The Holy Bible – Knox Translation
The Prophecy of Ezechiel
Word came to me from the Lord:
A riddle, son of man, a parable for the men of Israel to interpret!
This shall be thy message from the Lord God: A great eagle there was, strong of wing, long of limb; thick and gay his plumage. And this eagle flew to Lebanon, where he robbed cedar of cedar’s very pith;
tore away its crown of leaves and carried it off to Merchant-land,✻ set it down in Traffic City.
Then back he flew to that same country, chose out both seed and seed-ground there; it was on a level lawn by a brimming stream he planted it.
When the plant grew, it proved to be a spreading vine, low of stature, and ever branch curled inwards and root struck downwards, yet vine it was, with sprig that burgeoned, shoot that sprang.
But now, here is a second eagle comes in sight, another great eagle, strong of wing, thick-plumed; and it seems as if the vine, in the garden where it grows, were stretching out its roots, waving its tendrils, to ask this second eagle for water instead.
What, when it was planted in ground so fair, by waters so abundant, with such promise of leaf and fruit, a vine so destined to greatness!
Will any good come of this? asks the Lord God. Nay, roots shall be plucked up, fruit ravaged, branches left to wither; fade it must, nor is it like to need great strength or many hands for its unearthing.
Take root is not thrive; rich soil or none, when the sirocco parches it, the vine must wither.
Then the Lord’s word came to me,
bidding me ask the rebel brood, Were they at a loss for the meaning of it? This tells how Nabuchodonosor came to Jerusalem, carried off the king and princes and took them away to Babylon;
yet spared a prince of the blood royal, making a treaty with him and exacting an oath of allegiance. All the flower of the citizens he carried away;
the kingdom should be submissive henceforward, and rebel no more, should keep troth with him loyally.✻
Straightway the new king revolted from Nabuchodonosor, and sent envoys to Egypt, asking for horses, asking for the despatch of a great army in his support. Speeds he, finds he deliverance? Should broken faith avail him?
As I am a living God, the Lord says, Babylon that made a king of him, Babylon that trusted in his false oath of allegiance, shall be the place of his death.
Nor think that his enemy✻ will need great strength, a great muster of men, to overcome him, mound here, trench there, and the loss of many lives;
for the man that did so ill, held his faith a light thing and broke the bond he had set his hand to, there is no escape.
This doom the Lord pronounces: As I am a living God, false troth and broken treaty shall be the undoing of him!
My net is spread; I have him in the noose; Babylon for him! There I will call him to account for the dishonour he has done to my name by his treachery;
and all that escape with him, nay, his whole army, must fall by the sword, or survive scattered to the four winds; you shall learn what manner of God you worship.
And here is a message from the Lord God: Pith of the tall cedar I will take and set it firm, young branch from its crest of branches I will snap off, and plant it on a mountain that stands high above the rest.
High in the hill-country of Israel I will plant it, and there it shall grow into a great cedar-tree; no bird on the wing but shall find rest under its shade, nestle among its branches;
till all the forest learns its lesson, that I, the Lord, bring high tree low, raise low tree high, wither the burgeoning trunk, give life to the barren. What the Lord promises, the Lord fulfils.
The Holy Bible