The Holy Bible – Knox Translation
The Prophecy of Jeremias
Here follows the doom which the Lord pronounced to the prophet Jeremias against the nations of the world.
And first against Egypt, whose army stood at Charcamis, by the river Euphrates, under its king Pharao Nechao, and there was defeated by Nabuchodonosor king of Babylon, in the fourth year of Joachim’s reign over Juda, that was son to Josias.
Buckler, there, and shield; march we to battle!
Yoke steed, and, horsemen, mount; stand to your ranks, helmeted; scour lance, and don breastplate!
What means it? Here be cowards turning their backs, here be great warriors slain; pell-mell they flee, and never a glance behind; peril is all around, the Lord says.
For the swift no escape, for the strong no prevailing; there in the north, by Euphrates banks, they fail and fall!
Can it be a river that comes up in flood, eddies are these of a foaming torrent?
Like river in flood, like foaming torrent marches Egypt to battle, threatening to cover earth with its advance, drown city and citizen.
Ay, mount horse, dizzily reel the chariot; way there for the warriors, Ethiop and Libyan with their great shields, men of Lydia that ply bow and shoot arrow so well!
Alas, not yours the day; this day the Lord, the God of hosts, has chosen for his day of vengeance, when he will take toll of his enemies; fed and glutted his sword shall be, drink deep of men’s blood; here, on Euphrates banks, the Lord, the God of hosts, will claim his sacrifice.
Egypt, poor maid, to Galaad betake thee, to find balm for thy wounds! Salve after salve thou wilt try in vain; there is no healing thee.
Thy shame has come to all men’s ears, earth echoes with thy lament; warrior leaned upon warrior of thine for support, and they fell both together.
And thus the Lord prophesied to Jeremias the coming of Nabuchodonosor, king of Babylon, and his victory over Egypt.
Here is news for Egypt; cry it in Magdalus, wake the echoes of Memphis, in Taphnis tell it abroad! Stand to arms, make ready for battle; thy border countries have fallen a prey to the sword already!
Why have thy warriors melted away?✻ Stand they could not, when the Lord was minded to overthrow them.
Many he brought to earth; stumbled they, man over his fellow, crying out, Up, to men of our own race return we, to the land of our birth; escape we from the invader’s sword!✻
What name shall we give to Pharao? Call him, Din of Battle at Last.✻
By his own life he has sworn it, that King whose name is the Lord of hosts; Pharao’s conqueror is on the way, towering high as Thabor among the hills, as Carmel above the sea.
Poor maid of Egypt, an exile’s pack provide thee! A lonely wilderness Memphis shall be, where none may dwell henceforward.
Fitting emblem of Egypt, a heifer lithe and graceful; from the north a gad-fly✻ shall come to trouble her rest.
But those mercenaries of hers that went to and fro like bullocks full-fed, see how they have turned about and taken flight all at once, none ready to stand his ground! The day has come when they are marked down for slaughter; they shall be called to account at last.
Loud her voice shall rise above the clash of bronze,✻ now that the invader’s army draws near, pitiless as woodmen that go a-hewing;
forest is none so deep they shall not lay it bare, numberless as the locust-swarm.
Poor Egypt, all shame and confusion, prey of the northern folk!
The Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, has pronounced his doom: I mean to have a reckoning now with Ammon of Thebes,✻ with Pharao and Egypt, with all its gods and all its kings, with Pharao and all who trust in Pharao’s aid!
I mean to give them up into the hands of their mortal enemies, Nabuchodonosor king of Babylon and his vassals; then Egypt shall have rest, as Egypt did of old.
Have thou no fear, the Lord says, Jacob, that art my servant still; not for Israel is danger brewing. From that far country of exile I mean to restore thee, restore those children of thine; Jacob shall return, and live at ease, every blessing shall enjoy, and enemies have none to fear.
For thee no terrors, Jacob that art my servant, the Lord says; am I not at thy side? Of all the lands in which I have dispersed thee I will take full toll, but not of thee; I would but chastise thee with due measures kept, lest I should leave thee altogether acquitted.✻
The Holy Bible