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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.”
23
A Message of Hope
The Lord said:
1 # Ez 34.1-6,23,24; Jn 10.14-16. You leaders of my people are like shepherds that kill and scatter the sheep. 2You were supposed to take care of my people, but instead you chased them away. So now I'll punish you severely and make you pay for your crimes!
3I will bring the rest of my people home from the lands where I have scattered them, and they will grow into a mighty nation. 4I promise to choose leaders who will care for them like real shepherds. All of my people will be there, and they will never again be frightened.
5 # Jr 33.14-16. Someday I will appoint
an honest king
from the family of David,
a king who will be wise
and rule with justice.
6As long as he is king,
Israel will have peace,
and Judah will be safe.
The name of this king will be
“The Lord Gives Justice.”
7A time will come when you will again worship me. But you will no longer call me the Living God who rescued Israel from Egypt. 8Instead, you will call me the Living God who rescued you from the land in the north and from all the other countries where I had forced you to go. And you will once again live in your own land.
Jeremiah Thinks about Unfaithful Prophets
9When I think of the prophets,
I am shocked, and I tremble#23.9 tremble: Or “become weak.”
like someone drunk,
because of the Lord
and his sacred words.
10Those unfaithful prophets
misuse their power
all over the country.
So God turned the pasturelands
into scorching deserts.#23.10 deserts: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text of verse 10.
The Lord Will Punish Unfaithful Prophets
11The Lord told me to say:
You prophets and priests
think so little of me, the Lord,
that you even sin
in my own temple!
12Now I will punish you
with disaster,
and you will slip and fall
in the darkness.
I, the Lord, have spoken.
13The prophets in Samaria
were repulsive to me,
because they preached
in the name of Baal
and led my people astray.
14 # Gn 18.20; Ez 16.49. And you prophets in Jerusalem
are even worse.
You're unfaithful in marriage#23.14 in marriage: Or “to me.”
and never tell the truth.#23.14 never tell the truth: Or “worship other gods.”
You even lead others to sin
instead of helping them
turn back to me.
You and the people of Jerusalem
are evil like Sodom
and Gomorrah.#23.14 Sodom and Gomorrah: Two cities that the Lord destroyed because their people were so evil (see Genesis 18.16—19.29).
15You prophets in Jerusalem
have spread evil everywhere.
That's why I, the Lord, promise
to give you bitter poison
to eat and drink.
The Lord Gives a Warning
The Lord said:
16Don't listen to the lies
of these false prophets,
you people of Judah!
The message they preach
is something they imagined;
it did not come from me,
the Lord All-Powerful.
17These prophets go to people
who refuse to respect me
and who are stubborn
and do whatever they please.
The prophets tell them,
“The Lord has promised
everything will be fine.”
18But I, the Lord, tell you
that these prophets
have never attended a meeting
of my council in heaven#23.18 a meeting of my council in heaven: Sometimes, prophets had visions of the Lord meeting with his angels (see 1 Kings 22.19-23).
or heard me speak.
19They are evil! So in my anger
I will strike them
like a violent storm.
20I won't calm down,
until I have finished
what I have decided to do.
Someday you will understand
exactly what I mean.
21I did not send these prophets
or speak to them,
but they ran to find you
and to preach their message.
22If they had been in a meeting
of my council in heaven,
they would have told
you people of Judah
to give up your sins
and come back to me.
23I am everywhere—
both near and far,
24 # Ws 1.7; Si 16.17. in heaven and on earth.
There are no secret places
where you can hide from me.
25These unfaithful prophets claim that I have given them a dream or a vision, and then they tell lies in my name. 26But everything they say comes from their own twisted minds. How long can this go on? 27They tell each other their dreams and try to get my people to reject me, just as their ancestors left me and worshiped Baal. 28Their dreams and my truth are as different as straw and wheat. But when prophets speak for me, they must say only what I have told them. 29My words are a powerful fire; they are a hammer that shatters rocks.
30-32These unfaithful prophets claim I give them their dreams, but it isn't true. I didn't choose them to be my prophets, and yet they babble on and on, speaking in my name, while stealing words from each other. And when my people hear these liars, they are led astray instead of being helped. So I warn you that I am now the enemy of these prophets. I, the Lord, have spoken.
News and Nuisance
The Lord said to me:
33Jeremiah, when a prophet or a priest or anyone else comes to you and asks, “Does the Lord have news for us?” tell them, “You people are a nuisance#23.33 news … nuisance: The Hebrew word for “news” in verses 33-38 is the same as “nuisance” and is related to “pick up” in verse 39. to the Lord, and he#23.33 You people are a nuisance to the Lord, and he: Two ancient translations; Hebrew “Does the Lord have news for us? He.” will get rid of you.”
34If any of you say, “Here is news from the Lord,” I will punish you and your families, even if you are a prophet or a priest. 35Instead, you must ask your friends and relatives, “What answer did the Lord give?” or “What has the Lord said?” 36It seems that you each have your own news! So if you say, “Here is news from the Lord,” you are twisting my words into a lie. Remember that I am your God, the Lord All-Powerful.
37If you go to a prophet, it's all right to ask, “What answer did the Lord give to my question?” or “What has the Lord said?” 38But if you disobey me and say, “Here is news from the Lord,” 39I will pick you up#23.39 pick you up: A few Hebrew manuscripts and three ancient translations; most Hebrew manuscripts “forget you completely.” and throw you far away. And I will abandon this city of Jerusalem that I gave to your ancestors. 40You will never be free from your shame and disgrace.