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1 The burden of the desert of the sea. As whirlewinds in the South passe thorough; so it commeth from the desert, from a terrible land.

2 A grieuous vision is declared vnto me; The treacherous dealer dealeth treacherously, and the spoiler spoileth: Goe, vp O Elam: besiege, O Media: all the sighing thereof haue I made to cease.

3 Therefore are my loynes filled with paine, pangs haue taken hold vpon me, as the pangs of a woman that trauelleth: I was bowed downe at the hearing of it, I was dismayed at the seeing of it.

4 My heart panted, fearefulnesse affrighted me: the night of my pleasure hath he turned into feare vnto me.

5 Prepare the table, watch in the watch-tower, eate, drinke: arise yee princes, and anoint the shield.

6 For thus hath the Lord sayd vnto me; Goe, set a watchman, let him declare what he seeth.

7 And he saw a charet with a couple of horsemen, a charet of asses, and a charet of camels; and hee hearkened diligently with much heede.

8 And he cryed; A lyon: my Lord, I stand continually vpon the watch-tower in the day time, and I am set in my ward whole nights.

9 And behold, heere commeth a charet of men with a couple of horsemen: and he answered and sayd; Babylon is fallen, is fallen, and all the grauen images of her Gods he hath broken vnto the ground.

10 O my threshing and the corne of my floore: that which I haue heard of the Lord of hostes the God of Israel, haue I declared vnto you.

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

12 The watchman sayd; The morning commeth, and also the night: if yee will enquire, enquire yee: returne, come.

13 The burden vpon Arabia. In the forest in Arabia shall yee lodge, O yee trauelling companies of Dedanim.

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

15 For they fled from the swords, from the drawen sword, and from the bent bow, and from the grieuousnesse of warre.

16 For thus hath the Lord sayd vnto me: Within a yeere, according to the yeeres of an hireling, and all the glory of Kedar shall faile.

17 And the residue of the number of archers, the mighty men of the children of Kedar shalbe diminished: for the Lord God of Israel hath spoken it.

Viewing the original 1611 KJV with archaic English spelling
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Commentary for Isaiah 21

The taking of Babylon. (1-10) Of the Edomites. (11,12) Of the Arabs. (13-17)1-10 Babylon was a flat country, abundantly watered. The destruction of Babylon, so often prophesied of by Isaiah, was typical of the destruction of the great foe of the New Testament church, foretold in the Revelation. To the poor oppressed captives it would be welcome news; to the proud oppressors it would be grievous. Let this check vain mirth and sensual pleasures, that we know not in what heaviness the mirth may end. Here is the alarm given to Babylon, when forced by Cyrus. An ass and a camel seem to be the symbols of the Medes and Persians. Babylon's idols shall be so far from protecting her, that they shall be broken down. True believers are the corn of God's floor; hypocrites are but as chaff and straw, with which the wheat is now mixed, but from which it shall be separated. The corn of God's floor must expect to be threshed by afflictions and persecutions. God's Israel of old was afflicted. Even then God owns it is his still. In all events concerning the church, past, present, and to come, we must look to God, who has power to do any thing for his church, and grace to do every thing that is for her good.

11,12 God's prophets and ministers are as watchmen in the city in a time of peace, to see that all is safe. As watchmen in the camp in time of war, to warn of the motions of the enemy. After a long sleep in sin and security, it is time to rise, to awake out of sleep. We have a great deal of work to do, a long journey to go; it is time to be stirring. After a long dark night is there any hope of the day dawning? What tidings of the night? What happens to-night? We must never be secure. But many make curious inquiries of the watchmen. They would willingly have nice questions solved, or difficult prophecies interpreted; but they do not seek into the state of their own souls, about the way of salvation, and the path of duty. The watchman answers by way of prophecy. There comes first a morning of light, and peace, and opportunity; but afterward comes a night of trouble and calamity. If there be a morning of youth and health, there will come a night of sickness and old age; if a morning of prosperity in the family, in the public, yet we must look for changes. It is our wisdom to improve the present morning, in preparation for the night that is coming after it. Inquire, return, come. We are urged to do it quickly, for there is no time to trifle. Those that return and come to God, will find they have a great deal of work to do, and but little time to do it in.

13-17 The Arabians lived in tents, and kept cattle. A destroying army shall be brought upon them, and make them an easy prey. We know not what straits we may be brought into before we die. Those may know the want of necessary food who now eat bread to the full. Neither the skill of archers, nor the courage of mighty men, can protect from the judgments of God. That is poor glory, which will thus quickly come to nothing. Thus hath the Lord said to me; and no word of his shall fall to the ground. We may be sure the Strength of Israel will not lie. Happy are those only whose riches and glory are out of the reach of invaders; all other prosperity will speedily pass away.

Commentary by Matthew Henry, 1710.

Discussion for Isaiah 21

  • Teri
    It reminds me that the gates of hell will not prevail against the church, though she may be battered against, the Lord Jesus will come.
  • Cecelia Graves
    I just praise GOD for his HOLY word! Everything in the bible will come to past! He is telling us to prepare ourselves, for he is coming!
  • Ren
    @Ruhul this is the KJV if your version is different doesn't mean this one has changed.Maybe you are reading a version that has been changed instead. I have my Bible from the 80s here by me and it says the same as this one does. I can bet my other Bible says this also and it is a lot older. KJV is the best version. Can't understand why people feel the need to change Gods words.
  • Obbie Beal
    GOD; who is the creator of the heavens and earth has spoken / declared it (at this point in time); Why has HE spoken / declared it? Because of the sins / sinful people that will not 'rightly adhere' to GOD's words, especially when they create their own gods / idols from silver, gold, money, whoring for 'this' and 'that'. So sinful people / nations boldly force their CREATOR to release HIS wrath.
  • Ruhul Amin
    Why" The burden of Arabia" is became " The burden of the desert of the sea" in this version? And as comparative religious students we desirous of the prophecy?
  • Ramon m. navalle
    verse 7: every student know who is this rider of *** (Jesus) but who is the rider of camel from the desert of Arabia? Mighty men of Kedar who broke the images made by hand worshipped by men? After Jesus, another prophet would have come.

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