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Jeremiah 23 Living Bible (TLB)

23 The Lord declares:

I will send disaster upon the leaders of my people—the shepherds of my sheep—for they have destroyed and scattered the very ones they were to care for. Instead of leading my flock to safety, you have deserted them and driven them to destruction. And now I will pour out judgment upon you for the evil you have done to them. And I will gather together the remnant of my flock from wherever I have sent them and bring them back into their own fold, and they shall be fruitful and increase. And I will appoint responsible shepherds to care for them, and they shall not need to be afraid again; all of them shall be accounted for continually.

5-6 For the time is coming, says the Lord, when I will place a righteous Branch upon King David’s throne. He shall be a King who shall rule with wisdom and justice and cause righteousness to prevail everywhere throughout the earth.[a] And this is his name: The Lord Our Righteousness. At that time Judah will be saved and Israel will live in peace.

In that day people will no longer say when taking an oath, “As the Lord lives who rescued the people of Israel from the land of Egypt,” but they will say, “As the Lord lives who brought the Jews back to their own land of Israel from the countries to which he had exiled them.”

My heart is broken for the false prophets, full of deceit. I awake with fear and stagger as a drunkard does from wine because of the awful fate awaiting them,[b] for God has decreed holy words of judgment against them. 10 For the land is full of adultery, and the curse of God is on it. The land itself is mourning—the pastures are dried up—for the prophets do evil, and their power is used wrongly.

11 The priests are like the prophets, all ungodly, wicked men. I have seen their despicable acts right here in my own Temple, says the Lord. 12 Therefore, their paths will be dark and slippery; they will be chased down dark and treacherous trails and fall. For I will bring evil upon them and see to it, when their time has come, that they pay their penalty in full for all their sins.

13 I knew the prophets of Samaria were unbelievably evil, for they prophesied by Baal and led my people Israel into sin; 14 but the prophets of Jerusalem are even worse! The things they do are horrible; they commit adultery and love dishonesty. They encourage and compliment those who are doing evil instead of turning them back from their sins. These prophets are as thoroughly depraved as the men of Sodom and Gomorrah were.

15 Therefore the Lord Almighty says: I will feed them with bitterness and give them poison to drink. For it is because of them that wickedness fills this land. 16 This is my warning to my people, says the Lord Almighty. Don’t listen to these false prophets when they prophesy to you, filling you with futile hopes. They are making up everything they say. They do not speak for me! 17 They keep saying to these rebels who despise me, “Don’t worry! All is well!”; and to those who live the way they want to, “The Lord has said you shall have peace!”

18 But can you name even one of these prophets who lives close enough to God to hear what he is saying? Has even one of them cared enough to listen? 19 See, the Lord is sending a furious whirlwind to sweep away these wicked men. 20 The terrible anger of the Lord will not abate until it has carried out the full penalty he decrees against them. Later, when Jerusalem has fallen,[c] you will see what I mean.

21 I have not sent these prophets, yet they claim to speak for me; I gave them no message, yet they say their words are mine. 22 If they were mine, they would try to turn my people from their evil ways. 23 Am I a God who is only in one place and cannot see what they are doing? 24 Can anyone hide from me? Am I not everywhere in all of heaven and earth?

25 “Listen to the dream I had from God last night,” they say. And then they proceed to lie in my name. 26 How long will this continue? If they are “prophets,” they are prophets of deceit, inventing everything they say. 27 By telling these false dreams they are trying to get my people to forget me in the same way as their fathers did, who turned away to the idols of Baal. 28 Let these false prophets tell their dreams and let my true messengers faithfully proclaim my every word. There is a difference between chaff and wheat! 29 Does not my word burn like fire? asks the Lord. Is it not like a mighty hammer that smashed the rock to pieces? 30-31 So I stand against these “prophets” who get their messages from each other—these smooth-tongued “prophets” who say, “This message is from God!” 32 Their made-up dreams are flagrant lies that lead my people into sin. I did not send them, and they have no message at all for my people, says the Lord.

33 When one of the people or one of their “prophets” or priests asks you, “Well, Jeremiah, what is the sad news from the Lord today?” you shall reply, “What sad news? You are the sad news, for the Lord has cast you away!” 34 And as for the false prophets and priests and people who joke about “today’s sad news from God,” I will punish them and their families for saying this. 35 You can ask each other, “What is God’s message? What is he saying?” 36 But stop using this term, “God’s sad news.” For what is sad is you and your lying. You are twisting my words and inventing “messages from God” that I didn’t speak. 37 You may respectfully ask Jeremiah, “What is the Lord’s message? What has he said to you?” 38-39 But if you ask him about “today’s sad news from God,” when I have warned you not to mock like that, then I, the Lord God, will unburden myself of the burden[d] you are to me. I will cast you out of my presence, you and this city I gave to you and your fathers. 40 And I will bring reproach upon you and your name shall be infamous through the ages.

Footnotes:

  1. Jeremiah 23:5 throughout the earth, or “throughout the land.”
  2. Jeremiah 23:9 because of the awful fate awaiting them, implied.
  3. Jeremiah 23:20 Later, when Jerusalem has fallen, literally, “In the latter days.”
  4. Jeremiah 23:38 will unburden myself of the burden, literally, “the burden of the Lord,” or “the message of the Lord.” This is a Hebrew pun.
Living Bible (TLB)

The Living Bible copyright © 1971 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

Jeremiah 23 New International Version (NIV)

The Righteous Branch

23 “Woe to the shepherds who are destroying and scattering the sheep of my pasture!” declares the Lord. Therefore this is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says to the shepherds who tend my people: “Because you have scattered my flock and driven them away and have not bestowed care on them, I will bestow punishment on you for the evil you have done,” declares the Lord. “I myself will gather the remnant of my flock out of all the countries where I have driven them and will bring them back to their pasture, where they will be fruitful and increase in number. I will place shepherds over them who will tend them, and they will no longer be afraid or terrified, nor will any be missing,” declares the Lord.

