Isaiah 21 The Voice (VOICE)
Isaiah is given a vision of a frightening event. It comes roaring at him like a sandstorm blowing across the Negev. The vision is harsh and violent, but very real. The prophet describes this vision and the others like it as “burdens,” for it is hard to bear such bad news. This particular vision is given to the “sea of Wilderness” or Babylon; it is the second prophecy predicting Babylon’s punishment (chapters 13–14). He addresses a series of burdensome messages to other cities, nations, and peoples. What is common to all of these prophecies is that God is angry with these nations for the harsh way they treat His covenant people, and He will not just let it go. So God has decided to punish them, and He warns his prophet ahead of time what is about to happen. This message is welcome news to the Judeans who suffered beneath the cruel tyranny of these foreign powers. On the one hand, God used Judah’s enemies to accomplish His purpose. On the other, they have overstepped the limit.
21 A message about the Sea of Wilderness (Babylon):
From the desert, from a frightening land it comes
2 A vision most harsh came to me:
Eternal One: Get someone to keep an eye on things.
8 Sentinel: I stand guard at the watchtower, Lord, day after day.
9 Look! They’re coming just as you said: a chariot driver and a team of horses.
10 O, my people, who have been threshed and winnowed like wheat,
11 A message about Duma:
Edomite (to a sentinel): How much remains of this night?
12 Sentinel: Morning is coming, you can be sure of it.
13 A message about Arabia:
Spend the night in the forests of Arabia, off the beaten path,
Eternal One (to Isaiah): 16 Within a year—as a hired hand might count it—Kedar will be finished. All that made it so impressive will crumble. 17 As for its archers and mighty warriors, they will all but disappear.
It will happen because the Eternal, the God of Israel, said so.