Chapter 17

  1. And it came to pass in the twelfth year of our captivity, in the tenth month, in the fifth day of the month, that one who had escaped out of Jerusalem came unto me, saying, The city is smitten.
  2. Now the hand of the Lord was upon me in the evening — before he that was escaped came — and had opened my mouth, until he came to me in the morning. And my mouth was opened, and I was no more dumb. Then the word of the Lord came unto me, saying, Son of man, they that inhabit those wastes of the land of Israel speak, saying, Abraham was one and he inherited the land, but we are many; the land is given to us for inheritance. Wherefore, say unto them, Thus says the Lord God: You eat with the blood, and lift up your eyes toward your idols, and shed blood — and shall you possess the land? You stand upon your sword, you work abomination, and you defile everyone his neighbor’s wife — and shall you possess the land?
  3. Say thus unto them, Thus says the Lord God: As I live, surely they that are in the wastes shall fall by the sword, and him that is in the open field will I give to the beasts to be devoured, and they that are in the forts and in the caves shall die of the pestilence. For I will lay the land most desolate, and the pomp of her strength shall cease. And the mountains of Israel shall be desolate, that none shall pass through. Then shall they know that I am the Lord, when I have laid the land most desolate because of all their abominations which they have committed.
  4. Also, you son of man, the children of your people still are talking against you by the walls, and in the doors of the houses, and speak one to another, everyone to his brother, saying, Come, I pray you, and hear what is the word that comes forth from the Lord. And they come unto you as the people come, and they sit before you as my people, and they hear your words — but they will not do them. For with their mouth they show much love, but their heart goes after their covetousness. And behold, you are unto them as a very lovely song of one that has a pleasant voice and can play well on an instrument; for they hear your words, but they do them not. And when this comes to pass — behold, it will come — then shall they know that a prophet has been among them.
  5. And the word of the Lord came unto me, saying, Son of man, prophesy against the shepherds of Israel, prophesy and say unto them, Thus says the Lord God unto the shepherds: Woe be to the shepherds of Israel that do feed themselves. Should not the shepherds feed the flocks? You eat the fat and you clothe yourself with the wool. You kill them that are fed, but you feed not the flock. The diseased have you not strengthened, neither have you healed that which was sick, neither have you bound up that which was broken, neither have you brought again that which was driven away, neither have you sought that which was lost; but with force and with cruelty have you ruled them. And they were scattered because there is no shepherd, and they became food to all the beasts of the field when they were scattered. My sheep wandered through all the mountains and upon every high hill, yea, my flock was scattered upon all the face of the earth, and none did search or seek after them.
  6. Therefore, you shepherds, hear the word of the Lord. As I live, says the Lord God, surely because my flock became a prey, and my flock became food to every beast of the field, because there was no shepherd, neither did my shepherds search for my flock, but the shepherds fed themselves and fed not my flock, therefore, O you shepherds, hear the word of the Lord. Thus says the Lord God: Behold, I am against the shepherds, and I will require my flock at their hand, and cause them to cease from feeding the flock; neither shall the shepherds feed themselves anymore, for I will deliver my flock from their mouth, that they may not be food for them.
  7. For thus says the Lord God: Behold, I, even I, will both search my sheep and seek them out. As a shepherd seeks out his flock in the day that he is among his sheep that are scattered, so will I seek out my sheep, and will deliver them out of all places where they have been scattered in the cloudy and dark day. And I will bring them out from the people, and gather them from the countries, and will bring them to their own land, and feed them upon the mountains of Israel by the rivers, and in all the inhabited places of the country. I will feed them in a good pasture, and upon the high mountains of Israel shall their fold be. There shall they lie in a good fold, and in a fat pasture shall they feed upon the mountains of Israel. I will feed my flock and I will cause them to lie down, says the Lord God. I will seek that which was lost, and bring again that which was driven away, and will bind up that which was broken, and will strengthen that which was sick. But I will destroy the fat and the strong, I will feed them with judgment.
  8. And as for you, O my flock, thus says the Lord God: Behold, I judge between cattle and cattle, between the rams and the he-goats. Does it seem a small thing unto you to have eaten up the good pasture, but you must tread down with your feet the residue of your pastures? And to have drunk of the deep waters, but you must foul the residue with your feet? And as for my flock, they eat that which you have trodden with your feet, and they drink that which you have fouled with your feet.
  9. Therefore, thus says the Lord God unto them: Behold, I, even I, will judge between the fat cattle and between the lean cattle. Because you have thrust with side and with shoulder, and pushed all the diseased with your horns, until you have scattered them abroad, therefore will I save my flock, and they shall no more be a prey. And I will judge between cattle and cattle.
  10. And I will set up one shepherd over them and he shall feed them, even my servant David. He shall feed them and he shall be their shepherd. And I the Lord will be their God, and my servant David a prince among them. I the Lord have spoken it.
  11. And I will make with them a covenant of peace, and will cause the evil beasts to cease out of the land; and they shall dwell safely in the wilderness and sleep in the woods. And I will make them and the places round about my hill a blessing, and I will cause the shower to come down in his season. There shall be showers of blessing. And the tree of the field shall yield her fruit, and the earth shall yield her increase, and they shall be safe in their land, and shall know that I am the Lord when I have broken the bands of their yoke and delivered them out of the hand of those that served themselves of them. And they shall no more be a prey to the heathen, neither shall the beast of the land devour them, but they shall dwell safely, and none shall make them afraid. And I will raise up for them a plant of renown, and they shall be no more consumed with hunger in the land, neither bear the shame of the heathen anymore. Thus shall they know that I, the Lord their God, am with them, and that they, even the house of Israel, are my people, says the Lord God. And you, my flock, the flock of my pasture, are men; and I am your God, says the Lord God.