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Jeremiah 23:1-6 - Woe to all who scatter the sheep of God's flock

Updated: Aug 3, 2021

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Woe to the shepherds who destroy and scatter the sheep of my pasture! says Yahweh. Therefore thus says Yahweh elohe of Israel, concerning the shepherds who shepherd my people: It is you who have scattered my flock, and have driven them away, and you have not attended to them. So I will attend to you for your evil doings, says Yahweh. Then I myself will gather the remnant of my flock out of all the lands where I have driven them, and I will bring them back to their fold, and they shall be fruitful and multiply. I will raise up shepherds over them who will shepherd them, and they shall not fear any longer, or be dismayed, nor shall any be missing, says Yahweh.

The days are surely coming, says Yahweh, when I will raise up for David a righteous Branch, and he shall reign as king and deal wisely, and shall execute justice and righteousness in the land. In his days Judah will be saved and Israel will live in safety. And this is the name by which he will be called: “Yahweh is our righteousness.”


This is the Track 2 Old Testament reading option for the eighth Sunday after Pentecost [Proper 11], Year B, according to the lectionary for the Episcopal Church. If chosen, it will be accompanied by a reading of Psalm 23, which says, “The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not be in want.” That pair will be read before a reading from Ephesians, where Paul wrote, “So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are citizens with the saints and also members of the household of God, built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the cornerstone.” All will be followed by the Gospel reading from Mark, where it is written: “As [Jesus] went ashore, he saw a great crowd; and he had compassion for them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd; and he began to teach them many things.”

In these six verses, it is most important to realize that Jeremiah wrote what Yahweh said to him in ecstatic trance, as it was not a voice coming from some unnamed [thus unknown] “Lord.” When it says “Yahweh elohe,” that defines Jeremiah [and all prophets like him, whose souls were married to Yahweh] as an extension of Yahweh on earth – thus one of His “gods.” To fully understand this, one needs to be like Jeremiah and speak the name of one’s spiritual Husband, knowing personally how He speaks.

The message sent by Yahweh through Jeremiah is then a warning to all who pretend to be shepherds of His flock. At the time, Jeremiah prophesied to a wayward Judah, long after the Northern Kingdom had fallen to the Assyrians and the Israelites had been scattered to the four ends of the globe. The leaders [including the priests of their holy places] had been false shepherds who received what Jeremiah prophesied was still to come. Because the same warning must be seen as once true, then always true, the value of this warning persists to this day. “Woe to the shepherds who destroy and scatter the sheep of my pasture! Says Yahweh.”

Because Jeremiah was a prophet of Judah, and the nation named “Israel” had already been destroyed and scattered, as well as most of Judah, with Jerusalem under siege, for him to write, “Therefore thus says Yahweh elohe of Israel” [from “lā·ḵên kōh- ’ā·mar Yah-weh ’ĕ·lō·hê yiś·rā·’êl”], it must be understood that the word translated as “Israel” means “He Retains God” or “God Is Upright,” with that the intent. Therefore, Yahweh is identified as the source of power within human “gods who retain God and stand upright.” While the flocks were the children dependent on it leaders to shepherd their souls into the sheepfold of marriage to Yahweh, only to be destroyed and scattered by thieves and hired hands who ran from danger, there were still those who stood up and spoke the Word of truth for all to hear and heed.

When Yahweh identifies the actions of these bad shepherds as “evil doings” [“rō·a‘ ma·‘al·lê·ḵem”], this needs to be realized as being the opposite of “righteous doings.” The word “maalal” means “dealing, doing, deed, practice.” A human being with a normal soul will naturally develop activities that fill one’s natural needs. When one goes to extremes, either to the left [sinister, evil, bad] or to the right [righteous, holy, good] one has become possessed by a greater spirit than simple soul. This means that Yahweh is calling out all who would scatter, destroy, or leave unattended those souls that need to be directed to the right [away from the left] as demonically possessed and agents of “evil” [“roa”].

The gathering of remnant souls [the “sheep” of Yahweh] who know, believe, and pray to Yahweh will be rescued. The prophecy of being fruitful and multiplying says Yahweh spoke of times when true Christians would become the good fruit of the vine that would grow from Jesus, going out into ministry as extensions of the good vine [a holy possession of Spirit] and multiply by producing more good fruit. The “shepherds” who would be their shepherds would be Saints and Apostles.

When the reading then says, “The days are surely coming, says Yahweh, when I will raise up for David a righteous Branch,” the capitalization is purely from a translator’s perspective. While “Yahweh” is certainly seen as the proper name of the One God and “David” is the proper name of the greatest King of Israel, the name “David” means “Beloved.” Additionally, the word translated as a capitalized “Branch” [“tsemach”] means, “growth [of a vine], sprout, or bud.” Thus, the same written words can prophesy a time when Yahweh “will raise as beloved a growth [of a vine] righteous.” This way of reading these words then equates David to righteousness, such that all grown from that vine will be beloved souls married to Yahweh … the intent of David’s Anointing and his reign as king.

When Jeremiah was told by Yahweh, “he shall reign as king and deal wisely, and shall execute justice and righteousness in the land,” this identifies properly “a king of prudence.” The Hebrew words “me·leḵ wə·hiś·kîl,” says “a king” will come as a “teacher, who has insight, and great attention that will yield prosperously” to those taught. Because David was a “prince” who was chosen to be a king, the true “king” that reigned through David was Yahweh. Whereas David did not teach the Israelites to become like him, he taught by example, physically demonstrating that his success was due to his soul having been Anointed by the Spirit of Yahweh. He was known to have Yahweh with him.

Jesus would come like a David [a “Beloved” of Yahweh], who led and taught disciples as a rabbi [a teacher]. Jesus would not be the king “of the earth” [“bā·’ā·reṣ”], but “of the flesh,” as a soul resurrected within those who he had prepared to receive the Spirit through divine marriage. Those would then be reborn as Jesus, so Jesus resurrected within a kingdom of flesh could be led to “judgments of righteousness” and have their souls saved.

When the NRSV translation says, “In his days Judah will be saved and Israel will live in safety,” these two proper names need to be understood as the meaning, not the places. Since both Israel and Judah became lost lands [the present artificial government called “Israel” is far from the meaning of that name, thus false], this is not about “righteousness on the earth,” but all about “righteousness in the flesh.” This then says those who “Let Him Be Praised” [name meaning of “Judah”] will be “delivered, saved, freed, and/or victorious.” Those souls who have been deemed “He Retains God” or “God Is Upright” in them will then dwell in the “safety and security” of eternal life.

Because the false State of Israel is called that, named by the infidels of Zionism, they obviously did not remember this prophecy that says, “the name by which he will be called: “Yahweh is our righteousness.” There is no belief in Yahweh in modern Israel and that is clearly demonstrated by their complete lack of “righteousness.” Thus, the one named by Yahweh, through Jeremiah, is a true Christian whose soul has submitted to Yahweh in marriage; so, the soul of Jesus, His Son, will lead a body of flesh to be “Upright as God’s” hand on earth.

As an alternate Old Testament reading for the eighth Sunday after Pentecost, when one’s own personal ministry for Yahweh should be well underway, this says one must become a good shepherd and properly tend the souls of Yahweh’s flock. The only way to do this is to be divinely possessed by the Spirit of Yahweh and be made Holy. One must be reborn as Jesus, one like David who has had the Spirit poured out upon one’s soul, thus a Christ. Only with that divine presence can one minister to the souls and feed them the spiritual food they need, until the time they too can be married to Yahweh and continue the branch of righteousness as new good shepherds.

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