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Jeremiah: Chapter 23

He prophesies a restoration of the scattered flock, 1-4. Christ shall rule and save them, 5-8. Against false prophets, 9-32; and mockers of the true prophets, 33-40.

1 "Woe to the pastors who destroy and scatter the sheep of my pasture!" says the LORD. 2 Therefore, thus says the LORD God of Israel against the pastors who feed my people: "You have scattered my flock, driven them away, and have not visited them. Behold, I will visit upon you the evil of your doings," says the LORD. 3 "And I will gather the remnant of my flock from all countries where I have driven them, and will bring them back to their folds, and they shall be fruitful and increase. 4 And I will set shepherds over them who shall feed them. And they shall no longer fear, nor be dismayed, neither shall they be lacking," says the LORD.

5 "Behold, the days come," says the LORD, "that I will raise to David a righteous Branch, and a King shall reign and prosper, and shall execute judgment and justice upon the earth.

6 In his days Judah shall be saved, and Israel shall dwell in safety. And this is his name by which he shall be called: YAHWEH OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS.

7 "Therefore, behold, the days come," says the LORD, "that they shall no longer say, 'The LORD lives, who brought the children of Israel out of the land of Egypt,' 8 But, 'The LORD lives, who brought and who led the seed of the house of Israel out of the north country, and from all countries where I have driven them,' and they shall dwell in their own land."

9 My heart within me is broken because of the prophets. All my bones shake. I am like a drunken man, and like a man whom wine has overcome, because of the LORD, and because of the words of his holiness.

10 For the land is full of adulterers. For because of swearing the land mourns. The pleasant places of the wilderness are dried up, and their course is evil, and their force is not right.

11 "For both prophet and priest are profane. Even in my house I have found their wickedness," says the LORD.

12 "Therefore, their way shall be to them as slippery ways in the darkness. They shall be driven on, and fall therein, for I will bring evil upon them, even the year of their visitation," says the LORD.

13 "And I have seen folly in the prophets of Samaria. They prophesied in Baal, and caused my people Israel to err.

14 I have also seen in the prophets of Jerusalem a horrible thing: they commit adultery and walk in lies, and they strengthen the hands of evil-doers, so that no one returns from his wickedness. All of them are to me as Sodom, and the inhabitants of it as Gomorrah.

15 Therefore, thus says the LORD of hosts concerning the prophets: 'Behold, I will feed them with wormwood, and make them drink the water of gall, for from the prophets of Jerusalem hypocrisy has gone forth into all the land.'"

16 Thus says the LORD of hosts: "Do not listen to the words of the prophets who prophesy to you. They make you vain. They speak a vision of their own heart, and not from the mouth of the LORD.

17 They still say to those who despise me, 'The LORD has said, "You shall have peace."' And they say to everyone who walks after the imagination of his own heart, 'No evil shall come upon you.'

18 For who has stood in the counsel of the LORD, and has perceived and heard his word? Who has marked his word, and heard it?

19 Behold, a whirlwind of the LORD has gone forth in fury, even a grievous whirlwind. It shall fall grievously upon the head of the wicked.

20 The anger of the LORD shall not return, until he has executed, and until he has performed the thoughts of his heart. In the latter days you shall consider it perfectly.

21 I have not sent these prophets, yet they ran. I have not spoken to them, yet they prophesied.

22 But if they had stood in my counsel, and had caused my people to hear my words, then they would have turned them from their evil way, and from the evil of their doings.

23 Am I a God at hand," says the LORD, "and not a God afar off?

24 Can a man hide himself in secret places that I shall not see him?" says the LORD. "Do I not fill heaven and earth?" says the LORD.

25 "I have heard what the prophets said, who prophesy lies in my name, saying, 'I have dreamed. I have dreamed.' 26 How long shall this be in the heart of the prophets who prophesy lies? They are even prophets of the deceit of their own heart, 27 Who think to cause my people to forget my name by their dreams which they each tell to his neighbor, as their fathers have forgotten my name for Baal. 28 The prophet who has a dream, let him tell a dream, and he who has my word, let him speak my word faithfully. What is the chaff to the wheat?" says the LORD. 29 "Is my word not like a fire, and like a hammer that breaks the rock in pieces?" says the LORD. 30 "Therefore, behold, I am against the prophets," says the LORD, "who steal my words each from his neighbor. 31 Behold, I am against the prophets," says the LORD, "who use their tongues, and say, 'He says.' 32 Behold, I am against those who prophesy false dreams," says the LORD, "and tell them, and cause my people to err by their lies, and by their lightness, yet I did not send them, nor command them. Therefore, they shall not profit this people at all," says the LORD.

33 "And when this people, the prophet, or a priest, asks you, saying, 'What is the burden of the LORD?' You shall then say to them, '"You are the burden and I will even forsake you," says the LORD.' 34 And as for the prophet, the priest, and the people who say, 'The burden of the LORD,' I will even punish that man and his house. 35 Thus each of you shall say to his neighbor, and each to his brother: 'What has the LORD answered?' and, 'What has the LORD spoken?' 36 And you shall no longer mention the burden of the LORD. For every man's word shall be his burden, for you have perverted the words of the living God, of the LORD of hosts our God. 37 Thus you shall say to the prophet: 'What has the LORD answered you?' and, 'What has the LORD spoken?' 38 But since you say, 'The burden of the LORD,' therefore, thus says the LORD: 'Because you say this word, "The burden of the LORD," and I have sent to you, saying, "You shall not say, 'The burden of the LORD,'"' 39 Therefore, behold, I, even I, will utterly forget you, and I will forsake you, and the city that I gave to you and your fathers, and cast you out of my presence. 40 And I will bring an everlasting reproach upon you, and a perpetual shame, which shall not be forgotten."