Warning of Jerusalem’s Fall
22 Thus says the Lord, “Go down to the house of the king of Judah and speak this word there: 2 ‘Hear the word of the Lord, O king of Judah, you who sit on the throne of David—you and your servants and your people who enter by these gates. 3 Thus says the Lord, “Execute justice and righteousness, and rescue the one who has been robbed from the hand of his oppressor. And do no wrong; do no violence to the stranger, the fatherless, or the widow, nor shed innocent blood in this place. 4 For if you will indeed obey this word, then kings will enter through the gates of this palace, sitting in David’s place on his throne, riding in chariots and on horses, even the king himself and his servants and his people. 5 But if you will not hear and obey these words, I swear [an oath] by Myself,” says the Lord, “that this house will become a desolation.”’” 6 For thus says the Lord in regard to the house of the king of Judah:
“You are [as valuable] to Me as [the green pastures of] Gilead [east of the Jordan]
Or as the [plentiful] summit of Lebanon [west of the Jordan],
Yet most certainly [if you will not listen to Me] I will make you a wilderness,
And uninhabited cities.
“For I will prepare and appoint destroyers [to execute My judgments] against you,
Each with his weapons;
And they will cut down your [palaces built of] choicest cedars
And throw them in the fire.
8 “Many nations will pass by this city; and each man will say to another, ‘Why has the Lord done this to this great city?’ 9 Then they will answer, ‘Because the people ignored and abandoned the [solemn] covenant with the Lord their God and worshiped other gods and served them.’”
Do not weep for the dead or mourn for him;
But weep bitterly for the one who goes away [into exile],
For he will never return
And see his native country [again].
11 For thus says the Lord in regard to Shallum (Jehoahaz) the [third] son of Josiah, king of Judah, who reigned instead of Josiah his father and who went from this place, “Shallum will not return here anymore; 12 he will die in the place where they led him captive and not see this land again.
Messages about the Kings
“Woe (judgment is coming) to him who builds his house by [acts of] unrighteousness
And his upper chambers by injustice,
Who uses his neighbor’s service without pay
And does not give him wages [for his work],
Who says, ‘I will build myself a spacious house
With large upper rooms,
And cut out its [wide] windows,
And panel it with cedar and paint it vermilion.’
“Do you think that you become a king because you have much more cedar [in your palace than Solomon]?
Did not your father [Josiah], as he ate and drank,
Do just and righteous acts [being upright and in right standing with God]?
Then all was well with him.
“He defended the cause of the afflicted and needy;
Then all was well.
Is that not what it means to know Me?”
Says the Lord.
“But your eyes and your heart
Are only intent on your own dishonest gain,
On shedding innocent blood,
On oppression and extortion and violence.”
18 Therefore thus says the Lord in regard to Jehoiakim the [second] son of Josiah, king of Judah,
“The relatives will not lament (mourn over with expressions of grief) for him:
‘Alas, my brother!’ or, ‘Alas, sister,’ [how great our loss]!
The subjects will not lament for him:
‘Alas, master!’ or ‘Alas, majesty [how great was his glory]!’
“He shall be buried with the burial of a donkey—
Dragged off and thrown out beyond the gates of Jerusalem.
“Go up [north] to Lebanon and cry out,
And raise your voice in [the hills of] Bashan [across the Jordan];
Cry out also from Abarim,
For all your lovers (allies) have been destroyed.
“I spoke to you in your [times of] prosperity,
But you said, ‘I will not listen!’
This has been your attitude and practice from your youth;
You have not obeyed My voice.
“The wind [of adversity] will carry away all your shepherds (rulers, statesmen),
And your lovers (allies) will go into exile.
Surely then you will be ashamed and humiliated and disgraced
Because of all your wickedness.
“O inhabitant of [Jerusalem, whose palaces are made from the cedars of] Lebanon,
You who nest in the cedars,
How you will groan and how miserable you will be when pains come on you,
Pain like a woman in childbirth!
24 “As I live,” says the Lord, “though Coniah the son of Jehoiakim king of Judah were the signet [ring] on My right hand, yet would I pull you (Coniah) off. 25 And I will place you in the hand of those who seek your life and in the hand of those whom you fear, even into the hand of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon and into the hand of the Chaldeans. 26 I will hurl you and the mother who gave you birth into another country where you were not born, and there you will die. 27 But as for the land to which they long to return, they will not return to it.
