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A Message of Hope

The Lord said:

23 You leaders of my people are like shepherds that kill and scatter the sheep. You were supposed to take care of my people, but instead you chased them away. So now I’ll really take care of you, and believe me, you will pay for your crimes!

I will bring the rest of my people home from the lands where I have scattered them, and they will grow into a mighty nation. I promise to choose leaders who will care for them like real shepherds. All of my people will be there, and they will never again be frightened.

Someday I will appoint
an honest king
    from the family of David,
a king who will be wise
    and rule with justice.
As long as he is king,
Israel will have peace,
    and Judah will be safe.
The name of this king will be
    “The Lord Gives Justice.”

A time will come when you will again worship me. But you will no longer call me the Living God who rescued Israel from Egypt. Instead, you will call me the Living God who rescued you from the land in the north and from all the other countries where I had forced you to go. And you will once again live in your own land.

Jeremiah Thinks about Unfaithful Prophets

When I think of the prophets,
I am shocked, and I tremble[a]
    like someone drunk,
because of the Lord
    and his sacred words.
10 Those unfaithful prophets
misuse their power
    all over the country.
So God turned the pasturelands
    into scorching deserts.[b]

The Lord Will Punish Unfaithful Prophets

11 The Lord told me to say:

You prophets and priests
think so little of me, the Lord,
    that you even sin
    in my own temple!
12 Now I will punish you
    with disaster,
and you will slip and fall
    in the darkness.
I, the Lord, have spoken.

13 The prophets in Samaria
    were disgusting to me,
because they preached
in the name of Baal
    and led my people astray.
14 And you prophets in Jerusalem
    are even worse.
You’re unfaithful in marriage[c]
    and never tell the truth.[d]
You even lead others to sin
instead of helping them
    turn back to me.
You and the people of Jerusalem
are evil
like Sodom
    and Gomorrah.[e]
15 You prophets in Jerusalem
    have spread evil everywhere.
That’s why I, the Lord, promise
to give you bitter poison
    to eat and drink.

The Lord Gives a Warning

The Lord said:

16 Don’t listen to the lies
of these false prophets,
    you people of Judah!
The message they preach
    is something they imagined;
it did not come from me,
    the Lord All-Powerful.
17 These prophets go to people
    who refuse to respect me
and who are stubborn
    and do whatever they want.
The prophets tell them,
“The Lord has promised
    everything will be fine.”

18 But I, the Lord, tell you
    that these prophets
have never attended a meeting
of my council in heaven[f]
    or heard me speak.
19 They are evil! So in my anger
I will strike them
    like a violent storm.
20 I won’t calm down,
until I have finished
    what I have decided to do.
Someday you will understand
    exactly what I mean.
21 I did not send these prophets
    or speak to them,
but they ran to find you
    and to preach their message.
22 If they had been in a meeting
    of my council in heaven,
they would have told
    you people of Judah
to give up your sins
    and come back to me.

23 I am everywhere—
both near and far,
24     in heaven and on earth.
There are no secret places
    where you can hide from me.

25 These unfaithful prophets claim that I have given them a dream or a vision, and then they tell lies in my name. 26 But everything they say comes from their own twisted minds. How long can this go on? 27 They tell each other their dreams and try to get my people to reject me, just as their ancestors left me and worshiped Baal. 28 Their dreams and my truth are as different as straw and wheat. But when prophets speak for me, they must say only what I have told them. 29 My words are a powerful fire; they are a hammer that shatters rocks.

30-32 These unfaithful prophets claim I give them their dreams, but it isn’t true. I didn’t choose them to be my prophets, and yet they babble on and on, speaking in my name, while stealing words from each other. And when my people hear these liars, they are led astray instead of being helped. So I warn you that I am now the enemy of these prophets. I, the Lord, have spoken.

News and Nuisance

The Lord said to me:

33 Jeremiah, when a prophet or a priest or anyone else comes to you and asks, “Does the Lord have news for us?” tell them, “You people are a nuisance[g] to the Lord, and he[h] will get rid of you.”

34 If any of you say, “Here is news from the Lord,” I will punish you and your families, even if you are a prophet or a priest. 35 Instead, you must ask your friends and relatives, “What answer did the Lord give?” or “What has the Lord said?” 36 It seems that you each have your own news! So if you say, “Here is news from the Lord,” you are twisting my words into a lie. Remember that I am your God, the Lord All-Powerful.

37 If you go to a prophet, it’s all right to ask, “What answer did the Lord give to my question?” or “What has the Lord said?” 38 But if you disobey me and say, “Here is news from the Lord,” 39 I will pick you up[i] and throw you far away. And I will abandon this city of Jerusalem that I gave to your ancestors. 40 You will never be free from your shame and disgrace.

Footnotes

  1. 23.9 tremble: Or “become weak.”
  2. 23.10 deserts: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text of verse 10.
  3. 23.14 in marriage: Or “to me.”
  4. 23.14 never tell the truth: Or “worship other gods.”
  5. 23.14 Sodom and Gomorrah: Two cities that the Lord destroyed because their people were so evil (see Genesis 18.16—19.29).
  6. 23.18 a meeting of my council in heaven: Sometimes, prophets had visions of the Lord meeting with his angels (see 1 Kings 22.19-23).
  7. 23.33 news. . . nuisance: The Hebrew word for “news” in verses 33-38 is the same as “nuisance” and is related to “pick up” in verse 39.
  8. 23.33 You people are a nuisance to the Lord, and he: Two ancient translations; Hebrew “Does the Lord have news for us? He.”
  9. 23.39 pick you up: A few Hebrew manuscripts and three ancient translations; most Hebrew manuscripts “forget you completely.”

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