Jeremiah 23


הֹוי רֹעִים מְאַבְּדִים וּמְפִצִים אֶת־צֹאן מַרְעִיתִי נְאֻם־יְהוָה׃   23:1

Jere. 23:1   “Woe to the shepherds who destroy and scatter the sheep from My pasture!

declares the Lord.”

לָכֵן כֹּה־אָמַר יְהוָה אֱלֹהֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל עַל־הָרֹעִים הָרֹעִים אֶת־עַמִּי אַתֶּם הֲפִצֹתֶם אֶת־צֹאנִי וַתַּדִּחוּם   23:2     וְלֹא פְקַדְתֶּם אֹתָם הִנְנִי פֹקֵד עֲלֵיכֶם אֶת־רֹעַ מַעַלְלֵיכֶם נְאֻם־יְהוָה׃

Jere. 23:2   “Therefore thus says the Lord, God of Israel, against the shepherds who tend My

people:  You who have scattered My flock and driven them away and not cared for them, behold, I

reckon against you the evil of your practices, declares the Lord.”

וַאֲנִי אֲקַבֵּץ אֶת־שְׁאֵרִית צֹאנִי מִכֹּל הָאֲרָצֹות אֲשֶׁר־הִדַּחְתִּי אֹתָם שָׁם וַהֲשִׁבֹתִי אֶתְהֶן עַל־נְוֵהֶן וּפָרוּ   23:3


Jere. 23:3   “But I will gather the remnant of My flock from all the countries where I have driven them and return them to their pasture, and they shall be fruitful and multiply.”

וַהֲקִמֹתִי עֲלֵיהֶם רֹעִים וְרָעוּם וְלֹא־יִירְאוּ עֹוד וְלֹא־יֵחַתּוּ וְלֹא יִפָּקֵדוּ נְאֻם־יְהוָה׃   23:4

Jere. 23:4   “And I shall raise shepherds over them who will tend them, and they shall not fear

anymore or be dismayed or be lacking, says the Lord.”

הִנֵּה יָמִים בָּאִים נְאֻם־יְהוָה וַהֲקִמֹתִי לְדָוִד צֶמַח צַדִּיק וּמָלַךְ מֶלֶךְ וְהִשְׂכִּיל וְעָשָׂה מִשְׁפָּט וּצְדָקָה   23:5 בָּאָרֶץ׃

Jere. 23:5   “Behold!  Days are coming,” declares the Lord,

                               ”when I will raise a righteous shoot of David's

                     and he shall reign as king

                               and prosper and execute justice

                     and righteousness in the land.”

בְּיָמָיו תִּוָּשַׁע יְהוּדָה וְיִשְׂרָאֵל יִשְׁכֹּן לָבֶטַח וְזֶה־שְּׁמֹו אֲשֶׁר־יִקְרְאֹו יְהוָה צִדְקֵנוּ׃   23:6

Jere. 23:6   “In his time Judah shall be saved,

                               and Israel shall dwell in safety.

                      And this is his name that one shall call him:

                              The Lord, our Righteousness.

Notice that I spelled the name in capitals.  However, I don’t intend that it be construed to be more than a capitalized title.  Christians believe this prophecy is about Jesus.  However, the description and timing of events described here are not consistent with that interpretation.  We are told here that the Jews will be gathered by God from everywhere and returned to Israel (vss. 3 and 4 above) in the time of the “shoot of David.”  That didn’t happen in Jesus’ time.  But it could be happening right now before our eyes.

לָכֵן הִנֵּה־יָמִים בָּאִים נְאֻם־יְהוָה וְלֹא־יֹאמְרוּ עֹוד חַי־יְהוָה אֲשֶׁר הֶעֱלָה אֶת־בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל מֵאֶרֶץ   23:7 מִצְרָיִם׃

Jere. 23:7   “Therefore, behold, the days are coming,” declares the Lord, “when they shall not say

anymore, ‘By the living Lord, Who brought up the children of Israel from the land of Egypt,’

כִּי אִם־חַי־יְהוָה אֲשֶׁר הֶעֱלָה וַאֲשֶׁר הֵבִיא אֶת־זֶרַע בֵּית יִשְׂרָאֵל מֵאֶרֶץ צָפֹונָה וּמִכֹּל הָאֲרָצֹות   23:8    אֲשֶׁר הִדַּחְתִּים שָׁם וְיָשְׁבוּ עַל־אַדְמָתָם׃

Jere. 23:8   but instead, ‘The living Lord, Who brought up, and Who led, the seed of the house of

Israel out of the land of the North’ and from all the countries where I had banished them, and they

shall dwell on their own soil.”

