Israel’s Shepherds: Good and Bad

11 Open your gates, Lebanon,
and fire will consume your cedars.(A)
Wail, cypress,(B) for the cedar has fallen;
the glorious trees are destroyed!
Wail, oaks of Bashan,(C)
for the stately forest has fallen!
Listen to the wail(D) of the shepherds,(E)
for their glory is destroyed.
Listen to the roar of young lions,(F)
for the thickets of the Jordan(G) are[a] destroyed.

The Lord my God says this: “Shepherd the flock intended for slaughter. Those who buy them slaughter them but are not punished.(H) Those who sell them say, ‘Blessed be the Lord because I have become rich!’ Even their own shepherds have no compassion for them. Indeed, I will no longer have compassion on the inhabitants of the land”—this is the Lord’s declaration. “Instead, I will turn everyone over to his neighbor and his king. They will devastate the land, and I will not rescue it from their hand.”(I)

So I shepherded the flock intended for slaughter, the oppressed of the flock.[b] I took two staffs, calling one Favor(J) and the other Union, and I shepherded the flock. In one month I got rid of three shepherds. I became impatient with them, and they also detested me. Then I said, “I will no longer shepherd you. Let what is dying die, and let what is perishing perish; let the rest devour each other’s flesh.” 10 Next I took my staff called Favor and cut it in two, annulling the covenant I had made with all the peoples. 11 It was annulled on that day, and so the oppressed of the flock[c] who were watching me knew that it was the word of the Lord. 12 Then I said to them, “If it seems right to you, give me my wages; but if not, keep them.” So they weighed my wages, thirty pieces of silver.(K)

13 “Throw it to the potter,”[d] the Lord said to me—this magnificent price I was valued by them. So I took the thirty pieces of silver and threw it into the house of the Lord, to the potter.[e](L) 14 Then I cut in two my second staff, Union, annulling the brotherhood between Judah and Israel.

15 The Lord also said to me, “Take the equipment of a foolish shepherd. 16 I am about to raise up a shepherd in the land who will not care for those who are perishing, and he will not seek the lost[f] or heal the broken. He will not sustain the healthy,[g] but he will devour the flesh of the fat sheep(M) and tear off their hooves.

17 Woe to the worthless shepherd
who deserts the flock!(N)
May a sword strike[h] his arm
and his right eye!
May his arm wither away
and his right eye go completely blind!”

Footnotes

  1. 11:3 Lit for the majesty of the Jordan is
  2. 11:7 LXX reads slaughter that belonged to the sheep merchants
  3. 11:11 LXX reads and the sheep merchants
  4. 11:13 Syr reads treasury
  5. 11:13 One Hb ms, Syr read treasury
  6. 11:16 Or young
  7. 11:16 Or exhausted
  8. 11:17 Lit be against

11 Open your doors, Lebanon,(A)
    so that fire(B) may devour your cedars!
Wail, you juniper, for the cedar has fallen;
    the stately trees are ruined!
Wail, oaks(C) of Bashan;
    the dense forest(D) has been cut down!(E)
Listen to the wail of the shepherds;
    their rich pastures are destroyed!
Listen to the roar of the lions;(F)
    the lush thicket of the Jordan is ruined!(G)

Two Shepherds

This is what the Lord my God says: “Shepherd the flock marked for slaughter.(H) Their buyers slaughter them and go unpunished. Those who sell them say, ‘Praise the Lord, I am rich!’ Their own shepherds do not spare them.(I) For I will no longer have pity on the people of the land,” declares the Lord. “I will give everyone into the hands of their neighbors(J) and their king. They will devastate the land, and I will not rescue anyone from their hands.”(K)

So I shepherded the flock marked for slaughter,(L) particularly the oppressed of the flock. Then I took two staffs and called one Favor and the other Union, and I shepherded the flock. In one month I got rid of the three shepherds.

The flock detested(M) me, and I grew weary of them and said, “I will not be your shepherd. Let the dying die, and the perishing perish.(N) Let those who are left eat(O) one another’s flesh.”

10 Then I took my staff called Favor(P) and broke it, revoking(Q) the covenant I had made with all the nations. 11 It was revoked on that day, and so the oppressed of the flock who were watching me knew it was the word of the Lord.

12 I told them, “If you think it best, give me my pay; but if not, keep it.” So they paid me thirty pieces of silver.(R)

13 And the Lord said to me, “Throw it to the potter”—the handsome price at which they valued me! So I took the thirty pieces of silver(S) and threw them to the potter at the house of the Lord.(T)

14 Then I broke my second staff called Union, breaking the family bond between Judah and Israel.

15 Then the Lord said to me, “Take again the equipment of a foolish shepherd. 16 For I am going to raise up a shepherd over the land who will not care for the lost, or seek the young, or heal the injured, or feed the healthy, but will eat the meat of the choice sheep, tearing off their hooves.

17 “Woe to the worthless shepherd,(U)
    who deserts the flock!
May the sword strike his arm(V) and his right eye!
    May his arm be completely withered,
    his right eye totally blinded!”(W)

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