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Jeremiah Twenty Three

by Dr. Henry M. Morris

(taken from the Defender's Study Bible)

Jeremiah 23:1 Woe be unto the pastors that destroy and scatter the sheep of my pasture! saith the LORD.

pastors. Pastors (i.e., “shepherds”) of God's spiritual flock, whether in ancient Israel or modern churches, are given great responsibility and can, therefore, earn great rewards if they faithfully feed their flocks on the milk and meat of God's Word (note 1 Timothy 5:17); but they will be subject to great judgment if they feed them false doctrine or meaningless platitudes (Jeremiah 23:11-19; 30-32).

Jeremiah 23:2 Therefore thus saith the LORD God of Israel against the pastors that feed my people; Ye have scattered my flock, and driven them away, and have not visited them: behold, I will visit upon you the evil of your doings, saith the LORD.

Jeremiah 23:3 And I will gather the remnant of my flock out of all countries whither I have driven them, and will bring them again to their folds; and they shall be fruitful and increase.

Jeremiah 23:4 And I will set up shepherds over them which shall feed them: and they shall fear no more, nor be dismayed, neither shall they be lacking, saith the LORD.

Jeremiah 23:5 Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will raise unto David a righteous Branch, and a King shall reign and prosper, and shall execute judgment and justice in the earth.

Branch. On “the Branch” as a special title of the promised Messiah, see also Isaiah 4:2; 11:1; 53:2; Jeremiah 33:15; Zechariah 3:8; 6:12.

King. There is a remarkable connection between the respective emphases on the nature of Christ as presented in the four gospels and four of the prophetic applications of His title as the Branch. In this verse, for example, the Branch is “a King,” which is the theme of the gospel of Matthew. Mark emphasizes Christ as the Lord's Servant, and Zechariah 3:8 speaks of “my servant the BRANCH.” Zechariah 6:12 refers to “the man whose name is The BRANCH,” and the gospel of Luke presents Him especially as the perfect Man. Finally, Isaiah sees Him as “the branch of the Lord” (Isaiah 4:2), while John's gospel has as its glorious theme the deity of Christ.

Jeremiah 23:6 In his days Judah shall be saved, and Israel shall dwell safely: and this is his name whereby he shall be called, THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS.

THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS. Not only is this an appropriate name (Jehovah Tsidkenu) for the Lord in that day when Judah and Israel will be saved and reunited, but also a beautiful name for Christ in relation to His redeemed Bride. This beautiful name assigned to God's only begotten Son stresses that the righteousness, which entitles us to enter the presence of God, is entirely from Him. Our own “righteousnesses are as filthy rags” in God's sight (Isaiah 64:6), but Christ “is made unto us ... righteousness” (1 Corinthians 1:30). He was made “to be sin for us, ... that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him” (2 Corinthians 5:21).

Jeremiah 23:7 Therefore, behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that they shall no more say, The LORD liveth, which brought up the children of Israel out of the land of Egypt;

Jeremiah 23:8 But, The LORD liveth, which brought up and which led the seed of the house of Israel out of the north country, and from all countries whither I had driven them; and they shall dwell in their own land.

Jeremiah 23:9 Mine heart within me is broken because of the prophets; all my bones shake; I am like a drunken man, and like a man whom wine hath overcome, because of the LORD, and because of the words of his holiness.

Jeremiah 23:10 For the land is full of adulterers; for because of swearing the land mourneth; the pleasant places of the wilderness are dried up, and their course is evil, and their force is not right.

Jeremiah 23:11 For both prophet and priest are profane; yea, in my house have I found their wickedness, saith the LORD.

Jeremiah 23:12 Wherefore their way shall be unto them as slippery ways in the darkness: they shall be driven on, and fall therein: for I will bring evil upon them, even the year of their visitation, saith the LORD.

Jeremiah 23:13 And I have seen folly in the prophets of Samaria; they prophesied in Baal, and caused my people Israel to err.

Jeremiah 23:14 I have seen also in the prophets of Jerusalem an horrible thing: they commit adultery, and walk in lies: they strengthen also the hands of evildoers, that none doth return from his wickedness: they are all of them unto me as Sodom, and the inhabitants thereof as Gomorrah.

Jeremiah 23:15 Therefore thus saith the LORD of hosts concerning the prophets; Behold, I will feed them with wormwood, and make them drink the water of gall: for from the prophets of Jerusalem is profaneness gone forth into all the land.

