23 Woe to the shepherds (the civil leaders) who destroy and scatter the sheep of My pasturing! says the Lord.
2 Therefore thus says the Lord, the God of Israel, concerning the shepherds who care for and feed My people: You have scattered My flock and driven them away and have not visited and attended to them; behold, I will visit and attend to you for the evil of your doings, says the Lord.
3 And I will gather the remnant of My flock out of all the countries to which I have driven them and will bring them again to their folds and pastures; and they will be fruitful and multiply.
4 And I will set up shepherds over them who will feed them. And they will fear no more nor be dismayed, neither will any be missing or lost, says the Lord.
5 Behold, the days are coming, says the Lord, when I will raise up to David a righteous Branch (Sprout), and He will reign as King and do wisely and will execute justice and righteousness in the land.
6 In His days Judah shall be saved and Israel shall dwell safely: and this is His name by which He shall be called: The Lord Our Righteousness.(A)
7 Therefore behold, the days are coming, says the Lord, when they shall no more say, As the Lord lives, Who brought up the children of Israel out of the land of Egypt,
8 But, As the Lord lives, Who brought up and led the offspring of the house of Israel from the north country and from all the countries to which I had driven them. And they shall dwell in their own land. (B).
9 Concerning the prophets: My heart [says Jeremiah] is broken within me, all my bones shake; I am like a drunken man, a man whom wine has overcome, because of the Lord and because of His holy words [which He has pronounced against unfaithful leaders].
10 For the land is full of adulterers (forsakers of God, Israel’s true Husband). Because of the curse [of God upon it] the land mourns, the pastures of the wilderness are dried up. They [both false prophets and people] rush into wickedness; and their course is evil, their might is not right.
11 For both [false] prophet and priest are ungodly and profane; even in My house have I found their wickedness, says the Lord.
12 Therefore their way will be to them like slippery paths in the dark; they will be driven on and fall into them. For I will bring evil upon them in the year of their punishment, says the Lord.
13 And I have seen folly in the prophets of Samaria: they prophesied by Baal and caused My people Israel to err and go astray.
14 I have seen also in the prophets of Jerusalem a horrible thing: they commit adultery and walk in lies; they encourage and strengthen the hands of evildoers, so that none returns from his wickedness. They have all of them become to Me like Sodom, and her inhabitants like Gomorrah.
15 Therefore thus says the Lord of hosts concerning the prophets: Behold, I will feed them with [the bitterness of] wormwood and make them drink the [poisonous] water of gall, for from the [false] prophets of Jerusalem profaneness and ungodliness have gone forth into all the land.
16 Thus says the Lord of hosts: Do not listen to the words of the [false] prophets who prophesy to you. They teach you vanity (emptiness, falsity, and futility) and fill you with vain hopes; they speak a vision of their own minds and not from the mouth of the Lord.
17 They are continually saying to those who despise Me and the word of the Lord, The Lord has said: You shall have peace; and they say to everyone who walks after the stubbornness of his own mind and heart, No evil shall come upon you.
18 For who among them has stood in the council of the Lord, that he should perceive and hear His word? Who has marked His word [noticing and observing and giving attention to it] and has [actually] heard it?
19 Behold, the tempest of the Lord has gone forth in wrath, a whirling tempest; it shall whirl and burst upon the heads of the wicked.
20 The anger of the Lord shall not turn back until He has executed and accomplished the thoughts and intents of His mind and heart. In the latter days you shall consider and understand it perfectly.
21 I did not send these [false] prophets, yet they ran; I did not speak to them, yet they prophesied.
22 But if they had stood in My council, then they would have caused My people to hear My words, then they would have turned them [My people] from their evil way and from the evil of their doings.
23 Am I a God at hand, says the Lord, and not a God afar off?
24 Can anyone hide himself in secret places so that I cannot see him? says the Lord. Do not I 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 on my bed at night].
26 [How long shall this state of things continue?] How long yet shall it be in the minds of the prophets who prophesy falsehood, even the prophets of the deceit of their own hearts,
27 Who think that they can cause My people to forget My name by their dreams which every man tells to his neighbor, just as their fathers forgot My name because of Baal?
28 The prophet who has a dream, let him 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 in pieces the rock [of most stubborn resistance]?
30 Therefore behold, I am against the [false] prophets, says the Lord, [I am even now descending upon them with punishment, these prophets] who steal My words from one another [imitating the phrases of the true prophets].
31 Behold, I am against the prophets, says the Lord, who use their [own deceitful] tongues and say, Thus says the Lord.
32 Behold, I am against those who prophesy lying dreams, says the Lord, and tell them and cause My people to err and go astray by their lies and by their vain boasting and recklessness—when I did not send them or command them; nor do they profit these people at all, says the Lord.
33 And when these people, or a prophet or a priest, ask you, What is the burden of the Lord [the thing to be lifted up now]? then you shall say to them, What burden [indeed]! [You are the burden!] And I will disburden Myself of you and I will cast you off, says the Lord.
34 And as for the prophet, the priest, or [any of these] the people, whoever [in mockery calls the word of the Lord a burden and] says, The burden of the Lord, I will even visit in wrath and punish that man and his house.
35 [For the future, in speaking of the utterances of the Lord] thus shall you say every one to his neighbor and every one to his brother: What has the Lord answered? or, What has the Lord spoken?
36 But the burden of the Lord you must mention no more, for every man’s burden is his own response and word [for as they mockingly call all prophecies burdens, whether good or bad, so will it prove to be to them; God will take them at their own word]; for you pervert the words [not of a lifeless idol, but] of the living God, the Lord of hosts, our God!
37 Thus shall you [reverently] say to the prophet: What has the Lord answered you? Or, What has the Lord spoken?
38 But if you say, The burden of the Lord, therefore thus says the Lord: Because you said these words, The burden of the Lord, when I sent to you, saying, You shall not say, The burden of the Lord,
39 Therefore behold, I, even I, will assuredly take you up and cast 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 reproach upon you and a perpetual shame which will not be forgotten.