The Holy Bible – Knox Translation
The Prophecy of Isaias
Let the islands cease their clamour, and come to me, let the peoples of the world take heart afresh;✻ and so let them come and plead their cause; we will submit the question to an arbiter, they and I.
Tell me, who was it summoned his faithful servant✻ from the east, beckoned him to follow? The nations should be at his mercy, kings be subdued at his coming; flying like dust before his sword, scattered like chaff in the wind at the threat of his bow.
He should rout them in battle, and pass through their country unmolested, leaving not a footprint behind him.
Who was the author, the doer of all this, but I, the Lord, who summon all the ages into being? Before all, and at the end of all, I am.
The islands have seen it, and trembled at the sight; the remotest parts of the world have been smitten with dismay; they draw near, and obey the summons.
(And still each abets his neighbour; Courage, says one to another.
The metal-worker, plying the hammer, encourages his fellow that is smiting the anvil; all goes well, he says, with the soldering. And he fastens it with nails, immovable.✻ )
But thou, Israel, my servant, thou, Jacob, on whom my choice has fallen, art sprung from that Abraham, who was my friend;
in his person, I led thee by the hand from the ends of the earth, beckoning thee from far away, and still I whispered to thee, My servant thou art, chosen, not rejected.
Have no fear, I am with thee; do not hesitate, am I not thy God? I am here to strengthen and protect thee; faithful the right hand that holds thee up.
Thou shalt see all thy enemies disappointed and put to the blush; what are they? A very nothing, those adversaries of thine; they must vanish away;
thou wilt look in vain for the men who troubled thee, fought against thee; thy search is for a very nothing, a memory of the past.
It is I, the Lord thy God, that hold thee by the hand and whisper to thee, Do not be afraid, I am here to help thee.
Jacob, poor worm, poor ghost of Israel, do not be afraid; I am here, says the Lord, to help thee; I am here, says the Holy One of Israel, to ransom thee.
I mean to go a-threshing, and thou my sledge, newly made; teeth like saws to thresh the mountains and crush them down, turn the hills into chaff;
ay, and winnow them, till wind carries them away and storm scatters them! Thou shalt yet make thy boast of the Lord, triumph in the Holy One of Israel.
Poor vagrants that long for water, where water is none, how dry their tongues with thirst! And shall I, the Lord, refuse them a hearing, I, the Holy One of Israel, leave them forsaken?
I will open springs on the hill-slopes, wells in the open plain, turn the wilderness into pools, the trackless desert into running streams.
I will plant those wastes with cedar and acacia, myrtle and olive; rear, in that desert soil, fir and elm and box besides;
proof for all to see and recognize, for all to mark and to consider, that the Lord’s hand was there; who but he, the Holy One of Israel, creates?
Come then, says the Lord, your pleadings! Let the King of Jacob hear your contentions;
let them come forward, these other gods, and tell us the future.✻ So read the past for us, that the study of it may disclose what needs must follow; coming events make known.
Foretell you what is yet to be, we shall know you are gods indeed. Then, if you have the power, grant good or ill fortune to mankind; confer we, and pass judgement on it!
Why, you are all empty air, a nothing that nothing can effect; he courts his own shame, that makes choice of you.
I summoned one from the north country; from the east his coming should be, and ever he should invoke my name.✻ Princes he should harry to and fro, lightly as potter treads out his clay.
Which of you foretold this from the first? Let us recognize it. Which of you knew it from the beginning? We must needs say, His plea is just. But no, none gave tidings of it, none foretold it; there was no word came from you.
Who will be the first✻ to tell Sion, Here, here they are? He shall carry my good news to Jerusalem.
But when I looked, there was none of them that could offer counsel, or give a word in answer when I questioned him.
None of them has right on his side; all their doings are nothingness; no better than empty air the images men make of them.
The Holy Bible