The Holy Bible – Knox Translation
The Prophecy of Jeremias
A message from the Lord, I must betake myself to the royal palace, and make proclamation there;
Listen to a divine warning, king of Juda though thou be, and heir to David’s throne; it is for thee and thy courtiers and thy retinue, all that claim entry here.
Just sentence, the Lord says, and right award; rob the oppressor of his prey; to alien, orphan and widow do neither despite nor wrong; never, within these walls, be innocence condemned to death.
This warning if you obey, through these palace gates the heirs of David and of David’s throne, with horses and chariots, courtiers and retinue, shall yet pass to and fro.
Disobey, the Lord says, and my own honour is engaged to make, of this palace, a ruin.
On the royal house of Juda this is the Lord’s sentence: Growth I found here once, generous as in Galaad or on Lebanon’s height; now I have sworn to make a desert of it, no place for the haunts of men.✻
Who shall strike the blow, and with what arms, is decreed already; all those fair cedars shall be cut down, and cast into the fire.
Nations a many shall pass by those ruins; and when a man asks his neighbour what it meant, that the Lord should deal so hardly with a great city like this,
the answer will be, It was because they forsook the covenant of the Lord their God, and worshipped alien gods, took alien gods for their masters.
Not for the dead your tears, not for him bow your heads; if weep you must, weep for him that must go and come again no more, never again see the land of his birth!
Sellum,✻ that followed his father Josias on the throne of Juda, is leaving Jerusalem, the Lord says, and will never come back to it;
die he must in that country to which I have banished him, and see this land no more.
Alas, for the palace that is built with gains ill gotten, for halls founded only on wrong! Alas for the man that sets his fellow-man vainly drudging, and leaves his wages unpaid!
A fine house I will make of it, says he, and wide rooms in it! Here he will throw out a window, there he will panel a wall with cedar, and paint it vermilion.
Art thou hoping for a long reign, that thou shouldst challenge comparison with the cedar?✻ Thy father was one that ate and drank at his ease, gave every man his just due, and was content;
well for him that he gave the friendless and the poor redress, as men will when they bethink themselves of me.
Thou hast no eyes, no thoughts, but for gain; for innocent men’s undoing, for oppression, for the reckless pursuit of mischief.
This, then, is the Lord’s sentence upon Joachim, son to Josias and king of Juda: For him no cry shall be made, Brother, what grief! Sister of mine, what grief!✻ For him no cry shall be made, Ah, what a master! Ah, what renown!
An ass’s burial he shall have, cast out, a stinking corpse, beyond the gates of Jerusalem.
Get thee gone, faithless people, to Lebanon, and cry out there; fill Basan with thy voice, and let Abarim✻ echo the cry again; ruin has overtaken all those lovers of thine.
In the days of thy ease, I gave thee warning, but thou wouldst not listen; it was ever thus from thy girlhood’s days, my voice went unheard.
Drifting with the wind, the drovers thou once didst follow, captive all those that once held thy love! Be ashamed at last, and blush for all thy wickedness.
High on Lebanon thy dwelling-place, high in the cedars that nest of thine, piteous shall be thy moan when pangs overtake thee, like the pangs of a woman in travail.
And of Joachim’s son Jechonias, that is heir to the throne of Juda, the Lord says this: Were he the signet ring on my right hand, I would cast him off none the less.
Thou hast sworn enemies to fear; Nabuchodonosor king of Babylon, and his Chaldaeans, shall have the mastery of thee.
Cast away, thyself and the queen-mother who bore thee, into an alien land, far from the land of your birth, to die there;
ever longing for home, and home returning never.
What, is he but a broken piece of earthenware, this Jechonias, a useless shard, that he should be thrown away, and his sons with him, cast out into a land unknown?
Alas, my country, alas, alas, my country, bitter hearing the Lord sends thee:
Write him down a barren trunk, a life gone to waste; child of his race shall never mount David’s throne, or govern this realm of Juda.
The Holy Bible