M U P E L H N E A E K R M E S E T I N E N
[Footnote 2: Daniel reads down, up, down: instead of across.]
This is the interpretation of the thing:
God hath NUMBERED thy kingdom: And brought it to an end!
Thou art WEIGHED in the balances: And art found wanting!
Thy kingdom is DIVIDED: And given to the Medes and Persians!
Then commanded Belshazzar, and they clothed Daniel with purple, and put a chain of gold about his neck, and made proclamation concerning him, that he should rule as one of three in the kingdom. In that night Belshazzar the Chaldean king was slain. And Darius the Mede received the kingdom, being about threescore and two years old.
THE ORATION OF MOSES
AT THE REHEARSAL OF THE BLESSING AND THE CURSE
And it shall come to pass, if thou shalt hearken diligently unto the voice of the LORD thy God, to observe to do all his commandments which I command thee this day, that the LORD thy God will set thee on high above all the nations of the earth: and all these blessings shall come upon thee, and overtake thee, if thou shalt hearken unto the voice of the LORD thy God. Blessed shalt thou be in the city, and blessed shalt thou be in the field. Blessed shall be the fruit of thy body, and the fruit of thy ground, and the fruit of thy cattle, the increase of thy kine, and the young of thy flock. Blessed shall be thy basket and thy kneadingtrough. Blessed shalt thou be when thou comest in, and blessed shalt thou be when thou goest out. The LORD shall cause thine enemies that rise up against thee to be smitten before thee: they shall come out against thee one way, and shall flee before thee seven ways. The LORD shall command the blessing upon thee in thy barns, and in all that thou puttest thine hand unto; and he shall bless thee in the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee. The LORD shall establish thee for an holy people unto himself, as he hath sworn unto thee; if thou shalt keep the commandments of the LORD thy God, and walk in his ways. And all the peoples of the earth shall see that thou art called by the name of the LORD; and they shall be afraid of thee. And the LORD shall make thee plenteous for good, in the fruit of thy body, and in the fruit of thy cattle, and in the fruit of thy ground, in the land which the LORD sware unto thy fathers to give thee. The LORD shall open unto thee his good treasury the heaven to give the rain of thy land in its season, and to bless all the work of thine hand: and thou shalt lend unto many nations, and thou shalt not borrow. And the LORD shall make thee the head, and not the tail; and thou shalt be above only, and thou shalt not be beneath; if thou shalt hearken unto the commandments of the LORD thy God, which I command thee this day, to observe and to do them; and shalt not turn aside from any of the words which I command you this day, to the right hand, or to the left, to go after other gods to serve them.
But it shall come to pass, if thou wilt not hearken unto the voice of the LORD thy God, to observe to do all his commandments and his statutes which I command thee this day; that all these curses shall come upon thee, and overtake thee. Cursed shalt thou be in the city, and cursed shalt thou be in the field. Cursed shall be thy basket and thy kneadingtrough. Cursed shall be the fruit of thy body, and the fruit of thy ground, the increase of thy kine, and the young of thy flock. Cursed shalt thou be when thou comest in, and cursed shalt thou be when thou goest out. The LORD shall send upon thee cursing, discomfiture, and rebuke, in all that thou puttest thine hand unto for to do, until thou be destroyed, and until thou perish quickly; because of the evil of thy doings, whereby thou hast forsaken me. The LORD shall make the pestilence cleave unto thee, until he have consumed thee from off the land, whither thou goest in to possess it. The LORD shall smite thee with consumption, and with fever, and with inflammation, and with fiery heat, and with the sword, and with blasting, and with mildew; and they shall pursue thee until thou perish. And thy heaven that is over thy head shall be brass, and the earth that is under thee shall be iron. The LORD shall make the rain of thy land powder and dust: from heaven shall it come down upon thee, until thou be destroyed. The LORD shall cause thee to be smitten before thine enemies: thou shalt go out one way against them, and shalt flee seven ways before them: and thou shalt be tossed to and fro among all the kingdoms of the earth. And thy carcase shall be meat unto all fowls of the air, and unto the beasts of the earth, and there shall be none to fray them away. The LORD shall smite thee with the boil of Egypt, and with the emerods, and with the scurvy, and with the itch, whereof thou canst not be healed. The LORD shall smite thee with madness, and with blindness, and with astonishment of heart: and thou shalt grope at noonday, as the blind gropeth in darkness, and thou shalt not prosper in thy ways: and thou shalt be only oppressed and spoiled alway, and there shall be none to save thee. Thou shalt betroth a wife, and another man shall lie with her: thou shalt build an house, and thou shalt not dwell therein: thou shalt plant a vineyard, and shalt not use the fruit thereof. Thine ox shall be slain before thine eyes, and thou shalt not eat thereof: thine ass shalt be violently taken away from before thy face, and shall not be restored to thee: thy sheep shall be given unto thine enemies, and thou shalt have none to save thee. Thy sons and thy daughters shall be given unto another people, and thine eyes shall look, and fail with longing for them all the day: and there shall be nought in the power of thine hand. The fruit of thy ground, and all thy labours, shall a nation which thou knowest not eat up; and thou shalt be only oppressed and crushed alway: so that thou shalt be mad for the sight of thine eyes which thou shalt see. The LORD shall smite thee in the knees, and in the legs, with a sore boil, whereof thou canst not be healed, from the sole of thy foot unto the crown of thy head. The LORD shall bring thee, and thy king which thou shalt set over thee, unto a nation which thou hast not known, thou nor thy fathers; and there shalt thou serve other gods, wood and stone. And thou shalt become an astonishment, a proverb, and a byword, among all the peoples whither the LORD shall lead thee away. Thou shalt carry much seed out into the field, and shalt gather little in; for the locust shall consume it. Thou shalt plant vineyards and dress them, but thou shalt neither drink of the wine, nor gather the grapes; for the worm shall eat them. Thou shalt have olive trees throughout all thy borders, but thou shalt not anoint thyself with the oil; for thine olive shall cast its fruit. Thou shalt beget sons and daughters, but they shall not be thine; for they shall go into captivity. All thy trees and the fruit of thy ground shall the locust possess. The stranger that is in the midst of thee shall mount up above thee higher and higher; and thou shalt come down lower and lower. He shall lend to thee, and thou shalt not lend to him: he shall be the head, and thou shalt be the tail.
And all these curses shall come upon thee, and shall pursue thee, and overtake thee, till thou be destroyed; because thou hearkenedst not unto the voice of the LORD thy God, to keep his commandments and his statutes which he commanded thee: and they shall be upon thee for a sign, and for a wonder, and upon thy seed for ever. Because thou servedst not the LORD thy God with joyfulness, and with gladness of heart, by reason of the abundance of all things: therefore shalt thou serve thine enemies which the LORD shall send against thee, in hunger, and in thirst, and in nakedness, and in want of all things: and he shall put a yoke of iron upon thy neck, until he have destroyed thee. The LORD shall bring a nation against thee from far, from the end of the earth, as the eagle flieth; a nation whose tongue thou shalt not understand; a nation of fierce countenance, which shall not regard the person of the old, nor shew favour to the young: and he shall eat the fruit of thy cattle, and the fruit of thy ground, until thou be destroyed: which also shall not leave thee corn, wine, or oil, the increase of thy kine, or the young of thy flock, until he have caused thee to perish. And he shall besiege thee in all thy gates, until thy high and fenced walls come down, wherein thou trustedst, throughout all thy land: and he shall besiege thee in all thy gates throughout all thy land, which the LORD thy God hath given thee. And thou shalt eat the fruit of thine own body, the flesh of thy sons and of thy daughters which the LORD thy God hath given thee; in the siege and in the straitness, wherewith thine enemies shall straiten thee. The man that is tender among you, and very delicate, his eye shall be evil toward his brother, and toward the wife of his bosom, and toward the remnant of his children which he hath remaining: so that he will not give to any of them of the flesh of his children whom he shall eat, because he hath nothing left him; in the siege and in the straitness, wherewith thine enemy shall straiten thee in all thy gates. The tender and delicate woman among you, which would not adventure to set the sole of her foot upon the ground for delicateness and tenderness, her eye shall be evil toward the husband of her bosom, and toward her son, and toward her daughter; and toward her young one that cometh out from between her feet, and toward her children which she shall bear; for she shall eat them for want of all things secretly: in the siege and in the straitness, wherewith thine enemy shall straiten thee in thy gates.
If thou wilt not observe to do all the words of this law that are written in this book, that thou mayest fear this glorious and fearful name, THE LORD THY GOD; then the LORD will make thy plagues wonderful, and the plagues of thy seed, even great plagues, and of long continuance, and sore sicknesses, and of long continuance. And he will bring upon thee again all the diseases of Egypt, which thou wast afraid of; and they shall cleave unto thee. Also every sickness, and every plague, which is not written in the book of this law, them will the LORD bring upon thee until thou be destroyed. And ye shall be left few in number, whereas ye were as the stars of heaven for multitude; because thou didst not hearken unto the voice of the LORD thy God. And it shall come to pass, that as the LORD rejoiced over you to do you good, and to multiply you; so the LORD will rejoice over you to cause you to perish, and to destroy you; and ye shall be plucked from off the land whither thou goest in to possess it. And the LORD shall scatter thee among all peoples, from the one end of the earth even unto the other end of the earth; and there thou shalt serve other gods, which thou hast not known, thou nor thy fathers, even wood and stone. And among these nations shalt thou find no ease, and there shall be no rest for the sole of thy foot: but the LORD shall give thee there a trembling heart, and failing of eyes, and pining of soul: and thy life shall hang in doubt before thee; and thou shalt fear night and day, and shalt have none assurance of thy life: in the morning thou shalt say, Would God it were even! and at even thou shalt say, Would God it were morning! for the fear of thine heart which thou shalt fear, and for the sight of thine eyes which thou shalt see. And the LORD shall bring thee into Egypt again with ships, by the way whereof I said unto thee, Thou shalt see it no more again: and there ye shall sell yourselves unto your enemies for bondmen and for bondwomen: and no man shall buy you.
