Jeremiah 23-25New International Version - UK (NIVUK)
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.’
Two baskets of figs
24 After Jehoiachin[c] son of Jehoiakim king of Judah and the officials, the skilled workers and the craftsmen of Judah were carried into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon by Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, the Lord showed me two baskets of figs placed in front of the temple of the Lord. 2 One basket had very good figs, like those that ripen early; the other basket had very bad figs, so bad that they could not be eaten.
3 Then the Lord asked me, ‘What do you see, Jeremiah?’
‘Figs,’ I answered. ‘The good ones are very good, but the bad ones are so bad that they cannot be eaten.’
4 Then the word of the Lord came to me: 5 ‘This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: “Like these good figs, I regard as good the exiles from Judah, whom I sent away from this place to the land of the Babylonians.[d] 6 My eyes will watch over them for their good, and I will bring them back to this land. I will build them up and not tear them down; I will plant them and not uproot them. 7 I will give them a heart to know me, that I am the Lord. They will be my people, and I will be their God, for they will return to me with all their heart.
8 ‘“But like the bad figs, which are so bad that they cannot be eaten,” says the Lord, “so will I deal with Zedekiah king of Judah, his officials and the survivors from Jerusalem, whether they remain in this land or live in Egypt. 9 I will make them abhorrent and an offence to all the kingdoms of the earth, a reproach and a byword, a curse[e] and an object of ridicule, wherever I banish them. 10 I will send the sword, famine and plague against them until they are destroyed from the land I gave to them and their ancestors.”’
Seventy years of captivity
25 The word came to Jeremiah concerning all the people of Judah in the fourth year of Jehoiakim son of Josiah king of Judah, which was the first year of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon. 2 So Jeremiah the prophet said to all the people of Judah and to all those living in Jerusalem: 3 For twenty-three years – from the thirteenth year of Josiah son of Amon king of Judah until this very day – the word of the Lord has come to me and I have spoken to you again and again, but you have not listened.
4 And though the Lord has sent all his servants the prophets to you again and again, you have not listened or paid any attention. 5 They said, ‘Turn now, each of you, from your evil ways and your evil practices, and you can stay in the land the Lord gave to you and your ancestors for ever and ever. 6 Do not follow other gods to serve and worship them; do not arouse my anger with what your hands have made. Then I will not harm you.’
7 ‘But you did not listen to me,’ declares the Lord, ‘and you have aroused my anger with what your hands have made, and you have brought harm to yourselves.’
8 Therefore the Lord Almighty says this: ‘Because you have not listened to my words, 9 I will summon all the peoples of the north and my servant Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon,’ declares the Lord, ‘and I will bring them against this land and its inhabitants and against all the surrounding nations. I will completely destroy[f] them and make them an object of horror and scorn, and an everlasting ruin. 10 I will banish from them the sounds of joy and gladness, the voices of bride and bridegroom, the sound of millstones and the light of the lamp. 11 This whole country will become a desolate wasteland, and these nations will serve the king of Babylon for seventy years.
12 ‘But when the seventy years are fulfilled, I will punish the king of Babylon and his nation, the land of the Babylonians,[g] for their guilt,’ declares the Lord, ‘and will make it desolate for ever. 13 I will bring on that land all the things I have spoken against it, all that are written in this book and prophesied by Jeremiah against all the nations. 14 They themselves will be enslaved by many nations and great kings; I will repay them according to their deeds and the work of their hands.’
The cup of God’s wrath
15 This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, said to me: ‘Take from my hand this cup filled with the wine of my wrath and make all the nations to whom I send you drink it. 16 When they drink it, they will stagger and go mad because of the sword I will send among them.’
17 So I took the cup from the Lord’s hand and made all the nations to whom he sent me drink it: 18 Jerusalem and the towns of Judah, its kings and officials, to make them a ruin and an object of horror and scorn, a curse[h] – as they are today; 19 Pharaoh king of Egypt, his attendants, his officials and all his people, 20 and all the foreign people there; all the kings of Uz; all the kings of the Philistines (those of Ashkelon, Gaza, Ekron, and the people left at Ashdod); 21 Edom, Moab and Ammon; 22 all the kings of Tyre and Sidon; the kings of the coastlands across the sea; 23 Dedan, Tema, Buz and all who are in distant places[i]; 24 all the kings of Arabia and all the kings of the foreign people who live in the wilderness; 25 all the kings of Zimri, Elam and Media; 26 and all the kings of the north, near and far, one after the other – all the kingdoms on the face of the earth. And after all of them, the king of Sheshak[j] will drink it too.
27 ‘Then tell them, “This is what the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, says: drink, get drunk and vomit, and fall to rise no more because of the sword I will send among you.” 28 But if they refuse to take the cup from your hand and drink, tell them, “This is what the Lord Almighty says: You must drink it! 29 See, I am beginning to bring disaster on the city that bears my Name, and will you indeed go unpunished? You will not go unpunished, for I am calling down a sword on all who live on the earth, declares the Lord Almighty.”
30 ‘Now prophesy all these words against them and say to them:
‘“The Lord will roar from on high;
32 This is what the Lord Almighty says:
‘Look! Disaster is spreading
33 At that time those slain by the Lord will be everywhere – from one end of the earth to the other. They will not be mourned or gathered up or buried, but will be like dung lying on the ground.
34 Weep and wail, you shepherds;