Jeremiah Chapter 23 to 24 : Easy-to-Read Version  | SearchSearch | Next Version | Previous Page | Next Page |

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23 “It will be very bad for the shepherds (leaders) of the people of Judah. Those shepherds are destroying the sheep. They are making the sheep run from my pasture in all directions.” This message is from the Lord. 2Those shepherds (leaders) are responsible for my people. And the Lord, the God of Israel, says these things to those shepherds: “You shepherds (leaders) have made my sheep run away in all directions. You have forced them to go away. And you have not taken care of them. But I will take care of you—I will punish you for the bad things you did.” This message is from the Lord: 3“I sent my sheep (people) to other countries. But I will gather together my sheep that are left. And I will bring them back to their pasture (country). When my sheep are back in their pasture, they will have many children and grow in number. 4I will place new shepherds (leaders) over my sheep. Those shepherds will take care of my sheep. And my sheep will not be scared or afraid. None of my sheep will be lost.” This message is from the Lord.

The Righteous “Sprout”

5This message is from the Lord, “The time is coming,” “when I will raise up a good ‘sprout.’* He will be a king who will rule in a wise way.  He will do what is fair and right in the land. 6In the time of that good ‘sprout,’ the people of Judah will be saved.  And Israel will live in safety.  This will be his name:  The Lord is our Goodness.* 7“So the time is coming,” this message is from the Lord, “when people won’t say the old promise by the Lord any more. The old promise is: ‘As surely as the Lord lives, the Lord is the One who brought the people of Israel out of the land of Egypt.’ 8But people will say something new. They will say, ‘As surely as the Lord lives, the Lord is the One who brought the people of Israel out of the land of the north. He brought them out of all the countries where he had sent them.’ Then the people of Israel will live in their own land.”

Judgments Against False Prophets

9A message to the prophets: I am very sad—my heart is broken.  All my bones are shaking.  I (Jeremiah) am like a man that is drunk.  Why? Because of the Lord and his holy words. 10The land of Judah is full of people that do the sin of adultery.* They are unfaithful in many ways.  The Lord cursed the land, and it became very dry. The plants are dried and dying in the pastures. The fields have become like the desert. The prophets are evil. Those prophets use their influence and power in the wrong way.  11“The prophets and even the priests are evil.  I have seen them doing evil things in my own temple.”  This message is from the Lord. 12“{I will stop giving my messages to them.} It will be like they must walk in darkness.  It will be like the road is slippery for those prophets and priests.  And they will fall in that darkness.  I will bring disaster on them.  I will punish those prophets and priests.”  This message is from the Lord. 13“I saw the prophets of Samaria* doing wrong things.  I saw those prophets prophesy* in the name of the false god Baal.* Those prophets led the people of Israel away from the Lord. 14Now I have seen the prophets of Judah do those terrible things in Jerusalem.  These prophets do the sin of adultery.* They listened to lies—and they obeyed those false teachings.  They encourage wicked people to continue doing evil things.  So the people did not stop sinning.  They are like the people of Sodom.*Now Jerusalem is like Gomorrah* to me.”  15So, this is what the Lord All-Powerful says about the prophets:  “I will punish those prophets.  The punishment will be like eating poisoned food and water.  The prophets started a spiritual sickness.  And that sickness spread through the whole country.  So I will punish those prophets.  That sickness came from the prophets in Jerusalem.” 16The Lord All-Powerful says these things:  “Don’t pay attention to the things that those prophets are saying to you.  They are trying to fool you.  Those prophets talk about visions.* But they did not get their visions from me.  Their visions come from their own minds. 17Some of the people hate the real messages from the Lord.  So those prophets give a different message to those people.  They say, ‘You will have peace.’  Some of the people are very stubborn.  They do only the things they want to do.  So those prophets say, ‘Nothing bad will happen to you!’ 18But none of those prophets has stood in the heavenly council.* None of them has seen or heard the message of the Lord.  None of them has paid close attention to the Lord’s message.  19Now the punishment from the Lord will come like a storm.  The Lord’s anger will be like a tornado.  It will come crashing down on the heads of those wicked people.  20The Lord’s anger will not stop until he finishes what he plans to do.  When that day is over, you will understand this clearly.  21 I did not send those prophets.  But they ran {to tell their messages}.  I did not speak to them.  But they preached in my name.  22If they had stood in my heavenly council, then they would have told my messages to the people of Judah.  They would have stopped the people from doing bad things.  They would have stopped them from doing evil.” 23 “I am God, and I am always near!”  This message is from the Lord.  “I am not far away! 24A person might try to hide from me in some hiding place.  But it is easy for me to see him.  Why? Because I am everywhere in heaven and earth!” The Lord said these things. 25“There are prophets that preach lies in my name. They say, ‘I have had a dream! I have had a dream!’ I heard them say those things. 26How long will this continue? Those prophets think up lies. And then they teach those lies to the people. 27These prophets are trying to make the people of Judah forget my name. They are doing this by telling each other these false dreams. They are trying to make my people forget me in the same way that their ancestors* forgot me. Their ancestors forgot me and worshiped the false god Baal.* 28Straw is not the same thing as wheat! In the same way, those prophets’ dreams are not messages from me. If a person wants to tell about his dreams, then let him. But let the man that hears my message speak my message truthfully. 29My message is like a fire.” This message is from the Lord. “It is like a hammer that smashes a rock. 30 “So I am against the false prophets.” This message is from the Lord. “These prophets keep stealing my words from one another. 31I am against the false prophets.” This message is from the Lord. “They use their own words and pretend that it is a message from me. 32I am against the false prophets that preach fake dreams.” This message is from the Lord. “They mislead my people with their lies and false teachings. I did not send those prophets to teach the people. I never commanded them to do anything for me. They can’t help the people of Judah at all.” This message is from the Lord. 

