Ephraim, Apapphrat 31

Ephraim Syrus

The Nisibene Hymns

(Translated by Rev. J. T. Sarsfield Stopford, B.a)..


1101 1. O God of mercies Who didst refresh Noah, he too refreshed Thy mercies. He offered sacrifice and stayed the flood; he presented gifts and received the promise. With prayer and incense he propitiated Thee: with an oath and with the bow Thou wast gracious to him; so that if the flood should essay to hurt the earth, the bow should stretch itself over against it, to banish it away and hearten the earth. As Thou hast sworn peace so do Thou maintain it, and let Thy bow strive against Thy wrath!

R. Stretch forth Thy bow against the flood, for lo! it has lifted up its waves against our walls!

2. In revelation, Lord! it has been proclaimed, that that lowly blood which Noah sprinkled, wholly restrained Thy wrath for all generations; how much mightier then shall be the blood of Thy Only Begotten, that the sprinkling of it should restrain our flood! For lo! it was but as mysteries of Him that those lowly sacrifices gained virtue, which Noah offered, and stayed by them Thy wrath. Be propitiated by the gift upon my altar, and stay from me the deadly flood. So shall both Thy signs bring deliverance, to me Thy cross and to Noah Thy bow! Thy cross shall cleave the sea of waters; Thy bow shall stay the flood of rain.

3. Lo! all the billows trouble me; and Thou hast given more favour to the ark: for waves alone encompassed it, mounds and weapons and waves encircle me. It was unto Thee a storehouse of treasures, but I have been a storehouse of debts: it in Thy love subdued the waves; I in Thy wrath, am left desolate among the weapons; the flood bore it, the river threatens me. O Helmsman of that ark, be my pilot on the dry land! To it Thou gavest rest in the haven of a mountain; to me give Thou rest also in the haven of my walls!

4. The Just One has chastened me abundantly, but it He loved even among the waves. For Noah overcame the waves of lust, which had drowned in his generation the sons of Seth. Because his flesh revolted against the daughters of Cain, his chariot rode on the surface of the waves. Because women defiled him not, he coupled the beasts, whereof in the ark he joined together, all pairs in the yoke of wedlock. The olive which with its oil gladdens the face, with its leaf gladdened their countenances: for me the river whereof to drink is wont to make joyful, lo! O Lord, by its flood it makes me mournful.

5. The foulness of my guilt. Thy righteousness has seen, and Thy pure eyes abhor me. Thou hast gathered the waters by the hand of the unclean, that Thou mightest make for me purification of my guilt; not that in them Thou mightest baptize and purify me, but that in them Thou mightest chasten me with fear. For the waves will stir up to prayer, which shall wash away my guilt. The sight of them which is full of repentance, has been to me a baptism. The sea, O Lord, which should have drowned me, in it let Thy mercies drown my guilt. In the Red Sea Thou didst drown bodies; in this sea drown Thou my guilt instead of bodies!

6. An ark in Thy mercy Thou didst prepare, that Thou mightest preserve in it all the remnants. That Thou shouldest not desolate the earth in Thy wrath, Thy compassion made an earth of wood. Thou didst empty them one into the other; Thou didst render them back one unto the other). But my lands have thrice been filled and emptied again; and now against me the waves rebel, to overwhelm the remnant that has escaped in me. In the ark Thou didst save a remnant; save in me, O Lord, yea in me a leaven. The ark upon the mountain brought forth; let me in my lands bring forth my imprisoned ones!

7. O Lord, gladden Thou in me the imprisoned ones of my fortresses, Thou Who didst gladden those prisoners with the olive leaf! Thou sentest healing by means of the dove to the sick ones that were drowning in every wave; it entered in and drove out all their pains. For the joy of it swallowed up their sorrow, and mourning vanished away in its consolation. And as the chief of a host gives heartening to the fugitives, so the dove disseminated courage among the forsaken. Their eyes tasted the sight of peace, and their mouth hasted to open in Thy praise. As the olive leaf in the waves, save Thou me, that Thou mayest gladden in me the prisoners of my fortresses!

