The Holy Bible – Knox Translation
The Prophecy of Isaias
Listen, then, Jacob, my servant, Israel, the people of my choice.
Here is a mes-sage to thee from the Lord that made and fashioned thee in the womb, thy protector: do not be afraid, my servant, Jacob, my true, my chosen people.
I will pour out water on the thirsty plain, streams over the land that once was dry; I will pour out my spirit upon thy race, my blessing on all thy line,
and where the grass springs up they shall spring up too, like willows by running water.
Now, a man will say openly, The Lord’s servant I; make his boast of Jacob’s name; write with his own hand,✻ Dedicated to the Lord, and lay claim to the title of Israelite.
Thus says the Lord, Israel’s king and ransomer, the Lord of hosts: I am before all; there is no other God but I.
What other is like me? Let him proclaim it, tell us of it; let him expound the history of the past, ever since I established the primal race of man; then let him make known the future that is yet to come.✻
Do not be afraid, or bewildered; you can bear me witness that from the first I proclaimed it in your hearing, there is no other God but I, no other Powers to rival me.
What empty minds be theirs, that idols fashion! What help found any of them yet in his own darling inventions? Confess they, and to their shame, that these have neither sight nor thought.
Who was it framed this god, moulded this image that nothing avails?
What can they do, yonder whole conspiracy, but stand there blushing? They are but craftsmen with human power. See them met there in a body, all struck dumb, every one abashed as his neighbour!
Here is blacksmith that works away with his file, beats out image with furnace and hammer, his strong arm the whole author of it; faints he, like other men, if he be hungry, tires at his task if water he have none to drink!
Here is carpenter unfolding his rule; plane smoothes the wood, square and compasses must do their work; and what has he made for you? The figure of a man, that has but human beauty, a man that must have a roof to shelter him.
For such ends, cedar must fall, ilex and oak be cut away from their place in the forest; for this, pine-tree was planted where rains should nourish it.
Logs yonder carpenter will cut, a human hearth to feed; some he brings in to warm himself, kindles more when the bread is a-baking; and the rest? With the rest he makes himself a god to worship, bows down before the thing his own hands have carved!
Well enough that hearth and oven should claim a share, that he should brew broth and fill his belly, that he should warm him, and boast of the warmth, at sight of his own chimney-corner.
But that he should take the rest to make a god for himself! That he should fall down before an image, worship it, cry out to it, Save me, thou art my god!
Ignorance and folly, bleared eyes that cannot see, dull hearts that cannot understand!
Minds without reason, or sense, or thought, that cannot learn their lesson! Logs that fed the flame, embers that baked for me; now that my dinner is cooked and eaten, shall I take the rest and make an idol of it, fall down before a stump of wood?
Dust and ashes are his portion; the fool goes on worshipping, cannot free his own soul from bondage, nor ask if he shelters himself under a lie.✻
Remember it, Jacob, remember it, my servant Israel; it was I, Israel, that made thee; thou art my servant, and wilt thou forget me?
The cloud of thy guilt, the haze of thy sinfulness, I have swept away; come back to me, thy ransomer.
The Lord has been merciful; you heavens, sing your praises; depths of the earth, rejoice; echo the song of praise, mountain and forest and every forest tree; the Lord has ransomed Jacob, Israel shall make his boast in him.
Thus says the Lord, thy ransomer, he who fashioned thee in the womb: I am the Lord, the author of all things; alone I spread out heaven’s canopy, looked for no help when I laid the floor of the earth.
Mine to disappoint the soothsayers of their prophecies, and bewilder the diviner’s wits, send the wise men back to school, their wisdom all exposed as folly,
vindicate my own servant, and justify the counsel my own messengers have given. It is my voice that bids Jerusalem grow populous, and the cities of Juda rise again, while I restore their ruins;
my voice that bids the deep turn into a desert, and threatens to dry up all its floods;
my voice that says to Cyrus, I give thee a shepherd’s part to play; it is for thee to carry out my whole purpose. And to Jerusalem it says, Thou shalt be built up; and to the Temple, Thou shalt be founded again.
The Holy Bible