Jeremiah 23 New Century Version (NCV)
The Evil Leaders of Judah
23 “How terrible it will be for the leaders of Judah, who are scattering and destroying my people,” says the Lord.
2 They are responsible for the people, so the Lord, the God of Israel, says to them: “You have scattered my people and forced them away and 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 those who are left alive and bring them back to their own country. Then they will have many children and grow in number. 4 I will place new leaders over my people, who will take care of them. And my people will not be afraid or terrified again, and none of them will be lost,” says the Lord.
The Good Branch Will Come
5 “The days are coming,” says the Lord,
7 “So the days are coming,” says the Lord, “when people will not say again: ‘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 the descendants of 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.”
False Prophets Will Be Punished
9 A message to the prophets:
My heart is broken.
11 “Both the prophets and the priests live as if there were no God.
13 “I saw the prophets of Samaria
15 So this is what the Lord All-Powerful says about the prophets:
“I will make those prophets eat bitter food
16 This is what the Lord All-Powerful says:
“Don’t pay attention to what 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 by telling each other these dreams. In the same way, their ancestors forgot me and worshiped Baal. 28 Is straw 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 Isn’t my message like a fire?” says the Lord. “Isn’t it like a hammer that smashes a rock?
30 “So I am against the false prophets,” says the Lord. “They keep stealing words from each other and say they 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 them or command 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 “Suppose the people of Judah, a prophet, or a priest asks 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 you down, 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,’ because the only message you speak is your own words. You have changed the words of our God, the living God, the Lord All-Powerful. 37 This is how you should speak to the prophets: ‘What answer did the Lord give you?’ or ‘What did the Lord say?’ 38 But don’t say, ‘The message from the Lord.’ If you use these words, this is what the Lord says: Because you called it a ‘message from the Lord,’ though I told you not to use those words, 39 I will pick you up and throw you away from me, along with Jerusalem, which I gave to your ancestors and to you. 40 And I will make a disgrace of you forever; your shame will never be forgotten.”
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