Your rulers rebelled against me.
Your prophets prophesied in the name of the god Baal. 5
They all worshiped idols that could not help them. 6
23:1 The Lord says, 7 “The leaders of my people are sure to be judged. 8 They were supposed to watch over my people like shepherds watch over their sheep. But they are causing my people to be destroyed and scattered. 9
1 tn Heb “The priests…the ones who grasp my law…the shepherds…the prophets…they…”
3 tn Heb “those who handle my law.”
sn The reference is likely to the priests and Levites who were responsible for teaching the law (so Jer 18:18; cf. Deut 33:10). According to Jer 8:8 it could possibly refer to the scribes who copied the law.
4 tn Or “were not committed to me.” The Hebrew verb rendered “know” refers to more than mere intellectual knowledge. It carries also the ideas of emotional and volitional commitment as well intimacy. See for example its use in contexts like Hos 4:1; 6:6.
5 tn Heb “by Baal.”
6 tn Heb “and they followed after those things [the word is plural] which do not profit.” The poetic structure of the verse, four lines in which a distinct subject appears at the beginning followed by a fifth line beginning with a prepositional phrase and no distinct subject, argues that this line is climactic and refers to all four classes enumerated in the preceding lines. See W. L. Holladay, Jeremiah (Hermeneia), 1:88-89. There may be a play or pun in the Hebrew text on the name for the god Baal (בַּעַל, ba’al) and the verb “cannot help you” (Heb “do not profit”) which is spelled יַעַל (ya’al).
7 tn Heb “Oracle of the
8 sn Heb This particle once again introduces a judgment speech. The indictment is found in v. 1 and the announcement of judgment in v. 2. This leads into an oracle of deliverance in vv. 3-4. See also the note on the word “judged” in 22:13.
9 tn Heb “Woe to the shepherds who are killing and scattering the sheep of my pasture.” See the study note on 22:13 for the significance of “Sure to be judged” (Heb “Woe”) See the study note for the significance of the metaphor introduced here.
sn Verses 1-4 of ch. 23 are an extended metaphor in which the rulers are compared to shepherds and the people are compared to sheep. This metaphor has already been met with in 10:21 and is found elsewhere in the context of the