Jeremiah 23

The righteous branch

1‘Woe to the shepherds who are destroying and scattering the sheep of my pasture!’ declares the  Lord. 2Therefore this is what the  Lord, the God of Israel, says to the shepherds who tend my people: ‘Because you have scattered my flock and driven them away and have not bestowed care on them, I will bestow punishment on you for the evil you have done,’ declares the  Lord. 3‘I myself will gather the remnant of my flock out of all the countries where I have driven them and will bring them back to their pasture, where they will be fruitful and increase in number. 4I will place shepherds over them who will tend them, and they will no longer be afraid or terrified, nor will any be missing,’ declares the  Lord.

5‘The days are coming,’ declares the  Lord,
‘when I will raise up for David
Or up from David’s line
a righteous Branch,
a King who will reign wisely
and do what is just and right in the land.
6In his days Judah will be saved
and Israel will live in safety.
This is the name by which he will be called:
The  Lord Our Righteous Saviour.
7‘So then, the days are coming,’ declares the  Lord, ‘when people will no longer say, “As surely as the  Lord lives, who brought the Israelites up out of Egypt,” 8but they will say, “As surely as the  Lord lives, who brought the descendants of Israel up out of the land of the north and out of all the countries where he had banished them.” Then they will live in their own land.’

Lying prophets

9Concerning the prophets:

My heart is broken within me;
all my bones tremble.
I am like a drunken man,
like a strong man overcome by wine,
because of the  Lord
and his holy words.
10The land is full of adulterers;
because of the curse
Or because of these things
the land lies parched
and the pastures in the wilderness are withered.
The prophets follow an evil course
and use their power unjustly.
11‘Both prophet and priest are godless;
even in my temple I find their wickedness,’
declares the  Lord.
12‘Therefore their path will become slippery;
they will be banished to darkness
and there they will fall.
I will bring disaster on them
in the year they are punished,’
declares the  Lord.
13‘Among the prophets of Samaria
I saw this repulsive thing:
they prophesied by Baal
and led my people Israel astray.
14And among the prophets of Jerusalem
I have seen something horrible:
They commit adultery and live a lie.
They strengthen the hands of evildoers,
so that not one of them turns from their wickedness.
They are all like Sodom to me;
the people of Jerusalem are like Gomorrah.’

15Therefore this is what the  Lord Almighty says concerning the prophets:

‘I will make them eat bitter food
and drink poisoned water,
because from the prophets of Jerusalem
ungodliness has spread throughout the land.’

16This is what the  Lord Almighty says:

‘Do not listen to what the prophets are prophesying to you;
they fill you with false hopes.
They speak visions from their own minds,
not from the mouth of the  Lord.
17They keep saying to those who despise me,
“The  Lord says: you will have peace.”
And to all who follow the stubbornness of their hearts
they say, “No harm will come to you.”
18But which of them has stood in the council of the  Lord
to see or to hear his word?
Who has listened and heard his word?
19See, the storm of the  Lord
will burst out in wrath,
a whirlwind swirling down
on the heads of the wicked.
20The anger of the  Lord will not turn back
until he fully accomplishes
the purposes of his heart.
In days to come
you will understand it clearly.
21I did not send these prophets,
yet they have run with their message;
I did not speak to them,
yet they have prophesied.
22But if they had stood in my council,
they would have proclaimed my words to my people
and would have turned them from their evil ways
and from their evil deeds.
23‘Am I only a God nearby,’
declares the  Lord, ‘and not a God far away?
24Who can hide in secret places
so that I cannot see them?’
declares the  Lord. ‘Do not I fill heaven and earth?’
declares the  Lord.

25‘I have heard what the prophets say who prophesy lies in my name. They say, “I had a dream! I had a dream!” 26How long will this continue in the hearts of these lying prophets, who prophesy the delusions of their own minds? 27They think the dreams they tell one another will make my people forget my name, just as their ancestors forgot my name through Baal worship. 28Let the prophet who has a dream recount the dream, but let the one who has my word speak it faithfully. For what has straw to do with grain?’ declares the  Lord. 29‘Is not my word like fire,’ declares the  Lord, ‘and like a hammer that breaks a rock in pieces?

30‘Therefore,’ declares the  Lord, ‘I am against the prophets who steal from one another words supposedly from me. 31Yes,’ declares the  Lord, ‘I am against the prophets who wag their own tongues and yet declare, “The Lord declares.” 32Indeed, I am against those who prophesy false dreams,’ declares the  Lord. ‘They tell them and lead my people astray with their reckless lies, yet I did not send or appoint them. They do not benefit these people in the least,’ declares the  Lord.

False prophecy

33‘When these people, or a prophet or a priest, ask you, “What is the message from the  Lord?” say to them, “What message? I will forsake you, declares the  Lord.” 34If a prophet or a priest or anyone else claims, “This is a message from the  Lord,” I will punish them and their household. 35This is what each of you keeps saying to your friends and other Israelites: “What is the  Lord’s answer?” or “What has the  Lord spoken?” 36But you must not mention “a message from the  Lord ” again, because each one’s word becomes their own message. So you distort the words of the living God, the  Lord Almighty, our God. 37This is what you keep saying to a prophet: “What is the  Lord’s answer to you?” or “What has the  Lord spoken?” 38Although you claim, “This is a message from the  Lord,” this is what the  Lord says: you used the words, “This is a message from the  Lord,” even though I told you that you must not claim, “This is a message from the  Lord.” 39Therefore, I will surely forget you and cast you out of my presence along with the city I gave to you and your ancestors. 40I will bring on you everlasting disgrace – everlasting shame that will not be forgotten.’

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