Jeremiah 23; Jeremiah 24; Jeremiah 25

1 "How terrible it will be for the shepherds who lead my people down the wrong path!" announces the Lord. "They are destroying and scattering the sheep that belong to my flock." 2 So the Lord, the God of Israel, speaks to the shepherds who take care of my people. He tells them, "You have scattered my sheep. You have driven them away. You have not taken good care of them. So I will punish you for the evil things you have done," announces the Lord. 3 "I myself will gather together those who are left alive in my flock. I will gather them out of all of the countries where I have driven them. And I will bring them back to their own land. There my sheep will have many lambs. Their numbers will increase. 4 "I will place shepherds over them who will take good care of them. My sheep will not be afraid or terrified anymore. And none of them will be missing," announces the Lord 5 "A new day is coming," announces the Lord. "At that time I will raise up from David's royal line a true and rightful Branch. He will be a King who will rule wisely. He will do what is fair and right in the land. 6 In his days Judah will be saved. Israel will live in safety. And the Branch will be called The LORD Who Makes Us Right With Himself. 7 "Other days are also coming," announces the Lord. "At that time people will no longer say, 'The LORD brought the people of Israel up out of Egypt. And that's just as sure as he is alive.' 8 "Instead, they will say, 'The LORD brought the people of Israel up out of the land of the north. He gathered them out of all of the countries where he had forced them to go. And that's just as sure as he is alive.' Then they will live in their own land." 9 Here is my message about the prophets. My heart is broken inside me. All of my bones tremble with fear. I am like a man who is drunk. I am like someone who has had too much wine. That's what the LORD's holy words have done to me. 10 The land is full of people who aren't faithful to the Lord. Now the land is under his curse. And that's why it is thirsty for water. That's why the grasslands in the desert are dry. The prophets are leading sinful lives. They don't use their power in the right way. 11 "Prophets and priests alike are ungodly," announces the Lord. "Even in my temple I find them sinning. 12 So their path will become slippery. They will be thrown out into darkness. There they will fall. I will bring trouble on them when the time to punish them comes," announces the Lord. 13 "Among the prophets of Samaria I saw something I can't stand. They were prophesying in the name of Baal. They were leading my people Israel down the wrong path. 14 I have also seen something horrible among Jerusalem's prophets. They are not faithful to me. They are not living by the truth. They strengthen the hands of those who do evil. So the people do not turn from their sinful ways. All of them are like the people of Sodom to me. They are just like the people of Gomorrah. 15 So the LORD who rules over all speaks about the prophets. He says, "I will make them eat bitter food. I will make them drink poisoned water. The prophets of Jerusalem have spread their ungodly ways all through the land." 16 The LORD who rules over all says to the people of Judah, "Do not listen to what the prophets are saying to you. They fill you with false hopes. They talk about visions that come from their own minds. What they say does not come from my mouth. 17 They keep speaking to those who hate me. They say, 'The LORD says you will have peace.' They speak to all those who do what their stubborn hearts want them to do. They tell them, 'No harm will come to you.' 18 But which of them has ever stood in my courts? Have they been there to see a vision or hear my message? Who has listened and heard my message there? 19 A storm will burst out because of my burning anger. A windstorm will sweep down on the heads of sinful people 20 My anger will not turn back. I will accomplish everything I plan to do. In days to come you will understand it clearly. 21 I did not send those prophets. But they have run to tell you their message anyway. I did not speak to them. But they have still prophesied 22 Suppose they had stood in my courts. Then they would have announced my message to my people. They would have turned my people from their evil ways. They would have turned them away from their sins. 23 "Am I only a God who is nearby?" announces the Lord. "Am I not a God who is also far away? 24 Can anyone hide in secret places so that I can't see him?" announces the Lord. "Don't I fill heaven and earth?" announces the Lord. 25 "I have heard what the prophets are saying. They prophesy lies in my name. They say, 'I had a dream! The LORD has given me a dream!' 26 How long will that continue in the hearts of those prophets who tell lies? They try to get others to believe their own mistaken ideas. 27 They tell one another their dreams. They think that will make my people forget my name. In the same way, their people of long ago forgot my name when they worshiped Baal. 28 "Let the prophet who has a dream tell his dream. But let the one who has my message speak it faithfully. Your prophets have given you straw to eat instead of grain," announces the Lord. 29 "My message is like fire," announces the Lord. "It is like a hammer that breaks a rock in pieces. 