OT Enounters: Jeremiah 23:1-6 – Shepherding

By Jeff Pulse

The Old Testament text for this Sunday, July 22, 2018, the ninth Sunday after Pentecost, is from the book of the prophet Jeremiah. The text is Jeremiah 23:1-6 and contains the very familiar Messianic reference of “The Righteous Branch” and the title, “The Lord is our Righteousness.” However, the pericope begins with a common prophetic condemnation of false and evil shepherds who have been charged to care for the LORD’s sheep. Like Ezekiel 34, the shepherds have neglected the sheep for their own needs. In some cases, they are guilty of abusing the flock causing them to scatter and run away. Thus, the LORD promises that He Himself will gather up the remnants and they will prosper under His shepherding. At that time He will appoint new shepherds—obviously shepherds who are “undershepherds” to Him and properly care and provide for His flock.

Then Jeremiah prophesies of the raising up of a Righteous Branch for David. This should bring to mind the prophecy of Isaiah 11:1 where he speaks of a sprout from the stump of Jesse. Therefore, “for” David may be taken to mean a “new David,” not another in the line of David. Remember, the stump is Jesse’s, the father of David. The old Davidic line of kings has been brought to an end and a new David, the Messiah, will come forth.

23:1 hoy “woe; alas; ah!”

wumphitsiym—root: pawats—hiphil “to disperse; scatter” The hiphil denotes the shepherds are the cause of the scattering.

mariythi—from: mariyth “pasturing; shepherding” “My pasturing/shepherding” It is not just the location (pasture) but also the work of the LORD (pasturing/shepherding).

23:2 al-haroiym haroiym “Concerning the shepherds shepherding” or “concerning the shepherds, the ones who shepherd/care…”

watadichum—root: nadach—hiphil “to drive away, to cause to be scattered; to banish”

roa “Corruption; vice; evil”

maalleykem “deed; practice”

Note the twist: You have not attended to them, behold, I will attend to you…

23:3 aqabbets—root: qabats—piel “to gather”

sheerith “remnant”

hidachtiy—root: nadach—hiphil “to cause to be driven away; to cause to be scattered from one another”

newehen “dwelling place; abode; grazing place”

wupharu—root: parah “to be fruitful”

Pay attention to the remnant language used. This is a frequent designation for those who have remained faithful in spite of the situations or odds against it. This is the promised preserved faithful from which the “Righteous Branch” will come forth. Obviously, the context speaks to the scattering of the peoples in exile, whether to Assyria or Babylon.

23:4 wahaqimothi—root: qum—hophal “I will cause (shepherds) to be set…” or “I will set/place…” or “I will cause to be raised up…” (See also verse 5 and the “Righteous Branch”)

yechatu—root: chatat—niphil geminate verb “to be dismayed”

23:5 tsemach tsadiyq “a righteous branch; shoot, sprout”

wehiskiyl—root: sacal—hiphil “to achieve success; to cause to prosper”

23:6 tiwwasha—root: yasha—niphal “to be saved” Note this is the same root as he names of Joshua, Hosea, Hoshea, Jeshua and JESUS.

lavetach “security”

Yahwah tsdqenu “The LORD is our Righteousness” of “The LORD our Righteousness”