As I fret about the spectre of war in Syria (and especially from the point of view of the West getting involved), the words of Isaiah take on new poignancy:
Set to music by Charles Villiers Stanford – from 4 minutes, 10 seconds after a lovely piece by S.S. Wesley.
There shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a branch shall grow out of his roots;
And the spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom, and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge, and of the fear of the Lord:
And he shall not judge after the sight of his eyes,
Neither reprove after the hearing of his ears;
And with rightness shall he judge the poor, and reprove with equity the meek of the earth;
And He shall smite the earth with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips shall he slay the wicked.
And righteousness shall be the girdle of his loins, and faithfulness the girdle of his veins.
The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb.
And the leopard shall lie down with the kid, and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together, and a little child shall lead them.
They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain:
For the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the earth.
And in that day there shall be a root of Jesse which shall stand for an ensign unto the people and his rest shall be glorious.