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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
The Evil Leaders of Judah
1“How terrible it will be for the leaders of Judah, who are scattering and destroying my people,” says the Lord.
2They are responsible for the people, so the Lord, the God of Israel, says to them: “You have scattered my people and forced them away and not taken care of them. So I will punish you for the evil things you have done,” says the Lord. 3“I sent my people to other countries, but I will gather those who are left alive and bring them back to their own country. Then they will have many children and grow in number. 4I will place new leaders over my people, who will take care of them. And my people will not be afraid or terrified again, and none of them will be lost,” says the Lord.
The Good Branch Will Come
5“The days are coming,” says the Lord,
“when I will raise up a good branch in David’s family.
He will be a king who will rule in a wise way;
he will do what is fair and right in the land.
6In his time Judah will be saved,
and Israel will live in safety.
This will be his name:
The Lord Does What Is Right.
7“So the days are coming,” says the Lord, “when people will not say again: ‘As surely as the Lord lives, who brought Israel out of Egypt . . . ’ 8But people will say something new: ‘As surely as the Lord lives, who brought the descendants of Israel from the land of the north and from all the countries where he had sent them away . . . ’ Then the people of Israel will live in their own land.”
False Prophets Will Be Punished
9A message to the prophets:
My heart is broken.
All my bones shake.
I’m like someone who is drunk,
like someone who has been overcome with wine.
This is because of the Lord
and his holy words.
10The land of Judah is full of people who are guilty of adultery.
Because of this, the Lord cursed the land.
It has become a very sad place,
and the pastures have dried up.
The people are evil
and use their power in the wrong way.
11“Both the prophets and the priests live as if there were no God.
I have found them doing evil things even in my own Temple,” says the Lord.
12“So they will be in danger.
They will be forced into darkness
where they will be defeated.
I will bring disaster on them
in the year I punish them,” says the Lord.
13“I saw the prophets of Samaria
do something wrong.
Those prophets prophesied by Baal
and led my people Israel away.
14And I have seen the prophets of Jerusalem
do terrible things.
They are guilty of adultery
and live by lies.
They encourage evil people to keep on doing evil,
so the people don’t stop sinning.
All of those people are like the city of Sodom.
The people of Jerusalem are like the city of Gomorrah to me!”
15So this is what the Lord All-Powerful says about the prophets:
“I will make those prophets eat bitter food
and drink poisoned water,
because the prophets of Jerusalem spread wickedness
through the whole country.”
16This is what the Lord All-Powerful says:
“Don’t pay attention to what those prophets are saying to you.
They are trying to fool you.
They talk about visions their own minds made up,
not about visions from me.
17They say to those who hate me:
‘The Lord says: You will have peace.’
They say to all those who are stubborn and do as they please:
‘Nothing bad will happen to you.’
18But none of these prophets has stood in the meeting of angels
to see or hear the message of the Lord.
None of them has paid close attention to his message.
19Look, the punishment from the Lord
will come like a storm.
His anger will be like a hurricane.
It will come swirling down on the heads of those wicked people.
20The Lord’s anger will not stop
until he finishes what he plans to do.
When that day is over,
you will understand this clearly.
21I did not send those prophets,
but they ran to tell their message.
I did not speak to them,
but they prophesied anyway.
22But if they had stood in the meeting of angels,
they would have told my message to my people.
They would have turned the people from their evil ways
and from doing evil.
23“I am a God who is near,” says the Lord.
“I am also a God who is far away.”
24“No one can hide
where I cannot see him,” says the Lord.
“I fill all of heaven and earth,” says the Lord.
25“I have heard the prophets who prophesy lies in my name. They say, ‘I have had a dream! I have had a dream!’ 26How long will this continue in the minds of these lying prophets? They prophesy from their own wishful thinking. 27They are trying to make the people of Judah forget me by telling each other these dreams. In the same way, their ancestors forgot me and worshiped Baal. 28Is straw the same thing as wheat?” says the Lord. “If a prophet wants to tell about his dreams, let him! But let the person who hears my message speak it truthfully! 29Isn’t my message like a fire?” says the Lord. “Isn’t it like a hammer that smashes a rock?
30“So I am against the false prophets,” says the Lord. “They keep stealing words from each other and say they are from me. 31I am against the false prophets,” says the Lord. “They use their own words and pretend it is a message from me. 32I am against the prophets who prophesy false dreams,” says the Lord. “They mislead my people with their lies and false teachings! I did not send them or command them to do anything for me. They can’t help the people of Judah at all,” says the Lord.
The Sad Message from the Lord
33“Suppose the people of Judah, a prophet, or a priest asks you: ‘Jeremiah, what is the message from the Lord?’ You will answer them and say, ‘You are a heavy load to the Lord, and I will throw you down, says the Lord.’ 34A prophet or a priest or one of the people might say, ‘This is a message from the Lord.’ That person has lied, so I will punish him and his whole family. 35This is what you will say to each other: ‘What did the Lord answer?’ or ‘What did the Lord say?’ 36But you will never again say, ‘The message of the Lord,’ because the only message you speak is your own words. You have changed the words of our God, the living God, the Lord All-Powerful. 37This is how you should speak to the prophets: ‘What answer did the Lord give you?’ or ‘What did the Lord say?’ 38But don’t say, ‘The message from the Lord.’ If you use these words, this is what the Lord says: Because you called it a ‘message from the Lord,’ though I told you not to use those words, 39I will pick you up and throw you away from me, along with Jerusalem, which I gave to your ancestors and to you. 40And I will make a disgrace of you forever; your shame will never be forgotten.”