Isaiah – Chapter 21


Prophecies Against Babylon

Verse 1 – The burden against the Wilderness of the Sea. As whirlwinds in the south pass through, so it comes from the desert, from a terrible land.

The “Desert by the Sea” is Babylon by the Persian Gulf. The storms that pass through that area even today can be violent.

Verse 2 – A distressing vision is declared to me; the treacherous dealer deals treacherously, and the plunder plunders. Go up, O Elam! Besiege, O Media! All its sighing I have made to cease.

Elam Media (Medes) were countries on the Iranian plateau east of Babylon. In this verse they are called to advance. In the late eighth century B. C., they were allies with Babylon and would have fought against Assyria. In 539 B.C. they were both parts of the Persian Empire that defeated Babylon.

Verse 3 – Therefore my loins are filled with pain; pangs have taken hold of me, like the pangs of a woman in labor. I was distressed when I heard it; I was dismayed when I saw it.

Verse 4 – My heart wavered, fearfulness frightened me; the night for which I longed He turned into fear for me.

Verse 5 – Prepare the table, set a watchman in the tower, eat, and drink. Arise, you princes, anoint the shield!

Attack would come in the midst of celebration feasting, reminiscent of Daniel 5 when Belshazzar ate and drank on the eve of Babylon’s destruction.

Verse 6 – For thus has the Lord said to me: “Go, set a watchman, let him declare what he sees.”

Verse 7 – And he saw a chariot with a pair of horseman, a chariot of donkeys, and a chariot of camels, and he listened diligently with great care.

Watchmen on the city walls would be the first to see trouble coming. The prophet Habakkuk was a watchmen (Habakkuk 2:1). The vision of the chariots could be the Medes and Persians at taking Babylon in 539 B.C.

Verse 8 – Then he cried, “A lion, my Lord! I stand continually on the watchtower in the daytime; I have sat at my post every night.

Verse 9 – And look, here comes a chariot of men with a pair of horsemen!” And he answered and said, “Babylon is fallen, is fallen! And all the carved images of her gods he has broken to the ground.

Babylon, was and remains, a symbol of all that stands against God, idolatry, witchcraft, and temple prostitution. The attacking army returned with the announcement that “Babylon has fallen.”

Verse 10 – Oh, my threshing and the grain of my floor! That which I have heard from the Lord of hosts, the god of Israel, I have declared to you.

The crushed people were the people of Israel. The prophet confirmed to them that the destruction of Babylon had been announced by none other than God Himself.

Verse 11 – The burden against Dumah (Edom) He calls to me out of Seir, “Watchman, what of the night? Watchman, what of the night?”

Dumah or Edom, had been a constant enemy of God’s people. They rejoiced when Israel fell to the Assyrians, and this sealed Edom’s doom. Seir was another name for Edom because the hill country was given to Esau and his descendants. Obadiah foretells, in great detail the destruction of Edom.

Verse 12 – The watchman said, “The morning comes, and also the night. If you will inquire, inquire; Return! Come back!”

Verse 13 – The burden against Arabia. In the forest in Arabia you will lodge, O you traveling companies of Dedanites (Dedanim descendants of Dedan).

Verse 14 – O inhabitants of the land of Tema, bring water to him who is thirsty; with their bread they met him who fled.

Verse 15 – For they fled from the swords from the drawn sword, from the bent bow, and from the distress of war.

Verse 16 – For thus the Lord has said to me; “Within a year, according to the year of a hired man, all the glory of Kedar will fall;

Verse 17 – and the remainder of the number of archers, the mighty men of the people of Kedar, will be diminished; for the Lord God of Israel has spoken it.”

The invasion by the Assyrian army went up against Judah when they were on their way to Egypt.

This entry was posted in Isaiah.

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