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Babylon Has Fallen

This is the divine revelation about the desert by the sea.

Like a storm sweeping through the Negev,
    an invader will come from the desert,
        from a terrifying land.
I was shown a harsh vision.
    The traitor betrays.
    The destroyer destroys.
        Go to war, Elam!
        Surround them, Media!
I will put an end to all the groaning.
That is why my body is full of trembling.
Pain grips me like the pain of childbirth.
    I’m disturbed by what I hear.
    I’m terrified by what I see.
    I’m confused.
    I’m shaking with terror.
The twilight hours I longed for make me tremble.
Set the table.
    Spread the rugs by the table.
        Eat. Drink.
Get up, you leaders!
Prepare your shields for battle!

This is what the Lord says to me:

Post a watchman.
    Have him report whatever he sees.
He will see chariots, pairs of horsemen,
    riders on donkeys, and riders on camels.
        Let him watch carefully, very carefully.
The watchman[a] called,
    “Sir, I stand on the watchtower every day.
        Every night, I stand guard at my post.
            Look! Here come chariots and horsemen in pairs.”
Then he said,
    “Babylon has fallen! It has fallen!
        All the idols they worship lie shattered on the ground.”

10 You, my people, have been threshed and winnowed.[b]
    I make known to you what I heard from the Lord of Armies,
        the God of Israel.

Someone Calling from Seir

11 This is the divine revelation about Dumah.[c]

Someone is calling to me from Seir,
    “Watchman, how much of the night is left?
    Watchman, how much of the night is left?”
12 The watchman answers,
    “Morning is coming, and night will come again.
        If you need to ask, come back and ask.”

Arabia Will Be Punished

13 This is the divine revelation about Arabia.

    You caravan of travelers from the people of Dedan
        will spend the night in the forest of Arabia.
14 Bring water for the thirsty,
    you inhabitants of the land of Tema.
Bring food to the fugitives.
15 They flee from swords,
    from swords ready to kill,
        from bows ready to shoot,
            and from the thick of battle.

16 This is what the Lord says to me: All of Kedar’s honor will be gone in another year. I will count it like workers count the years left on their contracts. [d] 17 The remaining number of archers, Kedar’s mighty archers, will be few. The Lord God of Israel has spoken.

Footnotes

  1. Isaiah 21:8 Syriac, Dead Sea Scrolls; Masoretic Text, Targum “lion”; Greek “Uriah.”
  2. Isaiah 21:10 Threshing is the process of beating stalks to separate them from the grain. Winnowing is the process of separating husks from grain.
  3. Isaiah 21:11 The exact location of Dumah is unknown.
  4. Isaiah 21:17 Hebrew meaning of this sentence uncertain.

A Prophecy Against Babylon

21 A prophecy(A) against the Desert(B) by the Sea:

Like whirlwinds(C) sweeping through the southland,(D)
    an invader comes from the desert,
    from a land of terror.

A dire(E) vision has been shown to me:
    The traitor betrays,(F) the looter takes loot.
Elam,(G) attack! Media,(H) lay siege!
    I will bring to an end all the groaning she caused.

At this my body is racked with pain,(I)
    pangs seize me, like those of a woman in labor;(J)
I am staggered by what I hear,
    I am bewildered(K) by what I see.
My heart(L) falters,
    fear makes me tremble;(M)
the twilight I longed for
    has become a horror(N) to me.

They set the tables,
    they spread the rugs,
    they eat, they drink!(O)
Get up, you officers,
    oil the shields!(P)

This is what the Lord says to me:

“Go, post a lookout(Q)
    and have him report what he sees.
When he sees chariots(R)
    with teams of horses,
riders on donkeys
    or riders on camels,(S)
let him be alert,
    fully alert.”

And the lookout[a](T) shouted,

“Day after day, my lord, I stand on the watchtower;
    every night I stay at my post.
Look, here comes a man in a chariot(U)
    with a team of horses.
And he gives back the answer:
    ‘Babylon(V) has fallen,(W) has fallen!
All the images of its gods(X)
    lie shattered(Y) on the ground!’”

10 My people who are crushed on the threshing floor,(Z)
    I tell you what I have heard
from the Lord Almighty,
    from the God of Israel.

A Prophecy Against Edom

11 A prophecy against Dumah[b]:(AA)

Someone calls to me from Seir,(AB)
    “Watchman, what is left of the night?
    Watchman, what is left of the night?”
12 The watchman replies,
    “Morning is coming, but also the night.
If you would ask, then ask;
    and come back yet again.”

A Prophecy Against Arabia

13 A prophecy(AC) against Arabia:(AD)

You caravans of Dedanites,(AE)
    who camp in the thickets of Arabia,
14     bring water for the thirsty;
you who live in Tema,(AF)
    bring food for the fugitives.
15 They flee(AG) from the sword,(AH)
    from the drawn sword,
from the bent bow
    and from the heat of battle.

16 This is what the Lord says to me: “Within one year, as a servant bound by contract(AI) would count it, all the splendor(AJ) of Kedar(AK) will come to an end. 17 The survivors of the archers, the warriors of Kedar, will be few.(AL)” The Lord, the God of Israel, has spoken.(AM)

Footnotes

  1. Isaiah 21:8 Dead Sea Scrolls and Syriac; Masoretic Text A lion
  2. Isaiah 21:11 Dumah, a wordplay on Edom, means silence or stillness.