A DISCOURSE ON
IMMORTALITY AND THE COVENANT WITH DEATH
Court not death in the error of your life; Neither draw upon yourselves destruction by the works of your hands.
Because God made not death: neither delighteth he when the living perish. For he created all things that they might have being; and the generative powers of the world are healthsome, and there is no poison of destruction in them, nor hath Hades royal dominion upon earth: for righteousness is immortal. But ungodly men by their hands and their words called death unto them; deeming him a friend they consumed away, and they made a covenant with him because they are worthy to be of his portion.
For they said within themselves, reasoning not aright: "Short and sorrowful is our life; and there is no healing when a man cometh to his end, and none was ever known that gave release from Hades. Because by mere chance were we born, and hereafter we shall be as though we had never been; because the breath in our nostrils is smoke, and while our heart beateth reason is a spark, which being extinguished, the body shall be turned into ashes, and the spirit shall be dispersed as thin air. And our name shall be forgotten in time, and no man shall remember our works; and our life shall pass away as the traces of a cloud, and shall be scattered as is a mist, when it is chased by the beams of the sun, and overcome by the heat thereof. For our allotted time is the passing of a shadow, and our end retreateth not; because it is fast sealed, and none turneth it back. Come therefore and let us enjoy the good things that now are; and let us use the creation with all our soul as youth's possession. Let us fill ourselves with costly wine and perfumes, and let no flower of spring pass us by; let us crown ourselves with rosebuds before they be withered; let none of us go without his share in our proud revelry; everywhere let us leave tokens of our mirth: because this is our portion, and our lot is this. Let us oppress the righteous poor: let us not spare the widow, nor reverence the hairs of the old man gray for length of years, but let our strength be to us a law of righteousness; for that which is weak is found to be of no service. But let us lie in wait for the righteous man, because he is of disservice to us, and is contrary to our works, and upbraideth us with sins against the law, and layeth to our charge sins against our discipline. He professeth to have knowledge of God, and nameth himself servant of the Lord. He became to us a reproof of our thoughts. He is grievous unto us even to behold, because his life is unlike other men's, and his paths are of strange fashion. We were accounted of him as base metal, and he abstaineth from our ways as from uncleannesses. The latter end of the righteous he calleth happy; and he vaunteth that God is his father. Let us see if his words be true, and let us try what shall befall in the ending of his life: for if the righteous man is God's son, he will uphold him, and he will deliver him out of the hand of his adversaries. With outrage and torture let us put him to the test, that we may learn his gentleness, and may prove his patience under wrong. Let us condemn him to a shameful death; for he shall be visited according to his words."
Thus reasoned they, and they were led astray. For their wickedness blinded them; and they knew not the mysteries of God, neither hoped they for wages of holiness, nor did they judge that there is a prize for blameless souls. Because God created man for incorruption, and made him an image of his own proper being; but by the envy of the devil death entered into the world, and they that are of his portion make trial thereof.
But the souls of the righteous are in the hand of God, and no torment shall touch them. In the eyes of the foolish they seemed to have died; and their departure was accounted to be their hurt, and their journeying away from us to be their ruin: but they are in peace. For even if in the sight of men they be punished, their hope is full of immortality; and having borne a little chastening, they shall receive great good. Because God made trial of them, and found them worthy of himself; as gold in the furnace he proved them, and as a whole burnt offering he accepted them. And in the time of their visitation they shall shine forth, and as sparks among stubble they shall run to and fro. They shall judge nations, and have dominion over peoples; and the Lord shall reign over them for evermore. They that trust on him shall understand truth, and the faithful shall abide with him in love: because grace and mercy are to his chosen.
But the ungodly shall be requited even as they reasoned, they which lightly regarded the righteous man, and revolted from the Lord: for he that setteth at nought wisdom and discipline is miserable. And void is their hope and their toils unprofitable, and useless are their works. Their wives are foolish, and wicked are their children; accursed is their begetting. For good labours have fruit of great renown; and the root of understanding cannot fail. But children of adulterers shall not come to maturity, and the seed of an unlawful bed shall vanish away. For if they live long they shall be held in no account, and at the last their old age shall be without honour; and if they die quickly they shall have no hope, nor in the day of decision shall they have consolation. For the end of an unrighteous generation is alway grievous. Better than this is childlessness with virtue. For in the memory of virtue is immortality, because it is recognised both before God and before men; when it is present men imitate it, and they long after it when it is departed; and throughout all time it marcheth crowned in triumph, victorious in the strife for the prizes that are undefiled. But the multiplying brood of the ungodly shall be of no profit, and with bastard slips they shall not strike deep root, nor shall they establish a sure hold. For even if these put forth boughs and flourish for a season, yet, standing unsure, they shall be shaken by the wind, and by the violence of winds they shall be rooted out. Their branches shall be broken off before they come to maturity; and their fruit shall be useless, never ripe to eat, and fit for nothing. For children unlawfully begotten are witnesses of wickedness against parents when God searcheth them out.
[Footnote 3: Because happy is the barren that is indefiled, she who hath not conceived in transgression; she shall have fruit when God visiteth souls. And happy is the eunuch which hath wrought no lawless deed with his hands, nor imagined wicked things against the Lord; for there shall be given him for his faithfulness a peculiar favour, and a lot in the sanctuary of the Lord more delightsome than wife or children.]
But a righteous man, though he die before his time, shall be at rest. For honourable old age is not that which standeth in length of time, nor is its measure given by number of years: but understanding is gray hairs unto men, and an unspotted life is ripe old age. Being found well pleasing unto God he was beloved of him, and while living among sinners he was translated. He was caught away lest wickedness should change his understanding, or guile deceive his soul; for the bewitching of naughtiness bedimmeth the things which are good, and the giddy whirl of desire perverteth an innocent mind. Being made perfect in a little while he fulfilled long years: for his soul was pleasing unto the Lord; therefore hasted he out of the midst of wickedness.
But as for the peoples, seeing and understanding not, neither laying this to heart, that grace and mercy are with his chosen, and that he visiteth his holy ones: they shall see, and they shall despise; but them the Lord shall laugh to scorn. And after this they shall become a dishonoured carcase, and a reproach among the dead for ever. Because he shall dash them speechless to the ground, and shall shake them from the foundations, and they shall lie utterly waste, and they shall be in anguish, and their memory shall perish. They shall come, when their sins are reckoned up, with coward fear; and their lawless deeds shall convict them to their face. Then shall the righteous man stand in great boldness before the face of them that afflicted him, and them that make his labours of no account. When they see it, they shall be troubled with terrible fear, and shall be amazed at the marvel of God's salvation.
[Footnote 4: But a righteous man that is dead shall condemn the ungodly that are living, and youth that is quickly perfected the many years of an unrighteous man's old age; for the ungodly shall see a wise man's end, and shall not understand what the Lord purposed concerning him, and for what he safely kept him.]
They shall say within themselves, repenting, and for distress of spirit shall they groan: "This was he whom aforetime we had in derision, and made a parable of reproach; we fools accounted his life madness and his end without honour. How was he numbered among sons of God? and how is his lot among saints? Verily we went astray from the way of truth; and the light of righteousness shined not for us, and the sun rose not for us. We took our fill of the paths of lawlessness and destruction, and we journeyed through trackless deserts; but the way of the Lord we knew not. What did our arrogancy profit us? and what good have riches and vaunting brought us? Those things all passed away as a shadow, and as a message that runneth by; as a ship passing through the billowy water, whereof, when it is gone by, there is no trace to be found, neither pathway of its keel in the billows; or as when a bird flieth through the air, no token of her passage is found, but the lightwind, lashed with the stroke of her pinions, and rent asunder with the violent rush of the moving wings, is passed through, and afterwards no sign of her coming is found therein; or as when an arrow is shot at a mark, the air disparted closeth up again immediately, so that men know not where it passed through: so we also, as soon as we were born, ceased to be; and of virtue we had no sign to shew, but in our wickedness we were utterly consumed."
