The voice of one crying (ponh bownto). God is coming to his people to deliver them from their captivity in Babylon. So the prophet cries like a voice in the wilderness to make ready for the coming of God. When the committee from the Sanhedrin came to ask John who he was, he used this very language of Isaiah ( John 1:23 ). He was only a voice, but we can still hear the echo of that voice through the corridor of the centuries. Paths straight (euqeia ta tribou). Automobile highways today well illustrate the wonderful Persian roads for the couriers of the king and then for the king himself. The Roman Empire was knit together by roads, some of which survive today. John had a high and holy mission as the forerunner of the Messiah.