The Holy Bible – Knox Translation
The Book of Ecclesiasticus
And now another prophet arose, Elias, a man of flame; blazed, like a fire-brand, his message.
This man it was brought down a famine to punish them, till few were left of the enemies that bore him a grudge, and found the Lord’s commandment too hard for them.
At the Lord’s word, he laid a ban on heaven itself, and three times brought fire down from it;
such was the fame of Elias’ miracles. Who else could boast, as thou,
of calling back the dead from the tomb, by the power of the Lord God, and to life restoring them;
of kings brought to ruin and all their power lightly shattered, proud kings, that might leave their sick-beds no more?
Sinai should tell thee, Horeb should tell thee, of award made, and doom pronounced;
kings thou shouldst anoint, to be the redressers of wrong, and prophets to come after thee;
then, amidst a flaming whirlwind, in a chariot drawn by horses of fire, thou wast taken up into heaven.
Of thee it was written that in time of judgement to come thou wouldst appease the divine anger, by reconciling heart of father to heart of son, and restore the tribes of Israel as they were.
Ah, blessed souls that saw thee, and were honoured with thy friendship!
We live only for a life-time; and when death comes, we shall have no such renown as thine.
In that whirlwind Elias was lost to view, bequeathing his spirit of prophecy in full measure to Eliseus. Here was a man that in all his life never held prince in awe, never made way for human greatness.
For him no task too difficult; was not his dead body prophetic still,
to prove him a wonder-worker in death, that in life was marvellous?
Yet the nation for whom all this was done would not amend, nor leave its sinning, until all the inhabitants of the land were driven out, and scattered through the world;
only that little kingdom remained that was ruled by the heirs of David,
and of these rulers, though some did God’s will, there were some that had sins a many to answer for.
Well did Ezechias fortify his city, and brought a running stream into the midst of it, breaking through the rock with tools of iron, and building a cistern for the water.
In his reign Sennacherib marched against the country, and sent Rabsaces to threaten it; Sion itself he threatened with attack, so proudly he trusted in his own strength.
Heart and hand were unnerved at his coming; worse anguish woman in labour never knew.
Yet they cried out upon God for pity, with hands outstretched heavenwards; and he, the holy One, he, the Lord God, was not slow to answer them.
Their sins he would remember no more; he would not leave them at the mercy of their enemies; by means of his holy prophet Isaias they should find release.
With that, the Lord’s angel fell on the camp of Assyria, and brought its armies to nothing.
So faithfully Ezechias did the Lord’s will, following boldly the example of his father, king David; so well he obeyed Isaias, a great prophet and a faithful interpreter of the vision the Lord gave him.
In Isaias’ days it was that the sun went back, in token that the royal life should be prolonged;
Isaias it was that saw things far distant, by the power of inspiration, and comforted mourning hearts in Sion.
Without end or limit future things he foretold, that still lay hidden in the womb of time.
The Holy Bible