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Jeremiah 23 New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

Chapter 23

A Just Shepherd.[a] Woe to the shepherds who destroy and scatter the flock of my pasture—oracle of the Lord. Therefore, thus says the Lord, the God of Israel, against the shepherds who shepherd my people: You have scattered my sheep and driven them away. You have not cared for them, but I will take care to punish your evil deeds. I myself will gather the remnant of my flock from all the lands to which I have banished them and bring them back to their folds; there they shall be fruitful and multiply. I will raise up shepherds for them who will shepherd them so that they need no longer fear or be terrified; none shall be missing—oracle of the Lord.

See, days are coming—oracle of the Lord
    when I will raise up a righteous branch for David;
As king he shall reign and govern wisely,
    he shall do what is just and right in the land.
In his days Judah shall be saved,
    Israel shall dwell in security.
This is the name to be given him:
    “The Lord our justice.”

Therefore, the days are coming—oracle of the Lord—when they shall no longer say, “As the Lord lives, who brought the Israelites out of the land of Egypt”; but rather, “As the Lord lives, who brought the descendants of the house of Israel up from the land of the north”—and from all the lands to which I banished them; they shall again live on their own soil.

The False Prophets[b]

Concerning the prophets:
My heart is broken within me,
    all my bones tremble;
I am like a drunk,
    like one overcome by wine,
Because of the Lord,
    because of his holy words.
10 The land is filled with adulterers;
    because of the curse the land mourns,
    the pastures of the wilderness are withered.
Theirs is an evil course,
    theirs is unjust power.
11 Both prophet and priest are godless!
    In my very house I find their wickedness—
    oracle of the Lord.
12 Hence their way shall become for them
    slippery ground.
Into the darkness they shall be driven,
    and fall headlong;
For I will bring disaster upon them,
    the year of their punishment—oracle of the Lord.
13 Among Samaria’s prophets
    I saw something unseemly:
They prophesied by Baal
    and led my people Israel astray.
14 But among Jerusalem’s prophets
    I saw something more shocking:
Adultery, walking in deception,[c]
    strengthening the power of the wicked,
    so that no one turns from evil;
To me they are all like Sodom,
    its inhabitants like Gomorrah.

15 Therefore, thus says the Lord of hosts against the prophets:

Look, I will give them wormwood to eat,
    and poisoned water to drink;
For from Jerusalem’s prophets
    ungodliness has gone forth into the whole land.
16     Thus says the Lord of hosts:
Do not listen to the words of your prophets,
    who fill you with emptiness;
They speak visions from their own fancy,
    not from the mouth of the Lord.
17 They say to those who despise the word of the Lord,[d]
    “Peace shall be yours”;
And to everyone who walks in hardness of heart,
    “No evil shall overtake you.”
18 Now, who has stood in the council of the Lord,
    to see him and to hear his word?
    Who has heeded his word so as to announce it?
19 See, the storm of the Lord!
    His wrath breaks forth
In a whirling storm
    that bursts upon the heads of the wicked.
20 The anger of the Lord shall not abate
    until he has carried out completely
    the decisions of his heart.
In days to come
    you will understand fully.
21 I did not send these prophets,
    yet they ran;
I did not speak to them,
    yet they prophesied.
22 Had they stood in my council,
    they would have proclaimed my words to my people,
They would have brought them back from their evil ways
    and from their wicked deeds.
23 Am I a God near at hand only—oracle of the Lord
    and not a God far off?[e]
24 Can anyone hide in secret
    without my seeing them?—oracle of the Lord.
Do I not fill
    heaven and earth?—oracle of the Lord.

25 I have heard the prophets who prophesy lies in my name say, “I had a dream! I had a dream!” 26 How long? Will the hearts of the prophets who prophesy lies and their own deceitful fancies ever turn back? 27 By the dreams they tell each other, they plan to make my people forget my name, just as their ancestors forgot my name for Baal. 28 Let the prophets who have dreams tell their dreams; let those who have my word speak my word truthfully!

What has straw to do with wheat?[f]
    —oracle of the Lord.
29 Is not my word like fire—oracle of the Lord
    like a hammer shattering rock?

30 Therefore I am against the prophets—oracle of the Lord—those who steal my words from each other. 31 Yes, I am against the prophets—oracle of the Lord—those who compose their own speeches and call them oracles. 32 Yes, I am against the prophets who tell lying dreams—oracle of the Lord—those who lead my people astray by recounting their reckless lies. It was not I who sent them or commanded them; they do this people no good at all—oracle of the Lord.

33 [g]And when this people or a prophet or a priest asks you, “What is the burden of the Lord?” you shall answer, “You are the burden, and I cast you off”—oracle of the Lord. 34 If a prophet or a priest or anyone else mentions “the burden of the Lord,” I will punish that man and his household. 35 Thus you shall ask, when speaking to one another, “What answer did the Lord give?” or “What did the Lord say?” 36 But “the burden of the Lord” you shall mention no more. For each of you, your own word becomes the burden so that you pervert the words of the living God, the Lord of hosts, our God. 37 Thus shall you ask the prophet, “What answer did the Lord give?” or “What did the Lord say?” 38 But if you ask about “the burden of the Lord,” then thus says the Lord: Because you use this phrase, “the burden of the Lord,” though I forbade you to use it, 39 therefore I will lift you on high and cast you from my presence, you and the city which I gave to you and your ancestors. 40 And I will bring upon you eternal reproach, eternal shame, never to be forgotten.

