Ezekiel chapter 34

Ezekiel prophesies against the false shepherds.





VERSE 1. The LORD’s word came to me, saying,


VERSE 2. “Son of man, prophesy against the shepherds of Israel. Prophesy, and tell them, even the shepherds, ‘The Lord GOD says: “Woe to the shepherds of Israel who feed themselves! Shouldn’t the shepherds feed the sheep?

NAB translation. Son of man, prophesy against the shepherds of Israel, in these words prophesy to them (to the shepherds): Thus says the Lord GOD: Woe to the shepherds of Israel who have been pasturing themselves! Should not shepherds, rather, pasture sheep?

the shepherds of Israel. That is, the religious leaders. They are utterly corrupt.

Woe to the shepherds. Ezekiel is to speak against the religious leaders. To do this is to obey the calling of the LORD God upon his life. To not do this would be to disobey the calling of God upon his life.

have been pasturing themselves. The religious leaders misused their lofty position as religious leaders.

Instead of using their position as religious leaders to look out for their own people, they used their position to advance their own selfish interests.


VERSE 3. You eat the fat. You clothe yourself with the wool. You kill the fatlings, but you don’t feed the sheep.


VERSE 4. You haven’t strengthened the diseased. You haven’t healed that which was sick. You haven’t bound up that which was broken. You haven’t brought back that which was driven away. You haven’t sought that which was lost, but you have ruled over them with force and with rigor.

NAB translation. You did not strengthen the weak nor heal the sick nor bind up the injured. You did not bring back the strayed nor seek the lost, but you lorded it over them harshly and brutally.

You did not strengthen the weak. Ezekiel speaks of the key ministries of a religious leader. The first is to strengthen the weak.

In our day, many religious leaders center their attention on the strong and wealthy.

“After all,” a religious leader rationalizes to himself, “without these important wealthy people, my congregation will collapse!”

nor heal the sick. The sick need to be healed. The religious leader is assumed to have some degree of miraculous power that is sufficient for healing the sick.

In our day, very few religious leaders have miraculous power. A key reason for that lack is simple: they don’t believe in miracles.

nor bind up the injured. The religious leader is to be a role-model in tending to the injured.

In our day, few religious leaders bother with such a ministry. That is, unless the injured person is a wealthy donor. Then that person is lavished with all sorts of attention.

“After all,” a religious leader rationalizes to himself, “without these important wealthy people, my congregation will collapse!”

did not bring back the strayed. Jesus Christ spoke of the Good Shepherd, the one who leaves the 99 and goes after the one who had strayed.

In our day, few religious leaders go after the strays. Instead, they focus their efforts on the 99. Or more accurately, the “one percent.” That is, their big-ticket donors.

nor seek the lost. When the Lord Jesus Christ saw the crowd, he felt compassion for them. That was because he recognized that they were lost and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.

In our day, the lost are rarely on the radar screen of religious leaders.

The lost do not donate. They are rarely famous or influential, so their would be nothing for the shepherd to gain by investing in them.

Except an eternal soul.

you lorded it over them. The religious leaders acted like narcissists. Sociopaths. Everything was about them. Everything existed to bolster their own sense of self-worth.

harshly and brutally. The religious leaders treated their people harshly.

In our day, this continues. We see it reflected in some Christian leaders, for example.

They speak quite harshly against people who hold opinions contrary to their own. They spin-doctor the facts so as to advance their own political interests.


VERSE 5. They were scattered, because there was no shepherd. They became food to all the animals of the field, and were scattered.


VERSE 6. My sheep wandered through all the mountains and on every high hill. Yes, my sheep were scattered on all the surface of the earth. There was no one who searched or sought.”

My sheep wandered. When the shepherd is corrupt, the sheep are left to wander.


VERSE 7. “ ‘Therefore, you shepherds, hear the LORD’s word:


VERSE 8. “As I live,” says the Lord GOD, “surely because my sheep became a prey, and my sheep became food to all the animals of the field, because there was no shepherd, and my shepherds didn’t search for my sheep, but the shepherds fed themselves, and didn’t feed my sheep,

The purpose of a religious leader is to care for his people. However:

my shepherds didn’t search for my sheep. These false shepherds did not care for their own people.

the shepherds fed themselves. These false shepherds only cared for themselves.


VERSE 9. therefore, you shepherds, hear the LORD’s word!”


VERSE 10. The Lord GOD says: “Behold, I am against the shepherds. I will require my sheep at their hand, and cause them to cease from feeding the sheep. The shepherds won’t feed themselves any more. I will deliver my sheep from their mouth, that they may not be food for them.”

NAB translation. Thus says the LORD GOD: I swear I am coming against these shepherds. I will claim my sheep from them and put a stop to their shepherding my sheep so that they may no longer pasture themselves. I will save my sheep, that they may no longer be food for their mouths.