Has the prophesy described in the verses from 23:3 to 23:8 been fulfilled as yet?  I don’t believe so, not in its totality. 

I imagine it is still in the future.  There are some who say it can no longer be fulfilled (unless it refers to Jesus -- in

my belief, not so) for the following reason.  As birth and death records were kept, presumably, in the Temple,

because it was destroyed and its records lost forever, no one can know who might be the shoot of David mentioned

in v. 23:5.  To this I respond, can God know?  Of course!  -- And that’s all that matters.   ... but then there’s DNA, which might eventually provide clues and lead to the identification of David’s descendants..

לַנְּבִאִים נִשְׁבַּר לִבִּי בְקִרְבִּי רָחֲפוּ כָּל־עַצְמֹותַי הָיִיתִי כְּאִישׁ שִׁכֹּור וּכְגֶבֶר עֲבָרֹו יָיִן מִפְּנֵי יְהוָה   23:9     וּמִפְּנֵי דִּבְרֵי קָדְשֹׁו׃

Jere. 23:9   About the prophets:

                               my heart within me is broken;

                      all my bones grow soft.

                                I am like a drunken man,

                      and like a strong man wine has overcome

                                -- because of the Lord,

                      and because of the words of His holiness –

כִּי מְנָאֲפִים מָלְאָה הָאָרֶץ כִּי־מִפְּנֵי אָלָה אָבְלָה הָאָרֶץ יָבְשׁוּ נְאֹות מִדְבָּר וַתְּהִי מְרוּצָתָם רָעָה   23:10 וּגְבוּרָתָם לֹא־כֵן׃

Jere. 23:10   for the land is full of adulterers,

                               when, because of swearing,

                        the earth mourns,

                                the pastures of the wilderness dry up,

                        and their course is evil

                                and their strength, dishonest.

כִּי־גַם־נָבִיא גַם־כֹּהֵן חָנֵפוּ גַּם־בְּבֵיתִי מָצָאתִי רָעָתָם נְאֻם־יְהוָה׃   23:11

Jere. 23:11   “Indeed, both prophet and priest are ungodly.

                                Even in My house

                       have I encountered their evil,”

                                declares the Lord.

לָכֵן יִהְיֶה דַרְכָּם לָהֶם כַּחֲלַקְלַקֹּות בָּאֲפֵלָה יִדַּחוּ וְנָפְלוּ בָהּ כִּי־אָבִיא עֲלֵיהֶם רָעָה שְׁנַת פְּקֻדָּתָם   23:12    נְאֻם־יְהוָה׃

Jere. 23:12   “Therefore their way shall be for them

                                like slippery roads in the darkness;

                         they shall be chased and fall down along it;

                                for I shall bring upon them

                         the evil year of their visitation,”

                                declares the Lord.

וּבִנְבִיאֵי שֹׁמְרֹון רָאִיתִי תִפְלָה הִנַּבְּאוּ בַבַּעַל וַיַּתְעוּ אֶת־עַמִּי אֶת־יִשְׂרָאֵל׃   23:13

Jere. 23:13   “And I see folly in the prophets of Samaria:

                                They prophesy by Baal

                        and have caused My people, Israel, to err.”

Why is Samaria picked out of all the other cities in Judah (except Jerusalem, which is mentioned in the next verse)? 

I believe it is simply representative of the busy centers of false prophets and priests throughout Judah.

וּבִנְבִאֵי יְרוּשָׁלִַם רָאִיתִי שַׁעֲרוּרָה נָאֹוף וְהָלֹךְ בַּשֶּׁקֶר וְחִזְּקוּ יְדֵי מְרֵעִים לְבִלְתִּי־שָׁבוּ אִישׁ מֵרָעָתֹו   23:14 הָיוּ־לִי כֻלָּם כִּסְדֹם וְיֹשְׁבֶיהָ כַּעֲמֹרָה׃

Jere. 23:14   “And I see a horrible thing

                                  in the prophets of Jerusalem:

                       Adultery, and walking in lies!

                                 So they strengthen the hands

                       of evil doers

                                 so that no man turns back

                       from his evil.

                                 They have become to Me,

                       all of them, like Sodom,

                                 and its inhabitants, like Gomorrah.”