Because the hope of the ungodly man is as chaff carried by the wind, and as foam vanishing before a tempest; and is scattered as smoke is scattered by the wind; and passeth by as the remembrance of a guest that tarrieth but a day. But the righteous live for ever, and in the Lord is their reward, and the care for them with the Most High. Therefore shall they receive the crown of royal dignity and the diadem of beauty from the Lord's hand; because with his right hand shall he cover them, and with his arm shall he shield them. He shall take his jealousy as complete armour, and shall make the whole creation his weapons for vengeance on his enemies; he shall put on righteousness as a breastplate, and shall array himself with judgement unfeigned as with a helmet: he shall take holiness as an invincible shield, and he shall sharpen stern wrath for a sword. And the world shall go forth with him to fight against his insensate foes. Shafts of lightning shall fly with true aim, and from the clouds, as from a well-drawn bow, shall they leap to the mark; and as from an engine of war shall be hurled hailstones full of wrath; the water of the sea shall be angered against them, and rivers shall sternly overwhelm them; a mighty blast shall encounter them, and as a tempest shall it winnow them away. And so shall lawlessness make all the land desolate, and their evil-doing shall overturn the thrones of princes.
Hear therefore, ye kings, and understand; learn, ye judges of the ends of the earth; give ear, ye that have dominion over much people, and make your boast in multitudes of nations. Because your dominion was given you from the Lord, and your sovereignty from the Most High, who shall search out your works, and shall make inquisition of your counsels; because being officers of his kingdom ye did not judge aright, neither kept ye law, nor walked after the counsel of God. Awfully and swiftly shall he come upon you, because a stern judgement befalleth them that be in high place: for the man of low estate may be pardoned in mercy, but mighty men shall be searched out mightily. For the Sovereign Lord of all will not refrain himself for any man's person, neither will he reverence greatness, because it is he that made both small and great. And alike he taketh thought for all; but strict is the scrutiny that cometh upon the powerful. Unto you, therefore, O princes, are my words, that ye may learn wisdom and fall not from the right way. For they that have kept holily the things that are holy shall themselves be hallowed; and they that have been taught them shall find what to answer. Set your desire therefore on my words; long for them, and ye shall be trained by their discipline.
THE GREAT ARRAIGNMENT
Hear, O heavens, and give ear, O earth, for the LORD hath spoken: I have nourished and brought up children, and they have rebelled against me.
The ox knoweth his owner, and the ass his master's crib: but Israel doth not know, my people doth not consider. Ah sinful nation, a people laden with iniquity, a seed of evil-doers, children that deal corruptly: they have forsaken the LORD, they have despised the Holy One of Israel, they are estranged and gone backward. Why will ye be still stricken, that ye revolt more and more? The whole head is sick, and the whole heart faint. From the sole of the foot even unto the head there is no soundness in it; but wounds, and bruises, and festering sores: they have not been closed, neither bound up, neither mollified with oil. Your country is desolate; your cities are burned with fire; your land, strangers devour it in your presence, and it is desolate, as overthrown by strangers. And the daughter of Zion is left as a booth in a vineyard, as a lodge in a garden of cucumbers, as a besieged city. Except the LORD of hosts had left unto us a very small remnant, we should have been as Sodom, we should have been like unto Gomorrah.
Hear the word of the LORD, ye rulers of Sodom; give ear unto the law of our God, ye people of Gomorrah. To what purpose is the multitude of your sacrifices unto me? saith the LORD: I am full of the burnt offerings of rams, and the fat of fed beasts; and I delight not in the blood of bullocks, or of lambs, or of he-goats. When ye come to appear before me, who hath required this at your hand, to trample my courts? Bring no more vain oblations; incense is an abomination unto me; new moon and sabbath, the calling of assemblies,—I cannot away with iniquity and the solemn meeting. Your new moons and your appointed feasts my soul hateth: they are a trouble unto me; I am weary to bear them. And when ye spread forth your hands, I will hide mine eyes from you: yea, when ye make many prayers, I will not hear: your hands are full of blood.
Wash you, make you clean; put away the evil of your doings from before mine eyes; cease to do evil: learn to do well; seek judgement, relieve the oppressed, judge the fatherless, plead for the widow. Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool. If ye be willing and obedient, ye shall eat the good of the land: but if ye refuse and rebel, ye shall be devoured with the sword: for the mouth of the LORD hath spoken it.
How is the faithful city become an harlot! she that was full of judgement! righteousness lodged in her, but now murderers. Thy silver is become dross, thy wine mixed with water. Thy princes are rebellious, and companions of thieves; every one loveth gifts, and followeth after rewards: they judge not the fatherless, neither doth the cause of the widow come unto them. Therefore saith the Lord, the LORD of hosts, the Mighty One of Israel, Ah, I will ease me of mine adversaries, and avenge me of mine enemies: and I will turn my hand upon thee, and throughly purge away thy dross, and will take away all thy alloy: and I will restore thy judges as at the first, and thy counsellors as at the beginning: afterward thou shalt be called The city of righteousness, the faithful city. Zion shall be redeemed with judgement, and her converts with righteousness. But the destruction of the transgressors and the sinners shall be together, and they that forsake the LORD shall be consumed. For they shall be ashamed of the oaks which ye have desired, and ye shall be confounded for the gardens that ye have chosen. For ye shall be as an oak whose leaf fadeth, and as a garden that hath no water. And the strong shall be as tow, and his work as a spark; and they shall both burn together, and none shall quench them.
THE COVENANT WITH DEATH
Woe to the crown of pride of the drunkards of Ephraim, and to the fading flower of his glorious beauty, which is on the head of the fat valley of them that are overcome with wine! Behold, the Lord hath a mighty and strong one; as a tempest of hail, a destroying storm, as a tempest of mighty waters overflowing, shall he cast down to the earth with the hand. The crown of pride of the drunkards of Ephraim shall be trodden under foot: and the fading flower of his glorious beauty, which is on the head of the fat valley, shall be as the firstripe fig before the summer; which when he that looketh upon it seeth, while it is yet in his hand he eateth it up.
In that day shall the LORD of hosts be for a crown of glory, and for a diadem of beauty, unto the residue of his people: and for a spirit of judgement to him that sitteth in judgement, and for strength to them that turn back the battle at the gate.
But these also have erred through wine, and through strong drink are gone astray; the priest and the prophet have erred through strong drink, they are swallowed up of wine, they are gone astray through strong drink; they err in vision, they stumble in judgement. For all tables are full of vomit and filthiness, so that there is no place clean.—'Whom will he teach knowledge? and whom will he make to understand the message? them that are weaned from the milk, and drawn from the breasts? For it is precept upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, there a little.'—Nay, but by men of strange lips and with another tongue will he speak to this people: to whom he said, This is the rest, give ye rest to him that is weary; and this is the refreshing: yet they would not hear. Therefore shall the word of the LORD be unto them precept upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, there a little; that they may go, and fall backward, and be broken, and snared, and taken. Wherefore hear the word of the LORD, ye scornful men, that rule this people which is in Jerusalem: Because ye have said, We have made a covenant with death, and with hell are we at agreement; when the overflowing scourge shall pass through, it shall not come unto us; for we have made lies our refuge, and under falsehood have we hid ourselves: therefore thus saith the LORD God, Behold, I lay in Zion for a foundation a stone, a tried stone, a precious corner stone of sure foundation: he that believeth shall not make haste. And I will make judgement the line, and righteousness the plummet: and the hail shall sweep away the refuge of lies, and the waters shall overflow the hiding place. And your covenant with death shall be disannulled, and your agreement with hell shall not stand; when the overflowing scourge shall pass through, then ye shall be trodden down by it. As often as it passeth through, it shall take you; for morning by morning shall it pass through, by day and by night: and it shall be nought but terror to understand the message. For the bed is shorter than that a man can stretch himself on it; and the covering narrower than that he can wrap himself in it. For the LORD shall rise up as in mount Perazim, he shall be wroth as in the valley of Gibeon; that he may do his work, his strange work, and bring to pass his act, his strange act. Now therefore be ye not scorners, lest your bands be made strong: for a consummation, and that determined, have I heard from the Lord, the LORD of hosts, upon the whole earth.
Give ye ear, and hear my voice; hearken, and hear my speech. Doth the plowman plow continually to sow? doth he continually open and break the clods of his ground? When he hath made plain the face thereof, doth he not cast abroad the fitches, and scatter the cummin, and put in the wheat in rows and the barley in the appointed place and the spelt in the border thereof? For his God doth instruct him aright, and doth teach him. For the fitches are not threshed with a sharp threshing instrument, neither is a cart wheel turned about upon the cummin; but the fitches are beaten out with a staff, and the cummin with a rod. Is bread corn crushed? Nay, he will not ever be threshing it, and driving his cart wheels and his horses over it; he doth not crush it. This also cometh forth from the LORD of hosts, which is wonderful in counsel, and excellent in wisdom.
