In Jeremiah chapter 23, there is a warning about false prophets who try to pass off their own thoughts and ideas as divine revelation from God. Verses 23 and 24 go on to describe God's all-powerful nature, “Am I a God who is only near”—this is the Lord’s declaration—“and not a God who is far away? Can a person hide in secret places where I cannot see him?”—the Lord’s declaration. “Do I not fill the heavens and the earth?”—the Lord’s declaration." What can we take from this passage that applies to our lives? Our God is all-knowing and there is nowhere that we can hide from him. Many times, we try to present the 'best version' of ourselves to other people and we do not let them see all the messy, unflattering, and sinful things in our lives. We worry what others will think of us. But the truth is that we are all sinners, saved by grace, and God already knows all of the worst things about us. He knows all of our sins and all of our shortcomings. But he loves us and accepts us anyway! In fact, he calls us his children. As Romans 8:16-17 says, "The Spirit himself testifies together with our spirit that we are God’s children, and if children, also heirs—heirs of God and coheirs with Christ—if indeed we suffer with him so that we may also be glorified with him."
Jeremiah 22-23 Christian Standard Bible (CSB)
Judgment against Sinful Kings
22 This is what the Lord says: “Go down to the palace of the king of Judah and announce this word there. 2 You are to say, ‘Hear the word of the Lord, king of Judah, you who sit on the throne of David—you, your officers, and your people who enter these gates. 3 This is what the Lordsays: Administer justice and righteousness. Rescue the victim of robbery from his oppressor. Don’t exploit or brutalize the resident alien, the fatherless, or the widow. Don’t shed innocent blood in this place. 4 For if you conscientiously carry out this word, then kings sitting on David’s throne will enter through the gates of this palace riding on chariots and horses—they, their officers, and their people. 5 But if you do not obey these words, then I swear by myself—this is the Lord’s declaration—that this house will become a ruin.’”
6 For this is what the Lord says concerning the house of the king of Judah:
“You are like Gilead to me,
or the summit of Lebanon,
but I will certainly turn you into a wilderness,
7 I will set apart destroyers against you,
each with his weapons.
They will cut down the choicest of your cedars
and throw them into the fire.
8 “Many nations will pass by this city and ask one another, ‘Why did the Lord do such a thing to this great city?’ 9 They will answer, ‘Because they abandoned the covenant of the Lord their God and bowed in worship to other gods and served them.’”
A Message Concerning Shallum
10 Do not weep for the dead;
do not mourn for him.
Weep bitterly for the one who has gone away,
for he will never return again
and see his native land.
11 For this is what the Lord says concerning Shallum son of Josiah, king of Judah, who became king in place of his father Josiah, and who has left this place: “He will never return here again, 12 but he will die in the place where they deported him, never seeing this land again.”
A Message concerning Jehoiakim
13 Woe for the one who builds his palace
his upstairs rooms through injustice,
who makes his neighbor serve without pay
and will not give him his wages,
14 who says, “I will build myself a massive palace,
with spacious upstairs rooms.”
He will cut windows[a] in it,
and it will be paneled with cedar
and painted bright red.
15 Are you a king because you excel in cedar?
Didn’t your father eat and drink
and administer justice and righteousness?
Then it went well with him.
16 He took up the case of the poor and needy;
then it went well.
Is this not what it means to know me?
This is the Lord’s declaration.
17 But you have eyes and a heart for nothing
except your own dishonest profit,
shedding innocent blood
and committing extortion and oppression.
18 Therefore, this is what the Lord says concerning Jehoiakim son of Josiah, king of Judah:
They will not mourn for him, saying,
“Woe, my brother!” or “Woe, my sister!”
They will not mourn for him, saying,
“Woe, lord! Woe, his majesty!”
19 He will be buried like a donkey,
dragged off and thrown
outside Jerusalem’s gates.
20 Go up to Lebanon and cry out;
raise your voice in Bashan;
cry out from Abarim,
for all your lovers[b] have been crushed.
21 I spoke to you when you were secure.
You said, “I will not listen.”
This has been your way since youth;
indeed, you have never listened to me.
22 The wind will take charge of[c] all your shepherds,
and your lovers will go into captivity.
Then you will be ashamed and humiliated
because of all your evil.
23 You residents of Lebanon,
nestled among the cedars,
how you will groan[d] when pains come on you,
agony like a woman in labor.
A Message concerning Coniah
24 “As I live”—this is the Lord’s declaration—“though you, Coniah[e] son of Jehoiakim, the king of Judah, were a signet ring on my right hand, I would tear you from it. 25 In fact, I will hand you over to those you dread, who intend to take your life, to Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon and the Chaldeans. 26 I will hurl you and the mother who gave birth to you into another land, where neither of you were born, and there you will both die. 27 They will never return to the land they long to return to.”
28 Is this man Coniah a despised, shattered pot,
a jar no one wants?
Why are he and his descendants hurled out
and cast into a land they have not known?
29 Earth, earth, earth,
hear the word of the Lord!
30 This is what the Lord says:
Record this man as childless,
a man who will not be successful in his lifetime.
None of his descendants will succeed
in sitting on the throne of David
or ruling again in Judah.
The Lord and his Sheep
23 “Woe to the shepherds who destroy and scatter the sheep of my pasture!” This is the Lord’s declaration. 2 “Therefore, this is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says about the shepherds who tend my people: You have scattered my flock, banished them, and have not attended to them. I am about to attend to you because of your evil acts”—this is the Lord’s declaration. 3 “I will gather the remnant of my flock from all the lands where I have banished them, and I will return them to their grazing land. They will become fruitful and numerous. 4 I will raise up shepherds over them who will tend them. They will no longer be afraid or discouraged, nor will any be missing.” This is the Lord’s declaration.
