The Holy Bible – Knox Translation
The Prophecy of Jeremias
The Lord’s word came to me:
With such a land for thy dwelling-place, neither wive nor gender;
for sons and daughters born in this land, for mothers who there gave them birth and fathers who begot them, the Lord has ill news to hear.
Die they of the plague, they shall lie like dung on the ground, unwept, unburied; meet they their end by sword or famine, birds in air and beasts that roam the earth shall prey on the carrion of them.
Where they hold wake for the dead, such is the Lord’s bidding, never enter thou, condole and console thou never; friendship of mine this people shall never have, nor grace, nor mercy, the Lord says.
Die rich, die poor in that country of theirs, burial and wake they shall have none; never a limb gashed or a head shaved to honour them;
none shall break bread with the mourner, nor give him a draught of wine for his comfort, though father or mother he bewail.
Nor enter thou where men feast, to sit at meat and drink with them;
this doom he utters, the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel: You shall live to see the day when cries of joy and mirth, voice of bridegroom and of bride, in this land are heard no more.
This warning uttered, if they ask thee why the divine sentence is so stern, wherein their guilt lies, what wrong they have done to the Lord their God,
tell them this in his name: It is because your fathers have forsaken me, had recourse to alien gods, and submitted to the worship of them, my claim renounced, my laws defied.
And you have out-done your fathers in malice, each of you following the ill bent of his own heart, and disobeying me.
Exiles far from home, in a land neither you nor those fathers of yours ever saw, you shall spend day and night in the service of alien gods, without respite.
(Ay, the Lord says, a time is coming when the living Lord men swear by will no longer be the God who rescued Israel from Egypt;
the living God will be one who has rescued Israel from the north country, and all the places of exile that are now designed for you, restoring them to the home which was once his gift to their fathers.✻ )
Many fishermen I have, the Lord says, to spread the nets for them; and after that many huntsmen, to hunt them down among mountains and hill-sides and rocky caverns.
Good watch I keep on their doings, never lose sight of them; no guilt of theirs can escape my scrutiny.
Twice over they shall pay for guilt of theirs, misdoing of theirs, the men that have profaned my own land with dead idols, spread pollution through all my domain.
Strength and stronghold, Lord, refuge in time of peril, shall not the Gentiles themselves come to thee from the ends of the earth, confessing that all their patrimony is but a heritage of lies, that their idols cannot avail them?
Shall men make gods for themselves, that gods in truth are none?
Ay, it is the very lesson I mean to teach them now; that I act, and act with power; they shall learn to know the Lord’s name at last.
The Holy Bible