8. The flood assails, and dashes against our walls: may the all-sustaining might uphold them! It falls not as the building of the sand, for I have not built my doctrine upon the sand: a rock shall be for me the foundation, for on Thy rock have I built my faith; the secret foundation of my trust, shall support my walls. For the walls of Jericho fell, because on the sand she had built her trust. Moses built a wall in the sea, for on a rock his understanding built it. The foundation of Noah was on a rock; the dwelling place of wood it bore up in the sea.

9. Compare the souls which are in me, with the living things that were in the ark; and instead of Noah who mourned in it, lo! Thy altar mourning and humbled. Instead of the wedded wives that were in it, lo! my virgins that are unmarried. Instead of Ham who went forth from it and uncovered his father’s nakedness, lo! workers of righteousness, who have nourished and clothed apostles. In my pains, O my Lord, I rave in my speech; blame me not if my words provoke Thee! Thou puttest to silence the prosperous when they murmured: have mercy on me as on them that were silenced aforetime!

10. Before Thy wrath Thou madest a house of refuge, and all the nations rebelled against it. Noah was refreshed in rest, that his dwelling-place should give rest according to his name. Thou didst close the doors to save the righteous one; Thou didst open the floods to destroy the unclean. Noah stood between the terrible waves that were without, and the destroying mouths that were within: the waves tossed him and the mouths dismayed him. Thou madest peace for him with them that were within; Thou broughtest down before him them that were without: Thou didst speedily change his troubles, for light to Thee, O Lord, are hard things.

11. Hear and weigh the comparison of me with Noah, and though my suffering be light beside his, let Thy mercy make our deliverance alike; for lo! my children stand like him, between the wrathful and the destroyer. Give peace, 0 Lord, among them that are within, and humble before me them that are without; and give me twofold victory! And whereas the slayer has made his rage threefold, may He of the three days show me threefold mercy! Let not the Evil One overcome Thy lovingkindness: seeing he has assailed me twice and thrice overcome Thou him! Let my victory fly abroad through the world, that it may earn Thee praise in the world! 0 Thou who didst rise on the third day, give us not over to death in our third peril!


1102 1. This day are opened, our mouths to give thanks. They who opened the breaches, have opened my sons’ mouths. Thank the Merciful, who has delivered the men of our city, nor thought at that time of exacting the debts that were due by us. When they rose up they that took us captive, the worlds in our deliverance, tasted of Thy graciousness.

R. From all that have mouths, glory be to Thy grace!

2. He has saved us without wall, and taught us that He is our wall: He has saved us without king and made us know that is our king: He has saved us, in each and all, and showed us that He is All: He has saved us in His grace and again reveals, that freely He has mercy and quickens. From every boaster, He takes away his boasting, and gives it to His own grace.

3. The sound of all mouths, is too little for Thy praise: for lo! in the hour when our light was smoking, and was at the point to be quenched (seeing that all is easy to Thee) of a sudden it awoke and shone! Who has seen these two marvels, that for him whose hope was cut off, hope has sprung up and increased; the hour of mourning has been turned into good tidings?

4. This is a festival day, whereon hang the feasts: for if wrath had taken us captive, lo! our feasts too had ceased. Whereas our peace has conquered and triumphed, lo! I our festivals resound. This blessed day supports all: upon it depends the city, on the city depends the people, on the people depends peace, on peace depends all.

5. Out of these breaches, Thou hast multiplied triumphs. Praise unto the Triune God goes up from the three breaches; for that He descended and repaired them, in His mercy which restrains wrath. He smote the enemy who understood not that He was teaching us. He taught those within, for in His justice He made the breaches; He taught those without, for in His goodness He repaired them.

6. Speak and give glory, my delivered ones on this day; old men and boys, young men and maidens, children and innocents, and thou, O Church, mother of the city! For the old men have been rescued from captivity, the youths from torture, the sucklings from being dashed in pieces, the women from dishonour, and the Church from mockery.

7. He came to us with hardness; we were afraid for a moment: He came in gentleness, and we rejoiced for an hour. He turned and left us for a little, we wandered without end; like a beast of prey which is trained by blandishments and by fear, but if so be that men turn from it, rebels and strays and becomes savage in the midst of peace.

8. He punished us and we feared not; He rescued us, and we were not shamed: He straitened us and our vows were multiplied; He enlarged us and our crimes were multiplied. When He constrained there was a covenant, when He gave breathing-space there was straying. Though He knew us He lowered Himself to establish us. In the evening we exalted Him; in the morning we rejected Him. When necessity left us, faithfulness left us.

