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Watchman, Pay Attention!

21 The burden of the desert by the sea:

As windstorms sweep over the South,
so it comes from the desert,
    a terrifying land.
A harsh vision has been shown to me:
“The traitor betrays, and the plunderer plunders.
Go up, Elam! Besiege, Media!
I have put an end to all her groaning.”
Therefore my body is filled with pain.
Pangs have taken hold of me like the pangs of a woman in labor.
I am bewildered by what I hear,
    terrified by what I see.
My heart is bewildered,
terror overwhelms me.
The twilight I longed for
    has been turned into trembling.
Set the table, spread out the cloth!
Eat! Drink!
“Rise up, you princes, oil the shield!”
For Adonai has said to me.
“Go, post a watchman—
let him declare what he sees!
When he sees a chariot
with a pair of horsemen,
riders on donkeys,
riders on camels,
let him pay attention—
    very close attention!”

Then he cried out like a lion:
“Upon the watch tower, Adonai, I stand continually in the daytime,
    and stay at my post every night.
Look! Here comes a chariot of men,
    with a pair of horsemen.”
Then one answered and said,
“Fallen, fallen is Babylon!
All the images of her gods
    are broken on the ground.”
10 O my people, crushed on the threshing floor,
what I heard from Adonai Tzva’ot, God of Israel,
I have declared to you.

11 The burden of Dumah[a]:
One calls to me from Seir,
“Watchman, what is left of the night?
Watchman, what is left of the night?”
12 The watchman said,
“Morning comes, yet also it is night.”
If you would inquire, inquire.
Come back again.”

13 The burden of Arabia:
In the desert brush of Arabia you will stay for the night,
you caravans of Dedanites.
14 To him who is thirsty bring water,
inhabitants of the land of Tema,
    meet the fugitive with food.
15 For they fled from swords,
from drawn sword,
from bent bow
    and distress of war.

16 For thus Adonai said to me, “Within a year (as with the years of a hired worker), all the glory of Kedar will cease, 17 and the remainder of the number of the archers, the mighty men of the sons of Kedar, will be few. For Adonai God of Israel has spoken.”


  1. Isaiah 21:11 Meaning, silence.