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23
The Righteous Descendant
1“What sorrow awaits the leaders of my people—the shepherds of my sheep—for they have destroyed and scattered the very ones they were expected to care for,” says the Lord.
2Therefore, this is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says to these shepherds: “Instead of caring for my flock and leading them to safety, you have deserted them and driven them to destruction. Now I will pour out judgment on you for the evil you have done to them. 3But I will gather together the remnant of my flock from the countries where I have driven them. I will bring them back to their own sheepfold, and they will be fruitful and increase in number. 4Then I will appoint responsible shepherds who will care for them, and they will never be afraid again. Not a single one will be lost or missing. I, the Lord, have spoken!
5“For the time is coming,”
says the Lord,
“when I will raise up a righteous descendant#23:5 Hebrew a righteous branch.
from King David’s line.
He will be a King who rules with wisdom.
He will do what is just and right throughout the land.
6And this will be his name:
‘The Lord Is Our Righteousness.’#23:6 Hebrew Yahweh Tsidqenu.
In that day Judah will be saved,
and Israel will live in safety.
7“In that day,” says the Lord, “when people are taking an oath, they will no longer say, ‘As surely as the Lord lives, who rescued the people of Israel from the land of Egypt.’ 8Instead, they will say, ‘As surely as the Lord lives, who brought the people of Israel back to their own land from the land of the north and from all the countries to which he had exiled them.’ Then they will live in their own land.”
Judgment on False Prophets
9My heart is broken because of the false prophets,
and my bones tremble.
I stagger like a drunkard,
like someone overcome by wine,
because of the holy words
the Lord has spoken against them.
10For the land is full of adultery,
and it lies under a curse.
The land itself is in mourning—
its wilderness pastures are dried up.
For they all do evil
and abuse what power they have.
11“Even the priests and prophets
are ungodly, wicked men.
I have seen their despicable acts
right here in my own Temple,”
says the Lord.
12“Therefore, the paths they take
will become slippery.
They will be chased through the dark,
and there they will fall.
For I will bring disaster upon them
at the time fixed for their punishment.
I, the Lord, have spoken!
13“I saw that the prophets of Samaria were terribly evil,
for they prophesied in the name of Baal
and led my people of Israel into sin.
14But now I see that the prophets of Jerusalem are even worse!
They commit adultery and love dishonesty.
They encourage those who are doing evil
so that no one turns away from their sins.
These prophets are as wicked
as the people of Sodom and Gomorrah once were.”
15Therefore, this is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies says concerning the prophets:
“I will feed them with bitterness
and give them poison to drink.
For it is because of Jerusalem’s prophets
that wickedness has filled this land.”
16This is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies says to his people:
“Do not listen to these prophets when they prophesy to you,
filling you with futile hopes.
They are making up everything they say.
They do not speak for the Lord!
17They keep saying to those who despise my word,
‘Don’t worry! The Lord says you will have peace!’
And to those who stubbornly follow their own desires,
they say, ‘No harm will come your way!’
18“Have any of these prophets been in the Lord’s presence
to hear what he is really saying?
Has even one of them cared enough to listen?
19Look! The Lord’s anger bursts out like a storm,
a whirlwind that swirls down on the heads of the wicked.
20The anger of the Lord will not diminish
until it has finished all he has planned.
In the days to come
you will understand all this very clearly.
21“I have not sent these prophets,
yet they run around claiming to speak for me.
I have given them no message,
yet they go on prophesying.
22If they had stood before me and listened to me,
they would have spoken my words,
and they would have turned my people
from their evil ways and deeds.
23Am I a God who is only close at hand?” says the Lord.
“No, I am far away at the same time.
24Can anyone hide from me in a secret place?
Am I not everywhere in all the heavens and earth?”
says the Lord.
25“I have heard these prophets say, ‘Listen to the dream I had from God last night.’ And then they proceed to tell lies in my name. 26How long will this go on? If they are prophets, they are prophets of deceit, inventing everything they say. 27By telling these false dreams, they are trying to get my people to forget me, just as their ancestors did by worshiping the idols of Baal.
28“Let these false prophets tell their dreams,
but let my true messengers faithfully proclaim my every word.
There is a difference between straw and grain!
29Does not my word burn like fire?”
says the Lord.
“Is it not like a mighty hammer
that smashes a rock to pieces?
30“Therefore,” says the Lord, “I am against these prophets who steal messages from each other and claim they are from me. 31I am against these smooth-tongued prophets who say, ‘This prophecy is from the Lord!’ 32I am against these false prophets. Their imaginary dreams are flagrant lies that lead my people into sin. I did not send or appoint them, and they have no message at all for my people. I, the Lord, have spoken!