לָכֵן כֹּה־אָמַר יְהוָה צְבָאֹות עַל־הַנְּבִאִים הִנְנִי מַאֲכִיל אֹותָם לַעֲנָה וְהִשְׁקִתִים מֵי־רֹאשׁ כִּי מֵאֵת    23:15 נְבִיאֵי יְרוּשָׁלִַם יָצְאָה חֲנֻפָּה לְכָל־הָאָרֶץ׃

Jere. 23:15   Therefore thus says the Lord of hosts about the prophets:

                        “Behold, I am causing them

                                  to eat wormwood

                        and making them drink water of gall,

                                  for from the prophets of Jerusalem

                        has come forth ungodliness to all the land.”

The first part of the Lord’s words in this verse, as translated in the first three English lines of the quote, is very

similar to another expression of the Lord’s in Jere. 9:14, there specifically about the people, not just the prophets,.

כֹּה־אָמַר יְהוָה צְבָאֹות אַל־תִּשְׁמְעוּ עַל־דִּבְרֵי הַנְּבִאִים הַנִּבְּאִים לָכֶם מַהְבִּלִים הֵמָּה אֶתְכֶם חֲזֹון   23:16 לִבָּם יְדַבֵּרוּ לֹא מִפִּי יְהוָה׃

Jere. 23:16   Thus says the Lord of hosts:

                        “You must not listen to the words

                                  of the prophets prophesying to you;

                        they are causing you to be vain.”

                                  Only their mind's vision they can speak,

                        not from the mouth of the Lord,

The second-person pronouns in this verse are all plural.  Therefore, the Lord is addressing the individuals among the people.

אֹמְרִים אָמֹור לִמְנַאֲצַי דִּבֶּר יְהוָה שָׁלֹום יִהְיֶה לָכֶם וְכֹל הֹלֵךְ בִּשְׁרִרוּת לִבֹּו אָמְרוּ לֹא־תָבֹוא   23:17

עֲלֵיכֶם רָעָה׃

Jere. 23:17   saying repeatedly to my despisers:

                                  “The Lord declares there

                        shall be peace for you,”

                                  and to anyone walking

                        in the stubbornness of his own heart

                                  they say, “No evil shall come upon you.”

כִּי מִי עָמַד בְּסֹוד יְהוָה וְיֵרֶא וְיִשְׁמַע אֶת־דְּבָרֹו מִי־הִקְשִׁיב (דְּבָרִי) [דְּבָרֹו] וַיִּשְׁמָע׃   23:18

Jere. 23:18   But who stands in the council of the Lord

                                   that he perceives and hears His word?

                        Who attends His word and hears?

The word in parentheses, having a yad suffix instead of a vav, translates as my word when it should be His word

The correction is in the brackets.

הִנֵּה סַעֲרַת יְהוָה חֵמָה יָצְאָה וְסַעַר מִתְחֹולֵל עַל רֹאשׁ רְשָׁעִים יָחוּל׃   23:19

Jere. 23:19   Behold, a storm of the “rage” of the Lord

                                   comes forth, and it is a whirling storm;

                        about the head of the wicked ones

                                   it shall writhe.

לֹא יָשׁוּב אַף־יְהוָה עַד־עֲשֹׂתֹו וְעַד־הֲקִימֹו מְזִמֹּות לִבֹּו בְּאַחֲרִית הַיָּמִים תִּתְבֹּונְנוּ בָהּ בִּינָה׃   23:20

Jere. 23:20   The “anger” of the Lord shall not recede

                                   until His instituting and His establishing

                         the intentions of His “heart.”

                                    In the end of days you shall become

                         perfectly discerning about it.

לֹא־שָׁלַחְתִּי אֶת־הַנְּבִאִים וְהֵם רָצוּ לֹא־דִבַּרְתִּי אֲלֵיהֶם וְהֵם נִבָּאוּ׃   23:21

Jere. 23:21   “I have not sent the prophets,

                                    yet they run;

                        I do not speak to them,

                                    yet they prophesy.”

וְאִם־עָמְדוּ בְּסֹודִי וְיַשְׁמִעוּ דְבָרַי אֶת־עַמִּי וִישִׁבוּם מִדַּרְכָּם הָרָע וּמֵרֹעַ מַעַלְלֵיהֶם׃   23:22

Jere. 23:22   “But if they have stood in My council,

                                    then let them cause My people to hear My words

                        and bring them back from their way of evil

                                   and from the evil of their practices.”

