The Holy Bible – Knox Translation
The Prophecy of Jeremias
A message came from the Lord to Jeremias during the tenth year of Sedecias’ reign in Juda, the eighteenth of Nabuchodonosor’s at Babylon;
the Babylonian army was besieging Jerusalem at the time, and Jeremias was a prisoner there, confined in the guard-court that lay before the royal palace.
It was for his prophesying that king Sedecias had imprisoned him; what meant this threat from the Lord, of giving Jerusalem over to capture by the king of Babylon?
He had said, besides: King Sedecias of Juda shall not escape from the Chaldaeans; the king of Babylon shall have the mastery of him; they shall have speech together, meet face to face.✻
To Babylon Sedecias shall go, and there remain till I have entered into a reckoning with him. All shall go amiss, if you join battle with the Chaldaeans.
And now Jeremias announced a new oracle the Lord had given him.
The Lord told me, he said, that my cousin Hanameel, son of Sellum, would come and ask me to buy in certain land of his at Anathoth, which was my duty as his next of kin.
And as the Lord foretold, so it fell out; Hanameel came to my prison doors, and said, Pray buy in that field of mine at Anathoth in Benjamin; thou art the rightful heir, and thy duty it is, as next of kin, to buy it from me. Then I knew that I had received a divine warning,
and buy it I did, this field at Anathoth, from Hanameel, that was son to my uncle Sellum. I paid him the price, that was but seventeen pieces of silver;
wrote and signed the deed, called in witnesses, and weighed out the money on the scales.
So here was the deed of possession sealed up, all its terms set down and attested, and characters written without;
all this I handed over to Baruch, son of Neri, son of Maasias, still in the presence of my cousin Hanameel, and the witnesses that had signed it, and the Jews who sat around me in the court where I was confined.
Before them all, I gave Baruch this charge:
A message for thee from the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel: Take these two pieces of writing, the sealed deed within and the covering of it that is open to view, and keep them in some jar of clay, where they can remain long without damage.
This is what he would tell thee, he, the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, that there shall yet be buying of house and field and vineyard, here in this land.
The deed once made over to Baruch, son of Neri, I prayed to the Lord thus:
Alas, alas, Lord God! Thou art the maker of heaven and earth, so great is thy power, so wide thy reach; no task, for thee, is too difficult.
A thousandfold thou shewest thy mercy; yet, when thou dost punish, into the son’s lap the father’s guilt overflows; how great, how strong that God, whose name is the Lord of hosts!
How sublime thy counsels, thy thoughts how high above us! And still thou keepest watch over all mankind, ready to award each life what its own devices have earned.
Such deeds thou didst as are signs and portents to this day in the land of Egypt, in Israel too and all the world over; didst win that renown which to this day is thine.✻
Signs and portents there must be, and the exercise of thy constraining power, and a great dread, before thou couldst rescue thy people Israel from Egypt;
then thou wouldst bestow upon them this land, the home promised to their fathers, a land all milk and honey;
they invaded it, they took possession of it. But to thy voice they would not listen, thy law they would not follow; no duty thou hadst enjoined but lay neglected, and all the calamities we see about us are the issue.
Here are siege-works raised to reduce the city; sword and famine and pestilence are giving it over to the Chaldaeans for their prey; of all thou hast threatened thou seest here the fulfilment.
And now, Lord God, thou wouldst have me buy land, and call in witnesses of payment made; now, when this city lies at the mercy of the Chaldaeans!
Hereupon the word of the Lord came to Jeremias:
Am I not the Lord, the God of all that lives? How should any task be too difficult for me?
This is the divine sentence;✻ I mean to hand over this city to capture by the king of Babylon and his Chaldaeans; they shall take it by storm,
and set it alight, and burn all its houses to the ground; it was there, on the roof-tops, they sacrificed to Baal, and made offerings to alien gods in despite of me.
From their youth up, Israel and Juda have defied my will unceasingly; even now, says the Lord, their ill-doings are a provocation to me.
Anger and scorn this city of theirs has earned from me, nothing else, from the day they built it to this day when I purpose that it shall offend my sight no more;
so long have Israel and Juda defied my vengeance with the wrong they did, king and prince, priest and prophet, country-folk and citizens of Jerusalem;
always the back turned, never a glance my way, always the deaf ear, the warning unheeded, when I sent early to their doors to bring them to a better mind!
Have they not profaned that house which is the sanctuary of my name, by setting up their idols in it?
Have they not made hill-shrines for Baal in the valley of Ben-Ennom, and there initiated son and daughter with Moloch-rites that were never of my bidding? No thought was it of mine that they should do this foul deed, which has brought guilt on Juda.
What, then, of this city, doomed in your eyes to fall into the power of Babylon’s king, through sword and famine and pestilence? This is the message the Lord God of Israel sends to it:
I mean to gather its people again, scattered over so many lands by the vengeance my fierce anger brought; restore them to this place, and bid them dwell there contentedly.
They shall be my people, I their God;
one will they shall have, and journey by one way, living evermore in the fear of me, winning for themselves and for their sons a blessing.
An eternal covenant I will make with them, nor ever cease to speed them; inspire their hearts with the fear of me, that never swerves aside.
My welcome task it shall be to prosper them, and root their stock firmly in this land of theirs; this shall be all my love and liking.
Threat of mine and promise of mine, the Lord says, shall alike be fulfilled.
This country of yours a desert, man nor beast to dwell in it, given up to the power of Babylon? So your fears tell you; but there shall be buying of lands in it yet,
the price paid, the deed executed, the bond sealed, witnesses called in, all over Benjamin and round about Jerusalem, all through the cities of Juda, by hill and plain and the uplands of the south; I mean to bring the exiles home again, says the Lord.
The Holy Bible