Promise of restoration

Watch out, you shepherds who destroy and scatter the sheep of my pasture, declares the Lord. This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, proclaims about the shepherds who “tend to” my people: You are the ones who have scattered my flock and driven them away. You haven’t attended to their needs, so I will take revenge on you for the terrible things you have done to them, declares the Lord. I myself will gather the few remaining sheep from all the countries where I have driven them. I will bring them back to their pasture, and they will be fruitful and multiply. I will place over them shepherds who care for them. Then they will no longer be afraid or dread harm, nor will any be missing, declares the Lord.

Promise of a righteous and just king

The time is coming, declares the Lord, when I will raise up a righteous descendant[a] from David’s line, and he will rule as a wise king. He will do what is just and right in the land. During his lifetime, Judah will be saved and Israel will live in safety. And his name will be The Lord Is Our Righteousness.[b]

So the time is coming, declares the Lord, when no one will say, “As the Lord lives who brought up the Israelites from the land of Egypt.” Instead, they will say, “As the Lord lives who brought up the descendants of the people of Israel from the land of the north and from all the lands where he[c] has banished them so that they can live in their own land.”

Oracles against the prophets

As for the prophets:
My heart inside me is broken;
my body aches.[d]
I stagger like a drunk
who has had too much wine to drink,
because of the Lord
and because of God’s holy words.
10 Because the country teems
with adulterers,
because of them,[e]
yes, because their might isn’t right
and their way is evil,
the land dries up,
and the grazing areas in the wilderness wither.[f]
11 Both prophet and priest are godless;
I even find their evil in my temple,
declares the Lord.
12 Therefore, they will find themselves on slippery ground
and will be thrust into darkness,
where they will collapse.
I will bring disaster upon them,
when their time comes, declares the Lord.
13 In the prophets of Samaria
I saw something shocking:
They prophesied by Baal
and led astray my people Israel.
14 In the prophets of Jerusalem
I saw something horrible:
They commit adultery and tell lies.
They encourage evildoers
so that no one turns from their wickedness.
In my eyes, they are no better than Sodom;
its people are like Gomorrah.

15 Therefore, this is what the Lord of heavenly forces proclaims concerning the prophets:

I’m going to feed them bitter food
and give them poison to drink.
Wickedness has spread from the prophets of Jerusalem
throughout the land.
16 The Lord proclaims:
Don’t listen to the prophets
who are speaking to you;
they are deceiving you.
Their visions come from their own hearts,
not from the Lord’s mouth.
17 They keep saying to those who scorn God’s message,
“All will go well for you,”
and to those who follow their own willful hearts,
“Nothing bad will happen to you.”
18 But who has stood in the Lord’s council
to listen to God’s word?
Who has paid attention to his word and announced it?
19 Look! The Lord’s angry storm breaks out;
it whirls around the heads of the wicked.
20 The Lord’s fierce anger
won’t turn back
until it accomplishes all that he has planned.
In the days to come,
you will understand what this means.
21 I didn’t send the prophets,
yet they ran anyway.
I didn’t speak to them,
yet they prophesied anyway.
22 If they had stood in my council,
they would have proclaimed
my words to my people;
they would have turned them
from their evil ways and deeds.
23 The Lord declares, Am I a God
who is only nearby and not far off?
24 Can people hide themselves in secret places
so I might not see them?
Don’t I fill heaven and earth?

25 I have heard the prophets prophesying lies in my name. They claim, “I’ve had a dream; I’ve had a dream!” 26 How long will deceitful prophecies dominate the minds of the prophets? Those prophets are treacherous. 27 They scheme to make my people forget me by their dreams that people tell each other, just as their ancestors forgot me because of Baal. 28 Let the prophet who has a dream declare it, but let the one who has my word proclaim it faithfully.

What a difference between straw and wheat!
declares the Lord.
29 Isn’t my word like fire
and like a hammer that shatters rock?
declares the Lord.
30 Therefore, I’m against the prophets
who steal my words from each other,
declares the Lord.
31 I’m against the prophets
who carelessly deliver oracles,[g]
declares the Lord.
32 I’m against the prophets who dream up lies
and then proclaim them,
declares the Lord.
With their reckless lies,
they lead my people astray.
I didn’t send them;
I didn’t commission them.
They are completely useless to these people,
declares the Lord.

33 When these people or a prophet or a priest asks you, “What is the Lord’s message?”[h] say to them, “What message? I will cast you off, declares the Lord.” 34 I will punish anyone, including prophet or priest, who says, “This is the Lord’s message.” 35 This is what you should ask each other: “What has the Lord said?” “What has the Lord declared?” 36 But you are no longer to mention the Lord’s message, because everyone thinks they have received a message from the Lord. You destroy the very word of the living God, the Lord of heavenly forces, our God. 37 So this is what you should say to the prophet: “What has the Lord said to you?” “What has the Lord declared?” 38 But if you insist on saying, “This is the Lord’s message,” the Lord says to you: Because you have made this claim—this is the Lord’s message—when I told you not to proclaim the Lord’s message, 39 I will lift you up[i] and cast you out of my presence, together with the city that I gave to your ancestors. 40 I will make you an object of disgrace and enduring shame that no one will ever forget.


  1. Jeremiah 23:5 Or branch
  2. Jeremiah 23:6 Or of Our Righteousness, possibly a play on the name Zedekiah
  3. Jeremiah 23:8 Or I
  4. Jeremiah 23:9 Heb uncertain; or my bones shake
  5. Jeremiah 23:10 LXX; MT a curse
  6. Jeremiah 23:10 Heb uncertain
  7. Jeremiah 23:31 Heb uncertain
  8. Jeremiah 23:33 Or burden
  9. Jeremiah 23:39 LXX, Syr, Vulg; MT forget you