The Holy Bible – Knox Translation
The Prophecy of Isaias
Listen, remote islands; pay heed to me, nations from far away. Ere ever I was born, the Lord sent me his summons, kept me in mind already, when I lay in my mother’s womb.✻
Word of mine is sword of his, ready sharpened, under cover of his hand; arrow he has chosen out carefully, hidden yet in his quiver.
Thou art my servant, he whispers, thou art the Israel I claim for my own.✻
To me, all my labour seemed useless, my strength worn out in vain; his to judge me, he, my God, must reward my work as he would.
But now a new message he sends me; I am his servant, appointed ever since I lay in the womb, to bring Jacob back to him. What if Israel will not answer the summons? None the less, the Lord destines me to honour; none the less, he, my God, protects me.
Use thee I will, he promises, nor with thy service be content, when the tribes of Jacob thou hast summoned, brought back the poor remnant of Israel; nay, I have appointed thee to be the light of the Gentiles, in thee I will send out my salvation to the furthest corners of the earth.
A message from the Lord, Israel’s ransomer, Israel’s Holy One, to the despised one, to the nation that is abhorred,✻ to the slave of tyrants: Kings, when they see this, shall rise up from their thrones, princes too, and fall down to worship, in honour of the Lord, that keeps his promise so faithfully, the Holy One of Israel, that claims thee still.
Thus says the Lord, Here is a time of pardon, when prayer of thine shall be answered, a day of salvation, when I will bring thee aid. I have kept thee in readiness, to make, by thy means, a covenant with my people.✻ Thine to revive a ruined country, to parcel out the forfeited lands anew,
men that are bound in darkness restoring to freedom and to the light. There shall be pasture for my flock by the wayside, feeding-grounds they shall have on all the barren uplands;
they will hunger and thirst no more, noonday heat nor sun overpower them; theirs is a merciful shepherd, that will lead them to welling fountains and give them drink.
And I will turn all these mountains of mine into a highroad for you; safe through the uplands my path shall lead.
See how they come from far away! Exiles from north and west, exiles from the south country return.
Ring out, heaven, with praise; let earth keep holiday, and its mountains echo that praise again; the Lord brings consolation to his people, takes pity on their need.
Did Sion complain, the Lord has forsaken me, my own Master gives me never a thought?
What, can a woman forget her child that is still unweaned, pity no longer the son she bore in her womb? Let her forget; I will not be forgetful of thee.
Why, I have cut thy image on the palms of my hands; those walls of thine dwell before my eyes continually.
Here are craftsmen ready to build thee again; vanished, now, the spoilers that plundered thee.
Look about thee, and see thy children met together, coming back to thee; As I am living God, the Lord says, all these shall be a robe to deck thee, shall ring thee round like a bride’s jewels;
the silent homes, the lonely places of a ruined country-side, shall have no room, now, for thy many inhabitants, when all that robbed thee of thy lands have fled far away.
Sons born to thee in the days of thy barrenness shall cry out, Here all is confined, give me room to live!
Who has begotten me these? thou wilt ask. Barren days of exile, when I could not give birth; who has reared me these, when I was left solitary? Where were these all the while?
Even now, says the Lord God, I will beckon to the nations, lift up a signal for all the world to see; son and daughter of thine shall be nursed in their arms, carried on their shoulders.
Thou shalt have kings to foster them, queens to nurse them for thee; kings and queens shall bow to earth before thee, kissing the dust thy feet have trodden. And thou shalt know at last what a Lord I am, a Lord none ever trusted in vain.
Shall the strong be robbed of his spoil? Who shall deliver the captives from a warrior’s hand?✻
Captives of the strong, the Lord says, shall be taken away from him, the valiant warrior shall lose his spoil. I will pass judgement on the men who have been thy judges, and thy own children shall escape.
I will feed thy enemies on their own flesh, give them their own blood to make them drunk, and all mankind shall know that I, the Lord, have delivered thee, that I, the Prince of Israel, have brought thee rescue.
The Holy Bible