The Holy Bible – Knox Translation
The Prophecy of Isaias
Out upon you, the Lord says, what treason is this? Here be plans afoot that were never mine, webs a-weaving, and the pattern none of my choice. Trust me, you do but add to your guilt.
What are these journeyings down into Egypt, and I never consulted? Think you to find refuge in the strength of Pharao, look you to Egypt for shelter?
Strength of Pharao shall play you false, nor shelter Egypt bring you, but shame.
Princes of thine in Tanis, ambassadors from thee making their way to Hanes!
Fruitless errand to a folk that could not save them; no help, no comfort there, only failure and mockery.
What burden for the cattle-droves in the south? Here is a land of difficulty and danger, home of lion and lioness, of viper and flying serpent; and through it, goods piled on asses’ backs, treasures stored on the humps of camels, go men asking for help where help is none.
From Egypt’s protection you shall have neither gain nor good; my word has been said about her, There goes Pride, let her alone.
Go home, then, and engrave it on a tablet of box-wood for their instruction; write it down, too, carefully on a scroll, to be an abiding record in after days.
So rebellious a people is this, so treacherous a breed, refusing, my own children, to listen to the law of their God;
forbidding the prophet to prophesy, the man of vision to have vision of the truth. Ever they must be told what likes them best, comforted in their illusions;
for them no marching orders, no prescribed path; he, the Holy One of Israel, must be kept far from their view.
From him, the Holy One of Israel, this message: Warning of mine you have rejected, so blindly you trust your own cunning, your own headstrong will.
Sudden and swift shall be your punishment, as the crash of a high wall that has long gaped ruinously, long been anxiously watched.
So shrewd a blow potter never dealt, shivering earthen pot into fragments, till no shard is left that will carry a lighted coal from the hearth, or a mouthful of water from the cistern.
From the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel, word was given you, Come back and keep still, and all shall be well with you; in quietness and in confidence lies your strength. But you would have none of it;
To horse! you cried, We must flee! and flee you shall; We must ride swiftly, you said; but swifter still ride your pursuers.
Be you a thousand to one, yet at the challenge of five men you shall take to flight; nought left of you but a remnant, lonely as flag-staff on the mountain-top, as beacon on the hill.
What if the Lord waits his time before he will have mercy on you? The more glorious, when it comes, his deliverance. The Lord is a God who makes award justly, blessed they shall be that wait for him.
In Jerusalem they only will be left, true citizens of Sion. And thou, Jerusalem, tears shalt have none to shed; mercy is none he shall withhold. Soon as he hears thee crying out to him, the answer will come.
Bread the Lord will grant, though it be sparingly, water, though it be in short measure. Birds of passage they shall be no longer,✻ the men he gives thee for thy teachers; always thou wilt have a true counsellor in sight,
always hear his voice in thy ear as he warns thee, This is the true path, follow it; no swerving to right or left!
Silver leaf on thy graven images defaced now, defaced the sheaths of gold; thou wilt cast all away, as a woman casts away defiled clouts of hers, and bid it begone.
And thereupon, sow where thou wilt all over the land, rain shall be granted to thy crops; rich and full shall be thy harvest of wheat; thou shalt have pasture, then, for lambs to browse in at liberty.
Ox and ass on thy farm shall have mixed feed, pure grain fresh winnowed on the threshing-floor;
never a mountain-top, never a high hill, but will flow with torrents of water, when that day comes. The dead shall lie in heaps that day, and towers come crashing down;
moon’s light will be like the light of the sun, and the sun will shine in sevenfold strength, as if the light of seven days were joined in one, when the time comes for the Lord to bind up his people’s hurt, and heal their grievous wound.
See where the majesty of the Lord comes from far away; his anger is aflame, and there is no withstanding it! There is menace on his lips, his tongue is like a consuming fire,
and his breath like a mountain stream that floods over till it is neck-deep. He will sweep away whole nations into oblivion, sweep away the bridle of false fears that curbed the peoples till now.✻
But, you, that night, will be singing for joy, as if it were the night when a solemn feast begins; your hearts will be light, as men’s hearts are light when they go up, with the flutes playing about them, to the mountain of the Lord, where he dwells, the strong God of Israel.
The Lord will make his dread voice heard, will lay bare his terrible arm, volleying out his anger in flashes of devouring fire, laying all low with his whirlwind, with his hail-stones;
and Assur will shrink in fear from the Lord’s voice, and will feel his rod.
So it is decreed that the rod should pass over him, brought down on him by the Lord’s hand to the music of your tambours and harps; a strange warfare this,✻ that shall quell them!
In these times a new Topheth✻ has been made ready; this, too, made ready by a king. It is deep and wide, fed with flaming brands in abundance; and the breath of the Lord comes down like a stream of brimstone, to kindle it.
The Holy Bible