The Holy Bible – Knox Translation
The Prophecy of Ezechiel
Chapter 16
Word came to me from the Lord:
And now, son of man, do thou confront Jerusalem with the record of her misdoings.
Tell her this, in the name of the Lord God: Root of thee, stock of thee, spring from yonder soil of Chanaan; an Amorrhite it was begot thee, a Hethite bore thee.
Born when thou wast, there was none to cut navel-string, in healing water wash thee, with salt harden thee, wrap thee in swaddling-clothes;
never an eye melted with pity, none befriended thee; on the bare ground thou wert cast away, a thing of abhorrence, that day of thy birth.
Who but I found thee, as I passed on my way, blood-bespattered as thou wert, and trodden under foot; in that plight preserved thee, bade it live on, this defiled thing?

Swift as the wild blossoms I bade thee grow; grow thou didst and thrive, and camest to woman’s estate, the breasts formed, new hair shewing; and still thou wast all naked, and blushing for thy nakedness.
Who but I came upon thee, as I passed on my way? And already thou wert ripe for love; cloak of mine should be thrown about thee, to hide thy shame; my troth I plighted to thee, the Lord God says, and thou wert mine.
Water to wash thee, all thy stains gone, oil I brought to anoint thee;
clad thee with embroidery, shod thy feet with leather; of fine linen thy tiring should be, of silk thy wear.
How I decked thee with ornaments! Bracelets for those arms, a collar for that neck;
a frontlet on thy brow, rings in thy ears, on thy head a crown magnifical.
Of gold and silver thy adorning, of fine linen and silk and embroidery thy apparel, of wheat and honey and oil thy nourishment; matchless beauty, too, was thine, such beauty as brought thee to a throne.
All the world heard the fame of thy loveliness; I had made thee so fair, says the Lord God, utterly fair!

Fatal beauty, fatal renown, which emboldened thee to play the harlot, lavish thy favours on every passer-by, and be his!
That thou shouldst use those garments of thine to make curtains for thy hill-shrines, what age can match the villainy of it?
Silver and gold of mine, thy adornment and my gift, should they be turned into gods of male form, at thy harlot’s whim?
And these wouldst thou clothe with thy own embroideries, offer them the perfume and incense that was mine by right,
set before them the bread, the oil, the honey I gave thee, to appease them with the smell of burnt-sacrifice? More happened besides (he, the Lord God, reminds thee);
to these gods thou wouldst bring sons and daughters of thine and mine, consecrating them to death. Could not thy wanton desires rest content,
without immolating my own sons as victims to such as these?
Most foul deeds and most lecherous, that quite put thy youth out of mind, the days when thou wast naked, and overcome with shame, blood-bespattered and trodden under foot.

And at last, to crown thy misdoings (Fie on thee, fie on thee for shame! says the Lord God),
thou wouldst build thee a brothel, a common stew, in every street;
no cross-roads but should carry the blazon of thy harlotry. O the dishonour done to thy beauty, when thou didst welcome every passer-by to thy favours, insatiable in thy dalliance!
With those lusty neighbours of thine, the Egyptians, thou wouldst play the wanton; these should be my rivals!
What wonder I should interpose, and abridge the rights thou didst enjoy, handing thee over for a prey to the maids of Philistia, rivals of thy own, and such as blushed to witness thy ill-doings?
It was not enough; thou must needs dally with the men of Assur, nor might their dalliance content thee;
thou wouldst extend thy trade as far as Chaldaea, where all is for sale, insatiable to the last.

Salve is none, says the Lord God, for such a heart as thine, set on following a harlot’s ways.
Never a cross-roads, never a street, but thou hast set up some brothel for public resort; no harlot thou, to bargain over a hateful trade.
Thine was the craving of the false wife, that must ever bring a stranger between her husband’s sheets.
The price of love other harlots claim, thou wouldst offer; gifts of thine should entice gallants from every side to thy bower.
Never did wanton the like, nor shall again; it is out of all nature, a harlot that gives, not takes.

Here then, poor wanton, is the Lord’s doom;
this message he has for thee. Because all thy bronze was put to such ill use, because thou didst wanton so shamelessly with those lovers of thine, idols most foul, in whose honour the lives of thy own children were sacrificed,
I mean to have a reckoning with thee. All the gallants that have enjoyed thee, men that love thee and men that hate, I will muster together; muster them from all around, and then lay thy shame bare, expose thy nakedness for all to see.
Such punishment thou shalt have as unfaithful wives have, or murderers; to my jealous anger thy life must make amends;
I mean to leave thee at their mercy. Ruined thy bower, ransacked thy brothel shall be; thy garments stripped off thee, plundered thy fair adornment; naked they shall leave thee, and overcome with shame.
Hue and cry they shall raise against thee, stone thee and put thee to the sword;
house of thine the flames shall not spare. Before all womankind they will make an example of thee; no more dalliance, no more hired lovers now.
Then at last my vengeance shall be complete, my jealous anger appeased; thou shalt have a respite from my ill-will.
So forgetful of thy youth, so obstinate in thy provocations, what wonder if I pay thee what thou hast earned? the Lord says. Yet even now I have not requited thee as thy most foul crimes have deserved.

Like mother, like daughter; so runs the proverb, and of thee it shall be spoken.
Thou art thy mother’s daughter, that was false to husband and child; false to husband and child were those sisters of thine; thy mother a Hethite, thy father an Amorrhite, sure enough.
Here was thy elder sister on thy left, Samaria, thy younger sister on thy right, Sodom, with daughter towns both of them.
Didst thou follow their example, share their misdoings? Nay, that was not enough for thee; it should go hard but thou wouldst outdo them in their crimes.
As I am a living God, the Lord says, never were Sodom and her daughters guilty as thou and thine.
Pride was the fault of her, this sister of thine; pride and a full belly; the peace and plenty she and her daughters had, with no thought for the poor that stood in need!
So it was they rebelled against me, ever I must see foul deeds done, till I rid myself of them, as thou seest.
Nor was Samaria in her turn half so guilty as thou. It remained for thee to outvie thy sisters in crime, till thy more abominable doings put them in countenance.
Their lesser guilt, that somewhat excuses them, is the measure of thy shame; of that shame thou must bear the brand, while thy sisters go free.
When I reverse the doom of exile against Sodom and her daughters, Samaria and her daughters, then, in their company, thy own exiles shall return;
a sorry boast for thee, that thou hast cheered, in such fashion, their loneliness!
Only when Sodom and her daughters, Samaria and her daughters, to their former state return, is there any hope for thy daughters and for thee.

Time was, when no mention of Sodom’s name might soil thy proud lips;
that was before thy own sins came to light, that now disgrace thee before Syria’s daughters, Philistia’s daughters, thy watchful neighbours north and south.
Now it is thy turn, the Lord God says, to undergo the shame of thy guilt.
And this is his doom: False to thy oath, thou hast forsworn our covenant, and thou shalt have the punishment thou hast earned.
That covenant I made with thee in thy youth shall not be forgotten; nay, I will ratify it eternally,
but humbled thou shalt be with memories of past days, when thou must needs take thy sisters, older and younger, to thyself. Daughters of thine they shall be, strangers to the covenant no longer.
My covenant thus ratified with thee, thou shalt know my power at last;
remembering still, shamefaced and tongue-tied still, even when I have pardoned all thy ill-doing, says the Lord God.