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The Elders and Virgins Lament
BY JULIUS SCHNORR, LEADER OF THE NAZARINE
SCHOOL IN RECENT GERMAN ART.
“The elders of the daughter of Zion sit upon the ground, and keep silence: they have cast up dust upon their heads; they have girded themselves with sackcloth: the virgins of Jerusalem hang down their heads to the ground.”—Lamentations, 2, 10. N THE second of the songs of lamentation, God is
regarded with awe; the weight and terror of His
anger becomes the central thought. The dirge opens, “How hath the Lord covered the daughter of Zion with a cloud in his anger, and cast down from heaven unto the earth the beauty of Israel, and remembered not his footstool in the day of his anger!” The wailing of the women is then described, and the horrors of their desolation in the ruined city.
In the third lament the poet depicts his own suffering, or that of the nation personified in him: “He hath turned aside my ways, and pulled me in pieces: he hath made me desolate.”
The fourth and fifth songs look to the tremendous weight of the punishment, and contrast the drear present with the splendid past. The poet then closes with a prayer for mercy, “Turn thou us unto thee, O Lord, and we shall be turned; renew our days as of old,” and a final drooping in despair, “But thou hast utterly rejected us; thou art very wroth against us."
EZEKIEL XXI—THE SWORD OF WRATH
wherein ye have been defiled; and ye shall loathe yourselves in your own sight for all your evils that ye have committed. 44 And
shall know that I am the LORD, when I have wrought with you for my name's sake, not according to your wicked ways, nor according to your corrupt doings, ( ye house of Israel, saith the Lord GOD.
45 | Moreover the word of the LORD came unto me, saying,
46 Son of man, set thy face toward the south, and drop thy word toward the south, and prophesy against the forest of the south field;
47 And say to the forest of the south, Hear the word of the LORD; Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I will kindle a fire in thee, and it shall devour every green tree in thee, and every dry tree: the flaming flame shall not be quenched, and all faces from the south to the north shall be burned therein.
48 And all flesh shall see that I the LORD have kindled it: it shall not be quenched.
49 Then said I, Ah Lord God! they say of me, Doth he not speak parables ?
Chapter 21 1 Ezekiel prophesieth against Jerusalem with a sign of sighing. 8 The sharp and bright sword, 18 against Jerusalem, 25 against the kingdom, 28 and against the Ammonites.
ND the word of the LORD came unto me, saying,
2 Son of man, set thy face toward Jerusalem, and drop
thy word toward the holy places, and prophesy against the land of Israel,
3 And say to the land of Israel, Thus saith the LORD; Behold, I am against thee, and will draw forth my sword out of his sheath, and will cut off from thee the righteous and the wicked.
4 Seeing then that I will cut off from thee the righteous and the wicked, therefore shall my sword go forth out of his sheath against all flesh from the south to the north:
5 That all flesh may know that I the LORD have drawn forth my sword out of his sheath: it shall not return any more.
6 Sigh therefore, thou son of man, with the breaking of thy loins; and with bitterness sigh before their eyes.
7 And it shall be, when they say, unto thee, Wherefore sighest thou ? that thou shalt answer, For the tidings; because 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 shall be brought to pass, saith the Lord God.
8 | Again the word of the Lord came unto me, saying,
9 Son of man, prophesy, and say, Thus saith the LORD; Say, A sword, a sword is sharpened, and also furbished:
10 It is sharpened to make a sore slaughter; it is furbished that
EZEKIEL XXI-BABYLON'S ADVANCE
it may glitter: should we then make mirth ? it contemneth the rod of my son, as every tree.
11 And he hath given it to be furbished, that it may be handled: this sword is sharpened, and it is furbished, to give it into the hand of the slayer.
12 Cry and howl, son of man: for it shall be upon my people, it shall be upon all the princes of Israel: terrors by reason of the sword shall be upon my people: smite therefore upon thy thigh.
13 Because it is a trial, and what if the sword contemn even the rod ? it shall be no more, saith the Lord GOD.
14 Thou therefore, son of man, prophesy, and smite thine hands together, and let the sword be doubled the third time, the sword of the slain: it is the sword of the great men that are slain, which entereth into their privy chambers.
15 I have set the point of the sword against all their gates, that their heart may faint, and their ruins be multiplied: ah! it is made bright, it is wrapped up for the slaughter.
16 Go thee one way or other, either on the right hand, or on the left, whithersoever thy face is set.
17 I will also smite mine hands together, and I will cause my fury to rest: I the Lord have said it.
18 ( The word of the LORD came unto me again, saying,
19 Also, thou son of man, appoint thee two ways, that the sword of the king of Babylon may come: both twain shall come forth out of one land: and choose thou a place, choose it at the head of the way to the city.
20 Appoint a way, that the sword may come to Rabbath of the Ammonites, and to Judah in Jerusalem the defenced.
21 For the king of Babylon stood at the parting of the way, at the head of the two ways, to use divination: he made his arrows bright, he consulted with images, he looked in the liver.
22 At his right hand was the divination for Jerusalem, to appoint captains, to open the mouth in the slaughter, to lift up the voice with shouting, to appoint battering rams against the gates, to cast a mount, and to build a fort.
23 And it shall be unto them as a false divination in their sight, to them that have sworn oaths: but he will call to remembrance the iniquity, that they may be taken.
24 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, I say, that ye are come to remembrance, ye shall be taken with the hand.
25 | And thou, profane wicked prince of Israel, whose day is come, when iniquity shall have an end,
26 Thus saith the Lord God; Remove the diadem, and take off