“The days are coming,” declares the Lord,
    “when I will raise up for David[a] a righteous Branch,
a King who will reign wisely
    and do what is just and right in the land.
In his days Judah will be saved
    and Israel will live in safety.
This is the name by which he will be called:
    The Lord Our Righteous Savior.

“So then, the days are coming,” declares the Lord, “when people will no longer say, ‘As surely as the Lord lives, who brought the Israelites up out of Egypt,’ but they will say, ‘As surely as the Lord lives, who brought the descendants of Israel up out of the land of the north and out of all the countries where he had banished them.’ Then they will live in their own land.”

Lying Prophets

Concerning the prophets:

My heart is broken within me;
    all my bones tremble.
I am like a drunken man,
    like a strong man overcome by wine,
because of the Lord
    and his holy words.
10 The land is full of adulterers;
    because of the curse[b] the land lies parched
    and the pastures in the wilderness are withered.
The prophets follow an evil course
    and use their power unjustly.

11 “Both prophet and priest are godless;
    even in my temple I find their wickedness,”
declares the Lord.
12 “Therefore their path will become slippery;
    they will be banished to darkness
    and there they will fall.
I will bring disaster on them
    in the year they are punished,
declares the Lord.

13 “Among the prophets of Samaria
    I saw this repulsive thing:
They prophesied by Baal
    and led my people Israel astray.
14 And among the prophets of Jerusalem
    I have seen something horrible:
    They commit adultery and live a lie.
They strengthen the hands of evildoers,
    so that not one of them turns from their wickedness.
They are all like Sodom to me;
    the people of Jerusalem are like Gomorrah.”

15 Therefore this is what the Lord Almighty says concerning the prophets:

“I will make them eat bitter food
    and drink poisoned water,
because from the prophets of Jerusalem
    ungodliness has spread throughout the land.”

16 This is what the Lord Almighty says:

“Do not listen to what the prophets are prophesying to you;
    they fill you with false hopes.
They speak visions from their own minds,
    not from the mouth of the Lord.
17 They keep saying to those who despise me,
    ‘The Lord says: You will have peace.’
And to all who follow the stubbornness of their hearts
    they say, ‘No harm will come to you.’
18 But which of them has stood in the council of the Lord
    to see or to hear his word?
    Who has listened and heard his word?
19 See, the storm of the Lord
    will burst out in wrath,
a whirlwind swirling down
    on the heads of the wicked.
20 The anger of the Lord will not turn back
    until he fully accomplishes
    the purposes of his heart.
In days to come
    you will understand it clearly.
21 I did not send these prophets,
    yet they have run with their message;
I did not speak to them,
    yet they have prophesied.
22 But if they had stood in my council,
    they would have proclaimed my words to my people
and would have turned them from their evil ways
    and from their evil deeds.

23 “Am I only a God nearby,
declares the Lord,
    “and not a God far away?
24 Who can hide in secret places
    so that I cannot see them?”
declares the Lord.
    “Do not I fill heaven and earth?”
declares the Lord.

25 “I have heard what the prophets say who prophesy lies in my name. They say, ‘I had a dream! I had a dream!’ 26 How long will this continue in the hearts of these lying prophets, who prophesy the delusions of their own minds? 27 They think the dreams they tell one another will make my people forget my name, just as their ancestors forgot my name through Baal worship. 28 Let the prophet who has a dream recount the dream, but let the one who has my word speak it faithfully. For what has straw to do with grain?” declares the Lord. 29 “Is not my word like fire,” declares the Lord, “and like a hammer that breaks a rock in pieces?

30 “Therefore,” declares the Lord, “I am against the prophets who steal from one another words supposedly from me. 31 Yes,” declares the Lord, “I am against the prophets who wag their own tongues and yet declare, ‘The Lord declares.’ 32 Indeed, I am against those who prophesy false dreams,” declares the Lord. “They tell them and lead my people astray with their reckless lies, yet I did not send or appoint them. They do not benefit these people in the least,” declares the Lord.

False Prophecy

33 “When these people, or a prophet or a priest, ask you, ‘What is the message from the Lord?’ say to them, ‘What message? I will forsake you, declares the Lord.’ 34 If a prophet or a priest or anyone else claims, ‘This is a message from the Lord,’ I will punish them and their household. 35 This is what each of you keeps saying to your friends and other Israelites: ‘What is the Lord’s answer?’ or ‘What has the Lord spoken?’ 36 But you must not mention ‘a message from the Lord’ again, because each one’s word becomes their own message. So you distort the words of the living God, the Lord Almighty, our God. 37 This is what you keep saying to a prophet: ‘What is the Lord’s answer to you?’ or ‘What has the Lord spoken?’ 38 Although you claim, ‘This is a message from the Lord,’ this is what the Lord says: You used the words, ‘This is a message from the Lord,’ even though I told you that you must not claim, ‘This is a message from the Lord.’ 39 Therefore, I will surely forget you and cast you out of my presence along with the city I gave to you and your ancestors. 40 I will bring on you everlasting disgrace—everlasting shame that will not be forgotten.”

Footnotes:

  1. Jeremiah 23:5 Or up from David’s line
  2. Jeremiah 23:10 Or because of these things
New International Version (NIV)

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