The Holy Bible – Knox Translation
The Prophecy of Ezechiel
So the Lord’s word came to me,
Why then, son of man, towards Jerusalem turn thee, pour out thy complaint sanctuarywards, and let the land of Israel hear thee prophesy.
And this be thy message to the land of Israel: Have at thee! the Lord God says; here is my sword unsheathed to make an end of thy inhabitants, innocent souls and guilty.
In token that all alike must perish, northward and south alike, all the world over, my unsheathed sword must go on its errand;
drawn it is, plain for all the world to see, and there is no sheathing it.
And therewithal I would have thee groan, as men groan that have an aching in the loins, very piteously in the public view;
ask they the reason of it, thou wilt say, For ill tidings. Faint every heart shall be, when those tidings come, every hand shall hang listless; cowed every spirit shall be, every knee be weak as water. Those tidings are on the way, the Lord God says; there is no averting it.
Word came to me from the Lord:
Tell them, son of man, the Lord God has this message for thee to utter: Whetted the sword is, polished the sword is,
whetted for slaughter, polished to dazzle as lightning does. Never a tree but must fall at thy onset, woodman who art to overthrow the sceptre my son wields.✻
Polished, for the hand to grasp it well, the sharp sword, the bright sword, which the slayer must needs handle!
Cry aloud, son of man, and bewail thee, that on my people it must fall, and all the princes of Israel that are left; prince and people, doomed to perish by the sword; smite on thy thigh most dolorously.
A tried sword, the Lord God says, and when yonder sceptre it has overthrown, brought to nothing ….✻
Prophesy, then, son of man; smite hands together and call for a second stroke and a third of the avenging sword; a sword of massacre, that strikes men dumb,
turns their hearts faint, and lays all in ruin. Havoc wrought at every gate by the sharp sword, the sword polished till it shines again, wrapped about the hilts for more ease of smiting!
Sharp be thy blade; cut right, cut left, wherever thy lust beckons thee!
I too will smite hands together, telling the tale of my vengeance; I, the Lord, command thee.
Word came to me from the Lord:
And now, son of man, draw a picture. A picture of two roads, both leading from a common point, by which the sword of the Chaldaean king may travel. Here he is, planning his course at the sign-post, where two roads meet, a city at the end of either.
Draw the two roads, one beckoning that sword to Rabbath, where the Ammonites dwell, one to Juda, and Jerusalem the impregnable.
There stands the king of Babylon at the parting of the ways, taking omens; there is shuffling of arrows, consulting of deities, searching of entrails.
Choose he the right, it is for Jerusalem; the battering-rams, the breach made ere the slaughter can begin, the cries of battle, the assault on the gates, the mound, the siege-works.
Thy picture will shew him as a man baffled by the omens given him, that remains idle, as if he were keeping the sabbath rest.✻ Then he remembers the guilt; shall a guilty race go free?
Ay, says the Lord God, still fresh is the memory of that guilt; open rebels you are, and never a thought in your hearts but shews vile; capture awaits you, that revive those memories still.
And thou, perjured wretch that rulest Israel, thy time has run out;
off with head-band, off with crown, symbols that honour the base, the noble degrade!
I will wrest it this way, wrest it that, as it was never wrested yet;✻ at last one shall come that claims it of right, and to him I will give it.
Prophesy, son of man, and give a message from the Lord God to the men of Ammon, in answer to their taunts: Drawn be the sword, cried they,✻ whetted be the sword and bright for its work of slaying!
Nay, sword of Ammon, it was but a vain dream, a lying augury, that it should be thy office to fall on the necks of yonder doomed sinners, whose time has run out.
Back to thy sheath with thee, back to thy native soil; there, in the land where thou wast fashioned, I will call thee to account.
I mean to pour out my vengeance on thee, blast thee with the fire of my anger; barbarian foes shall have the mastery of thee, that are skilful only to destroy.
Fire shall feed on thee, earth run with thy blood, oblivion bury thy name; I, the Lord, have given sentence.
The Holy Bible