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CHAPTER 21 May 29 
The Fall of Babylon
The burden of the wilderness of the sea. As whirlwinds in the South sweep through, it comes from the wilderness, from an awesome land. 2A grievous vision is declared to me. The treacherous man deals treacherously, and the destroyer destroys. Go up, Elam; attack! I have stopped all of Media’s sighing. 3Therefore my thighs are filled with anguish, pains have taken hold on me, like the pains of a woman in labour. I am in so much pain that I can’t hear; I so am dismayed that I can’t see. 4My heart flutters. Horror has frightened me. The evening of my pleasure has been turned into trembling for me. 5They prepare the table, they set the watch; then they eat and drink! But ‘Rise up, you princes, oil the shield!’. 6For the Lord said to me, Go, set a watchman. Let him declare what he sees. 7When he sees a troop, horsemen in pairs, a troop of donkeys, a troop of camels, he shall listen diligently with great attentiveness. 8He cried like a lion: Lord, I stand continually on the watchtower in the daytime, and every night I stay at my post. 9Behold, here comes a troop of men, horsemen in pairs. He answered, Fallen, fallen is Babylon; and all the engraved images of her gods are broken to the ground. 10You are My threshing, and the grain of My floor! That which I have heard from Yahweh of Armies, the God of Israel, I have declared to you.
A Message about Edom
11The burden of Dumah. One calls to me out of Seir, Watchman, what of the night? Watchman, what of the night? 12The watchman said, The morning comes, and also the night. What hour of the night will it come? Turn back again.
A Message about Arabia
13The burden on Arabia. In the forest in Arabia you will lodge, you caravans of Dedanites. 14They brought water to him who was thirsty. The inhabitants of the land of Tema met the fugitives with their bread. 15For they fled away from the swords, from the drawn sword, from the bent bow, and from the heat of battle. 16For the Lord said to me, Within a year, as a worker bound by contract would count it, all the glory of Kedar will fail, 17and the residue of the number of the archers, the mighty men of the children of Kedar, will be few; for Yahweh, the God of Israel, has spoken it.


21:3,4 Isaiah’s emotional grief for those outside of God’s people as he spoke of their judgment is really impressive- see on 16:9.
21:4 What would have been pleasure for Isaiah- that the great enemy of His people was to be judged- became awful for him as he realized the tragic human destruction it involved. Strangely, he achieved identity with Belshazzar king of Babylon, who likewise had his evening of pleasure broken up by fear- see on :5. Unconsciously, we too can achieve identity with the objects of our witness if we have a true heart for people as Isaiah did.
21:5 This is exactly the situation of Daniel 5, where Belshazzar has a feast, sees the writing on the wall, and then suddenly there was a cry that the Medes had attacked and taken the city.

21:12 “What hour of the night will it come?”. “Turn back again.”- The exact timing of the fulfilment of God’s prophecies is dependent to some extent upon human response. The ending of the night of judgment for these people would be when they turned back, i.e. repented. The morning might come, or the night might continue- it depended upon their response. The same idea is found in Acts 1:7,8; Mk. 13:28-33, where the answer to the question ‘When will Jesus return?’ is basically: ‘Preach to Israel; lead them to repentance. That’s when the Lord Jesus will return’.