The Holy Bible – Knox Translation
The Prophecy of Jeremias
Not more indelible were the guilt of Juda, if pen of steel or point of diamond had graven it with their hearts for tablet, or upon the rim of their altars;
indelible, while there are sons of theirs to remember where altar stood once and sacred tree, shrine in the thick forest, shrine on the high hills;
to offer sacrifice even yet in the open country-side. All the riches and treasures of thy land shall be destroyed, all its hill-shrines,✻ in punishment for all its guilt.
Lost to thee, the home that once I gave thee; in a land thou knowest not thou shalt be the slave of thy enemies; the fire of anger thou hast kindled in me can never be quenched.
Cursed shall he be, the Lord says, that puts his trust in man, and will have flesh and blood to aid him, his thoughts far from God.
Never shall the sight of better times greet him; forlorn as some bush of tamarisk out in the desert, he dwells in a parched waste, the salt plains for all his company.
Blessed shall he be that puts his trust in the Lord, makes the Lord his refuge.
Not more favoured is tree planted by the water’s edge, that pushes out its roots to catch the moisture, and defies the summer heat; its green leaves careless of the drought, its fruit unfailing.
There is no riddle like the twists of the heart; who shall master them?✻
Who but I, the Lord, that can see into man’s heart, and read his inmost thoughts, to every life awarding what its doings have earned?
Partridge that fosters a brood not its own is fit emblem for the man that wins riches unjustly; when life is but half done, he must take leave of them, a fool to the last.
Where from the first supreme majesty sits enthroned, there lies our sanctuary;
thou, Lord, art Israel’s hope; the men who forsake thee will be disappointed, the men who swerve from thy paths will be names written in sand; have they not forsaken that Lord who is the fountain of living water?
If I am to be healed, it is thou, Lord, must heal me; if I am to find deliverance, it is thou must deliver me; thou art all my boast.
What has become of the Lord’s threat? (so men taunt me), we are waiting to see it accomplished!
But this was no hasty word of mine, I did but lead where thou leddest; it was no wish of mine that calamity should befall mankind;✻ no word I uttered but had the warrant of thy scrutiny.
Not for me thy terrors; the day of affliction is coming, but I shall find refuge in thee.
They must be abashed, and I vindicated; they must cower, while I stand confident. It is on them the day of affliction will fall; reward them, then, with twofold hurt for the hurt they did.
The Lord bade me go and take my stand at the People’s Gate, where the kings of Juda passed to and fro; and then, in turn, at the other gates of Jerusalem.
This was to be my message from the Lord to king and people of Juda, to every citizen of Jerusalem that used those gates:
No more, on peril of your lives, shoulder those packs of yours and carry them through Jerusalem gates on the sabbath day.
Never a load must leave your houses, nor any work be done, on the sabbath; this was the command I gave to your fathers,
only they would not listen or pay heed, chafed under the yoke of discipline and refused to obey me.
And you, the Lord says, will you obey? Rid these gateways of their sabbath burdens, keep the sabbath holy by resting from work,
and your kings and princes, David’s own heirs, shall still go riding through them, with horses and chariots, with their retinue of nobles, with the men of Juda and Jerusalem’s citizens in their train. Evermore your city shall be populous;
from the townships of Juda, from your own country-side, from Benjamin, from plain and hill and the waste lands of the south, men shall come with burnt-sacrifice and victim and bloodless offering and incense to enrich the Lord’s temple.
Refuse to keep the sabbath holy, profane it with burdens borne and burdens admitted through the gates, and I will set those gates in a blaze that shall burn down all Jerusalem ere you can quench it.
The Holy Bible