False Prophecies and False Prophets
33“Suppose one of the people or one of the prophets or priests asks you, ‘What prophecy has the Lord burdened you with now?’ You must reply, ‘You are the burden!#23:33 As in Greek version and Latin Vulgate; Hebrew reads What burden? The Lord says he will abandon you!’
34“If any prophet, priest, or anyone else says, ‘I have a prophecy from the Lord,’ I will punish that person along with his entire family. 35You should keep asking each other, ‘What is the Lord’s answer?’ or ‘What is the Lord saying?’ 36But stop using this phrase, ‘prophecy from the Lord.’ For people are using it to give authority to their own ideas, turning upside down the words of our God, the living God, the Lord of Heaven’s Armies.
37“This is what you should say to the prophets: ‘What is the Lord’s answer?’ or ‘What is the Lord saying?’ 38But suppose they respond, ‘This is a prophecy from the Lord!’ Then you should say, ‘This is what the Lord says: Because you have used this phrase, “prophecy from the Lord,” even though I warned you not to use it, 39I will forget you completely.#23:39 Some Hebrew manuscripts and Greek version read I will surely lift you up. I will expel you from my presence, along with this city that I gave to you and your ancestors. 40And I will make you an object of ridicule, and your name will be infamous throughout the ages.’”
23
Woe to the Evil Shepherds
1“Woe to the shepherds who destroy and scatter the flock of my pasture,” declares#Literally “a declaration of” Yahweh. 2Therefore#Literally “To thus” thus says Yahweh, the God of Israel concerning the shepherds who shepherd my people, “You yourselves have scattered my flock, and you have driven them away, and you do not attend to them. Look, I will punish you for the evil of your deeds,” declares#Literally “a declaration of” Yahweh. 3“Then I myself will gather together the remnant of my flock from all the lands where I have driven them, and I will bring them back to their grazing place, and they will be fruitful, and they will become numerous. 4And I will raise up over them shepherds, and they will shepherd them, and they will no longer fear, and they will not be dismayed, and they will not be missing,” declares#Literally “a declaration of” Yahweh.
The Righteous Branch
5“Look, days are coming,” declares#Literally “a declaration of” Yahweh,
“when I will raise up for David a righteous branch,
and he will reign as king, and he will achieve success,
and he will do justice and righteousness in the land.
6In his days Judah will be saved,
and Israel will dwell in safety,#Literally “with confidence”
and this is his name by which he will be called:
‘Yahweh is our righteousness.’
7“Therefore#Literally “To thus” look, days are coming,” declares#Literally “a declaration of” Yahweh, “when they will no longer say, ‘As Yahweh lives,#Literally “the life of Yahweh” who led up the Israelites#Literally “sons/children of Israel” from the land of Egypt,’ 8but ‘As Yahweh lives,#Literally “the life of Yahweh” who led up, and who brought the offspring of the house of Israel from the land of the north and from all the lands where he had driven them.’ Then they will live in their land.”
The Unfaithful Prophets
9Concerning the prophets:
My heart is broken in my midst.
All my bones tremble.
I have become like a drunken man,
even like a man over whom wine has passed,
because of Yahweh,
and because of his holy words.#Literally “words of his holiness”
10For the land is full of adulterers;
for the land mourns because of a curse.
The pastures of the desert#Or “wilderness” are dry,
and their evil has been their way of running,
and their power is not right.
11“For both prophet as well as priest are godless,
even in my temple I have found their wickedness,” declares#Literally “a declaration of” Yahweh.
12“Therefore#Literally “To thus” their way will be to them like the slippery places,
they will be pushed in the darkness,
and they will fall into it,
for I will bring disaster on them in the year of their punishment,” declares#Literally “a declaration of” Yahweh.
13“Now in the prophets of Samaria I saw a disgusting thing.
They prophesied by Baal and they caused my people Israel to err.
14And in the prophets of Jerusalem I have seen something horrible.
They commit adultery, and they walk in lies,#Hebrew “the lie”
and they make strong the hands of evildoers,
so that they have not turned back each from his wickedness.
All of them have become to me like Sodom,
and its inhabitants like Gomorrah.”
15Therefore#Literally “To thus” thus says Yahweh concerning the prophets,
“Look, I am going to let them eat wormwood
and I will give them water of poison to drink,
for from the prophets of Jerusalem
went out ungodliness to all the land.”
16Thus says Yahweh of hosts,
“You must not listen to the words of the prophets who prophesy to you.
