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Isaiah 21

21
XXI
1THE ORACLE CONCERNING THE DESERT OF THE SEA.
Like the southern tempests violently rushing along,
From the desert he cometh, from a terrible land.
2A dreadful vision hath been revealed unto me:
The plunderer plundereth, and the spoiler spoileth!
Go up, O Elam; form the siege, O Media!
All her sighing have I made to cease.
3Therefore are my loins filled with dreadful pain;
Pangs have taken hold upon me, as the pangs of a woman in travail:
I am convulsed, so that I cannot hear; I am astonished, so that I cannot see.
4My heart is bewildered; terror hath come upon me:
The night of my pleasure hath he turned into fear unto me.
5The table is prepared, the watch is set; they eat, they drink;
Arise, ye princes; anoint the shield.
6For thus hath the Lord said unto me:
Go, set a watchman on his station;
What he shall see, he shall report.
7And he beheld riders, a couple of horsemen,
Riders on asses, riders on camels:
And he hearkened diligently with much heed.
8Then he cried out like a lion:
O my lord, I keep my station on the watch all the day long;
And on my ward have I continued every night.
9And, behold, there come men riding, a couple of horsemen.
Then he answered and said, Babylon is fallen, is fallen;
And all the sculptured images of her gods have they broken in pieces against the ground.
10O my threshing, and the corn of my floor!
What I have heard of Jehovah of hosts, the God of Israel,
That I have declared unto you.
11THE ORACLE CONCERNING DOMAH.
A voice crieth unto me from Seir:
Watchman, what of the night?
Watchman, what of the night?
12The watchman said;
The morning cometh, and also the night.
If ye will inquire, inquire ye: come again and again.
13THE ORACLE AGAINST ARABIA.
In the thickets of Arabia shall ye lodge,
O ye travelling companies of Dedan!
14To meet the thirsty they brought water,
They the inhabitants of the land of Tema;
With his bread they approached the wanderer.
15For from the face of the sword have they fled,
From the face of the drawn sword;
And from the face of the bended bow;
And from the face of the grievousness of war.
16For thus hath the Lord said unto me:
Within yet a year, as the years of a hireling,
All the glory of Kedar shall fail:
17And the residue of the number of the mighty bow men of the sons of Kedar, shall be diminished:
For Jehovah, the God of Israel, hath spoken it.

Isaiah 21

21
God Commands That Babylon Be Taken
1The [mournful, inspired] oracle (#I.e. an urgent message the prophet is under compulsion to proclaim.a burden to be carried) concerning the Desert of the #Probably a reference to the Euphrates and Tigris Rivers and their tributaries which overflowed their banks like a sea. Great dams were constructed to control their floodwaters.Sea (the seasonally flooded plains just south of Babylon):
As windstorms in the Negev (the South) sweep through,
So it (God’s judgment) comes from the desert, from [the hostile armies of] a terrifying land.
2A harsh vision has been shown to me;
The treacherous one deals treacherously, and the destroyer destroys.
Go up, Elam! Lay siege, Media!
All the groaning [caused by Babylon’s ruthless oppressions] I [the Lord] have brought to an end.
3Therefore [continues Isaiah] my loins are filled with anguish;
Pains have seized me like the pains of a woman in childbirth;
I am so bent and bewildered that I cannot hear, I am so terrified that I cannot see.
4My mind reels, horror overwhelms me;
The twilight I longed for has been #The vision reveals the events to occur at the feast of Belshazzar—the defilement of the golden articles taken from God’s temple, the handwriting on the wall, the murder of Babylon’s great king.turned into fear and trembling for me.
5They set the table [for the doomed banquet], they spread out the cloth, they eat, they drink;
“Rise up, captains [of Belshazzar’s court], oil your shields [for battle, for your enemy is at the gates]!”
6This is what the Lord says to me,
“Go, station the lookout, let him report what he sees.
7When he sees a chariot, horsemen in pairs,
A train of donkeys and a train of camels,
Let him pay attention and listen closely, very closely.”
8And the lookout called like a lion,
“O Lord, I stand continually on the watchtower by day,
And I am stationed every night at my guard post.
9Now look! Here comes a troop of riders, horsemen in pairs.”
And one said, “Fallen, fallen is Babylon;
And all the carved images of her gods are shattered on the ground.”
10O my threshed people [Judah, who must be judged and trampled down by Babylon], my afflicted of the threshing floor.
What I have heard from the Lord of hosts,
The God of Israel, I have [joyfully] announced to you [that Babylon is to fall].
Oracles about Edom and Arabia
11The [mournful, inspired] oracle (#I.e. an urgent message the prophet is under compulsion to proclaim.a burden to be carried) concerning Dumah (Edom):
Someone keeps calling to me from Seir (Edom),
“Watchman, what is left of the night [of Assyrian oppression]?
Watchman, what is left of the night? [How long until morning?]”
12The watchman says,
“The morning comes [only briefly], but also [comes] the night [of Babylonian oppression].
If you would ask [of me then], ask [again, if Edom really wishes to know];
Come back again.”
13The [mournful, inspired] oracle (#I.e. an urgent message the prophet is under compulsion to proclaim.a burden to be carried) concerning Arabia:
In the thickets of Arabia you must spend the night,
Caravans of Dedanites.
14Bring water for the thirsty [Dedanites],
O inhabitants of the land of Tema [in Arabia];
Meet the fugitive with bread.
15For they have fled from the swords,
From the drawn sword, from the bent bow
And from the press of battle and grief of war.
16For the Lord has said this to me, “Within a year, according to the years of a hired man [who will work no longer than was agreed], all the splendor of [the tribe of] Kedar will end; 17and the remainder of the number of archers, the mighty men of the sons of Kedar, will be few; for the Lord, the God of Israel, has spoken.”