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God Commands That Babylon Be Taken

21 The [mournful, inspired] oracle ([a]a burden to be carried) concerning the Desert of the [b]Sea (the seasonally flooded plains just south of Babylon):

As windstorms in the Negev (the South) sweep through,
So it (God’s judgment) comes from the desert, from [the hostile armies of] a terrifying land.

A harsh vision has been shown to me;
The treacherous one deals treacherously, and the destroyer destroys.
Go up, Elam! Lay siege, Media!
All the groaning [caused by Babylon’s ruthless oppressions] I [the Lord] have brought to an end.(A)

Therefore [continues Isaiah] my loins are filled with anguish;
Pains have seized me like the pains of a woman in childbirth;
I am so bent and bewildered that I cannot hear, I am so terrified that I cannot see.

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  1. Isaiah 21:1 I.e. an urgent message the prophet is under compulsion to proclaim.
  2. Isaiah 21:1 Probably a reference to the Euphrates and Tigris Rivers and their tributaries which overflowed their banks like a sea. Great dams were constructed to control their floodwaters.

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