Jeremiah 20:7

Jeremiah 20:7 is an interesting example of the divine-human interaction we have in the Bible, and the importance of understanding the historical context.

Was Jeremiah telling the truth when he said God lied to him?

If everything in the Bible is a timeless truth, you would have a hard time answering that question.

Is that verse (Jer 20:7) inspired?

I think it is inspired, because God wanted us to know about Jeremiah’s experience, and how his word came to the people out of Jeremiah’s experience?

How would you answer the question,

Was Jeremiah telling the truth in Jer 20:7?

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4 Responses

  1. Strictly speaking, not everything in the Bible is true. The Bible records many lies: the serpent’s “You shall not die,” Abraham’s “She is my sister,” Peter’s “I do not know him,” and many more. But God does not lie (Numbers 23:19).
    However, I do believe that Jeremiah is completely honest when he says that He did. Jeremiah’s situation was nothing like what he expected when God called him. He was discouraged and upset. Sometimes we feel like God has tricked us into doing things we don’t want to. I think that this is in here to show us that we are not the only ones to feel that way, and it is no condemnation to us that we do. It also shows us what to do when we feel that way. Jeremiah is not just complaining to anyone, he is bringing his complaint to God himself. God wants our honesty, even when our feelings are not all warm and fuzzy. He wants all of us and He fills His word with examples of how to deal with many, many situations that will arise in our lives.

  2. I think Amanda has some very good points here. The five Scripture references I have checked have a footnote that mentions how the word “deceived” in verse 20 can have an alternate meaning of “persuaded”. (It makes me wonder why the translators didn’t simply use the word “persuaded” then…)

    It seems like Jeremiah is whining somewhat in this passage. Kind of a “woe is me” syndrome has fallen over him. I think we can identify with what the prophet is going through when he finds himself isolated and alone–people are condemning him and the pressure is getting to him. I can relate to his situation when i volunteer to take on a task at church and the “spirit” is running high! I tell myself, “Man, this is going to be great! I’ll get this job done and move quickly to the even greater things! Let’s get going!” But then the cheering stops and the task is bigger than we thought.

    To quote a line from the old musical, Showboat, “Everything is wonderful on Saturday night-only to have the harshness of a cold Monday morning set in.” The NIV Study Bible remarks, “Jeremiah feels that when the Lord originally called him to be a prophet, he had overly persuaded him.” I think that more than likely Jeremiah was suffering from a severe case of enthusiasm born of ignorance and now that harsh Monday morning has arrived.

    This might not be the most scholarly response, but I hope I get my impressions across…

  3. One of the goals of the class will be to be able to do your own Hebrew word studies. Maybe we can make this a class project to see how we think the verb should be translated: persuaded, deceived, or something stronger?

  4. I believed it was inspired because it is in the text. I believe God was wanting us to see it is ok to question him. After all isn’t he our Father? Didn’t Moses question God. Jonah was angry with God and so on. I am like Randy and have seen where this could be translated persuaded or seduced. It appears that Jeremiah had been warned in 1:17 of the difficulty that would face him and haven’t we all been angry at God and blame him for something that wasn’t his fault? It seems to me this is a timeless truth that God wants us to pour out our emotions to him just as we would our earthly father and allow him to sooth our hurts. Of course God does not lie, but the truth is found that as we have said that is how Jeremiah felt. When we look later on in the chapter don’t we see Jeremiah’s faith in the Lord’s protection?

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