30 "So I am against those prophets," announces the Lord. "I am against those who steal messages from one another. They claim that the messages come from me. 31 "Yes," announces the Lord. "I am against the prophets who wag their own tongues but still say, 'Here is what the LORD says.' 32 I am against prophets who talk about dreams that did not come from me," announces the Lord. "They tell foolish lies. Their lies lead my people down the wrong path. "But I did not send those prophets. I did not appoint them. They do not help my people in the least," announces the Lord. 33 "Jeremiah, those people might ask you a question. Or a prophet or priest might do it. They might ask, 'What message have you received from the Lord?' "Then tell them, 'You ask, "What message?" Here it is. "I will desert you," announces the Lord.' 34 "A prophet or priest might make a claim. Or someone else might do it. He might claim, 'I have received a message from the Lord.' Then I will punish him and his family. 35 "Here is what each of you people keeps on saying to your friend or relative. You ask, 'What is the LORD's answer?' Or you ask, 'What has the LORD spoken?' 36 But you must not talk about 'a message from the Lord' again. That is because your message becomes your own message. And so you twist my words. I am the living God. I am the LORD who rules over all. And I am your God 37 "Here is what you keep saying to a prophet. You ask, 'What is the LORD's answer to you?' Or you ask, 'What has the LORD spoken?' 38 You claim, 'I have received a message from the Lord.' But I really say, 'You used the words, "I have received a message from the Lord." But I told you that you must not claim, "I have received a message from the Lord." 39 "So you can be sure I will forget you. I will throw you out of my sight. I will also destroy the city I gave you and your people. 40 I will bring shame on you that will last forever. It will never be forgotten."
1 King Jehoiachin was forced to leave Jerusalem. He was the son of Jehoiakim. Jehoiachin was taken to Babylon by Nebuchadnezzar, the king of Babylonia. The officials and all of the skilled workers were forced to leave with him. After they left, the LORD showed me two baskets of figs. They were in front of his temple. 2 One basket had very good figs in it. They were like figs that ripen early. The other basket had figs that weren't good at all. In fact, they were so bad they couldn't even be eaten. 3 Then the LORD asked me, "What do you see, Jeremiah?" "Figs," I answered. "The good ones are very good. But the others are so bad they can't be eaten." 4 Then a message came to me from the Lord. He said, 5 "I am the Lord, the God of Israel. I say, 'I consider the people who were forced to leave Judah to be like those good figs. I sent them away from this place. I forced them to go to Babylonia. 6 My eyes will watch over them. I will be good to them. And I will bring them back to this land. I will build them up. I will not tear them down. I will plant them. I will not pull them up by the roots. 7 " 'I will change their hearts. Then they will know that I am the Lord. They will be my people. And I will be their God. They will return to me with all their heart. 8 " 'But there are also figs that are not very good. In fact, they are so bad they can't be eaten,' says the Lord. 'Zedekiah, the king of Judah, is like those bad figs. So are his officials and the people of Jerusalem who are still left alive. I will punish them whether they remain in this land or live in Egypt. 9 " 'I will make all of the kingdoms on earth displeased with them. In fact, they will hate them a great deal. They will laugh and joke about them. They will call down curses on them. All of that will happen no matter where I force them to go. 10 I will send war, hunger and plague against them. They will be destroyed from the land I gave them and their people of long ago.' "
1 A message about all of the people of Judah came to me from the Lord. It came in the fourth year that Jehoiakim was king of Judah. It was the first year that Nebuchadnezzar was king of Babylonia. Jehoiakim was the son of Josiah. 2 I, the LORD's prophet, spoke to all of the people of Judah and Jerusalem. I said, 3 "For 23 years the LORD's messages have been coming to me. They began to come in the 13th year that Josiah was king of Judah. He was the son of Amon. The LORD's messages still come to me today. I've spoken to you people again and again. But you haven't listened to me. 4 "The LORD has sent all of his servants the prophets to you. They've come to you again and again. But you haven't listened. You haven't paid any attention to them. 5 "They said, 'Each of you must turn from your evil ways and practices. Then you can stay in the land forever. It's the land the LORD gave you and your people long ago. 6 Don't follow other gods. Don't serve them or worship them. Don't make the LORD angry with the gods your own hands have made. Then he won't harm you.' 7 " 'But you did not listen to me,' announces the Lord. 'You have made me very angry with the gods your hands have made. And you have brought harm on yourselves.' 8 "The LORD who rules over all says, 'You have not listened to my words. 