The Holy Bible – Knox Translation
The Prophecy of Isaias
What, plunderer of the nations, unplundered still? Proud lord of others, does none dispute thy lordship? A time comes when thou must cease plundering, and thyself be plundered, when of lordship thou hast had enough, and others lord it over thee.
Have mercy on us, Lord, that wait for thee so patiently; day after day be our stronghold, our deliverer thou in time of trouble!
Fled, the alien host, scattered the heathen, thy angel’s voice✻ once heard, thy power made manifest!
Your spoils, Gentiles, how easily amassed! Easily as the locusts, where they swarm in the trenches.
The Lord’s power made manifest, that is throned high in heaven! With his just award Sion shall be well content;
still in these times of ours✻ the promise well kept, the full deliverance. Knowledge and wisdom and the fear of the Lord, what treasure like these?
Deserted, the highways, the lanes untravelled; the enemy has broken the truce, making no terms with the cities, not sparing the lives of men;
widowed the countryside and lifeless, Lebanon shrunken and withered, Saron a wilderness, Basan and Carmel quaking with fear.
Now, the Lord says, to bestir myself, now to rise up in arms against them, now to make them feel my power!
A raging fire conceived in the womb, and nothing but stubble brought to the birth; your own impetuous spirit shall be a fire, Gentiles, to devour you;
like ashes in a kiln they shall be left, the alien hordes, bundles of brushwood eaten up by the fire.
Listen then, you that live far off, to the story of my doings; and you, who dwell close to me, learn the lesson of my power.
In Sion itself there be guilty folk that tremble, false hearts full of dismay; who shall survive this devouring flame, the near presence of fires that burn unceasingly?
He only, that follows the path of innocence, tells truth, ill-gotten gain refuses, flings back the bribe; his ears shut to murderous counsels, his eyes from every harmful sight turned away.
On the heights his dwelling shall be, his eyrie among the fastnesses of the rocks, bread shall be his for the asking, water from an unfailing spring.
Those eyes shall look on the king in his royal beauty, have sight of a land whose frontiers are far away.
Of those old fears, how thou wilt recall the memory! Where are they now, the learned men, that could weight each phrase of the law, that taught us like children?✻
No longer wilt thou see before thee a rebellious people,✻ all profound talk that passes thy comprehension, and no wisdom.
Look around thee at Sion, goal of our pilgrimage, see where Jerusalem lies, an undisturbed dwelling-place; here is tent securely fixed, its pegs immoveable, its ropes never to be broken.
Here, as nowhere else, our Lord reigns in majesty; a place of rivers, of wide, open streams, yet no ship’s oar will disturb it, no huge galleon pass by;
the Lord our judge, the Lord our lawgiver, the Lord our king, will himself be our deliverance.
Now, thy tackle hangs loose and unserviceable, too weak thy mast is to display thy pennon; then, thou wilt have the spoil of many forays to divide, even lame folk shall carry plunder away.
No more shall they cry out on their helpless plight, these, thy fellow citizens; none dwells there now but is assoiled of his guilt.
The Holy Bible