The Holy Bible – Knox Translation
The Prophecy of Isaias
What burden for the desert by the sea?✻ From the desert it comes, from a land full of terrors, like the storm-wind rising from the south.
Here be stern threats revealed to me: the treacherous one still treacherous, the plunderer still at his plundering! Elam, to the attack! Lay siege to him, Medians! From yonder desert there shall be groaning no more!
What wonder if pain gripped the loins of me, sudden as woman’s pangs in travail? What wonder if sight and sound of it daunt and daze me,
if heart fails and I grope in darkness, bewildered over her ruin, the Babylon✻ I love?
What, the banquet spread? From yonder post of vantage look down on them, where they sit at their meat and drink! Now, captains, to arms!
Yes, the Lord’s word has came to me, Go and bid the watchman stand at his post, to give tidings of all he sees.
A chariot he saw, with two out-riders, one that rode on an ass, and one that rode on a camel; looked long at them, watching them eagerly.
Then he cried, Lonely as lion am I, that have charge of the Lord’s watch-tower; day after day I have stood here, night after night I keep my post.
Nearer now, the chariot and its two outriders; Tidings! cries charioteer. Babylon has fallen, has fallen; images of the gods she worshipped have come crashing to the ground.✻
My countrymen, winnowed with me in the same threshing-floor of trial, from the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, such tidings I bring.
What burden for Duma?✻ A cry comes to me from Seir, How goes the night, watchman? How goes the night?
Morning is on its way, says he, but with morning, the night. Come back again and enquire, if enquire you must.
What burden for the Arabs?✻ By evening, sleep in the woods you must, you that travel to Dedanim.
Dwellers in the south, bring out water to meet the thirsty, bread to meet fleeing men.
They have fled to escape the sword, the drawn sword, to escape the bow already bent against them, the stress of battle.
In a year’s time, the Lord says, by the time a labourer’s contract is out, Cedar shall be robbed of all its glory;✻
of all the brave archers that were Cedar’s sons, only a dwindling remnant shall be left; the Lord, the God of Israel has decreed it.
The Holy Bible