The Holy Bible – Knox Translation
The Prophecy of Isaias
Out upon you, that enact ill decrees, and draw up instruments of wrong;
suppress the claims of the poor, and refuse redress to humble folk; the widow your spoil, the orphan your prey!
What shifts will you be put to, when the day of reckoning comes, when the storm overtakes you that is brewing far away? With whom take refuge, where hide away your treasures?
Yours to crouch down in chains, or fall among the massacred. And even so the Lord’s wrath is not appeased, his hand threatens us still.
Woe, too, upon the Assyrian! What is he but the rod that executes my vengeance, the instrument of my displeasure?
I have sent him to punish one nation that has proved false to me; against one defiant people he holds my warrant; let him prey on it as he will, carry off what spoils he will, trample it like the mire in the streets.
Not such are his own thoughts, not such the dreams he cherishes; he dreams of extermination, of realm after realm dispeopled.
Are not my chieftains, he says,
as good as kings, every one of them? What difference between Charcamis and Calano, between Arphad and Emath, between Damascus and Samaria?
I have had my way with the kingdoms that worship false gods; shall it not be the same with the images they worship at Jerusalem and Samaria?
May I not treat Jerusalem and her images as I treated Samaria and her false gods?✻
Wait we, till the Lord has carried out all his designs upon mount Sion and Jerusalem. Then he means to reckon with the boastful ambition of Sennacherib, with the proud glance of those scornful eyes.
My own strength (the king says to himself) has done all this, my own wisdom has planned it; I have removed the frontiers of nations, I have robbed princes of their treasure, with a strong hand I have pulled down rulers from their thrones.
Mighty peoples, and my hand closed over them like a nest; I gathered up a whole world, as a man gathers up eggs that lie abandoned; no flapping of wings, no angry screech to forbid me.
Poor fool, can axe set itself up against woodman, saw defy carpenter? Shall the rod turn on him who wields it, the staff, that is but wood, try conclusions with a living man?
What says our Master, the Lord of hosts? He will send a wasting sickness into that gorged frame; beneath that pride a living firebrand shall burn, burn deep.
He who is our light will turn into a fire, the Holy One of Israel will be a flame, that will burn up suddenly; in one day those thorn-bushes, that dry brushwood shall be consumed.
Like a proud forest, or a garden plot, he shall be eaten up, body and soul; see where he flies in terror!
Of all the trees in that forest so few shall be left, a child might count them.
And when that day comes, the remnant of Israel, the survivors of Jacob’s line, will learn to trust, not in the staff that turns into rod to smite them,✻ but in the Lord, the Holy One of Israel; here he shall find loyalty.
A remnant will turn back, only a remnant of Jacob, to God, the Mighty One.
Countless though Israel be as the sea sand, only a remnant of it will return; there must be a sharp reckoning first, before we are restored, abundantly, to his favour.✻
Short and sharp is the reckoning the Lord, the God of hosts, will make, with the whole world for the scene of it.
Here, then, is a message for you from the Lord, the God of hosts: Never lose heart, men of Sion, my own people, before the Assyrian, rod though he have to smite thee, staff to chastise thee, when thou meetest him on the road to Egypt.✻
Wait for a little, for a short moment wait, and my angry vengeance for his ill doings shall find full scope.
The Lord of hosts will bring the lash down upon him, as he did once on Madian at the rock Oreb; by the sea-shore, on the road to Egypt, his rod will be uplifted.
And with that, thy shoulder will be eased of the burden, the yoke will fall from thy neck, yoke that has gone rotten for want of oil.✻
See where he enters Aiath, crosses to Magron, halts his baggage-train at Machmas!
Already the pass lies behind them; Geba will be theirs by nightfall. In Rama, what terror! Saul’s own city of Gabaa is in flight.
Cry aloud, maidens of Gallim, and listen, Laisa, to the cry; woe upon thee, poor Anathoth!
Medemena stands empty; now, men of Gabim, you need courage!
Daylight still! Why, he will make his halt at Nobe, threaten the mountain where queen Sion stands, the very hill of Jerusalem!
Then, as we look, our Master, the Lord of hosts, will spread terror among them, and break them like earthenware.✻ Yield greatness, and pride topple;
axe-iron for yonder tangled forest, the strength of Lebanon outmatched!
The Holy Bible