THE UTTER DESTRUCTION AND THE GREAT RESTORATION
Come near, ye nations, to hear; and hearken, ye peoples: let the earth hear, and the fulness thereof; the world, and all things that come forth of it. For the LORD hath indignation against all the nations, and fury against all their host: he hath utterly destroyed them, he hath delivered them to the slaughter. Their slain also shall be cast out, and the stink of their carcases shall come up, and the mountains shall be melted with their blood. And all the host of heaven shall be dissolved, and the heavens shall be rolled together as a scroll: and all their host shall fade away, as the leaf fadeth from off the vine, and as a fading leaf from the fig tree. For my sword hath drunk its fill in heaven: behold, it shall come down upon Edom, and upon the people of my curse, to judgement. The sword of the LORD is filled with blood, it is made fat with fatness, with the blood of lambs and goats, with the fat of the kidneys of rams: for the LORD hath a sacrifice in Bozrah, and a great slaughter in the land of Edom. And the wild-oxen shall come down with them, and the bullocks with the bulls; and their land shall be drunken with blood, and their dust made fat with fatness. For it is the day of the LORD'S vengeance, the year of recompence in the controversy of Zion. And the streams thereof shall be turned into pitch, and the dust thereof into brimstone, and the land thereof shall become burning pitch. It shall not be quenched night nor day; the smoke thereof shall go up for ever: from generation to generation it shall lie waste; none shall pass through it for ever and ever. But the pelican and the porcupine shall possess it; and the owl and the raven shall dwell therein: and he shall stretch over it the line of confusion, and the plummet of emptiness. They shall call the nobles thereof to the kingdom, but none shall be there; and all her princes shall be nothing. And thorns shall come up in her palaces, nettles and thistles in the fortresses thereof: and it shall be an habitation of jackals, a court for ostriches. And the wild beasts of the desert shall meet with the wolves, and the satyr shall cry to his fellow; yea, the night-monster shall settle there, and shall find her a place of rest. There shall the arrowsnake make her nest, and lay, and hatch, and gather under her shadow: yea, there shall the kites be gathered, every one with her mate.
Seek ye out of the book of the LORD, and read: No one of these shall be missing, None shall want her mate: For my mouth it hath commanded, And his spirit it hath gathered them.
And he hath cast the lot for them, and his hand hath divided it unto them by line: they shall possess it for ever, from generation to generation shall they dwell therein.
The wilderness and the solitary place shall be glad; and the desert shall rejoice, and blossom as the rose. It shall blossom abundantly, and rejoice even with joy and singing; the glory of Lebanon shall be given unto it, the excellency of Carmel and Sharon: they shall see the glory of the LORD, the excellency of our God.
Strengthen ye the weak hands, And confirm the feeble knees; Say to them that are of a fearful heart, Be strong, fear not: Behold, your God will come with vengeance, With the recompence of God he will come and save you.
Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf shall be unstopped. Then shall the lame man leap as an hart, and the tongue of the dumb shall sing: for in the wilderness shall waters break out, and streams in the desert. And the glowing sand shall become a pool, and the thirsty ground springs of water: in the habitation of jackals, where they lay, shall be grass with reeds and rushes. And an highway shall be there, and a way, and it shall be called The way of holiness; the unclean shall not pass over it; but it shall be for those: the wayfaring men, yea fools, shall not err therein. No lion shall be there, nor shall any ravenous beast go up thereon, they shall not be found there; but the redeemed shall walk there: and the ransomed of the LORD shall return, and come with singing unto Zion; and everlasting joy shall be upon their heads: they shall obtain gladness and joy, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away.
THE SWORD OF THE LORD
And the word of the LORD came unto me, saying, Son of man, set thy face toward Jerusalem, and drop thy word toward the sanctuaries, and prophesy against the land of Israel; and say to the land of Israel, Thus saith the LORD: Behold, I am against thee, and will draw forth my SWORD out of its sheath, and will cut off from thee the righteous and the wicked. Seeing then that I will cut off from thee the righteous and the wicked, therefore shall my sword go forth out of its sheath against all flesh from the south to the north: and all flesh shall know that I the LORD have drawn forth my sword out of its sheath; it shall not return any more. Sigh therefore, thou son of man; with the breaking of thy loins and with bitterness shalt thou sigh before their eyes. And it shall be, when they say unto thee, Wherefore sighest thou? that thou shalt say, Because of the tidings, for it cometh: and every heart shall melt, and all hands shall be feeble, and every spirit shall faint, and all knees shall be weak as water: behold, it cometh, and it shall be done, saith the Lord GOD.
And the word of the LORD came unto me, saying, Son of man, prophesy, and say, Thus saith the LORD: Say,
A sword, A sword, It is sharpened, And also furbished: It is sharpened that it may make a slaughter; It is furbished that it may be as lightning!
'Shall we then make mirth? The Rod of my son, it contemneth every tree.'
And it is given to be furbished That it may be handled: The sword, it is sharpened, yea it is furbished, To give it into the hand of the slayer.
Cry and howl, son of man: for it is upon my people, it is upon all the princes of Israel: they are delivered over to the sword with my people: smite therefore upon thy thigh. For there is a trial; and what if even the Rod that contemneth shall be no more? saith the Lord GOD. Thou therefore, son of man, prophesy, and smite thine hands together.
And let the sword be doubled the third time; The sword of the deadly wounded: It is the sword of the great one that is deadly wounded Which compasseth them about.
I have set the point of the sword against all their gates, That their heart may melt, And their stumblings be multiplied: Ah! it is made as lightning! It is pointed for slaughter— Gather thee together, go to the right; Set thyself in array, go to the left— Whithersoever thy face is set.
I will also smite mine hands together, and I will satisfy my fury: I the LORD have spoken it.
The word of the LORD came unto me again, saying, Also, thou son of man, appoint thee two ways that the sword of the king of Babylon may come; they twain shall come forth out of one land: and mark out a place, mark it out at the head of the way to the city. Thou shall appoint a way, for the sword to come to Rabbah of the children of Ammon, and to Judah in Jerusalem the defenced. For the king of Babylon stood at the parting of the way, at the head of the two ways, to use divination: he shook the arrows to and fro, he consulted the teraphim, he looked in the liver. In his right hand was the divination for Jerusalem, to set battering rams, to open the mouth in the slaughter, to lift up the voice with shouting, to set battering rams against the gates, to cast up mounts, to build forts. And it shall be unto them as a vain divination in their sight, which have sworn oaths unto them: but he bringeth iniquity to remembrance, that they may be taken. Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD: Because ye have made your iniquity to be remembered, in that your transgressions are discovered, so that in all your doings your sins do appear; because that ye are come to remembrance, ye shall be taken with the hand. And thou, O deadly wounded wicked one, the prince of Israel, whose day is come, in the time of the iniquity of the end; thus saith the Lord GOD: Remove the mitre, and take off the crown: this shall be no more the same: exalt that which is low, and abase that which is high. I will overturn, overturn, overturn it: this also shall be no more, until he come whose right it is; and I will give it him.
And thou, son of man, prophesy, and say, Thus saith the Lord GOD concerning the children of Ammon, and concerning their reproach; and say thou:
'A sword, a sword is drawn, For the slaughter it is furbished: To cause it to devour, That it may be as lightning:'
whiles they see vanity unto thee, whiles they divine lies unto thee, to lay thee upon the necks of the wicked that are deadly wounded, whose day is come, in the time of the punishment of the end. (Cause it to return into its sheath.) In the place where thou wast created, in the land of thy birth, will I judge thee. And I will pour out mine indignation upon thee; I will blow upon thee with the fire of my wrath: and I will deliver thee into the hand of brutish men, skilful to destroy. Thou shalt be for fuel to the fire; thy blood shall be in the midst of the land; thou shalt be no more remembered: for I the LORD have spoken it.
WRECK OF THE GOODLY SHIP TYRE
The word of the LORD came again unto me, saying, And thou, son of man, take up a lamentation for Tyre; and say unto Tyre, O thou that dwellest at the entry of the sea, which art the merchant of the peoples unto many isles: thus saith the Lord GOD: Thou, O Tyre, hast said, I am perfect in beauty. Thy borders are in the heart of the seas, thy builders have perfected thy beauty. They have made all thy planks of fir trees from Senir: they have taken cedars from Lebanon to make a mast for thee. Of the oaks of Bashan have they made thine oars; they have made thy benches of ivory inlaid in boxwood, from the isles of Kittim. Of fine linen with broidered work from Egypt was thy sail, that it might be to thee for an ensign; blue and purple from the isles of Elishah was thine awning. The inhabitants of Zidon and Arvad were thy rowers: thy wise men, O Tyre, were in thee, they were thy pilots. The ancients of Gebal and the wise men thereof were in thee thy calkers: all the ships of the sea with their mariners were in thee to occupy thy merchandise. Persia and Lud and Put were in thine army, thy men of war: they hanged the shield and helmet in thee; they set forth thy comeliness. The men of Arvad with thine army were upon thy walls round about, and the Gammadim were in thy towers: they hanged their shields upon thy walls round about; they have perfected thy beauty. Tarshish was thy merchant by reason of the multitude of all kinds of riches; with silver, iron, tin, and lead, they traded for thy wares. Javan, Tubal, and Meshech, they were thy traffickers: they traded the persons of men and vessels of brass for thy merchandise. They of the house of Togarmah traded for thy wares with horses and war-horses and mules. The men of Dedan were thy traffickers: many isles were the mart of thine hand: they brought thee in exchange horns of ivory and ebony. Syria was thy merchant by reason of the multitude of thy handyworks: they traded for thy wares with emeralds, purple, and broidered work, and fine linen, and coral, and rubies. Judah, and the land of Israel, they were thy traffickers: they traded for thy merchandise wheat of Minnith, and pannag, and honey, and oil, and balm. Damascus was thy merchant for the multitude of thy handyworks, by reason of the multitude of all kinds of riches; with the wine of Helbon, and white wool. Vedan and Javan traded with yarn for thy wares: bright iron, cassia, and calamus, were among thy merchandise. Dedan was thy trafficker in precious cloths for riding. Arabia, and all the princes of Kedar, they were the merchants of thy hand; in lambs, and rams, and goats, in these were they thy merchants. The traffickers of Sheba and Raamah, they were thy traffickers: they traded for thy wares with chief of all spices, and with all precious stones, and gold. Haran and Canneh and Eden, the traffickers of Sheba, Asshur and Chilmad, were thy traffickers. These were thy traffickers in choice wares, in wrappings of blue and broidered work, and in chests of rich apparel, bound with cords and made of cedar, among thy merchandise. The ships of Tarshish were thy caravans for thy merchandise: and thou wast replenished, and made very glorious in the heart of the seas.
