When the Sheep Get Scattered

34 1-6 God’s Message came to me: “Son of man, prophesy against the shepherd-leaders of Israel. Yes, prophesy! Tell those shepherds, ‘God, the Master, says: Doom to you shepherds of Israel, feeding your own mouths! Aren’t shepherds supposed to feed sheep? You drink the milk, you make clothes from the wool, you roast the lambs, but you don’t feed the sheep. You don’t build up the weak ones, don’t heal the sick, don’t doctor the injured, don’t go after the strays, don’t look for the lost. You bully and badger them. And now they’re scattered every which way because there was no shepherd—scattered and easy pickings for wolves and coyotes. Scattered—my sheep!—exposed and vulnerable across mountains and hills. My sheep scattered all over the world, and no one out looking for them!

7-9 “‘Therefore, shepherds, listen to the Message of God: As sure as I am the living God—Decree of God, the Master—because my sheep have been turned into mere prey, into easy meals for wolves because you shepherds ignored them and only fed yourselves, listen to what God has to say:

10 “‘Watch out! I’m coming down on the shepherds and taking my sheep back. They’re fired as shepherds of my sheep. No more shepherds who just feed themselves! I’ll rescue my sheep from their greed. They’re not going to feed off my sheep any longer!

11-16 “‘God, the Master, says: From now on, I myself am the shepherd. I’m going looking for them. As shepherds go after their flocks when they get scattered, I’m going after my sheep. I’ll rescue them from all the places they’ve been scattered to in the storms. I’ll bring them back from foreign peoples, gather them from foreign countries, and bring them back to their home country. I’ll feed them on the mountains of Israel, along the streams, among their own people. I’ll lead them into lush pasture so they can roam the mountain pastures of Israel, graze at leisure, feed in the rich pastures on the mountains of Israel. And I myself will be the shepherd of my sheep. I myself will make sure they get plenty of rest. I’ll go after the lost, I’ll collect the strays, I’ll doctor the injured, I’ll build up the weak ones and oversee the strong ones so they’re not exploited.

17-19 “‘And as for you, my dear flock, I’m stepping in and judging between one sheep and another, between rams and goats. Aren’t you satisfied to feed in good pasture without taking over the whole place? Can’t you be satisfied to drink from the clear stream without muddying the water with your feet? Why do the rest of my sheep have to make do with grass that’s trampled down and water that’s been muddied?

20-22 “‘Therefore, God, the Master, says: I myself am stepping in and making things right between the plump sheep and the skinny sheep. Because you forced your way with shoulder and rump and butted at all the weaker animals with your horns till you scattered them all over the hills, I’ll come in and save my dear flock, no longer let them be pushed around. I’ll step in and set things right between one sheep and another.

23-24 “‘I’ll appoint one shepherd over them all: my servant David. He’ll feed them. He’ll be their shepherd. And I, God, will be their God. My servant David will be their prince. I, God, have spoken.

25-27 “‘I’ll make a covenant of peace with them. I’ll banish fierce animals from the country so the sheep can live safely in the wilderness and sleep in the forest. I’ll make them and everything around my hill a blessing. I’ll send down plenty of rain in season—showers of blessing! The trees in the orchards will bear fruit, the ground will produce, they’ll feel content and safe on their land, and they’ll realize that I am God when I break them out of their slavery and rescue them from their slave masters.

28-29 “‘No longer will they be exploited by outsiders and ravaged by fierce beasts. They’ll live safe and sound, fearless and free. I’ll give them rich gardens, lavish in vegetables—no more living half-starved, no longer taunted by outsiders.

30-31 “‘They’ll know, beyond doubting, that I, God, am their God, that I’m with them and that they, the people Israel, are my people. Decree of God, the Master:

You are my dear flock,
    the flock of my pasture, my human flock,
And I am your God.
    Decree of God, the Master.’”

