The good shepherd
1 “Woe to the shepherds who mislead and scatter the sheep of my pasture!”
2 This is the message of Yahweh, God of Israel, to the shepherds in charge of my people, “You have scat tered my sheep and driven them away instead of caring for them. Now I will deal with you because of your evil deeds.
3 I will gather the remnant of my sheep from every land to which I have driven them and I will bring them back to the grasslands. They will be fruitful and increase in number. 4 I will appoint shepherds who will take care of them. No longer will they fear or be terrified. No one will be lost.”
5 Yahweh further says, “The day is coming when I will raise up a king who is David’s righteous successor. He will rule wisely and govern with justice and righteousness. 6 That will be a grandiose era when Judah will enjoy peace and Israel will live in safety. He will be called Yahweh-our-justice!”
7 “The days are coming,” says Yahweh, “when people shall no longer swear by Yahweh as the living God who freed the people of Israel from the land of Egypt. 8 Rather, they will swear by Yahweh as the living God who restored the descendants of Israel from the northern empire and from all the lands where he had driven them, to live again in their own land!”
9 About the prophets:
9 My heart breaks within me,
9 and all my bones tremble,
9 I am like a drunken man,
9 like a man overcome by wine
9 because of Yahweh and his holy words.
10 The land is full of adulterers. Be cause of this I put a curse on the country; it is in mourning and the desert grasslands have withered. They follow an evil path and readily act un justly. 11 Even the prophet and the priest are corrupt; I have found out about their wickedness in my House – word of Yahweh.
12 That is why their path will become slippery in the dark, making them stumble and fall when I bring evil upon them in the year of their pun ishment.
13 I well know how stupid the prophets of Samaria were; they prophesied in the name of Baal and led my people Israel as tray. 14 But among the prophets of Jeru salem I have likewise seen horrors: for they are adulterers and liars!
14 They encourage the evildoers so that none of them turns away from wickedness. For me all of them are like Sodom; and the common peo ple like Gomorrah.
15 That is why Yahweh the God of hosts speaks against the prophets: I will give them bitter food to eat and poisoned water to drink, for from the prophets of Jerusalem evil has spread all over the land.
16 Thus Yahweh warns, “Do not listen to what the prophets say. They give you false hope and tell you their own illusions, and not what comes from the mouth of Yahweh. 17 They dare say to those who despise me: ‘Yahweh has spoken, be at peace’; and to those who follow their own stubborn hearts they say: ‘No misfortune will come upon you!’
18 Who then has been present in the council of Yahweh? Who has heard and understood his word? Who has paid attention to his word and is able to pass it on?
19 The storm of Yahweh’s wrath breaks forth and a whirling hurricane bursts upon the head of the wicked! 20 Yahweh’s wraths will not relent before the full accomplishment of his plans. The time will come when you will understand what it is.
21 I did not send these prophets, yet they went running. I did not speak, yet they proph esied! 22 Were they present in my council? Then let them proclaim my word to my people and have them turn away from their evil ways and their wicked deeds.
23 Am I a God only when I am near – it is Yahweh who speaks – and not when I am far off? 24 If someone hides in secret places do I not see him? – Do I not fill the heavens and the earth?
25 I have listened and heard the lies that the prophets have proclaimed in my name. All said: ‘I had a dream! I had a dream!’ 26 How long will there be pro phets of lies who proclaim their own illusions? 27 They would like to make the peo ple forget my Name by the dreams they relate to one another, just as their ancestors forgot my Name when they followed Baal. 28 The prophet who has a dream prophesies a dream, whereas the one who receives my word proclaims the word of truth.
28 What have straw and wheat in common? 29 Isn’t my word like fire, like the hammer that shatters a rock?
30 That is why I oppose the prophets who steal from one another words that are supposedly mine. 31 I am against the prophets who have only to move their tongues to utter oracles. 32 I am against those whose prophecies are based on lying dreams, who lead my people astray with their trickery and pretensions. I did not commission or charge them to transmit my orders, so they are of no benefit to my people – word of Yahweh.
33 And when these people, or a pro phet or a priest jestingly asks you: What is the ‘Burden’ of Yahweh? you will answer: ‘You are the burden – and I am going to get rid of you.’ This is Yahweh’s word. 34 And the prophets, priests or common people who say: ‘Burden’ of Yahweh, will be punished, and their household as well.
35 This is what you should say, to one another, among yourselves, “What is Yah weh’s answer?” or “What has Yahweh said?” 36 But there must be no mention of “Burden” of Yahweh for it shall be burdensome for the one who says it. 37 And if you want to know, 38 this is what Yahweh says:
39 Since you use this expression in spite of my prohibition, I will cast you off and thrust you out of my sight, – you and the city I gave to you and your ancestors. 40 I will bring upon you everlasting shame and dishonor that will be yours forever.