The Holy Bible – Knox Translation
The Prophecy of Jeremias
Here is a message which came from the Lord to Jeremias
about the covenant: Listen well to the terms of it, and be the spokesmen of it to all the race of Juda, all the citizens of Jerusalem.✻
This warning thou shalt give them from the Lord God of Israel: Cursed be the man who will not obey the terms of this covenant,
the commandment which I enjoined on your fathers when I rescued them from Egypt’s furnace of iron. Give heed to my call, I told them, and do as I bid you; then you shall be my people, and I will be your God.
So would I fulfil the promise made on oath to their fathers before them; the promise of a land all milk and honey, that land which is yours to-day.
So be it, Lord, said I;
So be it, Lord, said I;
and he bade me cry the message aloud all through the townships of Juda, all through the streets of Jerusalem: Listen to the terms of this covenant, and keep them well;
ever since I rescued them from Egypt I have been adjuring those fathers of yours, day in, day out, to listen to me,
and listen they would not. No hearing would they give me, but went each his own way, perverse as ever, till at last I must carry out the threats contained in this covenant, still proclaimed and still defied.
Why, the Lord said to me, here is a conspiracy among Juda’s folk, Jerusalem’s folk!
They have gone back to the old guilty ways of their rebellious fathers; they in their turn have betaken themselves to the worship of alien gods; my immemorial covenant with Israel and Juda is void; they have rescinded it!
And now, the Lord says, I mean to visit them with punishment inevitable, punishment inexorable;
let Juda and Jerusalem have recourse, if they will, to the gods they honour with their sacrifices, it will avail them nothing in their distress.
No township of thine, Juda, but must have its own deity, no street in Jerusalem but thou wouldst set up there altars abominable, where sacrifice is offered to the gods of the country-side!
Nor do thou, Jeremias, think to intercede for this people of mine, or take up in their name the burden of praise and prayer; when they cry to me in their distress, hearing they shall have none.
A people so well beloved, that so haunts my house, yet stained with crime! What, dost thou think the consecrated flesh will avail to rid thee of thy wanton guilt?✻
An olive-tree, sturdy and fair and fruitful, so it was the Lord loved to think of thee; and now, at the sound of his majestic voice,✻ fire breaks out in it, and all those shoots are burned away.
Yes, it is the Lord of hosts, who once planted thee, that has now decreed the undoing of Israel and Juda, undoing for their own ill-doing, when they sacrificed to the gods of the country-side in defiance of me.
Thou, Lord, didst make it all known to me past doubt, warning me beforehand of their devices.
Hitherto, I had been unsuspecting as a cade lamb that is led off to the slaughter-house; I knew nothing of the plots they were hatching against me, as they whispered, Let us give him a taste of the gallows-tree;✻ let us rid the world of him, so that his very name will be forgotten!
But thou, Lord of hosts, true judge that canst read the inmost thoughts of man’s heart, let me live to see thee punish them; to thee I have made my plea known.
And now the Lord has a word for yonder men of Anathoth, who conspired to kill me, and would have stopped me prophesying in the Lord’s name, on pain of my life.
I will call them to account for it, says the Lord of hosts; by the sword their warriors shall perish, and their sons and daughters by famine.
None shall be left; woe betide the men of Anathoth, when the year comes for my reckoning with them.
The Holy Bible