The Coming Messiah: the Righteous Branch
23 “Woe to the shepherds (civil leaders, rulers) who are destroying and scattering the sheep of My pasture!” says the Lord. 2 Therefore thus says the Lord, the God of Israel, in regard to the shepherds who care for and feed My people: “You have scattered My flock and driven them away, and have not attended to them; hear this, I am about to visit and attend to you for the evil of your deeds,” says the Lord. 3 “Then I will gather the remnant of My flock out of all the countries to which I have driven them and bring them back to their folds and pastures; and they will be fruitful and multiply. 4 I will set up shepherds over them who will feed them. And they will not be afraid any longer, nor be terrified, nor will any be missing,” says the Lord.
“Behold (listen closely), the days are coming,” says the Lord,
“When I will raise up for David a righteous Branch;
And He will reign as King and act wisely
And will do [those things that accomplish] justice and righteousness in the land.
“In His days Judah will be saved,
And Israel will dwell safely;
Now this is His name by which He will be called;
‘The Lord Our Righteousness.’(A)
7 “Therefore behold, the days are coming,” says the Lord, “when they will no longer say, ‘As the Lord lives, who brought up the children of Israel from the land of Egypt,’ 8 but [they will say], ‘As the Lord lives, who brought up and led back the descendants of the house of Israel from the north country and from all the countries to which I had driven them.’ Then they will live in their own land.”(B)
False Prophets Denounced
Concerning the prophets:
My heart [says Jeremiah] is broken within me,
All my bones shake;
I have become like a drunken man,
A man whom wine has overcome,
Because of the Lord
And because of His holy words [declared against unfaithful leaders].
For the land is full of adulterers (unfaithful to God);
The land mourns because of the curse [of God upon it].
The pastures of the wilderness have dried up.
The course of action [of the false prophets] is evil and they rush into wickedness;
And their power is not right.
“For both [false] prophet and priest are ungodly (profane, polluted);
Even in My house I have found their wickedness,” says the Lord.
“Therefore their way will be to them like slippery paths
In the dark; they will be pushed and fall into them;
For I will bring disaster on them,
In the year of their punishment,” says the Lord.
“And I have seen a foolish and an offensive thing in the prophets of Samaria:
They prophesied by Baal and caused My people Israel to go astray.
“Also I have seen a horrible thing in the prophets of Jerusalem:
They commit adultery and walk in lies;
They encourage and strengthen the hands of evildoers,
So that no one has turned back from his wickedness.
All of them have become like Sodom to Me,
And her inhabitants like Gomorrah.
15 Therefore thus says the Lord of hosts in regard to the prophets,
‘Behold, I am going to feed them [the bitterness of] wormwood
And make them drink the poisonous water [of gall],
For from the [counterfeit] prophets of Jerusalem
Profaneness and ungodliness have spread into all the land.’”
Thus says the Lord of hosts,
“Do not listen to the words of the [false] prophets who prophesy to you.
They are teaching you worthless things and are leading you into futility;
They speak a vision of their own mind and imagination
And not [truth] from the mouth of the Lord.
“They are continually saying to those who despise Me [and My word],
‘The Lord has said, “You will have peace”’;
And they say to everyone who walks after the stubbornness of his own heart,
‘No evil will come on you.’
“But who [among them] has stood in the council of the Lord,
That he would perceive and hear His word?
Who has marked His word [noticing and observing and paying attention to it] and has [actually] heard it?
“Behold, the tempest of the Lord has gone forth in wrath,
A whirling tempest;
It will whirl and burst on the heads of the wicked.
“The anger of the Lord will not turn back
Until He has set in motion and accomplished the thoughts and intentions of His heart;
In the last days you will clearly understand it.
“I did not send [these counterfeit] prophets,
Yet they ran;
I did not speak to them,
Yet they prophesied.
“But if they had stood in My council,
Then they would have caused My people to hear My words,
Then they would have turned My people from their evil way
And from the evil of their decisions and deeds.
“Am I a God who is at hand,” says the Lord,
“And not a God far away?”
“Can anyone hide himself in secret places
So that I cannot see him?” says the Lord.
“Do I not fill heaven and earth?” says the Lord.
25 “I have heard what the prophets have said who prophesy lies in My Name, saying, ‘I have dreamed, I have dreamed [visions when on my bed at night].’ 26 How long [shall this state of affairs continue]? Is there anything in the hearts of the prophets who prophesy falsehood, even these prophets of the deception of their own heart, 27 who think that they can make My people forget My Name by their [contrived] dreams which each one tells another, just as their fathers forgot My Name because of Baal? 28 The prophet who has a dream may tell his dream; but he who has My word, let him speak My word faithfully. What has straw in common with wheat [for nourishment]?” says the Lord. 29 “Is not My word like fire [that consumes all that cannot endure the test]?” says the Lord, “and like a hammer that breaks the [most stubborn] rock [in pieces]? 30 Therefore behold (hear this), I am against the [counterfeit] prophets,” says the Lord, “[I am descending on them with punishment, these prophets] who steal My words from one another [imitating the words of the true prophets]. 31 Hear this, I am against the prophets,” says the Lord, “who use their [own deceitful] tongues and say, ‘Thus says the Lord.’ 32 Hear this, I am against those who have prophesied false and made-up dreams,” says the Lord, “and have told them and have made My people err and go astray by their lies and by their reckless boasting; yet I did not send them or command them nor do they benefit and enhance [the life of] these people in the slightest way,” says the Lord.
33 “Now when this people or a prophet or a priest asks you [in jest], ‘What is the [a]oracle of the Lord [the burden to be lifted up and carried]?’ Then you shall say to them, ‘What oracle [besides the one that declares you people to be the burden]!’ The Lord says, ‘I will unburden Myself and I will abandon you.’ 34 And as for the prophet, the priest, or [any of] the people, whoever says, ‘The oracle of the Lord,’ [as if he knows God’s will], I will punish that man and his household. 35 [For the future, in speaking of the words of the Lord] thus each of you shall say to his neighbor and to his brother, ‘What has the Lord answered?’ or, ‘What has the Lord spoken?’ 36 For you will no longer remember the oracle of the Lord, because every man’s own word will become the oracle, [for as they mockingly call all prophecies oracles, whether good or bad, so will it prove to be to them; God will take them at their own word]; and you have perverted the words [not of a lifeless idol, but] of the living God, the Lord of hosts, our God. 37 Thus you will [reverently] say to the prophet, ‘What has the Lord answered you?’ and, ‘What has the Lord spoken?’ 38 For if you say, ‘The oracle of the Lord!’ surely thus says the Lord, ‘Because you said this word, “The oracle of the Lord!” when I have also sent to you, saying, “You shall not say, ‘The oracle of the Lord!’”’ 39 Therefore behold, I, even I, will assuredly forget you and send you away from My presence, you and the city (Jerusalem) which I gave to you and to your fathers. 40 And I will bring an everlasting disgrace on you and a perpetual humiliation (shame) which will not be forgotten.”
- Jeremiah 23:33 I.e. an urgent message the true prophet of God is under compulsion to proclaim.