Footnotes:

  1. 23:1–8 With the false rulers (shepherds) who have governed his people the Lord contrasts himself, the true shepherd, who will in the times of restoration appoint worthy rulers (vv. 1–4). He will provide a new king from David’s line who will rule justly, fulfilling royal ideals (vv. 5, 6). “The Lord our justice” is an ironic wordplay on the name of the weak King Zedekiah (“The Lord is justice”). Unlike Zedekiah, the future king will be true to the name he bears. Verses 7–8 may have been added during the exile.
  2. 23:9–40 After the collection of oracles against the kings, the editor of the book placed this collection of oracles against the false prophets. With them are associated the priests, for both have betrayed their trust as instructors in the ways of the Lord; cf. 2:8; 4:9; 6:13–14.
  3. 23:14 Cf. note on 13:25.
  4. 23:17–20 Not only are the false prophets personally immoral, but they encourage immorality by prophesying good for evildoers. The true prophet, on the other hand, sees the inevitable consequences of evil behavior.
  5. 23:23–24 Near at hand only…far off: a divine claim that no one can hide from God and that God is aware of all that happens.
  6. 23:28–29 Straw…wheat: a contrast between false and true prophecy. True prophecy is also like fire (cf. 5:14; 20:9), producing violent results (v. 29); Jeremiah’s own life is a testimony of this.
  7. 23:33–40 A wordplay on massa’, which means both “oracle” (usually of woe) and “burden.” In vv. 34–40 the word massa’ itself is forbidden to the people under the meaning of a divine oracle.
New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

Scripture texts, prefaces, introductions, footnotes and cross references used in this work are taken from the New American Bible, revised edition © 2010, 1991, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, Inc., Washington, DC All Rights Reserved. No part of this work may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the copyright owner.

Jeremiah 23 New International Version (NIV)

The Righteous Branch

23 “Woe to the shepherds who are destroying and scattering the sheep of my pasture!” declares the Lord. 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. “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. 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.

“The days are coming,” declares the Lord,
    “when I will raise up for David[a] a righteous Branch,
a King who will reign wisely
    and do what is just and right in the land.
In his days Judah will be saved
    and Israel will live in safety.
This is the name by which he will be called:
    The Lord Our Righteous Savior.

“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,’ 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.”

Lying Prophets

Concerning the prophets:

My heart is broken within me;
    all my bones tremble.
I am like a drunken man,
    like a strong man overcome by wine,
because of the Lord
    and his holy words.
10 The land is full of adulterers;
    because of the curse[b] the land lies parched
    and the pastures in the wilderness are withered.
The prophets follow an evil course
    and use their power unjustly.

11 “Both prophet and priest are godless;
    even in my temple I find their wickedness,”
declares the Lord.
12 “Therefore their path will become slippery;
    they will be banished to darkness
    and there they will fall.
I will bring disaster on them
    in the year they are punished,
declares the Lord.

13 “Among the prophets of Samaria
    I saw this repulsive thing:
They prophesied by Baal
    and led my people Israel astray.
14 And among the prophets of Jerusalem
    I have seen something horrible:
    They commit adultery and live a lie.
They strengthen the hands of evildoers,
    so that not one of them turns from their wickedness.
They are all like Sodom to me;
    the people of Jerusalem are like Gomorrah.”

15 Therefore this is what the Lord Almighty says concerning the prophets:

“I will make them eat bitter food
    and drink poisoned water,
because from the prophets of Jerusalem
    ungodliness has spread throughout the land.”

16 This is what the Lord Almighty says:

“Do not listen to what the prophets are prophesying to you;
    they fill you with false hopes.
They speak visions from their own minds,
    not from the mouth of the Lord.
17 They keep saying to those who despise me,
    ‘The Lord says: You will have peace.’
And to all who follow the stubbornness of their hearts
    they say, ‘No harm will come to you.’
18 But which of them has stood in the council of the Lord
    to see or to hear his word?
    Who has listened and heard his word?
19 See, the storm of the Lord
    will burst out in wrath,
a whirlwind swirling down
    on the heads of the wicked.
20 The anger of the Lord will not turn back
    until he fully accomplishes
    the purposes of his heart.
In days to come
    you will understand it clearly.
21 I did not send these prophets,
    yet they have run with their message;
I did not speak to them,
    yet they have prophesied.
22 But if they had stood in my council,
    they would have proclaimed my words to my people
and would have turned them from their evil ways
    and from their evil deeds.

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.”

Footnotes:

  1. Jeremiah 23:5 Or up from David’s line
  2. Jeremiah 23:10 Or because of these things
New International Version (NIV)

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