9 So I will send for all of the nations in the north. And I will send for my servant Nebuchadnezzar, the king of Babylonia,' announces the Lord. " 'I will bring all of them against this land and against you who live here. They will march out against all of the nations that are around this land. I will set them apart in a special way to be destroyed. People will be shocked because of them. And they will make fun of them. Those nations will be destroyed forever. 10 " 'I will put an end to the sounds of joy and gladness. I will put an end to the voices of brides and grooms. The sound of grinding millstones will not be heard anymore. And lamps will not be lit anymore. 11 This whole country will become dry and empty. And those nations will serve the king of Babylonia for 70 years. 12 " 'But I will punish that king and his nation because they are guilty. I will do it when the 70 years are over,' announces the Lord. 'I will make that land a desert forever. 13 " 'I have spoken against that land. And I will make all of those things happen to it. Everything will happen that is written in this scroll. And I will make everything Jeremiah prophesied against all of the nations come true. 14 The people of Babylonia will become slaves of many other nations and great kings. I will pay them back for what their hands have done.' " 15 The LORD is the God of Israel. He said to me, "Take this cup from my hand. It is filled with the wine of my burning anger. Make all of the nations to which I send you drink it. 16 When they drink it, they will not even be able to walk straight. It will drive them out of their minds. I am going to send war against them." 17 So I took the cup from the LORD's hand. I made all of the nations to which he sent me drink from it. 18 He sent me to Judah's kings and officials. He told me to go to Jerusalem and the towns of Judah. He wanted me to tell them they would be destroyed. Then people would be shocked because of them. They would make fun of them. They would call down curses on them. And that's how things still are today. 19 Here is a list of the other kings and nations he sent me to. Pharaoh, the king of Egypt his attendants, his officials, all of his people 20 all of the people from other lands who lived there all of the kings of Uz the Philistine kings of Ashkelon, Gaza and Ekron the Philistines who were still living in Ashdod 21 Edom, Moab, Ammon 22 all of the kings of Tyre and Sidon the kings of the islands and other lands along the Mediterranean Sea 23 Dedan, Teman, Buz all of the other places far away in the east 24 all of the kings of Arabia all of the other kings of people who live in the desert 25 all of the kings of Zimri, Elam and Media 26 all of the kings in the north, near and far So he sent me to all of the kingdoms on the face of the earth, one after the other. After all of them drink from the cup of the LORD's anger, the king of Babylonia will drink from it too. 27 The LORD says, "Tell them, 'The LORD who rules over all is the God of Israel. He says, "Drink from this cup. Get drunk and throw up. Fall down and do not get up again. I am going to send war against you." ' 28 "But they might refuse to take the cup from your hand. They might not want to drink from it. Then tell them, 'The LORD who rules over all says, "You have to drink from it! 29 I am beginning to bring trouble on the city where I have put my Name. You might think you will not be punished. But you will certainly be punished. I am sending war against everyone who lives on earth," announces the LORD who rules over all.' 30 "Jeremiah, prophesy against them. Tell them, " 'The LORD will roar from heaven like a lion. His voice will sound like thunder from his holy temple there. He will roar loudly against his land. He will shout like those who stomp on grapes in winepresses. He will shout against everyone who lives on earth. 31 The noise of battle will be heard from one end of the earth to the other. That's because the LORD will bring charges against the nations. He will judge every human being. He will kill sinful people with his sword,' " announces the Lord. 32 The LORD who rules over all says, "Look! Horrible trouble is spreading from one nation to another. A mighty storm is rising. It is coming from a place that is very far away." 33 At that time those the LORD kills will be lying around everywhere. They will be found from one end of the earth to the other. No one will sob over them. Their dead bodies will not be gathered up or buried. Instead, they will be like trash lying there on the ground. 34 Sob and cry, you shepherds. Roll in the dust, you leaders of the flock. Your time to be killed has come. You will fall and be broken to pieces like fine clay pots. 35 The shepherds won't have any place to run to. The leaders of the flock won't be able to escape. 36 Listen to the cries of the shepherds. Hear the sobs of the leaders of the flock. The LORD is destroying their grasslands. 37 Their peaceful meadows will be completely destroyed because of the LORD's burning anger. 38 Like a lion he will leave his den. The land of those leaders will become a desert. That's because the sword of the LORD brings great harm. His anger will burn against them.
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