The Sad Message from the Lord

33“The people of Judah, or a prophet, or a priest may ask you, ‘Jeremiah, what is the announcement of the Lord?’ You will answer them and say, ‘You are a heavy load* to the Lord. And I will throw down this heavy load.’ This message is from the Lord.  34“A prophet, or a priest, or maybe one of the people might say, ‘This is an announcement from the Lord …’ {That person lied,} so I will punish that person and his whole family. 35This is what you will say to one another: ‘What did the Lord answer?’ or ‘What did the Lord say?’  36But you will never again use the expression, ‘The announcement (heavy load) of the Lord.’  This is because the Lord’s message should not be a heavy load for anyone. But you changed the words of our God. He is the living God, the Lord All-Powerful! 37“If you want to learn about God’s message, then ask a prophet, ‘What answer did the Lord give you?’ or ‘What did the Lord say?’ 38But don’t say, ‘What was the announcement (heavy load) from the Lord?’ If you use these words, then the Lord will say these things to you: ‘You should not have called my message an ‘announcement (heavy load) from the Lord.’ I told you not to use those words. 39 But you called my message a heavy load, so I will pick you up like a heavy load and throw you away from me. I gave the city of Jerusalem to your ancestors.* But I will throw you and that city away from me. 40And I will make you a disgrace forever. You will never forget your embarrassment.’”

sprout This means a new king from the family of David. The Lord is our Goodness This is a word play. In Hebrew, this is like the name Zedekiah, the king of Judah at the time that this prophecy was probably given. But Jeremiah is talking about another king. adultery Breaking the marriage promise by sexual sin. Samaria The capital of the northern kingdom of Israel. This kingdom was destroyed by God because its people did many bad things. prophesy To speak for God or for a false god.  Baal The Canaanite people believed that this false god brought the rain and storms. They also thought that he made the land produce good crops. Sodom, Gomorrah Two cities that God destroyed because the people were so evil. See Gen. Something like a dream that God used to speak to people. heavenly council The people in the Old Testament often talk about God like he was the leader of a council of heavenly beings (angels). Compare 1 Kings 22:19-23; Isa. 6:1-8; and Job chapters 1 and 2.  ancestors Literally, “fathers,” meaning a person’s parents, grandparents, and all the people they are descended from. heavy load This is a word play. The Hebrew word for “announcement” is like the word translated “heavy load.”

The Good Figs and the Bad Figs

24 The Lord showed me these things: I saw two baskets of figs arranged in front of the temple* of the Lord. (I saw this vision after Nebuchadnezzar, the king of Babylon, took Jeconiah* as a prisoner.  Jeconiah was the son of King Jehoiakim.  Jeconiah and his important officials were taken away from Jerusalem. They were taken to Babylon. Nebuchadnezzar also took away all the carpenters and metal-workers of Judah.) 2One basket had very good figs in it.  Those figs were like figs that ripen early in the season. But the other basket had rotten figs.  They were too rotten to eat. 3The Lord said to me, “What do you see, Jeremiah?” I answered, “I see figs. The good figs are very good. And the rotten figs are very rotten. They are too rotten to eat.” 4Then the message of the Lord came to me. 5The Lord, the God of Israel, said: “The people of Judah were taken from their country. Their enemy brought them to Babylon. Those people will be like these good figs. I will be kind to those people. 6I will protect them. I will bring them back to the land of Judah. I will not tear them down—I will build them up. I will not pull them up—I will plant them so they can grow. 7I will make them want to know me. They will know that I am the Lord. They will be my people, and I will be their God. I will do this because those prisoners in Babylon will turn to me with their whole hearts. 8“But Zedekiah king of Judah will be like those figs that are too rotten to eat. Zedekiah, his high officials, all the people that are left in Jerusalem, and those people of Judah that are living in Egypt will be like those rotten figs. 9“I will punish those people. The punishment will shock all the people on earth. People will make fun of those people from Judah. People will tell jokes about them. People will curse them in all the places where I scatter them. 10I will send a sword, starvation, and disease against them. I will attack them until they have all been killed. Then they will no longer be on the land which I gave to them and to their ancestors.*

temple The special building in Jerusalem for Jewish worship. Jeconiah This is another name for King Jehoiachin. Jehoiachin was taken prisoner in the year 597 B.C. ancestors Literally, “fathers,” meaning a person’s parents, grandparents, and all the people they are descended from.

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