9. He afflicted us by the breaches, that He might punish our crimes: He raised the mounds that thereby, He might humble our boasting. He made a breach for the seas that thereby, He might wash away our pollution. He shut us in that we might gather together in His Temple. He shut us in and we were quenched; He set us free and we went astray. We are like unto wool, which passes into every colour.

10. We know that when the blessed sons of Nineveh repented, it was not because of mounds they repented, nor yet by means of waters, nor was it by reason of a breach, nor yet by reason of bows; it was not at the sound of the bowstring they feared and repented. They harkened to a feeble voice; they caused their little ones to fast; they made their youths chaste, they made their kings humble.

11. Thou smotest us and we justified Thee, for it befel not by chance; Thou deliveredst us and we gave thanks, for it was not that we were worthy. Thou hadst mercy on us not because Thou erredst, in hoping that we should repent. It was manifest to Thee that when Thou hadst mercy on us we strayed. Thou knewest that we had sinned; Thou knewest that we are sinners: with our iniquity that has been and is, Thou wast acquainted when Thou hadst mercy on us.

12. Weigh our repentance, that it may outbalance our crimes! But not in even balance, ascends either weight; for our crimes are heavy and manifold, and our repentance is light. He had commanded that we should be sold for our debt: His mercy became our advocate; principal and increase, we repaid with the farthing, which our repentance proffered.

13. Ten thousand talents for that little payment, our debt He forgave us. He was bound to exact it, that He might appease His justice: He was constrained again to forgive, that He might make His grace to rejoice. Our tears for the twinkling of an eye we gave Him; He satisfied His justice, in exacting and taking a little; He made His grace to rejoice, when for a little He forgave much.

14. Ten thousand are the crimes that He has pardoned; ten thousand tongues, are unable to suffice, in presence of His goodness. He has pardoned us and we have not pardoned; we have requited to Him contrariwise; the guilt committed we write up afresh. “Pardon, O Lord,” we cry; “Requite, O Lord,” we pray: “pardon” verily when we have done wrong; “requite” verily when wrong is done us.

15. Yea not as those without, have we laboured for our lives. They have raised their mounds, but we not even our voices: they have broken through the wall, but we—not even the chains, the frail chains on our heart within have we broken). God has rejected the diligent, for the sake of the slothful; He has rejected the labour done without, though He was rejected from within.

16. He has set free them that talked, and smitten the silent; the wall was beaten, and the people were instructed: He spared them that can suffer, He smote that which knows no suffering. For instead of souls that feel, He smote the stones that feel not, that He might chasten us. In His love He spared our bodies, and hasted to smite our wall.

17. Who has ever seen, that a breach became as a mirror? Two parties looked thereinto; it served for those without and those within. They saw therein as with eyes, the Power that breaks down and builds up: they saw Him who made the breach and again repaired it. Those without saw His might; they departed and tarried not till evening: those within saw His help; they gave thanks yet sufficed not.

18. Let the day of thy deliverance, arouse thee from sloth! When the wall was broken through, when the elephants pressed in, when the javelins showered, when men did valiantly, then was there a sight for the heavenly ones. Iniquity fought there; mercy triumphed there; lovingkindness prevailed below; the watchers shouted on high.

19. And thine enemy wearied himself, striving to smite by his wiles, the wall that encompassed thee, a bulwark to thine inhabitants. He wearied himself and availed not; and in order that he might not hope, that if He broke through He should also enter and take us captive, he broke it through and not once only; and was put to shame, nor was that enough, even unto three times, that he might be shamed thrice in the three.

20. Let my happiness by God’s grace, be also multiplied in thy midst! Whereas in thee my crimes have been many, many be in thee my fruits! Whereas in thee I have sinned in my youth, in thee let there be mercy for my old age! By the mouth of thy sons pray for thy son, for I have sinned beyond my ability, and have repented below my ability; I have scattered above measure, and have gathered below measure.


1103 1. Fix thou our hearing, that it be not loosed and wander! For it is a-wandering if one enquire, who He is and what He is like. For how can we avail, to paint in us the likeness, of that Being which is like to the mind? Naught is there in it that is limited, in all of it He sees and hears; all of it as it were speaks; all of it is in all senses.

