The listeners of Jeremiah (Jer 38:1-38:1)

“Now Shephatiah,

The son of Mattan,

Gedaliah,

The son of Pashhur,

Jucar,

The son of Shelemiah,

With Pashhur,

The son of Malchiah,

Heard the words

That Jeremiah was saying

To all the people.”

People went to hear what Jeremiah had to say even while he was in prison. Shephatiah, Gedaliah, Jucar, and Pashhur were royal officials among the visitors who were listening to the words of Jeremiah.   Shephatiah is only mentioned here.   Gedaliah may be the son of Pashhur, who beat up Jeremiah in chapter 20. But he was a priest and not a royal official. Jucar is probably the same Jehucal mentioned in the preceding chapter as a messenger from the king to Jeremiah. Pashhur was the same royal messenger mentioned in chapter 21. Apparently while in the prison at the royal palace, Jeremiah could receive visitors. Like the preceding chapter, this is a different numbered chapter in the Greek translation of the Septuagint, chapter 45, not chapter 38 as here.

King Zedekiah asks Jeremiah to pray to Yahweh (Jer 37:3-37:4)

“King Zedekiah

Sent Jehucal,

The son of Shelemiah,

With the priest Zephaniah

The son of Maaseiah,

To the prophet Jeremiah.

Saying.

‘Please pray for us

To Yahweh

Our God.’

Now Jeremiah was still

Going in and out

Among the people.

He had not yet been

Put in prison.”

King Zedekiah sent envoys to Jeremiah to ask him to pray to Yahweh for them. He sent Jehucal, who in the next chapter will turn against Jeremiah, with the priest Zephaniah, to Jeremiah. Zephaniah seemed to be the high priest at the Temple, since he was involved with Pashhur in chapter 21, as well as in chapter 29, as the priest who read the letter from the first exiles. At this time, Jeremiah was still free to roam about his people, since this was before he was put in prison. This was a nice gesture on the part of the king.

The request for help against the king of Babylon (Jer 21:1-21:2)

“This is the word

That came to Jeremiah

From Yahweh.

King Zedekiah sent to him

Pashhur,

The son of Malchiah,

With the priest Zephaniah,

The son of Maaseiah.

Saying.

‘Please inquire of Yahweh

On our behalf!

King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon

Is making war against us.

Perhaps Yahweh will perform

A wonderful deed for us

As he has often done.

He could make him

Withdraw from us.’”

The word of Yahweh came to Jeremiah when King Zedekiah or King Mattaniah (598-587 BCE), the son of King Josiah (640-609 BCE), was in charge. He sent Pashhur, not the Pashhur at the Temple mentioned in the last chapter, but the son of Malchiah. There also was the priest Zephaniah, the son of Maaseiah, with him. They had a question for Jeremiah. Would he ask Yahweh to help them against King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon (605-562 BCE), who was waging war on them? They knew that Yahweh had often done wonderful deeds for them. Could he make the king of Babylon withdraw and retreat from them? This was probably around 588 BCE, during the siege of Jerusalem.

The future captivity of Pashhur and his friends (Jer 20:4-20:6)

“Thus says Yahweh.

‘I am making you a terror

To yourself,

To all your friends.

They shall fall

By the sword of their enemies

While you look on.

I will give all Judah

Into the hand

Of the king of Babylon.

He shall carry them captive

To Babylon.

He shall kill them

With the sword.

I will give

All the wealth of the city,

All its gains,

All its prized belongings,

All the treasures of the kings of Judah

Into the hand of their enemies.

They shall plunder them.

They shall seize them.

They shall carry them to Babylon.

You!

Pashhur!

With all who dwell in your house,

Shall go into captivity.

You shall go to Babylon.

There you shall die.

There you shall be buried!

You!

With all your friends,

To whom you have prophesied falsely.’”

Jeremiah then uttered a destructive oracle of Yahweh to Pashhur, his friends, as well as the people of Judah and Jerusalem. Pashhur would be a terror to himself and his friends. All his friends would die by their enemy’s swords as he looked on. Judah would be handed over to Babylon as they would be brought into captivity, where they would die. The Babylonians were going to take all the wealth from the city of Jerusalem with all its prized possessions, along with all the treasures of Judah. Their enemies would plunder them and carry them off to Babylon. Pashhur with his whole household would be brought into captivity where they would all die and be buried. All of this would take place to Pashhur, his friends, and those to whom he falsely prophesized. There would not be a happy ending to this story. He crossed Jeremiah one too many times.

Jeremiah renames Pashhur (Jer 20:3-20:3)

“The next morning,

When Pashhur released Jeremiah

From the stocks,

Jeremiah said to him.

‘Yahweh has named you

Not Pashhur,

But ‘Terror all around.’”

The next morning, when Pashhur released Jeremiah, after his day in jail, Jeremiah said to him that Yahweh was renaming him, not Pashhur, but “Terror all around.” Pashhur thus received a new symbolic name of terror.

The priests who sign the agreement with Nehemiah (Neh 10:1-10:8)

“Upon the sealed document are the names of Nehemiah the governor, son of Hacaliah, Zedekiah, Seraiah, Azariah, Jeremiah, Pashhur, Amariah, Malchijah, Hattush, Shebaniah, Malluch, Harim, Meremoth, Obadiah, Daniel, Ginnethon, Baruch, Meshullam, Abijah, Mijamin, Maaziah, Bilgai, and Shemaiah. These are the priests.”

Obviously leading this signing of the covenant document is Nehemiah himself. Although he lists these people as priests, he himself was not a priest. He was the governor. Most of these 22 priests appear elsewhere in this book. This Zedekiah is difficult to locate since he obviously was not the last king of Judah, but he does appear elsewhere in this book. Daniel is not from the book of Daniel, but there is no mention of his name in this book. Maaziah and Bilgai only appear here. Meshullam appears over 13 times in this book, while the other 17 are mentioned anywhere from 2 – 5 times in this book.

 

The list of priests returning (Neh 7:39-7:42)

“The priests who were the descendents of Jedaiah, namely the house of Jeshua, were nine hundred seventy-three. The descendents of Immer were one thousand fifty-two. The descendents of Pashhur were one thousand two hundred forty-seven. The descendents of Harim were one thousand seventeen.”

Once again, this list is very similar to that found in Ezra, chapter 2. There are only 4 groups of priests rather than 24 that where in 1 Chronicles, chapter 24. However, there numbers are very large and the same as in Ezra. The Jedaiah group, that was the 2nd division, had 973 people. The Immer group, that was the 16th division, had 1,052 people. The Pashhur group had 1,247 people.   However, the descendents of Harim were mentioned in a larger number here and in Ezra, 1,017 rather than the 320 in the Harim group in the preceding paragraph.