Pashhur is only mentioned briefly in the Bible, but he played the part of antagonist in a bitter battle with one of Israel’s most polarizing prophets… Jeremiah.
In the years leading up to Judah’s exile, the priesthood had been compromised… becoming little more than a crutch to prop up a corrupt, wayward nation. God’s blessing on His people came to be taken for granted – as long as the temple stood and the priests continued to offer the designated sacrifices, what real harm could come to God’s chosen people?
Because the people forgot that God’s blessing depended on their faithfulness, the stage was set for the confrontation between prophet and priest. Jeremiah (who was also a member of the priestly class) spoke against Judah’s unfaithfulness. No one – not even his fellow priests like Pashhur – was safe from Jeremiah’s harsh – but God-given – warning.
But, Jeremiah did not just preach against sin; he also foretold the fall of the entire nation. This was the straw that broke the camel’s back. His words were regarded as unpatriotic, even treasonous. Jeremiah’s prophecies threatened to send the entire nation into a panic (Jer. 26:8,9). Because of this, Pashhur used his influence as the second-highest-ranking priest in the temple to intimidate Jeremiah into silence. He ordered Jeremiah to be beaten, and put in constraints for a day.
Apparently, Jeremiah failed to get the message. But, Pashhur wound up with a new identity. After being released, Jeremiah declared that from now on, God’s name for Pashhur would be Magor-Missabib… Hebrew for “Terror On Every Side”. Pashhur would eventually be led captive to Babylon – just as Jeremiah said would happen – and would die there.
Not for the last time, Jeremiah predicted the downfall of his own country at the hands of Babylon.
This incident between Jeremiah & Pashhur teaches a lesson to us.
Sometimes, being faithful to God (as Jeremiah was) means we must sometimes do the unpopular thing… refusing to go with the crowd, or say what others want us to say. Jeremiah chose the path of faithfulness, at great personal cost.
Pashhur chose the path of popularity and political correctness… and it cost him much more!
You can read Pashhur’s story in Jeremiah 20,21.