The Holy Bible – Knox Translation
The Prophecy of Ezechiel
And now, son of man, to the mountains of Israel address thy prophecy, and give them my divine message,
comforting them, in the name of the Lord God, for the taunts of the enemy, that think to claim possession of their ancient strongholds.
Thus shall thy word of prophecy begin: Desolate you lie, the Lord God says, and overrun by the invader; aliens have the lordship of you, and your name is on men’s lips, a byword of common talk.
Yet here is word for you, mountains of Israel, from the Lord God; word from him for crag and hill, ravine and valley and barren upland, ruined wall and deserted city, empty now and a mockery to their neighbours!
On Edom, on all the Gentiles that fell to and feasted on lands of mine, marked them down for pillage, my jealous love pronounces doom.
A promise, then, from the Lord God to every mountain and hill, every upland and valley in the land of Israel! Till now, the Lord God says, you have been put to the blush before your neighbours, but now my love and my indignation can contain itself no more.
My oath upon it, the Lord God says, these neighbours of yours shall be put to the blush in their turn.
But you, mountains of Israel, must burgeon anew, and grow fruit for my own people to enjoy; their home-coming is not far off now.
Watch for me, I am coming back to you; soil of you shall be ploughed and sown anew;
and men, too, shall thrive on it, Israel’s full muster-roll, peopling the cities, restoring the ruins.
Full tale you shall have of men and beasts that thrive and multiply; I will make you populous as of old, more than of old my blessings lavish, and you shall not doubt my power.
Masters you shall have, and those masters my people of Israel, your rightful lords; never shall they want lands or you lords again.
Till now, the Lord God says, men have called thee a land that starves folk and empties cradle;✻
henceforth, his will is that thou shouldst starve thy folk, bereave thy folk, no longer;
scoff and taunt of heathen neighbours thou wilt have none to bear, he says, nor lack men to till thee henceforward.
Son of man, how the race of Israel profaned this country of theirs, when they still dwelt in it, by their lives and their likings! Cast clouts of woman were less defiling.
What marvel if my vengeance was let loose on them for all the blood that stained it; all the idols that polluted it?
What marvel if I drove them out among the nations, scattered them wide as earth, as lives and likings of theirs had deserved?
But alas, wherever they went among the heathen, they brought my holy name into ill repute; These are the Lord’s people, folk said, and here they are, exiled from the land he loves!
Should I let my holy name go unhonoured, among the heathen that harboured them?
Give Israel, then, this message from the Lord God: It is not for your own sakes, men of Israel, that I come forward as your champion; it is for the sake of my holy name, brought into disrepute among the Gentiles who have crossed your path.
That great renown of mine I mean to vindicate, that is now dragged in the dust among the Gentiles, dragged in the dust because of you. The very Gentiles will recognize my power, the Lord God says, when I proclaim my majesty in their sight by delivering you.✻
I mean to set you free from the power of the Gentiles, bring you home again from every part of the earth.
And then I will pour cleansing streams over you, to purge you from every stain you bear, purge you from the taint of your idolatry.
I will give you a new heart, and breathe a new spirit into you; I will take away from your breasts those hearts that are hard as stone, and give you human hearts instead.
I will make my spirit penetrate you, so that you will follow in the path of my law, remember and carry out my decrees.
So shall you make your home in the land I promised to your fathers; you shall be my people, and I will be your God.
I will set you free from the guilt which stains you;✻ I will send my word to the harvest, and bid it come up abundantly, from dearth spare you;
yield of tree and crop of earth I will multiply, and the heathen shall taunt you no longer with your starving lot.
Well may you think with loathing of what you were, as your minds go back to false paths and crooked aims you once followed!
Be assured of it, the Lord God says, it was for no deserts of yours I delivered you; blush still, men of Israel, for your crimes, hang your heads still!
This too: A time is coming when I will set you free from the guilt which stains you; when I will people your cities, rebuild your ruins;
when the deserted land shall be tilled anew. Desolate the passers-by saw it once;
now they will say, Why, it is a very garden of Eden, the country-side which once lay all uncultivated; the empty towns, all gone to rack and ruin, are walled and populous!
And the heathen shall know, such heathen as are your neighbours still, that I, the Lord, rebuild ruin and plant wilderness; what the Lord promises, the Lord fulfils.
This boon, says the Lord God, Israel shall yet have of me, as a flock thrives their manhood shall thrive.
See how the victim-herd throngs the streets of Jerusalem on her feast-days! Yonder empty cities shall be thronged, too, but with men; the proof of my divine power.
The Holy Bible