R., Praise to the One Being, that is to us unsearchable!

2. His aspect cannot be discerned, that it should be portrayed by our understanding: He hears without ears; He speaks without mouth; He works without hands, and He sees without eyes. Because our soul ceases not nor desists, in presence of Him Who is such; in His graciousness He put on the fashion of humankind and gathered us into His likeness.

3. Let us learn in what way that Being is spiritual and appeared as corporeal; and how it also is tranquil and appears as wrathful. These things were for our profit; that Being in our likeness was made like to us that we may be made like Him. One there is that is like Him, the Son Who proceeded from Him, Who is stamped with His likeness.

4. O Nisibis, hear these things, for, for thy sake these things were written and spoken. Both to thyself and to others, thou hast been in the world a cause of strife and of disputations. Mouths over thee, O thou that wast shut up, even over thee mouths sang; when thou didst triumph and wast enlarged, in thee mouths were opened, for lamentation and for thanksgiving.

5. The prayer of thy inhabitants, sufficed for thy deliverance; it was not that they were righteous, but that they were penitent: according as they were disgraced, so did they haste to submit to the rod. In transgressions and in triumphs they had like part. They whose crimes were great, so be their fruit great; they who triumphed in their sackcloth, have triumphed also in their crowns.

6. The day of thy deliverance, is king of all days, The Sabbath overthrew thy walls, it overthrew the ungrateful; the day of the Resurrection of the Son, raised again thy ruins; the day of Resurrection raised thee according to its name, it glorified its title. The Sabbath relaxed its watch; for the making of the breaches, it took blame to itself.

7. In Samaria hunger prevailed, but in thee fulness prevailed. In Samaria there broke in and came on her, abundance of a sudden; but in thee there roared and came in on thee a sea of a sudden. In her was eaten a child, and it saved her alive; in thee was eaten the body, living and all life-giving; of a sudden He delivered them, the Eaten delivered the eaters.

8. We know that the Blessed wills not the afflictions, that have been in all ages; though He has wrought them, it is our offences that are the cause of our troubles. No man can complain against our Creator; it is for Him to complain against us, who have sinned and constrained Him, to be wrathful though He wills it not, and to smite though He desires it not.

9. The Earth, the vine, and the olive, are in need of chastisement. When the olive is bruised, then its fruit smells sweet; when the vine is pruned, then its grapes are goodly; when the soil is ploughed its yield is goodly. When water is confined in channels, desert places drink of it; brass, silver and gold, when they are burnished shine.

10. If then it be that man, by chastening makes all things goodly; and if he who despises and rejects chastening, is hated and all rebels against him; then by that which he chastens, let him learn Him that chastens him; since whoso chastens does so that he may profit thereby.For whoso chastens his servants, does so that he may possess them; the good God chastens His servants that they may possess themselves.

11. Let thy afflictions be, books to admonish thee, for the thrice-besieged, suffice to become for thee, books to meditate therein, every hour on their histories. Because thou despisedst the two Testaments, wherein thou mightest read thy life, therefore He wrote for thee, three hard books wherein thou shouldst read thy chastisements.

12. Let us avert by that which has been, the thing that is yet to be; let us be taught by that which has come, to escape that which is coming; let us remember that which is past, to avoid that which is future. Because we had forgotten the first stroke, the second fell on us; because we forgot the second, the third bore heavy on us. Who will yet again forget!


1104 1. My God, without ceasing, I will tread the threshold of Thy house; I who have rejected all grace, I will ask with boldness. that I may receive with confidence). R., Our hope, be thou our Wall!

2. For if, O Lord, the earth, enriches manifold, a single grain of wheat, how then shall my prayers, be enriched by Thy grace!

3. Because of the voices of my children, their sighs and their groans, open to me the door of Thy mercy! Make glad for their voices, the mourning of their sackcloth!

4. O firstborn that wast a weaned child, and wast familiar with the children, the accurst sons of Nazareth, hearken to my lambs that have seen the wolves, for lo! they cry.

5. For a flock, O my Lord, in the field, if so be it has seen the wolves, flees to the shepherd, and takes refuge under his staff, and he drives away them that would devour it.

