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Hope for the Future
1How terrible will be the LORD's judgement on those rulers who destroy and scatter his people! 2This is what the LORD, the God of Israel, says about the rulers who were supposed to take care of his people: “You have not taken care of my people; you have scattered them and driven them away. Now I am going to punish you for the evil you have done. 3I will gather the rest of my people from the countries where I have scattered them, and I will bring them back to their homeland. They will have many children and increase in number. 4I will appoint rulers to take care of them. My people will no longer be afraid or terrified, and I will not punish them again.#23.4 I will not punish them again; or not one of them will be missing. I, the LORD, have spoken.”
5 # Jer 33.14–16 The LORD says, “The time is coming when I will choose as king a righteous descendant of David. That king will rule wisely and do what is right and just throughout the land. 6When he is king, the people of Judah will be safe, and the people of Israel will live in peace. He will be called ‘The LORD Our Salvation’.
7“The time is coming,” says the LORD, “when people will no longer swear by me as the living God who brought the people of Israel out of the land of Egypt. 8Instead, they will swear by me as the living God who brought the people of Israel out of a northern land and out of all the other countries where I had scattered them. Then they will live in their own land.”
Jeremiah's Message about the Prophets
9My heart is crushed,
and I am trembling.
Because of the LORD,
because of his holy words,
I am like a man who is drunk,
a man who has had too much wine.
10The land is full of people unfaithful to the LORD;
they live wicked lives and misuse their power.
Because of the LORD's curse the land mourns
and the pastures are dry.
11The LORD says,
“The prophets and the priests are godless;
I have caught them doing evil in the Temple itself.
12The paths they follow will be slippery and dark;
I will make them stumble and fall.
I am going to bring disaster on them;
the time of their punishment is coming.
I, the LORD, have spoken.
13I have seen the sin of Samaria's prophets:
they have spoken in the name of Baal
and have led my people astray.
14 # Gen 18.20; Ezek 16.49 But I have seen the prophets in Jerusalem do even worse:
they commit adultery and tell lies;
they help people to do wrong,
so that no one stops doing what is evil.
To me, they are all as bad
as the people of Sodom and Gomorrah.
15“So then, this is what I, the LORD Almighty, say about the prophets of Jerusalem:
I will give them bitter plants to eat
and poison to drink,
because they have spread ungodliness throughout the land.”
16The LORD Almighty said to the people of Jerusalem, “Do not listen to what the prophets say; they are filling you with false hopes. They tell you what they have imagined and not what I have said. 17To the people who refuse to listen to what I have said, they keep saying that all will go well with them. And they tell everyone who is stubborn that disaster will never touch him.”
18I said, “None of these prophets has ever known the LORD's secret thoughts. None of them has ever heard or understood his message, or ever listened or paid attention to what he said. 19His anger is a storm, a furious wind that will rage over the heads of the wicked, 20and it will not end until he has done everything he intends to do. In days to come his people will understand this clearly.”
21The LORD said, “I did not send these prophets, but even so they went. I did not give them any message, but still they spoke in my name. 22If they had known my secret thoughts, then they could have proclaimed my message to my people and could have made them give up the evil lives they live and the wicked things they do.
23“I am a God who is everywhere and not in one place only. 24No one can hide where I cannot see him. Do you not know that I am everywhere in heaven and on earth? 25I know what those prophets have said who speak lies in my name and claim that I have given them my messages in their dreams. 26How much longer will those prophets mislead my people with the lies they have invented? 27They think that the dreams they tell will make my people forget me, just as their ancestors forgot me and turned to Baal. 28The prophet who has had a dream should say it is only a dream, but the prophet who has heard my message should proclaim that message faithfully. What good is straw compared with wheat? 29My message is like a fire, and like a hammer that breaks rocks in pieces. 30I am against those prophets who take each other's words and proclaim them as my message. 31I am also against those prophets who speak their own words and claim they came from me. 32Listen to what I, the LORD, say! I am against the prophets who tell their dreams that are full of lies. They tell these dreams and lead my people astray with their lies and their boasting. I did not send them or order them to go, and they are of no help at all to the people. I, the LORD, have spoken.”
The LORD's Burden
33The LORD said to me, “Jeremiah, when one of my people or a prophet or a priest asks you, ‘What is the LORD's message?’ you are to tell him, ‘You are a burden#23.33 The Hebrew word for message and burden is the same. to the LORD, and he is going to get rid of you.’ 34If any of my people or a prophet or a priest even uses the words ‘the LORD's burden’, I will punish them and their families. 35Instead, they should each ask their friends and relatives, ‘What answer has the LORD given? What has the LORD said?’ 36So they must no longer use the words ‘the LORD's burden’, because if anyone does, I will make my message a real burden to him. The people have perverted the words of their God, the living God, the LORD Almighty. 37Jeremiah, ask the prophets, ‘What answer did the LORD give you? What did the LORD say?’ 38And if they disobey my command and use the words ‘the LORD's burden’, then tell them that 39I will certainly pick them up#23.39 The Hebrew verb for pick up comes from the same root as the Hebrew word for message and burden. and throw them far away from me, both them and the city that I gave to them and their ancestors. 40I will bring on them everlasting shame and disgrace that will never be forgotten.”
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.”