The Holy Bible – Knox Translation
The Prophecy of Jeremias
Here is a message that was sent through Jeremias to all the Jews living in Egypt, whether in Magdalus or Taphnis or Memphis or the Phatures country:
Thus says the Lord, the God of hosts: You have seen for yourselves what calamity I brought on Jerusalem and the cities of Juda, how this day they are empty of inhabitants.
By their own guilt they earned it, when they defied my vengeance, courting the sacrifices and the worship of alien gods they had never known till then, they and you and your fathers alike.
Early to your doors I sent those prophets that were servants of mine, bidding you leave off such foul doings of yours, doings most hateful to me;
but heed and hearing they gave me none, still went astray, to alien gods still made sacrifice.
At last my angry vengeance blazed up, and lit such a fire in the townships of Juda, in the streets of Jerusalem, as has left them, this day, a barren wilderness.
And now, says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, what of yourselves? Would you fasten a noose round your own necks, court death for man and woman, child and weanling, till remnant of Juda there is none?
For rivals must I have images of your own making? Will you sacrifice to gods not yours, there in Egypt? Why would you take refuge there, to your own undoing, to be a name all the world should curse by and revile?
Have you forgotten them, ill deeds done in your fathers’ days by king and queen, by man and wife, throughout Juda and the streets of Jerusalem?
Alas, to this day there is no amending; no dread of me, no living by the divine law, by the rule I held up for a pattern to you and to your fathers!
Thus, then he threatens you, he, the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel: It is my frown you shall see henceforward; the whole of Juda shall be cut away.
The remnant that looked to find a refuge in Egypt, in Egypt shall perish, sword and famine their undoing, sword and famine for all of them, high and low. Theirs shall be a name of execration and of wonder, a name to curse by and to revile.
Sword, famine and pestilence, so I called Jerusalem to account, and so I will call Egypt to account;
for those Jewish survivors that have taken refuge in Egypt there is no escaping with their lives, no returning to Juda, home of their eager desire; only fugitives shall return.
Jeremias did not go unanswered; there were men there who knew well their wives made offering to alien gods; of the women themselves, many were standing by. They had but one thought, all these exiles that were making their home at Phatures in Egypt;
Ay, so the Lord bids thee tell us, but we will have none of it.
Sworn we are, and by that oath we mean to stand, that we will do sacrifice to the queen of heaven, and make offering of cakes to her, as we ever did, we and our fathers, kings and rulers of ours, in the townships of Juda and in Jerusalem streets; bread we had in those days to our heart’s content, and all went well with us; bad times we never saw.
It is only since we left off doing sacrifice to the queen of heaven, and paid tribute of cakes no more, that all is woe and want, sword wasting us and famine.
Sacrifice when we women make to the queen of heaven, and pour libation to her, be sure our men-folk know in whose honour cake is made, and wine is poured!
But Jeremias turned upon them all, men and women alike, all that had given him his answer.
Nay, said he, when you did sacrifice all through Juda and in Jerusalem streets, and your fathers before you, king and noble and plain citizen, be sure the Lord was heeding you, and marked it well.
It was when the Lord could bear no longer with false aims and foul deeds of yours, that your land became a wilderness, a thing of wonder, a name to curse by, a land empty of inhabitants, as it is this day.
It was because you sacrificed, in the Lord’s despite, to false gods, because you would not obey him, would not follow law and decree and ordinance of his, that all the calamity of these times has come upon you.
This, too, Jeremias said to the crowd about him, and to their women-folk besides: Jews of Egypt, listen to the message he sends you,
he, the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel. So you will be as good as your word; sacrifice and libation you have vowed to the queen of heaven, and must pay it; all is accomplished, will has turned into act!
Then listen, Jews of Egypt, to the doom which the Lord pronounces: By the honour of my own name I have sworn it, the Lord says, never Jew shall be heard more taking his oath by the living God, in all this land of Egypt!
For woe, not for weal, these eyes of mine shall watch over them, till sword and famine have done their work, and Jew in Egypt is none.
To Juda from Egypt they shall return, such few as have escaped the sword’s point, and the remnant that took refuge here shall learn to their cost whose prophecy was fulfilled, theirs or mine.
Here is a sign I mean to give you, the Lord says, here in this land, in proof that my threats shall be accomplished.
Thus says the Lord: I, that gave up Sedecias of Juda to Nabuchodonosor, his mortal enemy, will give up to his mortal enemies yonder Ephree,✻ that is now Pharao in Egypt.
The Holy Bible