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.
2 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: 3 “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. 4 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”
5 This message is from the Lord:
7 “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 ….’ 8 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
9 A message to the prophets:
13 “I saw the prophets of Samaria doing wrong things.
15 So this is what the Lord All-Powerful says about those Jerusalem prophets:
16 This is what the Lord All-Powerful says:
23 This message is from the Lord.
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.’”
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. 2 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. 3 “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. 4 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.
5 “The days are coming,” declares the Lord,
7 “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,’ 8 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.”
9 Concerning the prophets:
My heart is broken within me;
11 “Both prophet and priest are godless;
13 “Among the prophets of Samaria
15 Therefore this is what the Lord Almighty says concerning the prophets:
“I will make them eat bitter food
16 This is what the Lord Almighty says:
“Do not listen to what the prophets are prophesying to you;
23 “Am I only a God nearby,”
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.
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.”