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Jeremiah 23:23-25:7 New International Version - UK (NIVUK)

23 ‘Am I only a God nearby,’
declares the Lord,
    ‘and not a God far away?
24 Who can hide in secret places
    so that I cannot see them?’
declares the Lord.
    ‘Do not I fill heaven and earth?’
declares the Lord.

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.

False prophecy

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[a] 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. 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.

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.’

Then the word of the Lord came to me: ‘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.[b] 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. 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.

‘“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. I will make them abhorrent and an offence to all the kingdoms of the earth, a reproach and a byword, a curse[c] 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. So Jeremiah the prophet said to all the people of Judah and to all those living in Jerusalem: 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.

And though the Lord has sent all his servants the prophets to you again and again, you have not listened or paid any attention. 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. 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.’

‘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.’

Footnotes:

  1. Jeremiah 24:1 Hebrew Jeconiah, a variant of Jehoiachin
  2. Jeremiah 24:5 Or Chaldeans
  3. Jeremiah 24:9 That is, their names will be used in cursing (see 29:22); or, others will see that they are cursed.
New International Version - UK (NIVUK)

Holy Bible, New International Version® Anglicized, NIV® Copyright © 1979, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

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