6. Thy flock has seen the wolves, and lo! it cries loudly. Behold how terrified it is! Let thy Cross be a staff, to drive out them that would swallow it up!

7. Accept the cry of my little ones, that are altogether pure. It was He, the Infant of days, that could appease, O Lord, the Ancient of days.

8. The day when the Babe came down, in the midst of the stall, the Watchers descended and proclaimed, peace—may that peace be, in all my streets for all my offspring.

9. Seventy and two old men, the elders of that people, sufficed not for its breaches. The Babe it was, the Son of Mary, that gave peace on every side.

10. Have mercy, O Lord, on my children! in my children call to mind Thy childhood, Thou Who wast a child! Let them that are like Thy childhood, be saved by Thy grace!

11. Mingled in the midst of the flock, are the cry of the innocents, and the voice of the sheep, that call on the Shepherd of all, to deliver them from all.

13. There is a joy that is affliction, misery is hidden in it; there is a misery that is profit, it is a fountain of joys, in that new world.

14. The happiness that my persecutor has gained, woes are hidden in it; therefore I rejoice. The wretchedness that I have gained from him, happiness is concealed for me in it.

15. Who will not give praise, to Him that has begotten us, and can beget again, from the midst of evil rumours the voices of glad tidings!

16. Thou Healer of all, hast visited me in my sicknesses! Payment for Thy medicines, I cannot give Thee, for they are priceless.

17. Thy mercies in richness, surpass Thy medicines: they cannot be bought, they are given freely, it is for tears they are bartered.

18. How, O my Master, can a desolate city, whose king is far off, and her enemy nigh, stand firm without aid of mercy?

19. A harbour and refuge, art Thou at all times. When the seas covered me, Thy mercy descended and drew me out. Again let Thy help lay hold on me!

20. Apply to my afflictions, the medicine of Thy salvation, and the passion of Thy help! Thy sign can become, a medicine to heal all.

21. I am greatly oppressed, and I hasten to complain, against him that troubles me. Let Thy mercy, my Lord, take the bitterness from the cup, that my sins have mixed.

22. I look on all sides, and weep that I am desolate. Very many though be my chiefs and my deliverers, one is He that has delivered me.

23. My young men have fled, O Lord, and gone forth, and are like chickens, which an eagle pursues; lo! they hide in a secret place: may Thy peace bring them back!

24. The sound of my grape-gatherers, lo! my ears miss it, for their voices fail. Let it resound with the glad tidings, O Blessed One of Thy salvation!

25. A voice of terror, I have heard on my towers; as my defenders cry, while they guard my walls. Still Thou it with the voice of peace!

26. The noise of my husbandmen, shall speak peace without my walls: the shouting of my dwellers shall speak peace within my walls, that I may give peace without and within.

27. Make an end, O Lord, of the mourning, of this Thy pure altar, and of Thy chaste priest, who stands clothed in mourning, covered over with sackcloth!

28. The Church and her ministers shall give praise for Thy salvation; the city and its dwellers. Be the voice of peace, O Lord, the reward of their voices!


1105 1. Cause to be heard in Thy grace, the tidings of Thy salvation: for an hearing has been made, a path of passage; our minds have been downtrodden, by messages of terror). R., Praises to Thy victory! Glory to Thy Dominion!

2. Comfort Thou with profits, though small and scanty, those that have had harvest, of hurt by their labour: at a time of profit, they have gained but loss.

 3. It is manifest that He has stood, portioning wrath upon earth: loss and profit in anger He divided. There are whom He has cast down of a sudden, and there are whom He has puffed up of a sudden.

4. To teach us that He can, chastise in all ways; when He saw the persecutors, were terrible before mine eyes, He laid me out before my children, and they my beloved chastised me.

5. Lo! He taught me to fear, Himself and not man: for when there was none to smite us, His wrath gave command of a sudden, and every man stretched himself out, and chastised himself.

6. In like manner that Babylonian, who struck down all kings when he was confident and hoped that there was none to smite him, God caused that by his own hands. he should strike himself down.

7. His majesty and his mind, of a sudden became mad together: he rent and cast off his garments; he went forth and wandered in the desert; he drove himself out first, and then his servants drove him out.

8. He showed to all kings, whom he had led captive and brought down, that not by his own power, could he have overcome: the power that struck him down, was that which punished them.

