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.’”

A Pile of Rubble

35 1-4 God’s Message came to me: “Son of man, confront Mount Seir. Prophesy against it! Tell them, ‘God, the Master, says:

“‘I’m coming down hard on you, Mount Seir.
    I’m stepping in and turning you to a pile of rubble.
I’ll reduce your towns to piles of rocks.
    There’ll be nothing left of you.
    Then you’ll realize that I am God.

5-9 “‘I’m doing this because you’ve kept this age-old grudge going against Israel: You viciously attacked them when they were already down, looking their final punishment in the face. Therefore, as sure as I am the living God, I’m lining you up for a real bloodbath. Since you loved blood so much, you’ll be chased by rivers of blood. I’ll reduce Mount Seir to a heap of rubble. No one will either come or go from that place! I’ll blanket your mountains with corpses. Massacred bodies will cover your hills and fill up your valleys and ditches. I’ll reduce you to ruins and all your towns will be ghost towns—population zero. Then you’ll realize that I am God.

10-13 “‘Because you said, “These two nations, these two countries, are mine. I’m taking over” (even though God is right there watching, right there listening), I’ll turn your hate-bloated anger and rage right back on you. You’ll know I mean business when I bring judgment on you. You’ll realize then that I, God, have overheard all the vile abuse you’ve poured out against the mountains of Israel, saying, “They’re roadkill and we’re going to eat them up.” You’ve strutted around, talking so big, insolently pitting yourselves against me. And I’ve heard it all.

14-15 “‘This is the verdict of God, the Master: With the whole earth applauding, I’ll demolish you. Since you danced in the streets, thinking it was so wonderful when Israel’s inheritance was demolished, I’ll give you the same treatment: demolition. Mount Seir demolished—yes, every square inch of Edom. Then they’ll realize that I am God!’”

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