New Living Translation

Isaiah 21

A Message about Babylon

1This message came to me concerning Babylon—the desert by the sea[a]:

Disaster is roaring down on you from the desert,
    like a whirlwind sweeping in from the Negev.
I see a terrifying vision:
    I see the betrayer betraying,
    the destroyer destroying.
Go ahead, you Elamites and Medes,
    attack and lay siege.
I will make an end
    to all the groaning Babylon caused.
My stomach aches and burns with pain.
    Sharp pangs of anguish are upon me,
    like those of a woman in labor.
I grow faint when I hear what God is planning;
    I am too afraid to look.
My mind reels and my heart races.
    I longed for evening to come,
    but now I am terrified of the dark.

Look! They are preparing a great feast.
    They are spreading rugs for people to sit on.
    Everyone is eating and drinking.
But quick! Grab your shields and prepare for battle.
    You are being attacked!

Meanwhile, the Lord said to me,
“Put a watchman on the city wall.
    Let him shout out what he sees.
He should look for chariots
    drawn by pairs of horses,
and for riders on donkeys and camels.
    Let the watchman be fully alert.”

Then the watchman[b] called out,
“Day after day I have stood on the watchtower, my lord.
    Night after night I have remained at my post.
Now at last—look!
Here comes a man in a chariot
    with a pair of horses!”
Then the watchman said,
    “Babylon is fallen, fallen!
All the idols of Babylon
    lie broken on the ground!”
10 O my people, threshed and winnowed,
    I have told you everything the Lord of Heaven’s Armies has said,
    everything the God of Israel has told me.

A Message about Edom

11 This message came to me concerning Edom[c]:

Someone from Edom[d] keeps calling to me,
“Watchman, how much longer until morning?
    When will the night be over?”
12 The watchman replies,
“Morning is coming, but night will soon return.
    If you wish to ask again, then come back and ask.”

A Message about Arabia

13 This message came to me concerning Arabia:

O caravans from Dedan,
    hide in the deserts of Arabia.
14 O people of Tema,
    bring water to these thirsty people,
    food to these weary refugees.
15 They have fled from the sword,
    from the drawn sword,
from the bent bow
    and the terrors of battle.

16 The Lord said to me, “Within a year, counting each day,[e] all the glory of Kedar will come to an end. 17 Only a few of its courageous archers will survive. I, the Lord, the God of Israel, have spoken!”

  1. 21:1 Hebrew concerning the desert by the sea.
  2. 21:8 As in Dead Sea Scrolls and Syriac version; Masoretic Text reads a lion.
  3. 21:11a Hebrew Dumah, which means “silence” or “stillness.” It is a wordplay on the word Edom.
  4. 21:11b Hebrew Seir, another name for Edom.
  5. 21:16 Hebrew Within a year, as a servant bound by contract would count it. Some ancient manuscripts read Within three years, as in 16:14.