הַאֱלֹהֵי מִקָּרֹב אָנִי נְאֻם־יְהוָה וְלֹא אֱלֹהֵי מֵרָחֹק׃   23:23

Jere. 23:23   “I am a God of closeness,”

                                   declares the Lord,

                        “and not a God from a distance.”

See?  God is not a distant God.  He is always close.

אִם־יִסָּתֵר אִישׁ בַּמִּסְתָּרִים וַאֲנִי לֹא־אֶרְאֶנּוּ נְאֻם־יְהוָה הֲלֹוא אֶת־הַשָּׁמַיִם וְאֶת־הָאָרֶץ אֲנִי מָלֵא   23:24 נְאֻם־יְהוָה׃

Jere. 23:24   “Can any one conceal himself

                                   in hiding places

                        that I could not see him,”

                                  declares the Lord?

                        “Do I not fill the heaven and the earth,”

                                  declares the Lord?

שָׁמַעְתִּי אֵת אֲשֶׁר־אָמְרוּ הַנְּבִאִים הַנִּבְּאִים בִּשְׁמִי שֶׁקֶר לֵאמֹר חָלַמְתִּי חָלָמְתִּי׃   23:25

Jere. 23:25   “I hear what the prophets say

                                  who are prophesying in My name

                        saying lies:  ‘I dreamed, I dreamed.’”

עַד־מָתַי הֲיֵשׁ בְּלֵב הַנְּבִאִים נִבְּאֵי הַשָּׁקֶר וּנְבִיאֵי תַּרְמִת לִבָּם׃   23:26

Jere. 23:26   “Until when is this to be?

                                   In the heart of the prophets,

                        prophesies of lies;

                                  and prophets of the deceit

                        of their own heart

The Lord is asking a rhetorical question here.  He knows, but we don’t.

הַחֹשְׁבִים לְהַשְׁכִּיחַ אֶת־עַמִּי שְׁמִי בַּחֲלֹומֹתָם אֲשֶׁר יְסַפְּרוּ אִישׁ לְרֵעֵהוּ כַּאֲשֶׁר שָׁכְחוּ אֲבֹותָם   23:27         אֶת־שְׁמִי בַּבָּעַל׃

Jere. 23:27   who are thinking to cause My people

                                   to forget My name with their dreams

                         that they would tell,

                                   each to his neighbor,

                         as their fathers forgot My name

                                   because of Baal.”

הַנָּבִיא אֲשֶׁר־אִתֹּו חֲלֹום יְסַפֵּר חֲלֹום וַאֲשֶׁר דְּבָרִי אִתֹּו יְדַבֵּר דְּבָרִי אֱמֶת מַה־לַתֶּבֶן אֶת־הַבָּר   23:28        נְאֻם־יְהוָה׃

Jere. 23:28   “Let the prophet who has a dream

                                  speak the dream,

                        and whoever has My word,

                                  let him speak My word of truth.

                       What is the straw to the grain?”

                                 declares the Lord.

הֲלֹוא כֹה דְבָרִי כָּאֵשׁ נְאֻם־יְהוָה וּכְפַטִּישׁ יְפֹץֵץ סָלַע׃   23:29

Jere. 23:29   “Is not My word so like a fire,”

                                  declares the Lord,

                        “that, like a hammer, can smash a rock?”

The Lord is telling us here that His word, if we receive it, is not something we may dimly sense in passing.  It is

powerful. It can change a life.  When a message from Him occurs to any of us, we cannot rest until we have fulfilled

His purpose.

לָכֵן הִנְנִי עַל־הַנְּבִאִים נְאֻם־יְהוָה מְגַנְּבֵי דְבָרַי אִישׁ מֵאֵת רֵעֵהוּ׃   23:30

Jere. 23:30   “Therefore, behold, I am against the prophets,” declares the Lord, “thieves of My

words, one from another.”

הִנְנִי עַל־הַנְּבִיאִם נְאֻם־יְהוָה הַלֹּקְחִים לְשֹׁונָם וַיִּנְאֲמוּ נְאֻם׃   23:31

Jere. 23:31   “Behold, I am against the prophets,” declares the Lord, “who are leading their tongue

that they say, ‘He says.’”

הִנְנִי עַל־נִבְּאֵי חֲלֹמֹות שֶׁקֶר נְאֻם־יְהוָה וַיְסַפְּרוּם וַיַּתְעוּ אֶת־עַמִּי בְּשִׁקְרֵיהֶם וּבְפַחֲזוּתָם וְאָנֹכִי   23:32      לֹא־שְׁלַחְתִּים וְלֹא צִוִּיתִים וְהֹועֵיל לֹא־יֹועִילוּ לָעָם־הַזֶּה נְאֻם־יְהוָה׃

Jere. 23:32   “Behold, I am against prophets of false dreams,” says the Lord, “that they relate them and cause My people to err with their lies and with their wantonness, but I do not send them and do not command them, and which at all cannot be of profit to this people,” says the Lord.

