Isaiah 21

A message about Babylon

1 This is a message about the desert near the sea.

Trouble is coming from the desert, like a strong wind that blows from the south. It comes from a land of great fear.

2 The Lord showed me a vision of terrible things.

‘People are deceiving one another!

People are destroying one another!

Elam, go to attack Babylon!

People from Media, attack all round the city!

I will stop all the tears that Babylon's armies have caused.’

3 Because of that vision, I am very upset. Bad pains attack me, like the pains of a woman who is giving birth. My body hurts because of the things that I have heard. I am afraid to look! 4 It confuses my mind. I shake with fear. I wanted a quiet evening, but instead there is terror.

5 Look! They are preparing a feast. They put down carpets for people to sit on. They are eating and they are drinking. Officers, stand up! Make your shields ready for battle!

6 This is what the Lord God has said to me:

‘Go! Put someone on the city wall to watch.

Tell him to report what he sees.

7 If he sees chariots that two horses are pulling,

or riders on donkeys,

or riders on camels,

he must watch very carefully.’

8 Then the guard shouted, ‘Lord God, I am standing every day on the tower where I watch. I stand at my place every night. 9 And look! Something is coming! It is a chariot that two horses are pulling!’ The rider reports, ‘An enemy has completely destroyed Babylon! All the idols of its people's gods lie in pieces on the ground!’

10 Yes, my people, Babylon's army has hurt you very much. But now I have reported to you the message from the Lord Almighty, Israel's God.

A message about Edom

11 This is a message about Dumah.

Someone is shouting to me from Seir. They are asking, ‘Guard, how soon will the night finish? Please tell me.’

21:11Dumah and Seir are other names for Edom.

12 The guard replies, ‘The morning will come soon. But the night will quickly follow. If you want to ask again, then come back. Come and ask!’

A message about Arabia

13 This is a message about Arabia.

Traders from Dedan, you put up your tents in Arabia's wilderness. 14 You must bring some water for the thirsty people to drink. You people who live in Tema, bring food to give to the hungry people who are running away from danger. 15 They are running away from the weapons of war. They are running from the swords, bows and arrows of a dangerous battle.

21:14Dedan and Tema were towns in Arabia.

16 This is what the Lord God has said to me: ‘In one year's time, all Kedar's glory will have gone. Count every day, as if you are working to receive money. 17 Only a few of Kedar's brave soldiers will remain, with their bows and arrows.’

That is what the Lord, Israel's God, has said.