10 Ask the Lord for rain in the spring, for he makes the storm clouds. And he will send showers of rain so every field becomes a lush pasture. 2 Household gods give worthless advice, fortune-tellers predict only lies, and interpreters of dreams pronounce falsehoods that give no comfort. So my people are wandering like lost sheep; they are attacked because they have no shepherd.
3 “My anger burns against your shepherds, and I will punish these leaders.[a] For the Lord of Heaven’s Armies has arrived to look after Judah, his flock. He will make them strong and glorious, like a proud warhorse in battle. 4 From Judah will come the cornerstone, the tent peg, the bow for battle, and all the rulers. 5 They will be like mighty warriors in battle, trampling their enemies in the mud under their feet. Since the Lord is with them as they fight, they will overthrow even the enemy’s horsemen.
6 “I will strengthen Judah and save Israel[b]; I will restore them because of my compassion. It will be as though I had never rejected them, for I am the Lord their God, who will hear their cries. 7 The people of Israel[c] will become like mighty warriors, and their hearts will be made happy as if by wine. Their children, too, will see it and be glad; their hearts will rejoice in the Lord. 8 When I whistle to them, they will come running, for I have redeemed them. From the few who are left, they will grow as numerous as they were before. 9 Though I have scattered them like seeds among the nations, they will still remember me in distant lands. They and their children will survive and return again to Israel. 10 I will bring them back from Egypt and gather them from Assyria. I will resettle them in Gilead and Lebanon until there is no more room for them all. 11 They will pass safely through the sea of distress,[d] for the waves of the sea will be held back, and the waters of the Nile will dry up. The pride of Assyria will be crushed, and the rule of Egypt will end. 12 By my power[e] I will make my people strong, and by my authority they will go wherever they wish. I, the Lord, have spoken!”
11 Open your doors, Lebanon, so that fire may devour your cedar forests. 2 Weep, you cypress trees, for all the ruined cedars; the most majestic ones have fallen. Weep, you oaks of Bashan, for the thick forests have been cut down. 3 Listen to the wailing of the shepherds, for their rich pastures are destroyed. Hear the young lions roaring, for their thickets in the Jordan Valley are ruined.
The Good and Evil Shepherds
4 This is what the Lord my God says: “Go and care for the flock that is intended for slaughter.5 The buyers slaughter their sheep without remorse. The sellers say, ‘Praise the Lord! Now I’m rich!’ Even the shepherds have no compassion for them.6 Likewise, I will no longer have pity on the people of the land,” says the Lord. “I will let them fall into each other’s hands and into the hands of their king. They will turn the land into a wilderness, and I will not rescue them.”
7 So I cared for the flock intended for slaughter—the flock that was oppressed. Then I took two shepherd’s staffs and named one Favor and the other Union.8 I got rid of their three evil shepherds in a single month.
But I became impatient with these sheep, and they hated me, too.9 So I told them, “I won’t be your shepherd any longer. If you die, you die. If you are killed, you are killed. And let those who remain devour each other!”
10 Then I took my staff called Favor and cut it in two, showing that I had revoked the covenant I had made with all the nations.11 That was the end of my covenant with them. The suffering flock was watching me, and they knew that the Lord was speaking through my actions.
12 And I said to them, “If you like, give me my wages, whatever I am worth; but only if you want to.” So they counted out for my wages thirty pieces of silver.
13 And the Lord said to me, “Throw it to the potter[f]”—this magnificent sum at which they valued me! So I took the thirty coins and threw them to the potter in the Temple of the Lord.
14 Then I took my other staff, Union, and cut it in two, showing that the bond of unity between Judah and Israel was broken.
15 Then the Lord said to me, “Go again and play the part of a worthless shepherd.16 This illustrates how I will give this nation a shepherd who will not care for those who are dying, nor look after the young, nor heal the injured, nor feed the healthy. Instead, this shepherd will eat the meat of the fattest sheep and tear off their hooves.
17 “What sorrow awaits this worthless shepherd who abandons the flock! The sword will cut his arm and pierce his right eye. His arm will become useless, and his right eye completely blind.”
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