 For thus saith the LORD, Behold, I will make thee a terror to thyself, and to all thy friends: and they shall fall by the sword of their enemies, and thine eyes shall behold it: and I will give all Judah into the hand of the king of Babylon, and he shall carry them captive into Babylon, and shall slay them with the sword.

"For thus saith the LORD, Behold, I will make thee a terror to thyself, and to all thy friends: and they shall fall by the sword of their enemies, and thine eyes shall behold it."
Note the words the author of the SAB uses: roughed up, arrested. But actually he was beaten and put in the stocks (verse 2). This man was in no position to make any threats, and if he made them it would be even worse for him, and what he would say would simply amuse them.
But still, the Lord commanded him to prophesy to them, and Jeremiah obeyed. So it was the Lord who foretold the future, and it was no threat, but a righteous judgement for their sins.

5 Moreover I will deliver all the strength of this city, and all the labours thereof, and all the precious things thereof, and all the treasures of the kings of Judah will I give into the hand of their enemies, which shall spoil them, and take them, and carry them to Babylon.

6 And thou, Pashur, and all that dwell in thine house shall go into captivity: and thou shalt come to Babylon, and there thou shalt die, and shalt be buried there, thou, and all thy friends, to whom thou hast prophesied lies.

7 O LORD, 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.

"O LORD, thou hast deceived me, and I was deceived."
Does God lie?
God cannot lie. John Gill explains:

What follows from hence to the end of the chapter is thought to have been said by the prophet, when in the stocks, or in prison, and shows mixture of grace and corruption in him; a struggle between flesh and spirit, and the force of a temptation under which he laboured, arising from difficulties and discouragements in his work; and he not only complains to God, but of him; that he had deceived him, when he first called him to be a prophet, by telling him that he should be set over nations and kingdoms, to pull them down, chapter 1:10; which he understood of foreign nations, but now found his own people were meant, so Jerom; or in not immediately executing the threatenings he sent him with; as was the case of Jonah; or by giving him reason to expect honour and ease, whereas he met with nothing but disrespect and trouble; and that he should have divine protection and success against his opposers, chapter 1:18; whereas he was now delivered into their hands, and used in the most reproachful manner; but be it so, this was all a mistake of the prophet, and no deception of God.

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

9 Then I said, I will not make mention of him, nor speak any more in his name. But his word was in mine heart as a burning fire shut up in my bones, and I was weary with forbearing, and I could not stay.

10 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.

11 But the LORD is with me as a mighty terrible one: therefore my persecutors shall stumble, and they shall not prevail: they shall be greatly ashamed; for they shall not prosper: their everlasting confusion shall never be forgotten.

12 But, O LORD of hosts, that triest the righteous, and seest the reins and the heart, let me see thy vengeance on them: for unto thee have I opened my cause.

"O LORD of hosts, that ... seest the reins."
Jesus will search your kidneys
On the symbolic meaning of the word reins in the Bible, see Ps. 7:9.

13 Sing unto the LORD, praise ye the LORD: for he hath delivered the soul of the poor from the hand of evildoers.

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

15 Cursed be the man who brought tidings to my father, saying, A man child is born unto thee; making him very glad.

16 And let that man be as the cities which the LORD overthrew, and repented not: and let him hear the cry in the morning, and the shouting at noontide;

17 Because he slew me not from the womb; or that my mother might have been my grave, and her womb to be always great with me.

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