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Isaiah Twenty One

by Dr. Henry M. Morris

(taken from the Defender's Study Bible)

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Isaiah 21:1 The burden of the desert of the sea. As whirlwinds in the south pass through; so it cometh from the desert, from a terrible land.

desert of the sea. The context indicates that this desert was the wilderness of Babylonia bordering the Persian Gulf.

Isaiah 21:2 A grievous vision is declared unto me; the treacherous dealer dealeth treacherously, and the spoiler spoileth. Go up, O Elam: besiege, O Media; all the sighing thereof have I made to cease.

Elam: besiege, O Media. The Medo-Persian empire would eventually defeat the great Babylonian empire (note Isaiah 21:9). This prophecy was fulfilled almost two centuries after Isaiah's time. Yet Isaiah prophesied of it.

Isaiah 21:3 Therefore are my loins filled with pain: pangs have taken hold upon me, as the pangs of a woman that travaileth: I was bowed down at the hearing of it; I was dismayed at the seeing of it.

Isaiah 21:4 My heart panted, fearfulness affrighted me: the night of my pleasure hath he turned into fear unto me.

Isaiah 21:5 Prepare the table, watch in the watchtower, eat, drink: arise, ye princes, and anoint the shield.

Isaiah 21:6 For thus hath the Lord said unto me, Go, set a watchman, let him declare what he seeth.

Isaiah 21:7 And he saw a chariot with a couple of horsemen, a chariot of asses, and a chariot of camels; and he hearkened diligently with much heed:

Isaiah 21:8 And he cried, A lion: My lord, I stand continually upon the watchtower in the daytime, and I am set in my ward whole nights:

Isaiah 21:9 And, behold, here cometh a chariot of men, with a couple of horsemen. And he answered and said, Babylon is fallen, is fallen; and all the graven images of her gods he hath broken unto the ground.

Babylon is fallen. See above note on Isaiah 21:2.

Isaiah 21:10 O my threshing, and the corn of my floor: that which I have heard of the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel, have I declared unto you.

Isaiah 21:11 The burden of Dumah. He calleth to me out of Seir, Watchman, what of the night? Watchman, what of the night?

Dumah. Dumah was a son of Ishmael (Genesis 25:14) and Seir was a Horite (Genesis 36:20), but both lands became possessions of the Edomites, descendants of Esau, and longtime enemies of Israel. The picture is of Edom calling to the prophet and asking the time of night. As a faithful watchman, Isaiah warns that even though daylight is near, night will come again; the people of Edom urgently need to “return” (Isaiah 21:12) to the God of their father, Isaac.

Isaiah 21:12 The watchman said, The morning cometh, and also the night: if ye will inquire, inquire ye: return, come.

Isaiah 21:13 The burden upon Arabia. In the forest in Arabia shall ye lodge, O ye travelling companies of Dedanim.

Arabia. The Arabs, including “the children of Kedar” (Isaiah 21:17), were descendants of Ishmael, and these also would fall to the Assyrians. The Dedanim were Hamites, descendants of Cush, who once also had inhabited southern Arabia.

Isaiah 21:14 The inhabitants of the land of Tema brought water to him that was thirsty, they prevented with their bread him that fled.

prevented. That is, in terms of old English usage, “preceded” or “anticipated.”

Isaiah 21:15 For they fled from the swords, from the drawn sword, and from the bent bow, and from the grievousness of war.

Isaiah 21:16 For thus hath the Lord said unto me, Within a year, according to the years of an hireling, and all the glory of Kedar shall fail:

Isaiah 21:17 And the residue of the number of archers, the mighty men of the children of Kedar, shall be diminished: for the LORD God of Israel hath spoken it.