9. I have stood and borne, O my Lord; the blows of my deliverers. Thou art able in Thy grace, to make me profit by the smiters: Thou art able in Thy justice to punish me by my helpers.

10. The day when the host was bold, to come up against Samaria; their plenty and their pleasure, their treasures and their possessions, they cast away and forsook and fled. He crowned her by her persecutors.

11. My beloved ones crowned me, and my deliverers healed me. Through the guilt of my dwellers, my helpers chastised me, give me drink from Thy vines, of the cup of consolation!

12. The corn and the vine, preserve, O my Lord, by Thy grace! Be the husbandman cheered, by the vine of the grape-gatherer; be the vinedresser glad, in the corn of the husbandman!

13. They are joined each to each, the corn and the grape. In the field the reapers, wine can make cheerful, in the vineyard the dressers, bread strengthens in turn.

14. These two things have power, to comfort my troubles: the Trinity has power, to comfort more exceedingly; whom I will praise because of a sudden, I was delivered through grace.

15. But the man whose life, is preserved through grace, if he goes away to murmur, at the loss of his goods, he is thankless for the grace, of Him who had pity on him.

16. Of His own will He destroys, one thing instead of another. He destroys possession, and spares the possessor: He destroys our plants, instead of our lives.

17 Let us fear to murmur, lest His own wrath be roused, and He spare the possessions, and smite the possessor; that we may learn in the end, His mercy in the beginning.

18. Let us learn against whom, it is meet for us to murmur. Learn thou to murmur, not against the Chastener, but against thine own will, that made thee sin and thou wast punished.

19. Let us put away murmuring, and turn unto prayer: for it the possessor dies, his possessions also cease for him; but while he survives, he seeks to recover his losses.

20. Let consolations be multiplied, in mercy to my dwellers: let the remainder and residue, console us in the midst of wrath; and cause Thou us to forget in the residue, the mourning of our devastation!

21. Heal and increase O my Lord, the fruits Thy wrath has left! They seem to me like sick ones, that have escaped in pestilence. Make me to forget in these weak ones, the suffering of the many!

22. While I speak, O my Lord, I call to mind that this too is the month, when the blossom pined, and dropped off in blight, may it return to soundness, to be a consolation!

23. For these escaped the pestilence, that carried off their brethren. The vines though voiceless, wept when before them, a multitude was cut down and felled, of trees that they loved.

24. The company of plants, lo! the earth misses! The roots for the husbandmen, weep and cause them to weep. Their beauty had spread and gave shade, and it was torn away in one hour.

25. The axe came nigh and struck; and struck the husbandman; the blow was on the trees, and it caused the husbandman to suffer; every axe that smote, he bore the pain of it.


1106 1. I will run in my affections, to Him who heals freely. He who healed my sorrows, the first and the second, He who cured the third, He will heal the fourth). R., Heal me, Thou Son the First Born!

2. My sons, O my Lord, drank and were drunken, of the tidings which wrath had mixed; and they rushed on my adornments, and spoiled and cast away my ornaments; they rent and spared not, my garments and my crowns.

3. They uncovered me and I was made bare. Because I was shamed a little, by means of that stripping, the first and the second, because I was shamed a third time, lo! they have stripped me a fourth time.

4. For they have seized and taken away my garments, my ornaments and my gardens. On the sackcloth that girds my altar, look Thou, O my Lord, and have pity on me! Let the sackcloth be to me, O my Lord, the breastplate of salvation!

5. Lo! it is not by the hand of the chaste, that Thou hast chastised me, O my Master! For lo! his shame is before him, and behind him his disgrace; for as to his marriage, adultery is better than it.

6. Lo! his daughter is his wife. and his sister his consort; and his mother whence he came forth, he turns again and takes her to wife! The heavens are astonished that thus, he provokes Thee, and lo! he prospers.

7. And though, O my Lord, my crimes are many, are my offences so heavy, that Thou shouldst make over a chaste woman, mother of chaste daughters, to foul Assyria, mother of defiled daughters?

8. Restrain him that he come not, and wag at me his head, and stamp on me his heel, and rejoice that the voice of his fame, thus troubles the world; and be uplifted yet a little!

9. My sons, O my Lord, have seen my nakedness, yea have uncovered me and wept. Uncover Thou me before my children, who are pained by my pain, and let not those mock at me, the accursed that have no pity!