Jeremiah 23:16 Thus saith the LORD of hosts, Hearken not unto the words of the prophets that prophesy unto you: they make you vain: they speak a vision of their own heart, and not out of the mouth of the LORD.

Jeremiah 23:17 They say still unto them that despise me, The LORD hath said, Ye shall have peace; and they say unto every one that walketh after the imagination of his own heart, No evil shall come upon you.

Jeremiah 23:18 For who hath stood in the counsel of the LORD, and hath perceived and heard his word? who hath marked his word, and heard it?

Jeremiah 23:19 Behold, a whirlwind of the LORD is gone forth in fury, even a grievous whirlwind: it shall fall grievously upon the head of the wicked.

Jeremiah 23:20 The anger of the LORD shall not return, until he have executed, and till he have performed the thoughts of his heart: in the latter days ye shall consider it perfectly.

Jeremiah 23:21 I have not sent these prophets, yet they ran: I have not spoken to them, yet they prophesied.

Jeremiah 23:22 But if they had stood in my counsel, and had caused my people to hear my words, then they should have turned them from their evil way, and from the evil of their doings.

Jeremiah 23:23 Am I a God at hand, saith the LORD, and not a God afar off?

Jeremiah 23:24 Can any hide himself in secret places that I shall not see him? saith the LORD. Do not I fill heaven and earth? saith the LORD.

fill heaven and earth. On the omnipresence of God, note especially Psalm 139:7-12. None but the Creator of heaven and earth could fill heaven and earth, and He must do so.

Jeremiah 23:25 I have heard what the prophets said, that prophesy lies in my name, saying, I have dreamed, I have dreamed.

Jeremiah 23:26 How long shall this be in the heart of the prophets that prophesy lies? yea, they are prophets of the deceit of their own heart;

Jeremiah 23:27 Which think to cause my people to forget my name by their dreams which they tell every man to his neighbour, as their fathers have forgotten my name for Baal.

Jeremiah 23:28 The prophet that hath a dream, let him tell a dream; and he that hath my word, let him speak my word faithfully. What is the chaff to the wheat? saith the LORD.

Jeremiah 23:29 Is not my word like as a fire? saith the LORD; and like a hammer that breaketh the rock in pieces?

my word. Compare Jeremiah 20:9. The revealed Word of God is a very prominent theme in Jeremiah, with great power to convict of sin and shatter pride and complacency.

Jeremiah 23:30 Therefore, behold, I am against the prophets, saith the LORD, that steal my words every one from his neighbour.

Jeremiah 23:31 Behold, I am against the prophets, saith the LORD, that use their tongues, and say, He saith.

Jeremiah 23:32 Behold, I am against them that prophesy false dreams, saith the LORD, and do tell them, and cause my people to err by their lies, and by their lightness; yet I sent them not, nor commanded them: therefore they shall not profit this people at all, saith the LORD.

Jeremiah 23:33 And when this people, or the prophet, or a priest, shall ask thee, saying, What is the burden of the LORD? thou shalt then say unto them, What burden? I will even forsake you, saith the LORD.

Jeremiah 23:34 And as for the prophet, and the priest, and the people, that shall say, The burden of the LORD, I will even punish that man and his house.

Jeremiah 23:35 Thus shall ye say every one to his neighbour, and every one to his brother, What hath the LORD answered? and, What hath the LORD spoken?

Jeremiah 23:36 And the burden of the LORD shall ye mention no more: for every man's word shall be his burden; for ye have perverted the words of the living God, of the LORD of hosts our God.

perverted the words of the living God. Note 2 Peter 3:16. It is a serious matter to “pervert” or “wrest” the revealed words of God, making them say something other than their plain meaning, in order to accommodate some human opinion. This particular sin is surely as common today as in the days of the false prophets rebuked by Jeremiah.

Jeremiah 23:37 Thus shalt thou say to the prophet, What hath the LORD answered thee? and, What hath the LORD spoken?

Jeremiah 23:38 But since ye say, The burden of the LORD; therefore thus saith the LORD; Because ye say this word, The burden of the LORD, and I have sent unto you, saying, Ye shall not say, The burden of the LORD;

Jeremiah 23:39 Therefore, behold, I, even I, will utterly forget you, and I will forsake you, and the city that I gave you and your fathers, and cast you out of my presence:

Jeremiah 23:40 And I will bring an everlasting reproach upon you, and a perpetual shame, which shall not be forgotten.