וְכִי־יִשְׁאָלְךָ הָעָם הַזֶּה אֹו־הַנָּבִיא אֹו־כֹהֵן לֵאמֹר מַה־מַשָּׂא יְהוָה וְאָמַרְתָּ אֲלֵיהֶם אֶת־מַה־מַשָּׂא   23:33 וְנָטַשְׁתִּי אֶתְכֶם נְאֻם־יְהוָה׃

Jere. 23:33   “And when this people shall ask you or the prophet or a priest saying, ‘What is the

burden of the Lord?’ and you say to them, ‘What burden?’ then I will cast you off,” declares the


This verse exhibits a profound and ironic double meaning.  This Hebrew word for burden is also the word for

prophesy.  When one asks a religious authority, “What is the burden of the Lord?,” he is not only asking that; he is

also asking what is the prophecy of the Lord.  A prophesy carries with it a burden, a responsibility.  It is not to be

taken lightly.  If the authority responds with “What burden?,’ then he must be a false prophet.

וְהַנָּבִיא וְהַכֹּהֵן וְהָעָם אֲשֶׁר יֹאמַר מַשָּׂא יְהוָה וּפָקַדְתִּי עַל־הָאִישׁ הַהוּא וְעַל־בֵּיתֹו׃   23:34

Jere. 23:34   “And the prophet or the priest or the people who would say, ‘... the burden of the Lord,’ I will also reckon against that man and against his house.”

כֹּה תֹאמְרוּ אִישׁ עַל־רֵעֵהוּ וְאִישׁ אֶל־אָחִיו מֶה־עָנָה יְהוָה וּמַה־דִּבֶּר יְהוָה׃   23:35

Jere. 23:35   “Thus must you say, each to his neighbor and each to his brother: ‘What does the

Lord answer; what does the Lord speak?’”

וּמַשָּׂא יְהוָה לֹא תִזְכְּרוּ־עֹוד כִּי הַמַּשָּׂא יִהְיֶה לְאִישׁ דְּבָרֹו וַהֲפַכְתֶּם אֶת־דִּבְרֵי אֱלֹהִים חַיִּים יְהוָה   23:36 צְבָאֹות אֱלֹהֵינוּ׃

Jere. 23:36   Then you shall not think of the burden of the Lord any more, for the burden shall be for everyone his own word when you dare distort the words of the living God, the Lord of hosts, our God.

כֹּה תֹאמַר אֶל־הַנָּבִיא מֶה־עָנָךְ יְהוָה וּמַה־דִּבֶּר יְהוָה׃   23:37

Jere. 23:37   Thus shall you say to the prophet: “What does the Lord answer you?” And, “what

does the Lord speak?”

וְאִם־מַשָּׂא יְהוָה תֹּאמֵרוּ לָכֵן כֹּה אָמַר יְהוָה יַעַן אֲמָרְכֶם אֶת־הַדָּבָר הַזֶּה מַשָּׂא יְהוָה וָאֶשְׁלַח   23:38  אֲלֵיכֶם לֵאמֹר לֹא תֹאמְרוּ מַשָּׂא יְהוָה׃

Jere. 23:38   But if you say, “The burden of the Lord,” then thus says the Lord: “Because of your

saying this word, “the burden of the Lord,” when I have sent to you saying, you may not say “the

burden of the Lord,”

לָכֵן הִנְנִי וְנָשִׁיתִי אֶתְכֶם נָשֹׁא וְנָטַשְׁתִּי אֶתְכֶם וְאֶת־הָעִיר אֲשֶׁר נָתַתִּי לָכֶם וְלַאֲבֹותֵיכֶם מֵעַל פָּנָי׃   23:39

Jere. 23:39   then, behold!  And I will forsake you and cast you off from before Me, and the city that I gave to you and to your ancestors.”

וְנָתַתִּי עֲלֵיכֶם חֶרְפַּת עֹולָם וּכְלִמּוּת עֹולָם אֲשֶׁר לֹא תִשָּׁכֵחַ׃   23:40

Jere. 23:40   “And I will set upon you a long-lasting reproach and a long-lasting shame that cannot

be forgotten.”


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