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God’s Message About Babylon

21 This is a message[a] about the “desert by the sea”[b]:

It is coming like a storm blowing through the Negev.
    It is coming in from the desert, from a frightening nation.
I was given a vision of the hard times to come.
    I see traitors turning against you.
    I see people taking your wealth.

Elam, go against them!
    Media, surround the city!
    I will put an end to all their moaning.

I saw those terrible things, and now I am afraid.
    My fear makes my stomach hurt like the pain of giving birth.
What I hear frightens me.
    What I see makes me shake with fear.
I am worried and shaking with fear.
    My pleasant evening has become a nightmare.

People are rushing around shouting their orders:
    “Set the table!
    Post the guard!
    Get something to eat and drink!
Officers, get up!
    Polish your shields!”

The Lord said to me, “Go find someone to guard this city. He must report whatever he sees. Whether he sees a chariot and a team of horses or men riding donkeys or camels, he must listen carefully.”[c]

Then one day the watchman[d] called out,

“My master, every day I have been in the watchtower[e] watching.
    Every night I have been standing on duty.
Look! I see a man in a chariot
    with a team of horses.[f]

The messenger said,
    “Babylon has been defeated!
    It has fallen to the ground!
All the statues of her false gods
    were thrown to the ground and broken to pieces.”

10 My people, you will be like the grain crushed on my threshing floor. I have told you everything I heard from the Lord All-Powerful, the God of Israel.

God’s Message About Dumah

11 This is a message about Dumah[g]:

There is someone calling to me from Seir,[h]
    “Guard, how much of the night is left?
    How much longer will it be night?”

12 The guard answered,
    “Morning is coming, but then night will come again.
If you have something else to ask,
    then come back[i] later and ask.”

God’s Message About Arabia

13 This is a message about Arabia:

A caravan from Dedan spent the night
    near some trees in the Arabian Desert.
14 They gave water to some thirsty travelers.
    The people of Tema gave them food.
15 They were running from swords
    that were ready to kill.
They were running from bows
    that were ready to shoot.
They were running from a hard battle.

16 The Lord told me this would happen. He said, “In one year, the way a hired helper counts time, all Kedar’s glory will be gone. 17 Only a few of the archers, the great soldiers of Kedar, will be left alive.” The Lord, the God of Israel, told me this.


  1. Isaiah 21:1 message Or “burden.” Also in verses 11, 13.
  2. Isaiah 21:1 the desert by the sea Probably Babylon.
  3. Isaiah 21:7 Or “Whether he sees a column of teams of horsemen, columns of donkeys, or columns of camels, he must listen carefully.”
  4. Isaiah 21:8 the watchman “the seer,” an ancient title for a prophet. The standard Hebrew text has “a lion.”
  5. Isaiah 21:8 watchtower A tall building where guards stood and watched to see if anyone was coming near their city.
  6. Isaiah 21:9 a man … horses Or “a column of teams of horsemen.” This might be a team of horses pulling a war chariot or mounted archers in the Assyrian army who often worked in pairs.
  7. Isaiah 21:11 Dumah This Hebrew word means “silence.” It may refer to Edom or to a city in Arabia.
  8. Isaiah 21:11 Seir A mountain in Edom or a city in Arabia.
  9. Isaiah 21:12 come back This can also mean “change your heart” or “repent.”

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