Thy rowers have brought thee into great waters: the east wind hath broken thee in the heart of the seas. Thy riches, and thy wares, thy merchandise, thy mariners, and thy pilots, thy calkers, and the occupiers of thy merchandise, and all thy men of war, that are in thee, with all thy company which is in the midst of thee, shall fall into the heart of the seas in the day of thy ruin. At the sound of the cry of thy pilots the suburbs shall shake. And all that handle the oar, the mariners, and all the pilots of the sea, shall come down from their ships, they shall stand upon the land, and shall cause their voice to be heard over thee, and shall cry bitterly, and shall cast up dust upon their heads, they shall wallow themselves in the ashes: and they shall make themselves bald for thee, and gird them with sackcloth, and they shall weep for thee in bitterness of soul with bitter mourning. And in their wailing they shall take up a lamentation for thee, and lament over thee, saying, 'Who is there like Tyre, like her that is brought to silence in the midst of the sea?' When thy wares went forth out of the seas, thou filledst many peoples; thou didst enrich the kings of the earth with the multitude of thy riches and of thy merchandise. In the time that thou wast broken by the seas in the depths of the waters, thy merchandise and all thy company did fall in the midst of thee. All the inhabitants of the isles are astonished at thee, and their kings are horribly afraid, they are troubled in their countenance. The merchants among the peoples hiss at thee; thou art become a terror, and thou shalt never be any more.
Thus saith the LORD: Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, neither let the mighty man glory in his might, let not the rich man glory in his riches: but let him that glorieth glory in this, that he understandeth, and knoweth me, that I am the LORD which exercise lovingkindness, judgement, and righteousness, in the earth: for in these things I delight, saith the LORD.
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There is none like unto thee, O LORD; thou art great, and thy name is great in might. Who would not fear thee, O King of the nations? for to thee doth it appertain: forasmuch as among all the wise men of the nations, and in all their royal estate, there is none like unto thee, but they are together brutish and foolish.
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Thus saith the LORD: Cursed is the man that trusteth in man, and maketh flesh his arm, and whose heart departeth from the LORD. For he shall be like the heath in the desert, and shall not see when good cometh; but shall inhabit the parched places in the wilderness, a salt land and not inhabited.
Blessed is the man that trusteth in the LORD, and whose hope the LORD is. For he shall be as a tree planted by the waters, and that spreadeth out his roots by the river, and shall not fear when heat cometh, but his leaf shall be green; and shall not be careful in the year of drought, neither shall cease from yielding fruit.
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The New Covenant
Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah: not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; which my covenant they brake, although I was an husband unto them, saith the LORD. But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the LORD; I will put my law in their inward parts, and in their heart will I write it; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people: and they shall teach no more every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the LORD: for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the LORD: for I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin will I remember no more.
The liberal soul shall be made fat: And he that watereth shall be watered also himself.
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Where no oxen are, the crib is clean: But much increase is by the strength of the ox.
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He that is slow to anger is better than the mighty; And he that ruleth his spirit than he that taketh a city.
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It is naught, it is naught, saith the buyer: But when he is gone his way, then he boasteth.
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The words of a whisperer are as dainty morsels, And they go down into the innermost parts of the belly.
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Boast not thyself of tomorrow; For thou knowest not what a day may bring forth.
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As vinegar to the teeth, And as smoke to the eyes, So is the sluggard to them that send him.
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All the brethren of the poor do hate him: How much more do his friends go far from him! He pursueth them with words, but they are gone.
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The getting of treasures by a lying tongue Is a vapour driven to and fro; They that seek them seek death.
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As one that taketh off a garment in cold weather, And as vinegar upon nitre, So is he that singeth songs to an heavy heart.
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Wrath is cruel, And anger is outrageous: But who is able to stand before jealousy?
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The fining pot is for silver, And the furnace for gold: And a man is tried by his praise.
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Transitoriness of Riches
Weary not thyself to be rich; Cease from thine own wisdom; Wilt thou set thine eyes upon that which is not? For riches certainly make themselves wings, Like an eagle that flieth toward heaven.
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Hospitality of the Evil Eye
Eat thou not the bread of him that hath an evil eye, Neither desire thou his dainties; For as one that reckoneth within himself, so is he: Eat and drink, saith he to thee; But his heart is not with thee. The morsel which thou hast eaten shalt thou vomit up, And lose thy sweet words.
* * * A Maxim
My son, if thou comest to serve the Lord, Prepare thy soul for temptation.
Set thy heart aright, and constantly endure, and make not haste in time of calamity. Cleave unto him, and depart not, that thou mayest be increased at thy latter end. Accept whatsoever is brought upon thee, and be longsuffering when thou passest into humiliation. For gold is tried in the fire, and acceptable men in the furnace of humiliation. Put thy trust in him, and he will help thee: order thy ways aright, and set thy hope on him. * * *
Three Temperance Maxims
Go not after thy lusts; And refrain thyself from thine appetites.
If thou give fully to thy soul the delight of her desire, she will make thee the laughingstock of thine enemies.
Make not merry in much luxury; Neither be tied to the expense thereof.
Be not made a beggar by banqueting upon borrowing, when thou hast nothing in thy purse. A workman that is a drunkard shall not become rich.
He that despiseth small things Shall fall by little and little.
Wine and women will make men of understanding to fall away: and he that cleaveth to harlots will be the more reckless. Moths and worms shall have him to heritage; and a reckless soul shall be taken away.
Wisdom's Way with her Children
Wisdom exalteth her sons, and taketh hold of them that seek her. He that loveth her loveth life; and they that seek to her early shall be filled with gladness. He that holdeth her fast shall inherit glory; and where he entereth, the Lord will bless. They that do her service shall minister to the Holy One; and them that love her the Lord doth love. He that giveth ear unto her shall judge the nations; and he that giveth heed unto her shall dwell securely. If he trust her, he shall inherit her; and his generations shall have her in possession. For at the first she will walk with him in crooked ways, and will bring fear and dread upon him, and torment him with her discipline, until she may trust his soul, and try him by her judgements: then will she return again the straight way unto him, and will gladden him, and reveal to him her secrets. If he go astray, she will forsake him, and give him over to his fall.
Prosperity and Adversity are from the Lord
There is one that toileth, and laboureth, and maketh haste, and is so much the more behind. There is one that is sluggish, and hath need of help, lacking in strength, and that aboundeth in poverty; and the eyes of the Lord looked upon him for good, and he set him up from his low estate, and lifted up his head; and many marvelled at him. Good things and evil, life and death, poverty and riches, are from the Lord. The gift of the Lord remaineth with the godly, and his good pleasure shall prosper for ever. There is that waxeth rich by his wariness and pinching, and this is the portion of his reward: when he saith, I have found rest, and now will I eat of my goods—yet he knoweth not what time shall pass, and he shall leave them to others, and die. Be stedfast in thy covenant, and be conversant therein, and wax old in thy work. Marvel not at the works of a sinner, but trust the Lord, and abide in thy labour; for it is an easy thing in the sight of the Lord swiftly on the sudden to make a poor man rich. The blessing of the Lord is in the reward of the godly; and in an hour that cometh swiftly he maketh his blessing to flourish. Say not, What use is there of me? And what from henceforth shall my good things be? Say not, I have sufficient, and from henceforth what harm shall happen unto me? In the day of good things there is a forgetfulness of evil things; and in the day of evil things a man will not remember things that are good. For it is an easy thing in the sight of the Lord to reward a man in the day of death according to his ways. The affliction of an hour causeth forgetfulness of delight; and in the last end of a man is the revelation of his deeds. Call no man blessed before his death; and a man shall be known in his children.
He that is hasty to trust is lightminded; and he that sinneth shall offend against his own soul. He that maketh merry in his heart shall be condemned: and he that hateth talk hath the less wickedness. Never repeat what is told thee, and thou shalt fare never the worse. Whether it be of friend or foe, tell it not; and unless it is a sin to thee, reveal it not: for he hath heard thee, and observed thee, and when the time cometh he will hate thee. Hast thou heard a word? let it die with thee: be of good courage, it will not burst thee. A fool will travail in pain with a word, as a woman in labour with a child. As an arrow that sticketh in the flesh of the thigh, so is a word in a fool's belly. Reprove a friend: it may be he did it not, and if he did something, that he may do it no more. Reprove thy neighbour: it may be he said it not, and if he hath said it, that he may not say it again. Reprove a friend, for many times there is slander; and trust not every word. There is one that slippeth, and not from the heart; and who is he that hath not sinned with his tongue? Reprove thy neighbour before thou threaten him; and give place to the law of the Most High.