They are deluding you with visions of their mind,#Literally “heart”
They do not speak from the mouth of Yahweh.
17They are#Here the subject and verb are supplied from context in the English translation continually saying to those who disregard the word of Yahweh,
‘Peace it will be to you,’
and to each one#Literally “all” who walks in the stubbornness of his heart they say,
‘Calamity will not come upon you.’
18For who has stood in the council of Yahweh,
that he has seen and heard his word?
Who has listened attentively to his word
and heard it?#Here the direct object is supplied from context in the English translation
19Look, the storm of Yahweh has gone forth in wrath,
even a whirling tempest.
It will whirl upon the head of the wicked.
20The anger#Literally “nose” of Yahweh will not turn back
until his doing and until his keeping the plans of his mind.#Literally “heart”
In latter days#Literally “In the last of the days” you will look closely at it with understanding.
21I have not sent the prophets, yet they ran.
I have not spoken to them, yet they prophesied.
22But if they had stood in my council,
then they would have proclaimed my words to my people,
and they would have caused them to turn from their evil way,
and from the evil of their deeds.
23Am I a God from near,” declares#Literally “a declaration of” Yahweh,
“and not a God from far?
24Or can a person hide himself in secret places
and I cannot see him?” declares#Literally “a declaration of” Yahweh.
“Do I not fill up the heaven and the earth?” declares#Literally “a declaration of” Yahweh.
25“I have heard what the prophets who prophesy lies#Hebrew “lie” have said in my name, saying,#Literally “to say” ‘I have dreamed! I have dreamed!’ 26How long#Literally “Until when” will this be in the hearts#Hebrew “heart” of the prophets who prophesy lies,#Hebrew “the lie” even the prophets of the deceitfulness of their hearts,#Hebrew “heart” 27who plan to make my people forget my name by their dreams that they tell each one to his neighbor, just as their ancestors#Or “fathers” forgot my name through Baal? 28The prophet who has with him a dream, let him tell the dream. But the prophet#Here the subject is supplied from context in the English translation who has my word with him, let him speak my word faithfully. What is straw compared to wheat?”#Literally “What to the straw in comparison with the wheat” declares#Literally “a declaration of” Yahweh. 29“Is not my word like fire?” declares#Literally “a declaration of” Yahweh, “and like a blacksmith’s hammer that breaks a rock into pieces?
30“Therefore#Literally “To thus” look, I am against the prophets,” declares#Literally “a declaration of” Yahweh, “who steal my words each one from his neighbor. 31Look, I am against the prophets,” declares#Literally “a declaration of” Yahweh, “who take their tongues#Hebrew “tongue” and declare as prophets, ‘Yahweh declares.’#Literally “a declaration of” 32Look, I am against those who prophesy dreams of lies,”#Hebrew “lie” declares#Literally “a declaration of” Yahweh, “and tell them, and they caused my people to err through their lies, and in their recklessness, when I myself have not sent them nor commanded them, so they profit not this people at all,” declares#Literally “a declaration of” Yahweh.
33“Now when this people, or a prophet, or a priest, ask you, saying,#Literally “to say” ‘What is the burden#Or “oracle” of Yahweh?’ then you shall say to them, ‘You are the burden,#Literally “What burden” and I will forsake you,’ ” declares#Literally “a declaration of” Yahweh. 34“And the prophet, and the priest, and the people who say, ‘The burden#Or “oracle” of Yahweh,’ I will punish that man and his house. 35Thus you shall say, each one to his neighbor and each one to his brother: ‘What has Yahweh answered?’ or, ‘What has Yahweh spoken?’ 36But you shall not mention the burden#Or “oracle” of Yahweh, for the burden#Or “oracle” is to each one his word, and so you twist the words of the living God, Yahweh of hosts, our God. 37Thus you shall say to that prophet, ‘What has Yahweh answered you?’ or, ‘What has Yahweh spoken?’ 38But if you say, ‘The burden#Or “oracle” of Yahweh,’ therefore#Literally “to thus” thus says Yahweh, ‘because of your saying these words,#Hebrew “word” “The burden#Or “oracle” of Yahweh,” then I will send to you, saying,#Literally “to say” “You shall not say, ‘The burden#Or “oracle” of Yahweh.’ ” ’ 39Therefore#Literally “To thus” look, here I am, and I will surely lift you up and forsake you and the city that I gave to you and to your ancestors#Or “fathers” from my presence#Literally “my face”, 40and I will bring upon you an everlasting disgrace#Literally “a disgrace of eternity” and an everlasting shame#Literally “a shame of eternity” that will not be forgotten.”