Jeremiah 23International Children’s Bible (ICB)
The Evil Leaders
23 “How terrible it will be for the leaders of Judah. They are destroying my people. They are making them run in all directions,” says the Lord.
2 They are responsible for the people. And the Lord, the God of Israel, says to them: “You have made my people run away in all directions. You have forced them away. And you have not taken care of them. So I will punish you for the evil things you have done,” says the Lord. 3 “I sent my people to other countries. But I will gather my people who are left alive. And I will bring them back to their own country. When they are back in their own land, they will have many children. And they will grow in number. 4 I will place new leaders over my people. They will take care of my people. And my people will not be afraid or terrified. None of them will be lost,” says the Lord.
The Good Descendant
5 “The days are coming,” says the Lord,
7 “So the days are coming,” says the Lord, “when people will not say: ‘As surely as the Lord lives, who brought Israel out of Egypt . . .’ 8 But people will say something new: ‘As surely as the Lord lives, who brought Israel from the land of the north and from all the countries where he had sent them away . . .’ Then the people of Israel will live in their own land.”
9 A message to the prophets:
My heart is broken.
11 “Both the prophets and the priests are evil.
13 “I saw the prophets of Samaria
15 So this is what the Lord of heaven’s armies says about the prophets:
“I will make those prophets eat bitter food.
16 This is what the Lord of heaven’s armies says:
“Don’t pay attention to the things those prophets are saying to you.
23 “I am a God who is near,” says the Lord.
25 “I have heard the prophets who prophesy lies in my name. They say, ‘I have had a dream! I have had a dream!’ 26 How long will this continue in the minds of these lying prophets? They prophesy from their own wishful thinking. 27 They are trying to make the people of Judah forget me. They are doing this by telling each other these dreams. They are trying to make my people forget me in the same way that their ancestors forgot me. Their ancestors forgot me and worshiped Baal. 28 Straw is not the same thing as wheat!” says the Lord. “If a prophet wants to tell about his dreams, let him! But let the person who hears my message speak it truthfully! 29 My message is like a fire,” says the Lord. “It is like a hammer that smashes a rock!
30 “So I am against the false prophets,” says the Lord. “These prophets keep stealing words from each other. They say these words are from me. 31 I am against the false prophets,” says the Lord. “They use their own words and pretend it is a message from me. 32 I am against the prophets who prophesy false dreams,” says the Lord. “They mislead my people with their lies and false teachings! I did not send those prophets to teach the people. I never commanded them to do anything for me. They can’t help the people of Judah at all,” says the Lord.
The Sad Message from the Lord
33 “The people of Judah, a prophet or a priest may ask you: ‘Jeremiah, what is the message from the Lord?’ You will answer them and say, ‘You are a heavy load to the Lord. And I will throw down this heavy load, says the Lord!’ 34 A prophet or a priest or one of the people might say, ‘This is a message from the Lord!’ That person has lied. So I will punish him and his whole family. 35 This is what you will say to each other: ‘What did the Lord answer?’ or ‘What did the Lord say?’ 36 But you will never again say, ‘The message of the Lord.’ This is because the only message you speak is your own words. You used to change the words of our God. He is the living God, the Lord of heaven’s armies. 37 This is how you speak to the prophets: ‘What answer did the Lord give you?’ or ‘What did the Lord say?’ 38 But don’t say, ‘What was the message from the Lord?’ If you use these words, the Lord will say this to you: You should not have called it a message from the Lord. I told you not to use those words. 39 I will pick you up like a heavy load. And I’ll throw you away from me. I gave the city of Jerusalem to your ancestors and to you. But I will throw you and that city away from me. 40 And I will make a disgrace of you forever. You will never forget your shame.”
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