Codex Junius 11

Author: Caedmon


(ll. 1-21) In Jerusalem, as I have heard, the Hebrews prospered, dispensing treasure and holding kingly sway, as well was meet, when by the might of God the host and all the battle legion were given into Moses’ hand, and in a multitude they got them forth from Egypt. That was a valiant race so long as they might rule their realm and sway their cities! As long as they kept the covenant of their fathers, great was their prosperity! And God, the Warden of the heavenly kingdom, the Holy Lord, the Prince of glory, the Lord of every creature, watched over them, and gave them strength and courage, so that in war they conquered many nations who rose against them, until at last pride came upon them at their wine-feasts, drunken thoughts and devilish deeds, and they forsook the teachings of their law, and the might of God. So should no man sunder his soul’s love from God.

(ll. 22-32) Then I beheld that nation walking in ways of error, the tribe of Israel following after sin, and doing evil. That was a grief to God! The Warden of the heavenly kingdom oft sent His holy prophets, proclaiming knowledge to the people, and wisdom to the host. A little time they trusted in His counsels, till longing for the joys of earth defrauded them of lasting wisdom, and in the end they turned them from the laws of God, and chose the Devil’s craft.

(ll. 33-56) Then the Lord became displeased and angered with that people whom He had prospered. To them, a wandering folk, who once were dearest of mankind to God, dearest of all peoples and best loved of the Lord, He had showed a highway to their lofty city and their native land, where Salem stood, wailed round about and girt with battlements. Thither the wise men, the Chaldean people, came up against the city within whose walls their wealth was stored. A host rose up to smite them, a great army, eager for deeds of blood. Nebuchadnezzar, the lord of men and prince of Babylon, stirred up strife against them in his city. In enmity he searched the thoughts of his heart how he most easily could smite the Israelites and take them captive. From south and north he mustered savage legions, faring westward with a band of heathen princes against that lofty town. The rulers of Israel prospered as long as the Lord would let them!

(ll. 57-78) Then, as I have heard, these mortal foes, a host of unbelievers, sacked their city. From Solomon’s temple, that glorious building, they took red gold and jewels and silver. They plundered the treasure under the walls of stone, all such as those earls possessed, till they had razed and wasted every stronghold which stood for a protection to that people. They carried off as spoil the treasure of princes, as much as was found there, cattle and men; and so returned, with great possessions, over the eastern roads, leading the tribe of Israel, a countless host, on a long journey unto Babylon, into the power of heathen judges. And Nebuchadnezzar showed no pity on the tribe of Israel, but made them subject unto him to be his slaves, all such as had escaped the sword. And he sent a great host of his thanes into the west to take possession of their kingdom and their wasted realm, after the Hebrews.

(ll. 79-87) He bade his prefects seek among the wretched remnant of the tribe of Israel which of the young men they had brought there were wisest in the books of the law. He wished the youths to grow in knowledge, that they might teach him wisdom, but’not at all because he could or would be mindful to thank God for all the gifts which He had given him to his comfort.

(ll. 88-103) And they found three wise and noble youths, devout and young, and with the fear of God. One was Hananiah; the second, Azariah; the third was Mishael, chosen of the Lord. Stout of heart and thoughtful-minded the young men came before the king, where the heathen ruler sat rejoicing in his splendour in the city of the Chaldeans. And the Hebrew men with holy hearts spake words of wisdom and great learning unto the proud prince. Then the lord of Babylon, the haughty king, bade his thanes and princes on their lives see to it that the three youths knew no lack of food or raiment all their life long.


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Chicago: Caedmon, "L," Codex Junius 11, trans. Elwes, R. H. M. (Robert Harvey Monro), 1853- in Codex Junius 11 Original Sources, accessed May 27, 2024,

MLA: Caedmon. "L." Codex Junius 11, translted by Elwes, R. H. M. (Robert Harvey Monro), 1853-, in Codex Junius 11, Original Sources. 27 May. 2024.

Harvard: Caedmon, 'L' in Codex Junius 11, trans. . cited in , Codex Junius 11. Original Sources, retrieved 27 May 2024, from