Israel Is Like a Flock of Sheep
1 The word of the LORD came to me. He said, 2 “Son of man,* Son of man This was usually just a way of saying “a person” or “a human being.” Here, it is a way of addressing Ezekiel. speak against the shepherds of Israel for me. Speak to them for me. Tell them that this is what the Lord GOD says: ‘You shepherds of Israel have only been feeding yourselves. It will be very bad for you! Why don’t you shepherds feed the flock? 3 You eat the fat sheep and use their wool to make clothes for yourselves. You kill the fat sheep, but you don’t feed the flock. 4 You have not made the weak strong. You have not cared for the sick sheep. You have not put bandages on the sheep that were hurt. Some of the sheep wandered away, and you did not go get them and bring them back. You did not go to look for the lost sheep. No, you were cruel and severe—that’s the way you tried to lead the sheep!
5 “ ‘And now the sheep are scattered because there was no shepherd. They became food for every wild animal, so they were scattered. 6 My flock wandered over all the mountains and on every high hill. My flock was scattered over all the face of the earth. There was no one to search or to look for them.’ ”
7 So, you shepherds, listen to the word of the LORD. 8 The Lord GOD says, “I swear that wild animals will catch my sheep, and my people will become food for all those animals because they did not have any real shepherds. My shepherds did not look out for my flock. They did not feed my flock. No, they only killed the sheep and fed themselves!”
9 So, you shepherds, listen to the word of the LORD! 10 The Lord GOD says, “I am against the shepherds. I will demand my sheep from them. I will fire them. They will not be my shepherds anymore. Then the shepherds will not be able to feed themselves, and I will save my flock from their mouths. Then my sheep will not be food for them.”
11 The Lord GOD says, “I myself will be their Shepherd. I will search for my sheep and take care of them. 12 If a shepherd is with his sheep when they begin to wander away, he will go searching for them. In the same way I will search for my sheep. I will save them and bring them back from all the places where they were scattered on that dark and cloudy day. 13 I will bring them back from those nations. I will gather them from those countries and bring them back to their own land. I will feed them on the mountains of Israel, by the streams, and in all the places where people live. 14 I will lead them to grassy fields. They will go to the place high on the mountains of Israel and lie down on good ground and eat the grass. They will eat in rich grassland on the mountains of Israel. 15 Yes, I will feed my flock, and I will lead them to a place of rest.” This is what the Lord GOD said.
16 “I will search for the lost sheep. I will bring back the sheep that were scattered and put bandages on the sheep that were hurt. I will make the weak sheep strong, but I will destroy the fat and powerful shepherds. I will feed them the punishment they deserve.”
17 This is what the Lord GOD says: “And you, my flock, I will judge between one sheep and another. I will judge between the male sheep and the male goats. 18 You can eat the grass growing on the good land. So why do you also crush the grass that other sheep want to eat? You can drink plenty of clear water. So why do you also stir the water that other sheep want to drink? 19 My flock must eat the grass you crushed with your feet, and they must drink the water you stir with your feet!”
20 So the Lord GOD says to them: “I myself will judge between the fat sheep and the thin sheep! 21 You push with your side and shoulder. You knock down all the weak sheep with your horns. You push until you have forced them away, 22 so I will save my flock. They will not be caught by wild animals anymore. I will judge between one sheep and another. 23 Then I will put one shepherd over them, my servant David. He will feed them and be their shepherd. 24 Then I, the LORD, will be their God, and my servant David will be the ruler living among them. I, the LORD, have spoken.
25 “And I will make a peace agreement with my sheep. I will take harmful animals away from the land. Then the sheep can be safe in the desert and sleep in the woods. 26 I will bless the sheep and the places around my hill. I will cause the rains to fall at the right time and will shower them with blessings. 27 And the trees growing in the field will produce their fruit. The earth will give its harvest, so the sheep will be safe on their land. I will break the yokes on them and save them from the power of the people who made them slaves. Then they will know that I am the LORD. 28 They will not be caught like an animal by the nations anymore. Those animals will not eat them anymore. No, they will live safely. No one will make them afraid. 29 I will give them some land that will make a good garden. Then they will not suffer from hunger in that land or suffer the insults from the nations anymore. 30 Then they will know that I am the LORD their God. The family of Israel will know that I am with them and that they are my people.” This is what the Lord GOD said!
31 “You are my sheep, the sheep of my grassland. You are only human beings, and I am your God.” This is what the Lord GOD said.
*34:2 Son of man This was usually just a way of saying “a person” or “a human being.” Here, it is a way of addressing Ezekiel.