The Holy Bible – Knox Translation
The Prophecy of Jeremias
And here is the doom the Lord pronounced, with Jeremias for his spokesman, against Babylon and Chaldaea.
Tell it out, proclaim it for all the world to hear; set up a trophy, and cry the news, leave nothing untold! News of Babylon taken, and Bel thwarted, and Merodach overcome; all the idols put to shame, routed, all the false gods!
Here is a people on the march from the north country that shall attack Babylon and turn her land into a desert; man nor beast shall dwell there, all are fled and gone.
So the day shall dawn, the time be ripe at last, the Lord says, when Israel and Juda both together shall come back, weeping as they hasten on their journey to find the Lord their God.
For Sion every voice asking, every face towards Sion turned, they will come back, and bind themselves to the Lord by an eternal covenant, never to be forgotten.
My people, all this while, has been but a flock gone astray; their shepherds led them by false paths, and left them to roam the hill-side; hill and mountain-side they crossed, and their own resting-place lay forgotten.
None passed by but preyed on them; nor did the oppressor’s conscience smite him; had they not set the Lord at defiance, that Lord who was the home of their loyalty, the hope of their race?
Flee, Israel, from Babylon; from Chaldaea’s land be foremost to depart, like buck-goats that lead the way for their fellows.
See what a confederacy of great nations I am mustering, there in the north country, to besiege and take Babylon, death-dealing archers that never speed arrow in vain!
Chaldaea shall be a prize of war, the Lord says, and all her spoilers be content.
Ay, boast and brag, trample on my own domain, like calves at grass or bellowing bull!✻
Shame waits for the mother that bore you, her pride must be lowered in the dust; least regarded of all realms, a desert, pathless and parched!
Doomed, all of her, by the Lord’s vengeance to empty desolation; no passer-by but shall stand amazed at Babylon, or hiss derision at her sufferings.
To your posts, archers, around the walls of Babylon; shoot, never spare arrow; to the Lord her life is forfeit.
Now, raise the cry! Everywhere she is yielding; falls buttress and gapes wall, the Lord is avenged! Ay, take your fill of vengeance, pay her what she has earned.
Leave none in Babylon to sow the fields, or carry scythe in harvest-time; fled, each to his own, before the invader’s sword, fled, this way and that, to the countries of their birth.
Poor Israel, a flock so scattered! Lions have chased them away; first the Assyrian king would prey on them, and since then yonder Nabuchodonosor, of Babylon, has mangled their bones!
And now, says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, I mean to have a reckoning with the Babylonian king, and his realm, as once with Assyria.
And Israel I will restore to his home; Carmel and Basan shall be his pasture-ground again, hill-country of Ephraim and Galaad his hunger shall content.
When that day dawns, the Lord says, when the time is ripe for it, guilt shall be found in Israel no more, for the record of Juda’s sins you shall search in vain; the remnant which I leave shall win my pardon.
March on, the Lord says, into the land of tyranny, and call its citizens to account; bale and ban at their heels! All my command see thou execute.
Din of battle sounds through the land, and the crash of ruin;
rack and ruin everywhere! And this Babylon was once a hammer to smite the world; now it lies by all the world abandoned!
I laid a trap for thee, Babylon, and thou wast caught unawares; thy long defiance of the Lord has found thee out and overtaken thee at last.
Now the Lord opens his armoury, takes out from it the tools that shall wreak his vengeance; he, the Lord of hosts, has work for them to do in the country of the Chaldaeans.
From the furthest confines of the land draw near; open a way for the spoilers; pile up stones from the road in heaps; make an end of her, leave nothing to survive.✻
An end of all her warriors, to the slaughter-house with them! Woe betide them, their day has come, the time when they must meet their reckoning.
Listen to the buzz of voices, as the fugitives escaped from Babylon come back to Sion, spreading the news how the Lord has been avenged, how the Lord’s temple has been avenged.
Archers a many with bent bows, give them orders how the city must fare: Stand about in a ring, let never a man escape, pay it what its deeds have earned; to Babylon do as Babylon did to others, the city that was the Lord’s enemy, defied the holy One of Israel.
In her streets they lie slain, all the flower of her youth, all her brave warriors lie silent now, the Lord says.✻
Have at thee, says the Lord, the God of hosts; thy day has come, the time when thou must meet thy reckoning!
Stumbles the tyrant and falls, with none there to raise him; and in those cities of his I will kindle such a fire as shall consume all around it.
Thus says the Lord of hosts: Here is great wrong done to Israel and to Juda both; he that has them holds them fast, and let them go he will not.
Yet they have a strong champion that claims them as his own; his name is the Lord of hosts; right and redress he will bring them in such a fashion as will shake earth,✻ and make the homes of Babylon tremble.
The sword it must be, the Lord says, for the men of Chaldaea, for citizen of Babylon, and prince, and councillor;
the sword for their wise men, that shall be fools, and their brave men, that shall be cowards;
the sword for horse and chariot, the sword for all the mixed breed in it, that shall be weak as women, the sword for all their treasure-houses, that shall be given up to plunder.
And for their waters, not a sword, but drought to dry them up; is not this a land of idols, that loves to see portents befall?✻
It shall be a lair for serpents and strange monsters,✻ a haunt of the ostrich, but never again shall man dwell there; age after age, it shall never be rebuilt;
not more ruinously the Lord overthrew Sodom and Gomorrha and their neighbour cities, that lie uninhabited, far from the homes of men.✻
Here is a people marching from the north country, the Lord says, a great nation from the world’s end, and vassal kings a many.
Bow and shield they ply, and their hard hearts pity none; loud their battle-cry as the roaring of the sea. So they ride on, as warriors ride, poor Babylon, thy enemies.
Unnerved the king’s hands droop at the very rumour of it; grief overmasters him, sharp as the pangs of travail.✻
See how lion from the fens of Jordan sallies out against yonder protected fold! Not less sudden the alarm shall be; and the flock shall have a master of my own choosing. Match for me is none, there is none dare implead me, no rival shepherd may challenge a claim like mine!
Would you know what the Lord’s design is for Babylon, what plans he is devising against the realm of Chaldaea? Why, he says, it will need but an array of weaklings to dislodge them, pull their dwelling-place down about their ears!✻
Babylon has fallen; earth trembles at the sound of it; a great cry goes up for all the world to hear.
The Holy Bible