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Elam and Media are Rebuked

21 A message[a] concerning the pasture[b] by the Sea.

“Like whirlwinds in the Negev[c] sweep on,
    it comes from the desert,
        from a distant[d] land.
A dire vision has been announced to me:
    the traitor betrays,
        and the plunderer takes loot.
Get up, Elam!
    Attack, Media!
I am putting a stop
    to all the groaning she has caused.
Therefore my body is[e] racked with pain;
    pangs have seized me,
        like the pangs of a woman in labor;
I am so upset that I cannot hear;
    I am so frightened that I cannot see
    while I’m reeling around.[f]
And as for my heart,[g] horror has terrified me;
    the twilight I longed for
        has started to make me tremble.
They set the tables;
    they spread the carpets;[h]
        they eat, they drink!

Get up, you officers!
    Oil the shields!”

The Fall of Babylon

For this is what the Lord told me:

“Go post a lookout.
        Have him report what he sees.
When he sees chariots, each man[i] with a pair of horses,
    riders on donkeys or riders on[j] camels,
let him pay attention,
    full attention.”

Then the lookout[k] shouted:
    “Upon a watchtower I stand, O Lord,
        continually by day,
and I am stationed at my post
    throughout the night.

Look! Here come riders,[l]
    each man with a pair of horses!”
        They’re shouting out the answer:
“Babylon has fallen, has fallen,
    and they have shattered
        all the images of her gods[m] on the ground!
10 O my downtrodden people,[n] my wall![o]
    I’ll tell you what I have heard
        from the Lord of the Heavenly Armies, the God of Israel.”

A Message about Dumah

11 A message[p] concerning Dumah.

“Someone is calling to me from Seir:
    ‘Watchman, what is left of the night?[q]
        Watchman, what is left of the night?’[r]
12 The watchman replies:
    ‘Morning is coming, but also the night.
If you want to ask, then ask;
    come back again.’”

A Message about Arabia

13 A message[s] concerning Arabia.

“You will camp in the thickets in Arabia,
    you caravans of the Dedanites.
14 Bring water for the thirsty,
    you who live in the land of Tema.
        Meet the fugitive with bread,[t]
15 For he has fled[u] from swords,
    from the drawn sword,
from the bent bow,
    and from the heat of battle.”

16 For this is what the Lord[v] is saying to me: “Within three years,[w] according to the years of a contract worker,[x] the pomp[y] of Kedar will come to an end. 17 And there will be few archers, those who are descendants of Kedar, who survive, because the Lord, the God of Israel, has spoken.”


  1. Isaiah 21:1 Lit. An oracle
  2. Isaiah 21:1 Or plague; cf. Isa 5:17; 1King 8:37; Jer 14:12; MT LXX read wilderness
  3. Isaiah 21:1 I.e. southern region of Israel; cf. Josh 10:40
  4. Isaiah 21:1 So 1QIsaa; 1QIsaa corrector MT LXX read terrible
  5. Isaiah 21:3 Or waist; lit. my hips and lower back are
  6. Isaiah 21:3 So 1QIsaa 4QIsaa; MT LXX begin v. 4 with this line
  7. Isaiah 21:4 So 1QIsaa 4QIsaa; MT LXX read My mind reels
  8. Isaiah 21:5 So 1QIsaa MT; LXX lacks this line
  9. Isaiah 21:7 So 1QIsaa 4QIsaa; cf. v. 9; MT LXX lack each man
  10. Isaiah 21:7 So 1QIsaa LXX; MT reads train of donkeys or train of
  11. Isaiah 21:8 So 1QIsaa Syr; MT reads Then a lion
  12. Isaiah 21:9 So 1QIsaa LXX; MT reads chariot; cf. v. 7
  13. Isaiah 21:9 So 1QIsaa; LXX reads all the images of her gods are shattered; MT reads He has shattered all the images of her gods
  14. Isaiah 21:10 1QIsaa lacks people
  15. Isaiah 21:10 So 1QIsaa; MT reads my threshing floor
  16. Isaiah 21:11 Lit. An oracle
  17. Isaiah 21:11 Or What time of night?
  18. Isaiah 21:11 Or What time of night?
  19. Isaiah 21:13 Lit. An oracle
  20. Isaiah 21:14 So 1QIsaa LXX; MT reads with his bread; 4QIsaa reads and with his bread
  21. Isaiah 21:15 So 1QIsaa; MT reads they have fled
  22. Isaiah 21:16 So 1QIsaa 4QIsaa; MT reads Lord
  23. Isaiah 21:16 So 1QIsaa; MT LXX read Within a year
  24. Isaiah 21:16 I.e. as if carefully counted pursuant to an employment contract; cf. Isa 16:14
  25. Isaiah 21:16 So 1QIsaa LXX; MT reads years, all the pomp