The Lord Will Be Israel’s Shepherd

34 The word of the Lord came to me: “Son of man, prophesy against the shepherds of Israel; prophesy and say to them: ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: Woe to you shepherds of Israel who only take care of yourselves! Should not shepherds take care of the flock?(A) You eat the curds, clothe yourselves with the wool and slaughter the choice animals, but you do not take care of the flock.(B) You have not strengthened the weak or healed(C) the sick or bound up(D) the injured. You have not brought back the strays or searched for the lost. You have ruled them harshly and brutally.(E) So they were scattered because there was no shepherd,(F) and when they were scattered they became food for all the wild animals.(G) My sheep wandered over all the mountains and on every high hill.(H) They were scattered(I) over the whole earth, and no one searched or looked for them.(J)

“‘Therefore, you shepherds, hear the word of the Lord: As surely as I live, declares the Sovereign Lord, because my flock lacks a shepherd and so has been plundered(K) and has become food for all the wild animals,(L) and because my shepherds did not search for my flock but cared for themselves rather than for my flock,(M) therefore, you shepherds, hear the word of the Lord: 10 This is what the Sovereign Lord says: I am against(N) the shepherds and will hold them accountable for my flock. I will remove them from tending the flock so that the shepherds can no longer feed themselves. I will rescue(O) my flock from their mouths, and it will no longer be food for them.(P)

11 “‘For this is what the Sovereign Lord says: I myself will search for my sheep(Q) and look after them. 12 As a shepherd(R) looks after his scattered flock when he is with them, so will I look after my sheep. I will rescue them from all the places where they were scattered on a day of clouds and darkness.(S) 13 I will bring them out from the nations and gather(T) them from the countries, and I will bring them into their own land.(U) I will pasture them on the mountains of Israel, in the ravines and in all the settlements in the land.(V) 14 I will tend them in a good pasture, and the mountain heights of Israel(W) will be their grazing land. There they will lie down in good grazing land, and there they will feed in a rich pasture(X) on the mountains of Israel.(Y) 15 I myself will tend my sheep and have them lie down,(Z) declares the Sovereign Lord.(AA) 16 I will search for the lost and bring back the strays. I will bind up(AB) the injured and strengthen the weak,(AC) but the sleek and the strong I will destroy.(AD) I will shepherd the flock with justice.(AE)

17 “‘As for you, my flock, this is what the Sovereign Lord says: I will judge between one sheep and another, and between rams and goats.(AF) 18 Is it not enough(AG) for you to feed on the good pasture? Must you also trample the rest of your pasture with your feet?(AH) Is it not enough for you to drink clear water? Must you also muddy the rest with your feet? 19 Must my flock feed on what you have trampled and drink what you have muddied with your feet?

20 “‘Therefore this is what the Sovereign Lord says to them: See, I myself will judge between the fat sheep and the lean sheep.(AI) 21 Because you shove with flank and shoulder, butting all the weak sheep with your horns(AJ) until you have driven them away, 22 I will save my flock, and they will no longer be plundered. I will judge between one sheep and another.(AK) 23 I will place over them one shepherd, my servant David, and he will tend(AL) them; he will tend them and be their shepherd.(AM) 24 I the Lord will be their God,(AN) and my servant David(AO) will be prince among them.(AP) I the Lord have spoken.(AQ)

25 “‘I will make a covenant(AR) of peace(AS) with them and rid the land of savage beasts(AT) so that they may live in the wilderness and sleep in the forests in safety.(AU) 26 I will make them and the places surrounding my hill a blessing.[a](AV) I will send down showers in season;(AW) there will be showers of blessing.(AX) 27 The trees will yield their fruit(AY) and the ground will yield its crops;(AZ) the people will be secure(BA) in their land. They will know that I am the Lord, when I break the bars of their yoke(BB) and rescue them from the hands of those who enslaved them.(BC) 28 They will no longer be plundered by the nations, nor will wild animals devour them. They will live in safety,(BD) and no one will make them afraid.(BE) 29 I will provide for them a land renowned(BF) for its crops, and they will no longer be victims of famine(BG) in the land or bear the scorn(BH) of the nations.(BI) 30 Then they will know that I, the Lord their God, am with them and that they, the Israelites, are my people, declares the Sovereign Lord.(BJ) 31 You are my sheep,(BK) the sheep of my pasture,(BL) and I am your God, declares the Sovereign Lord.’”

Footnotes

  1. Ezekiel 34:26 Or I will cause them and the places surrounding my hill to be named in blessings (see Gen. 48:20); or I will cause them and the places surrounding my hill to be seen as blessed