On the Tongue
If thou blow a spark, it shall burn; and if thou spit upon it, it shall be quenched: and both these shall come out of thy mouth. Curse the whisperer and double-tongued: for he hath destroyed many that were at peace. A third person's tongue hath shaken many, and dispersed them from nation to nation; and it hath pulled down strong cities, and overthrown the houses of great men. A third person's tongue hath cast out brave women, and deprived them of their labours. He that hearkeneth unto it shall not find rest, nor shall he dwell quietly. The stroke of a whip maketh a mark in the flesh; but the stroke of a tongue will break bones. Many have fallen by the edge of the sword; yet not so many as they that have fallen because of the tongue. Happy is he that is sheltered from it, that hath not passed through the wrath thereof; that hath not drawn its yoke, and hath not been bound with its bands. For the yoke thereof is a yoke of iron, and the bands thereof are bands of brass. The death thereof is an evil death; and Hades were better than it. It shall not have rule over godly men; and they shall not be burned in its flame. They that forsake the Lord shall fall into it; and it shall burn among them, and shall not be quenched: it shall be sent forth upon them as a lion, and as a leopard it shall destroy them. Look that thou hedge thy possession about with thorns; bind up thy silver and thy gold; and make a balance and a weight for thy words; and make a door and a bar for thy mouth. Take heed lest thou slip therein; lest thou fall before one that lieth in wait.
Choice of Company
Bring not every man into thine house; for many are the plots of the deceitful man. As a decoy partridge in a cage, so is the heart of a proud man; and as one that is a spy, he looketh upon thy falling. For he lieth in wait to turn things that are good into evil; and in things that are praiseworthy he will lay blame. From a spark of fire a heap of many coals is kindled; and a sinful man lieth in wait for blood. Take heed of an evil-doer, for he contriveth wicked things; lest haply he bring upon thee blame for ever. Receive a stranger into thine house, and he will distract thee with brawls, and estrange thee from thine own.
If thou do good, know to whom thou doest it; and thy good deeds shall have thanks. Do good to a godly man, and thou shalt find a recompense; and if not from him, yet from the Most High. There shall no good come to him that continueth to do evil, nor to him that giveth no alms. Give to the godly man and help not the sinner. Do good to one that is lowly, and give not to an ungodly man; keep back his bread, and give it not to him, lest he overmaster thee thereby; for thou shalt receive twice as much evil for all the good thou shalt have done unto him. For the Most High also hateth sinners, and will repay vengeance unto the ungodly. Give to the good man, and help not the sinner.
A man's friend will not be fully tried in prosperity; and his enemy will not be hidden in adversity. In a man's prosperity his enemies are grieved; and in his adversity even his friend will be separated from him. Never trust thine enemy, for like as the brass rusteth, so is his wickedness: though he humble himself, and go crouching, yet take good heed, and beware of him, and thou shalt be unto him as one that hath wiped a mirror, and thou shalt know that he hath not utterly rusted it. Set him not by thee, lest he overthrow thee and stand in thy place; let him not sit on thy right hand, lest he seek to take thy seat, and at the last thou acknowledge my words, and be pricked with my sayings. Who will pity a charmer that is bitten with a serpent? or any that come nigh wild beasts? Even so who will pity him that goeth to a sinner, and is mingled with him in his sins? For a while he will abide with thee, and if thou give way, he will not hold out. And the enemy will speak sweetly with his lips, and in his heart take counsel how to overthrow thee into a pit; the enemy will weep with his eyes, and if he find opportunity, he will not be satiated with blood. If adversity meet thee, thou shalt find him there before thee; and as though he would help thee, he will trip up thy heel. He will shake his head, and clap his hands, and whisper much, and change his countenance.
He that toucheth pitch shall be defiled; and he that hath fellowship with a proud man shall become like unto him. Take not up a burden above thy strength; and have no fellowship with one that is mightier and richer than thyself. What fellowship shall the earthen pot have with the kettle? this shall smite, and that shall be dashed in pieces. The rich man doeth a wrong, and he threateneth withal: the poor is wronged, and he shall entreat withal. If thou be profitable, he will make merchandise of thee; and if thou be in want, he will forsake thee. If thou have substance, he will live with thee; and he will make thee bare, and will not be sorry. Hath he had need of thee? then he will deceive thee, and smile upon thee, and give thee hope: he will speak thee fair, and say, What needest thou? and he will shame thee by his meats, until he have made thee bare twice or thrice. And at the last he will laugh thee to scorn; afterward will he see thee, and will forsake thee, and shake his head at thee. Beware that thou be not deceived, and brought low in thy mirth. If a mighty man invite thee, be retiring, and so much the more will he invite thee. Press not upon him, lest thou be thrust back; and stand not far off, lest thou be forgotten. Affect not to speak with him as an equal, and believe not his many words: for with much talk will he try thee, and in a smiling manner will search thee out. He that keepeth not to himself words spoken is unmerciful; and he will not spare to hurt and to bind. Keep them to thyself, and take earnest heed, for thou walkest in peril of thy falling.
Every living creature loveth his like, and every man loveth his neighbour. All flesh consorteth according to kind, and a man will cleave to his like. What fellowship shall the wolf have with the lamb? so is the sinner unto the godly. What peace is there between the hyena and the dog? and what peace between the rich man and the poor? Wild asses are the prey of lions in the wilderness; so poor men are pasture for the rich. Lowliness is an abomination to a proud man; so a poor man is an abomination to the rich. A rich man when he is shaken is held up of his friends; but one of low degree being down is thrust away also by his friends. When a rich man is fallen, there are many helpers; he speaketh things not to be spoken, and men justify him: a man of low degree falleth, and men rebuke him withal; he uttereth wisdom, and no place is allowed him. A rich man speaketh, and all keep silence; and what he saith they extol to the clouds: a poor man speaketh, and they say, Who is this? and if he stumble, they will help to overthrow him. Riches are good that have no sin; and poverty is evil in the mouth of the ungodly.
The Wisdom of Business and the Wisdom of Leisure
The wisdom of the scribe cometh by opportunity of leisure; and he that hath little business shall become wise. How shall he become wise that holdeth the plow, that glorieth in the shaft of the goad, that driveth oxen, and is occupied in their labours, and whose discourse is of the stock of bulls? He will set his heart upon turning his furrows; and his wakefulness is to give his heifers their fodder. So is every artificer and workmaster, that passeth his time by night as by day; they that cut gravings of signets, and his diligence is to make great variety; he will set his heart to preserve likeness in his portraiture, and will be wakeful to finish his work. So is the smith sitting by the anvil, and considering the unwrought iron; the vapour of the fire will waste his flesh, and in the heat of the furnace will he wrestle with his work; the noise of the hammer will be ever in his ear, and his eyes are upon the pattern of the vessel; he will set his heart upon perfecting his works, and he will be wakeful to adorn them perfectly. So is the potter sitting at his work, and turning the wheel about with his feet, who is alway anxiously set at his work, and all his handywork is by number; he will fashion the clay with his arm, and will bend its strength in front of his feet; he will apply his heart to finish the glazing, and he will be wakeful to make clean the furnace. All these put their trust in their hands; and each becometh wise in his own work. Without these shall not a city be inhabited, and men shall not sojourn nor walk up and down therein. They shall not be sought for in the council of the people, and in the assembly they shall not mount on high, they shall not sit on the seat of the judge, and they shall not understand the covenant of judgement; neither shall they declare instruction and judgement, and where parables are they shall not be found. But they will maintain the fabric of the world; and in the handywork of their craft is their prayer.
Not so he that hath applied his soul, and meditateth in the law of the Most High. He will seek out the wisdom of all of the ancients, and will be occupied in prophecies. He will keep the discourse of the men of renown, and will enter in amidst the subtilties of parables. He will seek out the hidden meaning of proverbs, and be conversant in the dark sayings of parables. He will serve among great men, and appear before him that ruleth. He will travel through the land of strange nations; for he hath tried good things and evil among men. He will apply his heart to resort early to the Lord that made him, and will make supplication before the Most High, and will open his mouth in prayer, and will make supplication for his sins. If the great Lord will, he shall be filled with the spirit of understanding: he shall pour forth the words of his wisdom, and in prayer give thanks unto the Lord. He shall direct his counsel and knowledge, and in his secrets shall he meditate. He shall shew forth the instruction which he hath been taught, and shall glory in the law of the covenant of the Lord. Many shall commend his understanding, and so long as the world endureth, it shall not be blotted out; his memorial shall not depart, and his name shall live from generation to generation; nations shall declare his wisdom, and the congregation shall tell out his praise. If he continue, he shall leave a greater name than a thousand: and if he die, he addeth thereto.
Life as a Joy shadowed by the Judgment
An Essay with a Sonnet
Truly the light is sweet, and a pleasant thing it is for the eyes to behold the sun. Yea, if a man live many years, let him rejoice in them all; and remember the days of darkness, for they shall be many. All that cometh is vanity. Rejoice, O young man, in thy youth; and let thy heart cheer thee in the days of thy youth, and walk in the ways of thine heart, and in the sight of thine eyes: but know thou, that for all these things God will bring thee into judgement. Therefore remove sorrow from thy heart, and put away evil from thy flesh: for youth and the prime of life are vanity.
