Isaiah 21

Words about Babylon

1 This is a serious message about the desert near the sea. It comes from the desert. It comes from a frightening place. It is like a storm from the land in the south.

2 I received a difficult message. The robber robs and the destroyer destroys. Elam, go up (to Babylon)! People from (the country called) Media, attack (Babylon)! The Lord says, ‘I will cause an end to all the tears that (Babylon's) armies have caused.’

3 All those things hurt me. Bad pains attack me. They are like the bad pains that a woman feels. She feels them when she has a baby. What I hear bends me over. And that is why I cannot listen. What I see frightens me. And that is why I cannot look.

4 It confuses my mind. I am very much afraid. I wanted a quiet evening. But now that quiet evening has become a time when I am very much afraid.

5 They prepare a special meal. They put down the carpets. They eat and they drink. Officers, make your shields ready!

6 This is what the Lord said to me. ‘Go! And cause somebody to watch carefully. Ask him to report what he sees.

7 If he reports one of these, cause him to watch.

· a rider

· a pair of men on horses

· a rider on a donkey

· a rider on a camel.

And he must watch very well.’

8 Then the man who watched shouted. He said, ‘Lord, I am standing every day on a building from which I can see everything. I am standing at my place every night.

9 And look! Someone is coming! It is a rider; it is a man with a pair of horses!’ The rider reports and he says this. ‘An enemy has destroyed Babylon! The enemy has destroyed it! All the images of its people's gods lie in pieces on the ground!’

10 My people, they have hurt you. They have hurt you very much. But I have told you what I have heard from the Lord of Many Armies. He is the God of Israel.

Words about Edom

11 This is a serious message about Dumah. Someone is shouting to me from Seir. They are asking, ‘Watchman, how much more of the night is there? Watchman, how much more of the night is there?’

21:11We think that Dumah is another name for Edom.

12 The watchman said, ‘The morning will come, but so will the night. If you want to ask again, then come back. Come and ask!’

Words about Arabia

13 This is a serious message about Arabia. Caravans of people from Dedan, you will find a safe place among the bushes in the wild-country.

14 There you will give water to people who need a drink. People who live in Tema will give bread to the refugees.

15 Do that because they are running away from all this:

· swords

· swords that are ready to fight

· bows that soldiers have bent

· the dangerous battle.

16 This is what my Lord has said to me. ‘In less than a year, all the important people in Kedar will have gone. A servant that someone has paid counts a year. Count the year like that. 17 Only a few of the men who use bows among the soldiers from Kedar will remain. That will happen because the Lord, the God of Israel, has spoken.’