The History and Future of Judah’s Wicked Kings
Open your gates, Lebanon,
so that the fire may consume your cedars.
Howl, fir tree,
because the cedar has fallen;
the majestic trees have been destroyed.
Howl, oaks of Bashan,
because the impenetrable forest has fallen.
Listen to the howling of shepherds,
because their magnificence has been destroyed.
Listen to the roaring of young lions,
because the thickets of the Jordan have been devastated.
The Lord my God says this: “Shepherd the flock set aside for slaughter. Those who buy them slaughter them and are not held guilty; those who sell them say, ‘Blessed be the Lord, for I am rich.’ Their own shepherds have no compassion for them. Indeed, I will no longer have compassion on the people of the land,” says the Lord, “but instead I will turn every last person over to his neighbour and his king. They will devastate the land, and I will not deliver it from them.”
So I began to shepherd the flock destined for slaughter, the most afflicted of all the flock. Then I took two staffs, calling one “Pleasantness” and the other “Binders,” and I tended the flock. Next I eradicated the three shepherds in one month, for I ran out of patience with them and, indeed, they detested me as well. I then said, “I will not shepherd you. What is to die, let it die, and what is to be eradicated, let it be eradicated. As for those who survive, let them eat each other’s flesh!”
Then I took my staff “Pleasantness” and cut it in two to annul my covenant that I had made with all the people. So it was annulled that very day, and then the most afflicted of the flock who kept faith with me knew that that was the word of the Lord.
Then I said to them, “If it seems good to you, pay me my wages, but if not, forget it.” So they weighed out my payment – thirty pieces of silver. The Lord then said to me, “Throw to the potter that exorbitant sum at which they valued me!” So I took the thirty pieces of silver and threw them to the potter at the temple of the Lord. Then I cut the second staff “Binders” in two in order to annul the covenant of brotherhood between Judah and Israel.
Again the Lord said to me, “Take up once more the equipment of a foolish shepherd. Indeed, I am about to raise up a shepherd in the land who will not take heed to the sheep headed to slaughter, will not seek the scattered, and will not heal the injured. Moreover, he will not nourish the one that is healthy but instead will eat the meat of the fat sheep and tear off their hooves.
Woe to the worthless shepherd
who abandons the flock!
May a sword fall on his arm and his right eye!
May his arm wither completely away,
and his right eye become completely blind!”