CLICK HERE to read Jeremiah 20.
When the elders and priests heard Jeremiah’s prophesy against the people (verse 1), they were angry and beat him and put him in the stocks in front of all the people (verse 2). They left Jeremiah in the stocks all night, and in the morning one of the priests came to get him (verse 3). Jeremiah declared that this priest had a new name that mean “terror to yourself” because of how cruel he had been.
Jeremiah would not recant his words, but said that what the people had done to him has sealed the Lord’s decision that they have chosen against Him (verse 4). Jeremiah declares the people will be carried away captive to Babylon, and that all the treasures of the city will be given over to their oppressors (verse 5). He specifically tells the priest that put him in the stocks that because of this evil thing, he will die in captivity in Babylon, as well as all his friends that listened to his false prophecies (verse 6).
Jeremiah cries out to the Lord because the people have mocked him and hurt him and been cruel (verse 7). He tells the Lord again that he did what the Lord has asked of him, but that the people have not received him (verse 8). Jeremiah tried to stop prophesying because the people didn’t want to hear from him and it only put him in danger, but the spirit burned within him and he could not NOT testify (verse 9).
Jeremiah knows the people are just waiting to catch him at prophesying, waiting for his words not to come true, and accusing him of being politically incorrect (verse 10). But Jeremiah knows the words of the Lord are true, and that he has promised to testify of them, and that his testifying is the only way the people have a chance at finding enough faith to save themselves by turning to the Lord so He can help them (verse 11).
But in the meantime, he is in danger. He pleads for the Lord to protect Him and urges Him to bring true His words of destruction if the people will not repent (verse 12). He praises the Lord for saving those who do turn to Him (verse 13). Yet he knows many will not turn to the Lord, and so feels as if his life of testifying has been a waste (verses 14-15). He says the people deserve the mourning they will endure, because they have chosen to be destroyed (verse 16), and that they have dishonored even his parents by not heeding his counsel (verse 17) because his whole purpose in life has been to testify to them so that they might repent and turn to the Lord (verse 18).