The Righteous Branch of David
5 “Look, the days are coming”—this is the Lord’s declaration—
“when I will raise up a Righteous Branch for David.
He will reign wisely as king
and administer justice and righteousness in the land.
6 In his days Judah will be saved,
and Israel will dwell securely.
This is the name he will be called:
The Lord Is Our Righteousness.[f]
7 “Look, the days are coming”—the Lord’s declaration—“when it will no longer be said, ‘As the Lord lives who brought the Israelites from the land of Egypt,’ 8 but, ‘As the Lord lives, who brought and led the descendants of the house of Israel from the land of the north and from all the other countries where I[g] had banished them.’ They will dwell once more in their own land.”
False Prophets Condemned
9 Concerning the prophets:
My heart is broken within me,
and all my bones tremble.
I have become like a drunkard,
like a man overcome by wine,
because of the Lord,
because of his holy words.
10 For the land is full of adulterers;
the land mourns because of the curse,
and the grazing lands in the wilderness have dried up.
Their way of life[h] has become evil,
and their power is not rightly used
11 because both prophet and priest are ungodly,
even in my house I have found their evil.
This is the Lord’s declaration.
12 Therefore, their way will seem
like slippery paths in the gloom.
They will be driven away and fall down there,
for I will bring disaster on them,
the year of their punishment.
This is the Lord’s declaration.
13 Among the prophets of Samaria
I saw something disgusting:
They prophesied by Baal
and led my people Israel astray.
14 Among the prophets of Jerusalem also
I saw a horrible thing:
They commit adultery and walk in lies.
They strengthen the hands of evildoers,
and none turns his back on evil.
They are all like Sodom to me;
Jerusalem’s residents are like Gomorrah.
15 Therefore, this is what the Lord of Armies says concerning the prophets:
I am about to feed them wormwood
and give them poisoned water to drink,
for from the prophets of Jerusalem
ungodliness[i] has spread throughout the land.
16 This is what the Lord of Armies says: “Do not listen to the words of the prophets who prophesy to you. They are deluding you. They speak visions from their own minds, not from the Lord’s mouth. 17 They keep on saying to those who despise me, ‘The Lord has spoken: You will have peace.’ They have said to everyone who follows the stubbornness of his heart, ‘No harm will come to you.’”
18 For who has stood in the council of the Lord
to see and hear his word?
Who has paid attention to his word and obeyed?
19 Look, a storm from the Lord!
Wrath has gone out,
a whirling storm.
It will whirl about the heads of the wicked.
20 The Lord’s anger will not turn away
until he has completely fulfilled the purposes of his heart.
In time to come you will understand it clearly.
21 I did not send out these prophets,
yet they ran.
I did not speak to them,
yet they prophesied.
22 If they had really stood in my council,
they would have enabled my people to hear my words
and would have turned them from their evil ways
and their evil deeds.
23 “Am I a God who is only near”—this is the Lord’s declaration—“and not a God who is far away? 24 Can a person hide in secret places where I cannot see him?”—the Lord’s declaration. “Do I not fill the heavens and the earth?”—the Lord’s declaration.
25 “I have heard what the prophets who prophesy a lie in my name have said: ‘I had a dream! I had a dream!’ 26 How long will this continue in the minds of the prophets prophesying lies, prophets of the deceit of their own minds? 27 Through their dreams that they tell one another, they plan to cause my people to forget my name as their fathers forgot my name through Baal worship. 28 The prophet who has only a dream should recount the dream, but the one who has my word should speak my word truthfully, for what is straw compared to grain?”—this is the Lord’s declaration. 29 “Is not my word like fire”—this is the Lord’s declaration—“and like a hammer that pulverizes rock? 30 Therefore, take note! I am against the prophets”—the Lord’s declaration—“who steal my words from each other. 31 I am against the prophets”—the Lord’s declaration—“who use their own tongues to make a declaration. 32 I am against those who prophesy false dreams”—the Lord’s declaration—“telling them and leading my people astray with their reckless lies. It was not I who sent or commanded them, and they are of no benefit at all to these people”—this is the Lord’s declaration.
The Burden of the Lord
33 “Now when these people or a prophet or a priest asks you, ‘What is the burden[j] of the Lord?’ you will respond to them, ‘What is the burden? I will throw you away! This is the Lord’s declaration.’ 34 As for the prophet, priest, or people who say, ‘The burden of the Lord,’ I will punish that man and his household. 35 This is what each man is to say to his friend and to his brother: ‘What has the Lord answered?’ or ‘What has the Lord spoken?’ 36 But no longer refer to[k] the burden of the Lord, for each man’s word becomes his burden and you pervert the words of the living God, the Lord of Armies, our God. 37 Say to the prophet, ‘What has the Lord answered you?’ or ‘What has the Lord spoken?’ 38 But if you say, ‘The burden of the Lord,’ then this is what the Lord says: Because you have said, ‘The burden of the Lord,’ and I specifically told you not to say, ‘The burden of the Lord,’ 39 I will surely forget you.[l] I will throw you away from my presence—both you and the city that I gave you and your fathers. 40 I will bring on you everlasting disgrace and humiliation that will never be forgotten.”
22:14 Lit my windows
22:20 Or friends, or allies, also in v. 22
22:22 Lit will shepherd
22:23 LXX, Syr, Vg; MT reads will be pitied
22:24 = Jehoiachin
23:6 = Yahweh-zidkenu
23:8 LXX reads he
23:10 Lit Their manner of running
23:15 Or pollution
23:33 The Hb word for burden (Ex 23:5; 2Sm 15:33) can also mean “oracle” (Is 13:1; Nah 1:10).
23:36 Or longer remember
23:39 Some Hb mss; other Hb mss, LXX, Syr, Vg read surely lift you up
Christian Standard Bible (CSB)
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