The Holy Bible – Knox Translation
The Prophecy of Isaias
Take heart again, my people, says your God, take heart again.
Speak Jerusalem fair, cry aloud to her that her woes are at an end, her guilt is pardoned; double toll the Lord has taken for all her sins.
A cry, there, out in the wilderness, Make way for the Lord’s coming; a straight road for our God through the desert!
Bridged every valley must be, every mountain and hill levelled; windings cut straight, and the rough paths paved;
the Lord’s glory is to be revealed for all mankind to witness; it is his own decree.✻
A voice came, bidding me cry aloud; asked I in what words, in these: Mortal things are but grass, the glory of them is but grass in flower;
grass that withers, a flower that fades, when the Lord’s breath blows upon it. The whole people, what is it but grass?
Grass that withers, a flower that fades; but the word of our Lord stands for ever.
Good news for Sion, take thy stand, herald, on some high mountain; good news for Jerusalem, proclaim it, herald, aloud; louder still, no cause now for fear;✻ tell the cities of Juda, See, your God comes!
See, the Lord God is coming, revealed in power, with his own strong arm for warrant; and see, they come with him, they walk before him, the reward of his labour, the achievement of his task,✻
his own flock! Like a shepherd he tends them, gathers up the lambs and carries them in his bosom, helps the ewes in milk forward on their way.
Who was it measured out the waters in his open hand, heaven balanced on his palm, earth’s mass poised on three of his fingers? Who tried yonder mountains in the scale, weighed out the hills?
No aid, then, had the spirit of the Lord to help him, no counsellor stood by to admonish him.
None other was there, to lend his skill; guide to point out the way, pilot to warn him of danger.
What are the nations to him but a drop of water in a bucket, a make-weight on the scales? What are the islands but a handful of dust?
His altar-hearth Lebanon itself could not feed, victims could not yield enough for his burnt-sacrifice.
All the nations of the world shrink, in his presence, to nothing, emptiness, a very void, beside him.
And will you find a likeness for God, set up a form to resemble him?
What avails image the metal-worker casts, for goldsmith to line with gold, silversmith plate with silver?
What avails yonder wood, hard of fibre, proof against decay; the craftsman’s care, that his statue should stand immovable?✻
What ignorance is this? Has no rumour reached you, no tradition from the beginning of time, that you should not understand earth’s origin?
There is One sits so high above its orb, those who live on it seem tiny as locusts; One who has spread out the heavens like gossamer, as he were pitching a tent to dwell in.
The men who can read mysteries, how he confounds them, the men who judge on earth, what empty things he makes of them!
Saplings never truly planted, or laid out, or grounded in the soil, see how they wither at his sudden blast, how the storm-wind carries them away like stubble!
What likeness, then, can you find to match me with? asks the Holy One.
Lift up your eyes, and look at the heavens; who was it that made them? Who is it that marshals the full muster of their starry host, calling each by its name, not one of them missing from the ranks? Such strength, such vigour, such spirit is his.
What, then, is this thought of thine, Jacob, what is this complaint of thine, Israel, that the Lord does not see how it fares with thee, that thy God passes over thy wrongs?
What ignorance is this? Has not the rumour of it reached thee? This Lord of ours, who fashioned the remotest bounds of earth, is God eternally; he does not weaken or grow weary; he is wise beyond all our thinking.
Rather, it is he who gives the weary fresh spirit, who fosters strength and vigour where strength and vigour is none.
Youth itself may weaken, the warrior faint and flag,
but those who trust in the Lord will renew their strength, like eagles new-fledged; hasten, and never grow weary of hastening, march on, and never weaken on the march.
The Holy Bible