International Standard Version
Israel’s False Shepherds
34 A message came from the Lord for me, and it had this to say: 2 “Son of Man, prophesy against Israel’s shepherds. Tell those shepherds, ‘This is what the Lord God says:
“Woe to you shepherds of Israel who have been feeding yourselves and not the sheep. Shouldn’t shepherds feed the sheep? 3 You’re eating the best parts,[a] clothing yourselves with the wool, and slaughtering the home-grown sheep without having fed the sheep! 4 You haven’t strengthened the weak, treated the sick, set broken bones, regathered the scattered, or looked for the lost. Instead, you’ve dominated them with brutal force and ruthlessness.
5 “Since they have no shepherd, they have been scattered around and have become prey for all sorts of wild animals. How scattered they are! 6 My sheep have gone wandering on all of the mountains, on all of the hills, and throughout every high place in the whole world, with no one to look for them or go out in search of them.
7 “Therefore listen to what the Lord says, you shepherds: 8 ‘As certainly as I’m alive and living, my sheep have truly become victims, food for all of the wild animals because there are no shepherds. My shepherds did not go searching for my flock. Instead, the shepherds fed themselves, and my flock they would not feed!’
9 “Therefore, you shepherds, listen to what the Lord says: 10 ‘This is what the Lord God says: “Watch out, I’m coming after you shepherds! I’m going to demand my sheep back from them[b] and fire them as shepherds. The shepherds won’t be shepherds anymore when I snatch my flock right out of their mouths so they can’t be eaten by them anymore.”’”
The Coming True Shepherd
11 “This is what the Lord says: ‘Watch me! I’m going to search for my flock. I’ll watch over them myself. 12 Just as a shepherd looks after his flock during the day time while he is with them, so also I’m going to watch over my sheep, delivering them from every place where they’ve been scattered during the times of gloom and doom.[c] 13 I’m going to bring them out from foreign[d] nations and from foreign lands. Then I’ll bring them to their own land and feed them in Israel—on the mountains, in their valleys, and in all of their settlements throughout the land. 14 I’ll feed them in excellent pastures, and even the very heights of Israel’s mountains will serve as verdant pastures for them in which they’ll rest and feed—yes, even on the fertile mountains of Israel! 15 I will feed my sheep and give them rest,’ declares the Lord God. 16 ‘I’m going to seek both the lost as well as the scattered, and bring them both back so their broken bones can be set and the sick can be healed. But in righteousness I’ll exterminate the fat and the stiff-necked.’”
God’s Message to His Sheep
17 “Now as for you, my flock, this is what the Lord God says: ‘Watch out! I’m going to judge between one sheep and another, and between the rams and the goats. 18 Is it such an insignificant thing to you that you’re feeding in good pastures but trampling down the other pastures with your feet? Or that as you’re drinking from the clear streams you’re muddying the rest with your feet? 19 My flock is grazing on what you’ve been treading down with your feet and they’re drinking what you’ve been making muddy with your feet!’
20 “Therefore this is what the Lord God says to them: ‘Watch me! I’m going to judge between the fat sheep and the lean sheep, 21 since you’ve been bumping aside all the weaker sheep with your backsides and shoulders, butting them with your horns until they’re scattered around outside. 22 That’s how I’ll save my sheep so they won’t be plundered any longer. I’m going to judge between one sheep and another.’”
God’s Shepherd: His Servant David
23 “‘Then I’ll install one shepherd for them—my servant David—and he will feed them, will be there for them, and will serve as their shepherd. 24 I, the Lord, will be their God, and my servant David will rule among them as Prince.’ I, the Lord, have spoken this.
25 “I’m going to enter into a covenant with them, one of peace, and I’ll eliminate wild beasts from the land so they can live securely in the wilderness and sleep in the forests. 26 I’m going to make[e] them and everything that surrounds my hill[f] a blessing. I’ll send down the rain! At the appropriate time there will be a rainstorm of blessing! 27 I’ll bring fruit to the trees in the orchards, the land will yield its produce, they will live securely on their land, and they will learn that I am the Lord, when I break the bar that has been their yoke and deliver them from the control of those who have enslaved them. 28 They will no longer be plundered by the nations, and wild animals will no longer devour them. They will settle down confidently, with nothing to frighten them. 29 I’m going to prepare for them the best of gardening spots. They will no longer live as victims in a land of starvation, nor will they have to bear the insults of the international community. 30 That’s when they’ll learn that I, the Lord their God, am with them, and that they, the house of Israel, are my people,’ declares the Lord God. 31 ‘And as for you, my sheep, the flock that I’m pasturing, you are mankind, and I am your God,’ declares the Lord God.”