10. My lands had brought forth fruits and pleasant things; good things in the vineyard, abundance in the fields. But as I rested secure, of a sudden wrath overtook me.

11. The husbandmen were plundered, the spoilers heaped the grain; what thou had borrowed and sown these destroyed. With one’s debt his hunger, haply will also remain unsatisfied, for his bread is snatched from him.

12. The husbandman, O my Lord, is plundered, for he lent to the earth; she has received the deposit, and given it to a stranger; she has borrowed it of the husbandman; and paid it to the spoiler.

13. Be jealous over me who am Thine, and to Thee, O my Lord: am I betrothed! The Apostle who betrothed me to Thee, told me that Thou art jealous. For as a wall to chaste wives is the jealousy of their husbands.

14. Samson stirred up seas, because he was mightily jealous over Iris wife, though she was greatly defiled, and was divided against him. Keep Thy Church, for no other, has she beside Thee!

15. Whoso is not jealous, over his spouse despises her. Jealousy it is that can make known, the love that is within. Thou art called jealous, that thou mayest show me Thy love.

16. The nature of woman is this; it is weak and rash: it is jealousy keeps it, under fear every hour. Thou hast been named among the jealous, that Thou mightest make known Thy solicitude.

17. Every man has been master, of something that was not his own; every man has gone forth gathering, something that he scattered not. The day of confusion, I have prepared for myself by my crimes.

18. How shall they bear the suffering, the labourers and tillers? In the face of the vinedresser, they have cut down the vines and driven away the flocks of the husbandman; his sowing they have reaped and carried off.

19. They had yoked cattle sown and harrowed, they had ploughed, planted. nurtured. They stood afar and wept; and they went away bereft of all. The labour was for the toilers, the increase for the spoilers.

20. The rulers, O my Lord, maintained not, order in the midst of Thy wrath. If they had willed it they might have kept order, but our iniquity suffered it not. Though wrath had greatly abated, wrath compelled them to spoil.

21. To whom on any side, shall I look for comfort, for my plantations that are laid low, and my possessions that are laid waste? Let the message of the voice of peace, drive away my sadness from me!

22. Give me not over; lest it be thought that Thou, hast given me a writing of divorce, and sent me away and driven me out! Let them not call me, O my Lord, the forsaken and the disgraced!

23. I have not anything, to call to mind before Thine eyes, for I am wholly despised. Call Thou to mind for me, O my God, this only that none other, have I set before me beside Thee!

24. Who would not weep for me, with voice and wailing? for before the days of full moon I was chaste and crowned; and after the days of full moon, I was uncovered and made bare.

25. My chaste daughters of the chambers, wander in the fields; for the wrath that makes all drunken, has caused my honourable women to be despised. Let Thy mercy which gives peace to all, restore these beloved ones to honour!

26. My elder daughters and my younger, lo! they cry before Thee; the damsels with their voices, they that are aged with their tears; my virgins with their fasts, my chaste ones with their sackcloth!

27. Mine eyes to all the streets, I lift up and lo! they are deserted. There are left of a hundred ten, and a thousand of ten thousand. Give Thou peace and fill my streets, with the tumult of my dwellers!

28. Bring back them that are without, and make them glad that are within! Mighty is Thy grace, that Thou extendest it within and without. Let the wings of Thy grace gather my chickens together!

29. Let the prayer of my just men, save my fugitives! The unbelievers have plundered me, and the believers have sustained me. In them that believe put Thou to shame them that believe not!

30. There came together on one day, two festivals as one: the Feast of Thine Ascension, and the Feast of Thy Champions; the feast that wove Thy Crown, and the memorial of the crowning of Thy servants.

31. Have thou mercy because there were doubled for us, these feasts on one day; and there were doubled for us instead of them, even the two feasts in one, suffering from the voice of ill tidings, and mourning from desolation!

32. Give peace to my festivals! for both my feasts have ceased; and instead of rejoicing, of my remnants in festivals, tremblings and desolations meet me in every place.

33. Bring home mine that are far off, make glad mine that are nigh; and in the midst of our land shall be preached, good tidings of joy; and I shall render in return for peace, praise from every mouth!

Ephraim, Apapphrat 31