The Holy Bible – Knox Translation
The Prophecy of Osee
God’s-folk and Befriended, these are the names they should have by rights, brother and sister of yours.
Blame her, blame your mother, that she is no true wife of mine, nor I any longer her Lord. Must she still flaunt the harlot’s face of her, the wantonness of her breasts?
Must I strip her, leave her naked as babe new-born, leave her desolate as the barren waste, the trackless desert, to die of thirst?
Those children of hers, must I needs leave them unpitied, the children of her shame?
Harlot mother of theirs brought reproach on the womb that bore them; Haste I away, she said, to those gallants of mine, the gods of whose gift bread comes to me, and water, wool and flax, oil and wine!
See if I do not hedge her way about with thorns, fence in her prospect, till way she can find none!
Then, it may be, when her gallants she courts in vain, searches for them in vain, she will have other thoughts: Back go I to the husband that was mine once; things were better with me in days gone by.
Yet I it was, did she but know it, that bread and wine and oil gave her, gave her all the silver and gold she squandered on Baal.
And now I mean to revoke the gift; no harvest for her, no vintage; I will give wool and flax a holiday, that once laboured to cover her shame;
no gallant of hers but shall see and mock at it; such is my will, and none shall thwart me.
Gone the days of rejoicing, the days of solemnity; gone is new moon, and sabbath, and festival;
vine and fig-tree blighted, whose fruit, she told herself, was but the hire those lovers paid; all shall be woodland, for the wild beasts to ravage as they will.
Penance she must do for that hey-day of idolatry, when the incense smoked, and out she went, all rings and necklaces, to meet her lovers, the gods of the country-side, and for me, the Lord says, never a thought!
It is but love’s stratagem, thus to lead her out into the wilderness; once there, it shall be all words of comfort.
Clad in vineyards that wilderness shall be, that vale of sad memory✻ a passage-way of hope; and a song shall be on her lips, the very music of her youth, when I rescued her from Egypt long ago.
Husband she calls me now, the Lord says, Master no longer;
that name I stifle on her lips; master-gods of the country-side must all be forgotten.✻
Beast and bird and creeping thing to peace pledge I; bow and sword and war’s alarms break I; all shall sleep safe abed, the folk that dwell in her.
Everlastingly I will betroth thee to myself, favour and redress and mercy of mine thy dowry;
by the keeping of his troth thou shalt learn to know the Lord.
When that day comes, heaven shall win answer, the Lord says, answer from me; and from heaven, earth;
and from earth, the corn and wine and oil it nourishes; and from these, the people of my sowing.✻
Deep, deep I will sow them in the land I love; a friend, now, to her that was Unbefriended;
to a people that was none of mine I will say, Thou art my people, and they to me, Thou art my God.
The Holy Bible