The Coming of the Evil Days
Remember also thy Creator in the days of thy youth:
Or ever the evil days come, And the years draw nigh, When thou shalt say, I have no pleasure in them:
Or ever the sun. And the light, And the moon, And the stars, Be darkened, And the clouds return after the rain: In the days when the keepers of the house shall tremble, And the strong men shall bow themselves, And the grinders cease because they are few, And those that look out of the windows be darkened, And the doors shall be shut in the street;
When the sound of the grinding is low, And one shall rise up at the voice of a bird, And all the daughters of music shall be brought low;
Yea, they shall be afraid of that which is high. And terrors shall be in the way;
And the almond tree shall blossom, And the grasshopper shall be a burden, And the caperberry shall burst:
Because man goeth to his long home, And the mourners go about the streets:
Or ever the silver cord be loosed, Or the golden bowl be broken, Or the pitcher be broken at the fountain, Or the wheel broken at the cistern:
And the dust return to the earth, As it was; And the spirit return unto God Who gave it.
[Footnote 5: For the difference of form between the Hebrew and the modern sonnet see Notes, page 255.]
Go to the ant, thou Sluggard; Consider her ways, and be wise: Which having no chief, Overseer, Or ruler, Provideth her meat in the summer, And gathereth her food in the harvest.
How long wilt thou sleep, O Sluggard? When wilt thou arise out of thy sleep? "Yet a little sleep, A little slumber, A little folding of the hands to sleep"— So shall thy poverty come as a robber, And thy want as an armed man!
The Mourning for the Fool
Weep for the dead, For light hath failed him; And weep for a fool, For understanding hath failed him:
Weep more sweetly for the dead, Because he hath found rest; But the life of the fool Is worse than death.
Seven days are the days of mourning for the dead: But for a fool and an ungodly man, all the days of his life.
The Two Paths
Hear, O my son, and receive my sayings; And the years of thy life shall be many. I have taught thee in the way of wisdom; I have led thee in paths of uprightness. When thou goest, thy steps shall not be straitened; And if thou runnest, thou shalt not stumble. Take fast hold of instruction; Let her not go: Keep her; For she is thy life.
Enter not into the path of the wicked, And walk not in the way of evil men. Avoid it, Pass not by it; Turn from it, And pass on. For they sleep not, except they have done mischief; And their sleep is taken away, unless they cause some to fall. For they eat the bread of wickedness, And drink the wine of violence.
But the path of the righteous is as the light of dawn, That shineth more and more unto the perfect day. The way of the wicked is as darkness: They know not at what they stumble.
The Creator has made Wisdom the Supreme Prize
My son, despise not the chastening of the LORD; Neither be weary of his reproof: For whom the LORD loveth he reproveth; Even as a father the son in whom he delighteth.
Happy is the man that findeth wisdom, And the man that getteth understanding. For the merchandise of it is better than the merchandise of silver, And the gain thereof than fine gold. She is more precious than rubies: And none of the things thou canst desire are to be compared unto her.
Length of days is in her right hand; In her left hand are riches and honour. Her ways are ways of pleasantness, And all her paths are peace. She is a tree of life to them that lay hold upon her: And happy is every one that retaineth her.
The LORD by wisdom founded the earth; By understanding he established the heavens. By his knowledge the depths were broken up, And the skies drop down the dew.
Watchfulness of Lips and Heart
Who shall set a watch over my mouth, And a seal of shrewdness upon my lips, That I fall not from it, And that my tongue destroy me not?
O Lord, Father and Master of my life, Abandon me not to their counsel: Suffer me not to fall by them.
Who will set scourges over my thought, And a discipline of wisdom over mine heart? That they spare me not for mine ignorances, And my heart pass not by their sins: That mine ignorances be not multiplied, And my sins abound not; And I shall fall before mine adversaries, And mine enemy rejoice over me?
O Lord, Father and God of my life, Give me not a proud look, And turn away concupiscence from me. Let not greediness and chambering overtake me, And give me not over to a shameless mind.
Wisdom and the Fear of the Lord
All wisdom cometh from the Lord, And is with him for ever. The sand of the seas, And the drops of rain, And the days of eternity, who shall number? The height of the heaven, And the breadth of the earth, and the deep, And wisdom, who shall search them out? Wisdom hath been created before all things, And the understanding of prudence from everlasting.
To whom hath the root of wisdom been revealed? And who hath known her shrewd counsels? There is one wise, Greatly to be feared, The Lord sitting upon his throne: He created her, And saw, and numbered her, And poured her out upon all his works. She is with all flesh according to his gift; And he gave her freely to them that love him.
The fear of the Lord Is glory and exultation, And gladness, and a crown of rejoicing.
The fear of the Lord Shall delight the heart, And shall give gladness, and joy, and length of days.
Whoso feareth the Lord, It shall go well with him at the last, And in the day of his death he shall be blessed.
To fear the Lord Is the beginning of wisdom; And it was created together with the faithful in the womb. With men she laid an eternal foundation; And with their seed shall she be had in trust.
To fear the Lord Is the fulness of wisdom; And she satiateth men with her fruits. She shall fill all her house with desirable things, And her garners with her produce.
The fear of the Lord Is the crown of wisdom, Making peace and perfect health to flourish. He both saw and numbered her; He rained down skill and knowledge of understanding, And exalted the honour of them that hold her fast.
To fear the Lord Is the root of wisdom; And her branches are length of days.
Wisdom and the Strange Woman
My son, keep my words, And lay up my commandments with thee. Keep my commandments, and live; And my law, as the apple of thine eye. Bind them upon thy fingers; Write them upon the table of thine heart. Say unto Wisdom, Thou art my sister; And call Understanding thy kinswoman: That they may keep thee from the Strange Woman, From the stranger which flattereth with her words.
For at the window of my house I looked forth through my lattice; And I beheld among the simple ones, I discerned among the youths, A young man, Void of understanding,
Passing through the street near her corner, And he went the way to her house; In the twilight, in the evening of the day, In the blackness of night and the darkness; And behold, there met him a Woman With the attire of an harlot, and wily of heart.
She is clamorous and wilful; Her feet abide not in her house; Now she is in the streets, now in the broad places, And lieth in wait at every corner. So she caught him, and kissed him, With an impudent face she said unto him:
"Sacrifices of peace offerings are with me; This day have I paid my vows; Therefore came I forth to meet thee, Diligently to seek thy face, And I have found thee. I have spread my couch with carpets of tapestry, With striped cloths of the yarn of Egypt; I have perfumed my bed With myrrh, aloes, and cinnamon. Come, let us take our fill of love Until the morning; Let us solace ourselves with loves; For the goodman is not at home, He is gone a long journey: He hath taken a bag of money with him; He will come home at the full moon."
With her much fair speech she causeth him to yield, With the flattering of her lips she forceth him away.
He goeth after her straightway, As an ox goeth to the slaughter, Or as one in fetters to the correction of the fool; Till an arrow strike through his liver; As a bird hasteth to the snare, And knoweth not that it is for his life.
Now therefore, my sons, hearken unto me, And attend to the words of my mouth. Let not thine heart decline to her ways, Go not astray in her paths. For she hath cast down many wounded: Yea, all her slain are a mighty host. Her house is the way to Sheol, Going down to the chambers of death.
Doth not Wisdom cry, And Understanding put forth her voice? In the top of high places by the way, Where the paths meet, She standeth; Beside the gates, at the entry of the city, At the coming in at the doors, She crieth aloud:
Unto you, O men, I call; And my voice is to the sons of men. O ye simple, understand subtilty; And ye fools, be ye of an understanding heart. Hear, for I will speak excellent things; And the opening of my lips shall be right things. For my mouth shall utter truth; And wickedness is an abomination to my lips.
All the words of my mouth are righteousness; There is nothing crooked or perverse in them. They are all plain to him that understandeth, And right to them that find knowledge Receive my instruction, and not silver; And knowledge rather than choice gold. For wisdom is better than rubies; And all the things that may be desired are not to be compared unto her.
I Wisdom have made subtilty my dwelling, And find out knowledge and discretion.
The fear of the LORD is to hate evil; Pride and arrogancy, And the evil way, And the froward mouth, do I hate.
Counsel is mine, And sound knowledge; I am understanding, I have might.
By me kings reign, And princes decree justice; By me princes rule, And nobles, even all the judges of the earth.
I love them that love me; And those that seek me diligently shall find me.
Riches and honour are with me; Durable riches and righteousness; My fruit is better than gold, yea, than fine gold; And my revenue than choice silver.
I walk in the way of righteousness, In the midst of the paths of judgement: That I may cause those that love me to inherit substance, And that I may fill their treasuries.
The LORD formed me in the beginning of his way, Before his works of old.
I was set up from everlasting, from the beginning, Or ever the earth was. When there were no depths, I was brought forth, When there were no fountains abounding with water.
Before the mountains were settled, Before the hills, was I brought forth: While as yet he had not made the earth, Nor the fields, Nor the beginning of the dust of the world.
When he established the heavens, I was there: When he set a circle upon the face of the deep: When he made firm the skies above: When the fountains of the deep became strong: When he gave to the sea its bound, That the waters should not transgress his commandment:
When he marked out the foundations of the earth, Then I was by him, As a master workman, And I was daily his delight, Sporting always before him; Sporting in his habitable earth; And my delight was with the sons of men.