I am coming against these shepherds. The singer John Michael Talbot says in the Old Testament era, to protect his sheep, God had to strike against the corrupt shepherds of Israel.

And in the 1500s, in order to “save” his people, God had to strike against the corrupt shepherds of the Catholic Church.

Martin Luther was the LORD God’s instrument of correction.

I will save my sheep from them. From the LORD God’s perspective, the shepherds are corrupt, not the people.

The sheep need rescuing from their shepherds.


VERSE 11. “ ‘For the Lord GOD says: “Behold, I myself, even I, will search for my sheep, and will seek them out.


VERSE 12. As a shepherd seeks out his flock in the day that he is among his sheep that are scattered abroad, so I will seek out my sheep. I will deliver them out of all places where they have been scattered in the cloudy and dark day.


VERSE 13. I will bring them out from the peoples, and gather them from the countries, and will bring them into their own land. I will feed them on the mountains of Israel, by the watercourses, and in all the inhabited places of the country.

NAB translation. I will lead them out from among the peoples and gather them from the foreign lands; I will bring them back to their own country and pasture them upon the mountains of Israel.

I will bring them back to their own country. This happened in 1947, with the creation of the nation of Israel.

Jewish people from all over the world returned home to Israel, after 19 centuries of exile.


VERSE 14. I will feed them with good pasture, and their fold will be on the mountains of the height of Israel. There they will lie down in a good fold. They will feed on rich pasture on the mountains of Israel.


VERSE 15. I myself will be the shepherd of my sheep, and I will cause them to lie down,” says the Lord GOD.

The people of the LORD God are prone to going astray. In those times, they need a godly shepherd to bring them back. Read more »


VERSE 16. “I will seek that which was lost, and will bring back that which was driven away, and will bind up that which was broken, and will strengthen that which was sick; but I will destroy the fat and the strong. I will feed them in justice.” ’


VERSE 17. “As for you, O my flock, the Lord GOD says: ‘Behold, I judge between sheep and sheep, the rams and the male goats.


VERSE 18. Does it seem a small thing to you to have fed on the good pasture, but you must tread down with your feet the residue of your pasture? And to have drunk of the clear waters, but must you foul the residue with your feet?


VERSE 19. As for my sheep, they eat that which you have trodden with your feet, and they drink that which you have fouled with your feet.’


VERSE 20. “Therefore the Lord GOD says to them: ‘Behold, I, even I, will judge between the fat sheep and the lean sheep.


VERSE 21. Because you thrust with side and with shoulder, and push all the diseased with your horns, until you have scattered them abroad,


VERSE 22. therefore I will save my flock, and they will no more be a prey. I will judge between sheep and sheep.

I will save my flock. The LORD God will step in.


VERSE 23. I will set up one shepherd over them, and he will feed them, even my servant David. He will feed them, and he will be their shepherd.


VERSE 24. I, the LORD, will be their God, and my servant David prince among them. I, the LORD, have spoken it.


VERSE 25. “ ‘I will make with them a covenant of peace, and will cause evil animals to cease out of the land. They will dwell securely in the wilderness and sleep in the woods.


VERSE 26. I will make them and the places around my hill a blessing. I will cause the shower to come down in its season. There will be showers of blessing.

showers of blessing. This is a great image!


VERSE 27. The tree of the field will yield its fruit, and the earth will yield its increase, and they will be secure in their land. Then they will know that I am the LORD, when I have broken the bars of their yoke, and have delivered them out of the hand of those who made slaves of them.


VERSE 28. They will no more be a prey to the nations, neither will the animals of the earth devour them; but they will dwell securely, and no one will make them afraid.


VERSE 29. I will raise up to them a plantation for renown, and they will no more be consumed with famine in the land, and not bear the shame of the nations any more.


VERSE 30. They will know that I, the LORD, their God am with them, and that they, the house of Israel, are my people, says the Lord GOD.

I, the LORD, their God am with them. The LORD God promises to be with us always, even to the ends of the world. Read more »


VERSE 31. You my sheep, the sheep of my pasture, are men, and I am your God,’ says the Lord GOD.”


next chapter »

« previous chapter


CHAPTERS: 01, 02, 03, 04, 05, 06, 07, 08, 09, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 1516, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35, 36, 37, 38, 39, 40, 41, 42, 43, 44, 45, 46, 47, 48

RESOURCES: Summary, Outline, Memorize

Unless otherwise noted, all Bible quotations on this page are from the World English Bible and the World Messianic Edition. These translations have no copyright restrictions. They are in the Public Domain.


Author: todd

At Explore the Faith, I share insights into the Bible and theological writings. If you like what I write, become my partner by donating. Help me reach the world for the Lord Jesus Christ.