Pashhur appears only briefly in the Bible, he was a priest during Jeremiah’s time, but he played the antagonist in a bitter conflict with one of Israel’s most polarizing prophets.
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 came to be taken for granted—as long as the temple stood and priests offered the designated sacrifices, what real harm could come to God’s chosen nation?
Because the people forgot that God’s blessing depended on their faithfulness, the stage was set for the confrontation between prophet and priest. Jeremiah (himself a member of the priestly class) railed against Judah’s unfaithfulness. None—not even his fellow priests like Pashhur— was safe from the prophet’s divinely inspired rage.
But Jeremiah did not just preach condemnation of sin—he foretold the demise of the entire nation, too. His words were regarded as unpatriotic, even treasonous. Jeremiah’s prophecies threatened to send the entire nation into a panic ( Jeremiah 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 the prophet beaten and put in restraints for a day.
Apparently, Jeremiah failed to get the message. Pashhur, however, wound up with a new identity. After being released, Jeremiah declared that from now on, God’s name for Pashhur was Magor-Missabib— Hebrew for “terror on every side.” Not for the last time, Jeremiah predicted the downfall of his own country at the hands of Babylon.
The incident involving Jeremiah and Pashhur contains a sobering lesson. Sometimes being faithful to God means we must do the unpopular, refusing to tow the party line or say what others want to hear.
Jeremiah chose the path of unpopularity at great personal cost. Pashhur, on the other hand, chose not to listen and paid dearly for his error.