Now therefore, my sons, hearken unto me: For blessed are they that keep my ways. Hear instruction, and be wise, And refuse it not. Blessed is the man that heareth me, watching daily at my gates, Waiting at the posts of my doors. For whoso findeth me findeth life, And shall obtain favour of the LORD; But he that sinneth against me wrongeth his own soul; All they that hate me love death.
AN ELEGY OF A BROKEN HEART
Let the day perish wherein I was born; And the night which said, There is a man child conceived!
Let that day be darkness; Let not God regard it from above, Neither let the light shine upon it! Let darkness and the shadow of death claim it for their own; Let a cloud dwell upon it; Let all that maketh black the day terrify it!
As for that night, let thick darkness seize upon it; Let it not rejoice among the days of the year; Let it not come into the number of the months! Lo, let that night be barren; Let no joyful voice come therein! Let them curse it that curse the day, Who are ready to rouse up leviathan! Let the stars of the twilight thereof be dark! Let it look for light, but have none; Neither let it behold the eyelids of the morning:
Because it shut not up the doors of my mother's womb, Nor hid trouble from mine eyes!
Why died I not from the womb? Why did I not give up the ghost when I came out of the belly? Why did the knees receive me? Or why the breasts, that I should suck?
For now should I have lien down and been quiet; I should have slept; then had I been at rest, With kings and counsellors of the earth, Which built solitary piles for themselves; Or with princes that had gold, Who filled their houses with silver; Or as an hidden untimely birth I had not been; As infants which never saw light. There the wicked cease from troubling; And there the weary be at rest. There the prisoners are at ease together; They hear not the voice of the taskmaster. The small and great are there; And the servant is free from his master. Wherefore is light given to him that is in misery, And life unto the bitter in soul? Which long for death, but it cometh not; And dig for it more than for hid treasures; Which rejoice exceedingly, And are glad when they can find the grave. Why is light given to a man whose way is hid, And whom God hath hedged in? For my sighing cometh before I eat, And my roarings are poured out like water. For the thing which I fear cometh upon me, And that which I am afraid of cometh unto me. I am not at ease, neither am I quiet, Neither have I rest: but trouble cometh!
THE CREATOR'S JOY IN HIS CREATION
Where wast thou when I laid the foundations of the earth? ——Declare, if thou hast understanding—— Who determined the measures thereof, if thou knowest? Or who stretched the line upon it? Whereupon were the foundations thereof fastened? Or who laid the corner stone thereof; When the morning stars sang together, And all the sons of God shouted for joy? Or who shut up the sea with doors, When it brake forth, and issued out of the womb; When I made the cloud the garment thereof, And thick darkness a swaddling band for it, And prescribed for it my decree, And set bars and doors, And said, "Hitherto shalt thou come, but no further; And here shall thy proud waves be stayed?" Hast thou commanded the morning since thy days began, And caused the dayspring to know its place; That it might take hold of the ends of the earth, And the wicked be shaken out of it? It is changed as clay under the seal; And all things stand forth as a garment: And from the wicked their light is withholden, And the high arm is broken. Hast thou entered into the springs of the sea? Or hast thou walked in the recesses of the deep? Have the gates of death been revealed unto thee? Or hast thou seen the gates of the shadow of death? Hast thou comprehended the breadth of the earth? ——Declare, if thou knowest it all—— Where is the way to the dwelling of light, And as for darkness, where is the place thereof; That thou shouldest take it to the bound thereof, And that thou shouldest discern the paths to the house thereof? ——Doubtless, thou knowest, for thou wast then born, And the number of thy days is great!—— Hast thou entered the treasuries of the snow, Or hast thou seen the treasuries of the hail, Which I have reserved against the time of trouble, Against the day of battle and war? By what way is the light parted, Or the east wind scattered upon the earth? Who hath cleft a channel for the waterflood, Or a way for the lightning of the thunder; To cause it to rain on a land where no man is; On the wilderness, wherein there is no man; To satisfy the waste and desolate ground; And to cause the tender grass to spring forth? Hath the rain a father? Or who hath begotten the drops of dew? Out of whose womb came the ice? And the hoary frost of heaven, who hath gendered it? The waters are hidden as with stone, And the face of the deep is frozen. Canst thou bind the cluster of the Pleiades, Or loose the bands of Orion? Canst thou lead forth the signs of the Zodiac in their season? Or canst thou guide the Bear with her train? Knowest thou the ordinances of the heavens? Canst thou establish the dominion thereof in the earth? Canst thou lift up thy voice to the clouds, That abundance of waters may cover thee? Canst thou send forth lightnings, that they may go, And say unto thee, Here we are? Who hath put wisdom in the inward parts? Or who hath given understanding to the mind? Who can number the clouds by wisdom? Or who can pour out the bottles of heaven, When the dust runneth into a mass, And the clods cleave fast together? Wilt thou hunt the prey for the lioness? Or satisfy the appetite of the young lions, When they couch in their dens, And abide in the covert to lie in wait? Who provideth for the raven his food, When his young ones cry unto God, And wander for lack of meat? Knowest thou the time when the wild goats of the rock bring forth? Or canst thou mark when the hinds do calve? Canst thou number the months that they fulfil? Or knowest thou the time when they bring forth? They bow themselves, they bring forth their young, They cast out their sorrows. Their young ones are in good liking, They grow up in the open field; They go forth, and return not again. Who hath sent out the wild ass free? Or who hath loosed the bands of the wild ass? Whose house I have made the wilderness, And the salt land his dwelling place; He scorneth the tumult of the city, Neither heareth he the shoutings of the driver. The range of the mountains is his pasture, And he searcheth after every green thing. Will the wild-ox be content to serve thee? Or will he abide by thy crib? Canst thou bind the wild-ox with his band in the furrow? Or will he harrow the valleys after thee? Wilt thou trust him, because his strength is great? Or wilt thou leave to him thy labour? Wilt thou confide in him, that he will bring home thy seed, And gather the corn of thy threshing-floor? The wing of the ostrich rejoiceth; But are her pinions and feathers kindly? For she leaveth her eggs on the earth, And warmeth them in the dust, And forgetteth that the foot may crush them, Or that the wild beast may trample them. She is hardened against her young ones, as if they were not hers: Though her labour be in vain, she is without fear; Because God hath deprived her of wisdom, Neither hath he imparted to her understanding. What time she lifteth up herself on high, She scorneth the horse and his rider. Hast thou given the horse his might? Hast thou clothed his neck with the quivering mane? Hast thou made him to leap as a locust? The glory of his snorting is terrible. He paweth in the valley, and rejoiceth in his strength: He goeth out to meet the armed men. He mocketh at fear and is not dismayed; Neither turneth he back from the sword. The quiver rattleth against him, The flashing spear and the javelin. He swalloweth the ground with fierceness and rage; Neither standeth he still at the voice of the trumpet. As oft as the trumpet soundeth he saith, Aha! And he smelleth the battle afar off, The thunder of the captains, and the shouting. Doth the hawk soar by thy wisdom, And stretch her wings toward the south? Doth the eagle mount up at thy command, And make her nest on high? She dwelleth on the rock, and hath her lodging there, Upon the crag of the rock and the strong hold. From thence she spieth out the prey; Her eyes behold it afar off. Her young ones also suck up blood: And where the slain are, there is she.
SONG OF MOSES AND MIRIAM
I will sing unto the LORD, for he hath triumphed gloriously: The horse and his rider hath he thrown into the sea. The LORD is my strength and song, And he is become my salvation: This is my God, and I will praise him; My father's God, and I will exalt him.
The LORD is a man of war: The LORD is his name. Pharaoh's chariots and his host hath he cast into the sea: And his chosen captains are sunk in the Red Sea. The deeps cover them: They went down into the depths like a stone.
Sing ye to the LORD, for he hath triumphed gloriously: The horse and his rider hath he thrown into the sea.
Thy right hand, O LORD, is glorious in power, Thy right hand, O LORD, dasheth in pieces the enemy. And in the greatness of thine excellency thou overthrowest them that rise up against thee: Thou sendest forth thy wrath, it consumeth them as stubble. And with the blast of thy nostrils the waters were piled up, The floods stood upright as an heap; The deeps were congealed in the heart of the sea. The enemy said, I will pursue, I will overtake, I will divide the spoil: My lust shall be satisfied upon them; I will draw my sword, my hand shall destroy them. Thou didst blow with thy wind, the sea covered them: They sank as lead in the mighty waters.
Sing ye to the LORD, for he hath triumphed gloriously: The horse and his rider hath he thrown into the sea.
Who is like unto thee, O LORD, among the gods? Who is like thee, glorious in holiness, Fearful in praises, doing wonders? Thou stretchedst out thy right hand, The earth swallowed them. Thou in thy mercy hast led the people which thou hast redeemed: Thou hast guided them in thy strength to thy holy habitation. The peoples have heard, they tremble: Pangs have taken hold on the inhabitants of Philistia. Then were the dukes of Edom amazed; The mighty men of Moab, trembling taketh hold upon them: All the inhabitants of Canaan are melted away. Terror and dread falleth upon them; By the greatness of thine arm they are as still as a stone; Till thy people pass over, O LORD, Till the people pass over which thou hast purchased. Thou shalt bring them in, and plant them in the mountain of thine inheritance, The place, O LORD, which thou hast made for thee to dwell in, The sanctuary, O LORD, which thy hands have established. The LORD shall reign for ever and ever.