The Holy Bible – Knox Translation
The Prophecy of Osee
Listen, sons of Israel, to a message from the Lord, notice of a suit he prefers against all that dwell in this land of yours; a land where loyalty, and tenderness of heart, and knowledge of God is none.
Curse they and lie, murder they and steal and live adulterously, till there is no checking it; never feud ends but another feud begins.
What wonder the land lies widowed, and its folk dwindle; gone, beast and bird, and the sea-beach piled high with fish?
Nay, let us have no recriminations between man and man; so should this people of thine fall to railing at their priests!
Ruin for thee, sir priest, this day, and, come night, the prophet shall share thy ruin;✻ name of the mother that bore thee shall perish,
as, through thy fault, this people of mine perishes for want of knowledge. Knowledge wouldst thou spurn, and shall not I spurn thy priesthood; my law wouldst thou forget, and shall race of thine be spared oblivion?
Priests a many, and sins to match their number; shall that title bring glory any longer, and not reproach?
Fault if Israel committed, guilt if Israel incurred, it was but the meat and drink such priests craved for.✻
Priest, now, shall fare no better than people; he shall pay for his ill living, reap what his false aims deserve;
greed, that remained still unsated, wantonness, that could never have enough. Ah, faithless guardians, that you should play your Lord false!✻
That dalliance, and wine, and revelry, should so steal away your wits!
And what of my people? See where they have recourse to tree-stump or senseless wand, for an answer to their perplexities! Lust for strange worship swept them away, made them false to their troth with God;
on mountain and hill-side, grateful for leafy shade of oak, poplar or terebinth, they slay the victim, and burn incense. What wonder daughters should turn harlot, wives play the wanton?
Harlot daughter and adulterous wife shall go unpunished; what did father and husband, but keep harlots’ company, share revel with consecrated minions? Want wit, be sure a people is ruined.
Wanton though Israel be, at least let Juda shun the wrong; not for them the way that leads to Galgal, Bethaven’s pilgrimage, or the oath taken by the living God …✻
Stubborn as frisking heifer, Israel turns away the head; would you have the Lord feed him, like a cade lamb, unconfined?
Wedded to idols, this Ephraim; go his own way he must;
here be revellers that will keep their own company, here be idolaters in grain, and princes that dote still on their own disgrace.
Ay, but a storm is coming that shall carry them away on its wings, to rue the unavailing sacrifice.✻
The Holy Bible