Jeremiah 23New International Reader's Version (NIRV)
The Godly Branch
23 “How terrible it will be for the shepherds who lead my people astray!” announces the Lord. “They are destroying and scattering the sheep that belong to my flock.” 2 So the Lord, the God of Israel, speaks to the shepherds who take care of my people. He tells them, “You have scattered my sheep. You have driven them away. You have not taken good care of them. So I will punish you for the evil things you have done,” announces the Lord. 3 “I myself will gather together those who are left alive in my flock. I will gather them out of all the countries where I have driven them. And I will bring them back to their own land. There my sheep will have many lambs. There will be many more of them. 4 I will place shepherds over them who will take good care of them. My sheep will not be afraid or terrified anymore. And none of them will be missing,” announces the Lord.
5 “A new day is coming,” announces the Lord.
7 Other days are also coming,” announces the Lord. “At that time people will no longer say, ‘The Lord brought the Israelites up out of Egypt. And that’s just as sure as he is alive.’ 8 Instead, they will say, ‘The Lord brought the Israelites up out of the land of the north. He gathered them out of all the countries where he had forced them to go. And that’s just as sure as he is alive.’ Then they will live in their own land.”
Prophets Who Tell Lies
9 Here is my message about the prophets.
My heart is broken inside me.
11 “Prophets and priests alike are ungodly,”
13 “Among the prophets of Samaria
15 So the Lord who rules over all speaks about the prophets. He says,
“I will make them eat bitter food.
16 The Lord who rules over all says to the people of Judah,
“Do not listen to what the prophets are saying to you.
23 “Am I only a God who is nearby?”
25 “I have heard what the prophets are saying. They prophesy lies in my name. They say, ‘I had a dream! The Lord has given me a dream!’ 26 How long will that continue in the hearts of these prophets who tell lies? They try to get others to believe their own mistaken ideas. 27 They tell one another their dreams. They think that will make my people forget my name. In the same way, their people of long ago forgot my name when they worshiped Baal. 28 Let the prophet who has a dream describe the dream. But let the one who has my message speak it faithfully. Your prophets have given you straw to eat instead of grain,” announces the Lord. 29 “My message is like fire,” announces the Lord. “It is like a hammer that breaks a rock in pieces.
30 “So I am against these prophets,” announces the Lord. “I am against those who steal messages from one another. They claim that the messages come from me. 31 Yes,” announces the Lord. “I am against the prophets who speak their own words. But they still say, ‘Here is what the Lord says.’ 32 I am against prophets who talk about dreams that did not come from me,” announces the Lord. “They tell foolish lies. Their lies lead my people astray. But I did not send these prophets. I did not appoint them. They do not help my people in the least,” announces the Lord.
Prophets Who Give Messages That Are Not From the Lord
33 “Jeremiah, these people might ask you a question. Or a prophet or priest might do this. They might ask, ‘What message have you received from the Lord?’ Then tell them, ‘You ask, “What message?” Here it is. “I will desert you,” announces the Lord.’ 34 A prophet or priest might make a claim. Or someone else might do this. He might claim, ‘This is a message from the Lord.’ Then I will punish them and their family. 35 Here is what each of you people keeps on saying to your friends and other Israelites. You ask, ‘What is the Lord’s answer?’ Or you ask, ‘What has the Lord spoken?’ 36 But you must not talk about ‘a message from the Lord’ again. That’s because each person’s own words become their message. And so you twist the Lord’s words. He is the living God. He is the Lord who rules over all. And he is our God. 37 Here is what you keep saying to a prophet. You ask, ‘What is the Lord’s answer to you?’ Or you ask, ‘What has the Lord spoken?’ 38 You claim, ‘This is a message from the Lord.’ But here is what the Lord says. ‘You used the words, “This is a message from the Lord.” But I told you that you must not claim, “This is a message from the Lord.” ’ 39 So you can be sure I will forget you. I will throw you out of my sight. I will also destroy the city I gave you and your people of long ago. 40 I will bring on you shame that will last forever. It will never be forgotten.”
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