Isaiah 21:1-10

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.