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 <<  Yeremia 23 >> 

1Woe betide the shepherds who let the sheep of my flock scatter and be lost! says the LORD.

2Therefore these are the words of the LORD the God of Israel to the shepherds who tend my people: You have scattered and dispersed my flock. You have not watched over them; but I am watching you to punish you for your misdeeds, says the LORD.

3I myself shall gather the remnant of my sheep from all the lands to which I have dispersed them. I shall bring them back to their homes, and they will be fruitful and increase.

4I shall appoint shepherds who will tend them, so that never again will they know fear or dismay or punishment. This is the word of the LORD.

5The days are coming, says the LORD, when I shall make a righteous Branch spring from David's line, a king who will rule wisely, maintaining justice and right in the land.

6In his days Judah will be kept safe, and Israel will live undisturbed. This will be the name to be given to him: The LORD our Righteousness.

7Therefore the time is coming, says the LORD, when people will no longer swear “by the life of the LORD who brought the Israelites up from Egypt”;

8instead they will swear “by the life of the LORD who brought the descendants of the Israelites back from a northern land and from all the lands to which he had dispersed them”; and they will live on their own soil.

9Of the prophets: Within my breast my heart gives way, there is no strength in my bones; because of the LORD, because of his holy words, I have become like a drunken man, like one overcome by wine.

10For the land is full of adulterers, and because of them the earth lies parched, the open pastures have dried up. The lives they lead are wicked, and the powers they possess are misused.

11For prophet and priest alike are godless; even in my house I have witnessed their evil deeds. This is the word of the LORD.

12Therefore their path will turn slippery beneath their feet; they will be dispersed in the dark and fall headlong, for I shall bring disaster on them, their day of reckoning. This is the word of the LORD.

13Among the prophets of Samaria I found a lack of sense: they prophesied in Baal's name and led my people Israel astray.

14Among the prophets of Jerusalem I see a thing most horrible: adulterers and hypocrites. They encourage evildoers, so that no one turns back from sin; to me all her inhabitants are like those of Sodom and Gomorrah.

15These then are the words of the LORD of Hosts about the prophets: I shall give them wormwood to eat and bitter poison to drink; for from the prophets of Jerusalem a godless spirit has spread to the whole country.

16These are the words of the LORD of Hosts: Do not listen to what is prophesied to you by the prophets, who buoy you up with false hopes; they give voice to their own fancies; it is not the LORD's words they speak.

17They say to those who spurn the word of the LORD, “Prosperity will be yours”; and to all who follow their stubborn hearts they say, “No harm will befall you.”

18For which of them has stood in the council of the LORD, has been aware of his word and listened to it? Which of them has heeded his word and obeyed?

19See what a scorching wind has gone out from the LORD, a furious whirlwind which whirls round the heads of the wicked.

20The LORD's anger is not to be turned aside, until he has fully accomplished his purposes. In days to come you will truly understand.

21I did not send these prophets, yet they went in haste; I did not speak to them, yet they prophesied.

22But if they had stood in my council, they would have proclaimed my words to my people and turned them from their evil ways and their evil doings.

23Am I a God near at hand only, not a God when far away?

24Can anyone hide in some secret place and I not see him? Do I not fill heaven and earth? This is the word of the LORD.

25I have heard what the prophets say, the prophets who speak lies in my name; they cry, “I have had a dream, I have had a dream!”

26How much longer will these prophets be minded to prophesy lies and give voice to their own inventions?

27By these dreams which they tell one another they think they will make my people forget my name, just as their fathers forgot my name for the name of Baal.

28If a prophet has a dream, let him tell his dream; if he has my word, let him speak my word faithfully. Chaff and grain are quite distinct, says the LORD.

29Are not my words like fire, says the LORD; are they not like a hammer that shatters rock?

30Therefore I am against those prophets, the impostors who steal my words from the others, says the LORD.

31I am against those prophets, says the LORD, who concoct words of their own and then say, “This is his word.”

32I am against those prophets, says the LORD, who deal in false dreams and relate them to mislead my people with wild and reckless falsehoods. It was not I who sent them or commissioned them, and they will do this people no good service. This is the word of the LORD.

33When you are asked by this people or by a prophet or a priest what is the burden of the LORD, you shall answer: You are the burden, and I shall throw you down, says the LORD.

34If anyone, prophet, priest, or layman, mentions “the LORD's burden”, I shall punish that person and his family.

35The form of words you shall use in speaking amongst yourselves is: “What answer has the LORD given?” or, “What has the LORD said?”

36You must never again mention “the burden of the LORD”; for how can his word be a burden to anyone? But you pervert the words of the living God, the LORD of Hosts our God.

37This is the form you are to use in speaking to a prophet: “What answer has the LORD given?” or, “What has the LORD said?”

38But to any of you who do say “the burden of the LORD”, the LORD speaks thus: Because you say “the burden of the LORD”, though I sent to tell you not to say it,

39therefore I myself shall carry you like a burden and throw you away out of my sight, both you and the city which I gave to you and to your forefathers.

40I shall inflict on you endless reproach, endless shame which will never be forgotten.

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