“Is this man [King] Coniah a despised, broken jar?
Is he a vessel in which no one takes pleasure?
Why are he and his [royal] descendants hurled out
And cast into a land which they do not know or understand?
“O land, land, land,
Hear the word of the Lord!
30 Thus says the Lord,
‘Write this man [Coniah] down as childless,
A man who will not prosper (succeed) in his lifetime;
For not one of his descendants will succeed
In sitting on the throne of David
Or ruling again in Judah.’”
The Coming Messiah: the Righteous Branch
23 “Woe to the shepherds (civil leaders, rulers) who are destroying and scattering the sheep of My pasture!” says the Lord. 2 Therefore thus says the Lord, the God of Israel, in regard to the shepherds who care for and feed My people: “You have scattered My flock and driven them away, and have not attended to them; hear this, I am about to visit and attend to you for the evil of your deeds,” says the Lord. 3 “Then I will gather the remnant of My flock out of all the countries to which I have driven them and bring them back to their folds and pastures; and they will be fruitful and multiply. 4 I will set up shepherds over them who will feed them. And they will not be afraid any longer, nor be terrified, nor will any be missing,” says the Lord.
“Behold (listen closely), the days are coming,” says the Lord,
“When I will raise up for David a righteous Branch;
And He will reign as King and act wisely
And will do [those things that accomplish] justice and righteousness in the land.
“In His days Judah will be saved,
And Israel will dwell safely;
Now this is His name by which He will be called;
‘The Lord Our Righteousness.’
7 “Therefore behold, the days are coming,” says the Lord, “when they will no longer say, ‘As the Lord lives, who brought up the children of Israel from the land of Egypt,’ 8 but [they will say], ‘As the Lord lives, who brought up and led back the descendants of the house of Israel from the north country and from all the countries to which I had driven them.’ Then they will live in their own land.”
False Prophets Denounced
Concerning the prophets:
My heart [says Jeremiah] is broken within me,
All my bones shake;
I have become like a drunken man,
A man whom wine has overcome,
Because of the Lord
And because of His holy words [declared against unfaithful leaders].
For the land is full of adulterers (unfaithful to God);
The land mourns because of the curse [of God upon it].
The pastures of the wilderness have dried up.
The course of action [of the false prophets] is evil and they rush into wickedness;
And their power is not right.
“For both [false] prophet and priest are ungodly (profane, polluted);
Even in My house I have found their wickedness,” says the Lord.
“Therefore their way will be to them like slippery paths
In the dark; they will be pushed and fall into them;
For I will bring disaster on them,
In the year of their punishment,” says the Lord.
“And I have seen a foolish and an offensive thing in the prophets of Samaria:
They prophesied by Baal and caused My people Israel to go astray.
“Also I have seen a horrible thing in the prophets of Jerusalem:
They commit adultery and walk in lies;
They encourage and strengthen the hands of evildoers,
So that no one has turned back from his wickedness.
All of them have become like Sodom to Me,
And her inhabitants like Gomorrah.
15 Therefore thus says the Lord of hosts in regard to the prophets,
‘Behold, I am going to feed them [the bitterness of] wormwood
And make them drink the poisonous water [of gall],
For from the [counterfeit] prophets of Jerusalem
Profaneness and ungodliness have spread into all the land.’”
Thus says the Lord of hosts,
“Do not listen to the words of the [false] prophets who prophesy to you.
They are teaching you worthless things and are leading you into futility;
They speak a vision of their own mind and imagination
And not [truth] from the mouth of the Lord.
“They are continually saying to those who despise Me [and My word],
‘The Lord has said, “You will have peace”’;
And they say to everyone who walks after the stubbornness of his own heart,
‘No evil will come on you.’
“But who [among them] has stood in the council of the Lord,
That he would perceive and hear His word?
Who has marked His word [noticing and observing and paying attention to it] and has [actually] heard it?
“Behold, the tempest of the Lord has gone forth in wrath,
A whirling tempest;
It will whirl and burst on the heads of the wicked.
“The anger of the Lord will not turn back
Until He has set in motion and accomplished the thoughts and intentions of His heart;
In the last days you will clearly understand it.