The Holy Bible – Knox Translation
The Prophecy of Isaias
Out upon her, Ariel,✻ the lion-city King David stormed long ago! This year once added to the tale of years, feast-days of it over and gone,
I will lay siege to Ariel, that shall roar and roar again, a lion-city indeed.
Trust me, I will ring thee round, throw up earth-works against thee, set engines in place to besiege thee.
Cower down thou must, and offer parley from the earth where thou liest; from the ruins thy voice will make itself heard, no better than a muttering from the ground, as it were some ghost that moaned there under the earth.
Then, like fine dust, the hordes that routed thee shall vanish; like a spark that smoulders, thy conquerors shall die away.
Suddenly, in a moment, the Lord will sweep down upon them in thunder, and earthquake, in a storm of roaring wind, in fire that devours all before it;
gone, the thronging nations that fought against Ariel, like a dream that passes with the night; gone, the fighting, and the siege, and their triumph.
Dreams hungry man of a full belly, then wakes empty as ever; dreams thirsty man of a cool draught, then wakes weary, and thirsty, and still unsatisfied! Such comfort shall be theirs, the many folk that beleaguered Sion.
Ay, gape and gaze as you will; hum and haw you, bemused ere you lifted cup, besotted ere you have been at your wine, besotted with never a taste of drink!
So deep a lethargy the Lord instils, blinding the prophets that should be your eyes, muffling with a veil the wise heads that should see visions for you.
What is revelation to you, but a sealed book, offered as vainly to scholar that finds it sealed,
as to yonder simpleton, that vows he never learned his letters?
This people, the Lord says, makes profession of worshipping me, does me honour with its lips, but its heart is far from me.✻ If they fear me, it is a lesson they learned from human precepts.
What remains but some great, some resounding miracle, to strike awe into such hearts as these? Bereft of wisdom their wise men shall be, cunning of their counsellors vanish.
Out on you, that would hide your designs from the Lord in the depth of your hearts, plotting on in the dark and telling yourselves none can see, none can find you out!
What a strange thought is this! As well might clay scheme against the potter; handicraft disown its craftsman, or thing of art call the artist fool.
Short the time shall be, and quickly fled, ere Lebanon forest shall be fruitful as Carmel, ere land fruitful now shall be reckoned as forest.
Then this book will have a message for deaf ears to hear, for blind eyes to see through the mist that darkens them;
humble folk shall yet learn to rejoice in the Lord, poor clods of earth triumph in the Holy One of Israel.
Vanished, the triumphant foe, scornful incredulity is silenced; where are they now, that spent themselves on wrongdoing,
watching a man’s words to convict him of guilt, defrauding him of justice at the city gate, setting aside, with a quibble, the plea of the innocent?
Here is a message to the race of Jacob from the Lord, that was Abraham’s deliverer: No longer shall Jacob be disappointed, no longer put to the blush.
He shall see children of his, my gift, doing honour publicly to my name; honour to the Holy One of Jacob, homage to the God of Israel!
Restless hearts will attain true knowledge then, and the murmurers learn wisdom.
The Holy Bible