The Holy Bible – Knox Translation
The Prophecy of Jeremias
A message came from the Lord to Jeremias,
bidding him take his stand at the temple gate, and there proclaim aloud: Listen to this word of the Lord, men of Juda, that make your way in through these gates to worship him.
Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, Amend your lives and your likings, if you would have me dwell here among you.
Trust never in the false assurances that proclaim this place The Lord’s temple, The Lord’s temple, The Lord’s temple.✻
Will you but amend your lives and your likings, giving one man redress against another,
not oppressing the alien, the orphan, the widow, nor in these precincts putting innocent men to death, nor courting, to your ruin, the gods of other nations,
then indeed I will make my dwelling here among you, in the land which was my gift to your fathers from the beginning to the end of time.
You put your trust in flattering hopes, which can nothing avail you;
theft, murder, adultery, the false oath, libations to Baal, the courting of alien gods that are no gods of yours, nothing comes amiss,
if only you can come and stand in my presence, here in this house, the shrine of my name, and tell yourselves you have made amends for all these your detestable doings!
What, does this house, the shrine of such a name, count for no more than a den of thieves, in eyes like yours? Think you, the Lord says, that eternal God has no eyes to see it?✻
Go and visit that sanctuary of mine at Silo, where of old my power rested; look well, what havoc I have made of it, to punish the misdeeds of Israel, that was my people too.
Because of so much done amiss, the Lord says; because you would not listen when I cried early at your doors, or answer any call of mine;
this house, shrine of my name and centre of your hopes, this home I gave to you and to your fathers, shall fare as Silo fared.
All those brethren of yours, the whole stock of Ephraim, I banished from my presence, and you shall be banished in your turn.
Nor do thou, Jeremias,✻ think to plead for this people of mine, or take up in their name the burden of praise and prayer; thwart my will, thou shalt have no hearing.
Canst thou not see for thyself what ill deeds are done in the townships of Juda, in the very streets of Jerusalem?
See the children gathering sticks, the father lighting a fire, the mother kneading dough, and all to make cakes for the queen of heaven! See how they offer libation to alien gods, to despite me!
Yet not to me they do despite, the Lord says, rather to themselves; every hope of theirs shall fail them.
This warning, then, the Lord God sends them: Fury and indignation of mine are brewing against this place, man and beast, woodland tree and growing crop; and when that fire is lit, there shall be no quenching it.
A message from the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel: No more be at pains to distinguish between burnt-sacrifice and offering; use for your own eating the flesh of all alike!
Burnt-sacrifices, offerings, not of these was my theme when I gave commandments to your fathers at the time of their deliverance from Egypt;✻
my word of command to them was, Obey my bidding, if I am to be your God, you my people; follow the path I have marked out for you, as you hope to prosper.
And did they listen? Hearing they gave me none; their own whim, the false aim of their corrupt hearts was all the rule they lived by; still turned their backs on me, and refused to look my way;
so it has been since your fathers left Egypt, so it is yet. No day dawned but I was at work betimes, sending my servants to prophesy to them,
but still they would not listen, still hearing they gave me none; stubborn under my yoke, they outdid their own fathers in wickedness.
All this thou shalt say to them, but they will not listen to thee; thy call shall go unheeded.
Then tell them, Here is a people who will not listen to the voice of their own God, or accept reproof from him; loyalty is dead, the word is on their lips no more.
Cut off, Jerusalem,✻ those locks of thine, and cast them away from thee; loud let the hills echo with thy lament; on a guilty age, the Lord has pronounced sentence of banishment and rejection.
The men of Juda have defied my will, the Lord says; foul idols they have set up in the house that is the sanctuary of my name, and utterly profaned it;
in the valley of Ben-Ennom stands the hill-shrine of Topheth, where they sacrifice their own sons and daughters in the furnace, a rite not of my bidding, not of my imagining.
And now, the Lord says, a time is coming when no more will be heard of Topheth or Ben-Ennom; it will be called The Valley of the Slain; men will be finding room for their dead in Topheth, because other burying-ground is none.
Nay, Juda shall be carrion for birds that fly in air, for beasts that roam the earth; and never a man left to drive them away.
In the townships of Juda, in the streets of Jerusalem, cries of joy and mirth shall be heard no more, voice of bridegroom and of bride shall be heard no more; the whole land will have turned into a wilderness.
The Holy Bible