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Jeremiah 23 Easy-to-Read Version (ERV)

23 “It will be very bad for the shepherds of the people of Judah. They are destroying the sheep. They are making the sheep run from my pasture in all directions.” This message is from the Lord.

They are responsible for my people. And this is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says to them: “You shepherds have made my sheep run away in all directions. You have forced them to go away, and you have not taken care of them. But I will take care of you—I will punish you for the evil things you did.” This message is from the Lord: “I sent my sheep to other countries. But I will gather together my sheep that are left, and I will bring them back to their pasture. When my sheep are back in their pasture, they will have many children and grow in number. I will place new shepherds over my sheep. They will take care of my sheep, and my sheep will never again feel afraid. None of my sheep will be lost.” This message is from the Lord.

The Good “Branch”

This message is from the Lord:
“The time is coming,
    when I will raise up a good ‘branch’ from David’s family.
He will be a king who will rule in a wise way.
    He will do what is fair and right in the land.
When he rules, Judah will be saved,
    and Israel will live in safety.
This will be his name:
    The Lord Makes Things Right for Us.[a]

“So the time is coming,” says the Lord, “when people will not make a promise by saying, ‘As surely as the Lord lives, the one who brought the Israelites out of the land of Egypt ….’ But people will say something new: ‘As surely as the Lord lives, the one who brought the Israelites out of the land of the north and out of all the countries where he had sent them ….’ Then the people of Israel will live in their own land.”

Judgments Against False Prophets

A message to the prophets:
I am very sad—my heart is broken.
    All my bones are shaking.
Because of the Lord and his holy words,
    I am like a man who is drunk.
10 The land of Judah is full of people who commit adultery.
    They are unfaithful in many ways.
So God cursed the land,
    and it became very dry.
The plants are dried and dying in the pastures.
    The fields have become like the desert.
The prophets are evil.
    They use their influence and power in the wrong way.
11 This message is from the Lord:
“The prophets and even the priests are evil.
    I have seen them doing evil things in my own Temple.
12 I will stop giving my messages to them.
    They will walk in darkness.
The road will be slippery for those prophets and priests,
    and they will fall in that darkness.
I will bring disaster on them;
    I will punish them.”
This message is from the Lord.

13 “I saw the prophets of Samaria doing wrong things.
    I saw them prophesy in the name of the false god Baal.
    They led the people of Israel away from me.
14 I have even seen the prophets of Jerusalem doing sinful things.
    They are committing adultery and living a life of lies.
They support their fellow prophets
    and never stop doing evil.
They have become like Sodom;
    they are all like Gomorrah.”

15 So this is what the Lord All-Powerful says about those Jerusalem prophets:
“I will make them suffer.
    Their food will be bitter, their water like poison.
I will punish them because they started a spiritual sickness
    that spread through the whole country.”

16 This is what the Lord All-Powerful says:
“Don’t pay attention to what those prophets are saying to you.
    They are trying to fool you.
They talk about visions,
    but they did not get their visions from me.
    Their visions come from their own minds.
17 Some of the people hate the real messages from the Lord,
    so the prophets give them a different message.
    They say, ‘You will have peace.’
Some of the people are very stubborn.
    They do only what they want to do.
So the prophets say,
    ‘Nothing bad will happen to you!’
18 But none of these prophets has stood in the heavenly council.[b]
    None of them has seen or heard the message from the Lord.
    None of them has paid close attention to his message.
19 Now the punishment from the Lord will come like a storm.
    His anger will be like a tornado.
    It will come crashing down on the heads of those wicked people.
20 The Lord’s anger will not stop
    until he finishes what he plans to do.
When that day is over,
    you will understand this clearly.
21 I did not send those prophets,
    but they ran to tell their messages.
I did not speak to them,
    but they spoke in my name.
22 If they had stood in my heavenly council,
    then they would have told my messages to the people of Judah.
They would have stopped the people from doing bad things.
    They would have stopped them from doing evil.”

23 This message is from the Lord.
“I am God, and I am always near.
    I am not far away.
24 Someone might try to hide from me in some hiding place.
    But it is easy for me to see that person, says the Lord,
    because I am everywhere in heaven and earth.”

This message is from the Lord: 25 “There are prophets who tell lies in my name. They say, ‘I have had a dream! I have had a dream!’ I heard them say those things. 26 How long will this continue? They think up lies and then they teach them to the people. 27 They are trying to make the people of Judah forget my name by telling each other these false dreams. They are trying to make my people forget me, just as their ancestors forgot me and worshiped the false god Baal. 28 Straw is not the same as wheat! In the same way, the dreams of those prophets are not messages from me. If people want to tell about their dreams, let them. But those who hear my message must speak it truthfully.” This is what the Lord says. 29 Yes, the Lord says, “You must treat my message carefully, like a fire or like a hammer that can smash a rock.”

30 This message is from the Lord: “So I am against the false prophets. They keep stealing my words from each other.” 31 Yes, the Lord says, “I am against the false prophets. They use their own words and pretend that it is a message from me. 32 I am against the false prophets who tell false dreams.” This message is from the Lord. “They mislead my people with their lies and false teachings. I did not send them to teach the people. I never commanded them to do anything for me. They cannot help the people of Judah at all.” This message is from the Lord.

The Sad Message From the Lord

33 “The people of Judah, or a prophet, or a priest may ask you, ‘Jeremiah, what is the announcement of the Lord?’ You will answer them and say, ‘You are a heavy load[c], and I will throw down this heavy load.’ This message is from the Lord.

34 “A prophet, or a priest, or maybe one of the people might say, ‘This is an announcement from the Lord ….’ Because of that lie, I will punish that person and their whole family. 35 This is what you will say to one another: ‘What did the Lord answer?’ or ‘What did the Lord say?’ 36 But you will never again use the expression, ‘The announcement of the Lord.’ That is because his message should not be a heavy load for anyone. But you changed the words of our God. He is the living God, the Lord All-Powerful!

37 “If you want to learn about God’s message, ask a prophet, ‘What answer did the Lord give you?’ or ‘What did the Lord say?’ 38 But don’t say, ‘What was the announcement from the Lord?’ If you use these words, the Lord will say this to you: ‘You should not have called my message an “announcement from the Lord.” I told you not to use those words. 39 But you called my message a heavy load, so I will pick you up like a heavy load and throw you away from me. I gave the city of Jerusalem to your ancestors. But I will throw you and that city away from me, 40 and I will make you a disgrace forever. You will never forget your shame.’”

Footnotes:

  1. Jeremiah 23:6 The Lord Makes Things Right for Us This is a wordplay. In Hebrew this is like the name Zedekiah, the king of Judah at the time this prophecy was probably given. But Jeremiah is talking about another king.
  2. Jeremiah 23:18 heavenly council The people in the Old Testament often talk about God as the leader of a council of heavenly beings (angels). Compare 1 Kings 22:19-23; Isa. 6:1-8 and Job 1 and 2.
  3. Jeremiah 23:33 heavy load This is a wordplay. The Hebrew word for “announcement” is like the word translated “heavy load.”
Easy-to-Read Version (ERV)

Copyright © 2006 by Bible League International

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)

Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

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