Isaiah 21:1-17

Isaiah 21:1-4-16-17 The Message (MSG)

A Message concerning the desert at the sea: As tempests drive through the Negev Desert, coming out of the desert, that terror-filled place, A hard vision is given me: The betrayer betrayed, the plunderer plundered. Attack, Elam! Lay siege, Media! Persians, attack! Attack, Babylon! I’ll put an end to all the moaning and groaning. Because of this news I’m doubled up in pain, writhing in pain like a woman having a baby, Baffled by what I hear, undone by what I see. Absolutely stunned, horror-stricken, I had hoped for a relaxed evening, but it has turned into a nightmare. The banquet is spread, the guests reclining in luxurious ease, Eating and drinking, having a good time, and then, “To arms, princes! The fight is on!” The Master told me, “Go, post a lookout. Have him report whatever he spots. When he sees horses and wagons in battle formation, lines of donkeys and columns of camels, Tell him to keep his ear to the ground, note every whisper, every rumor.” Just then, the lookout shouted, “I’m at my post, Master, Sticking to my post day after day and all through the night! I watched them come, the horses and wagons in battle formation. I heard them call out the war news in headlines: ‘Babylon fallen! Fallen! And all its precious god-idols smashed to pieces on the ground.’” Dear Israel, you’ve been through a lot, you’ve been put through the mill. The good news I get from GOD-of-the-Angel-Armies, the God of Israel, I now pass on to you. A Message concerning Edom: A voice calls to me from the Seir mountains in Edom, “Night watchman! How long till daybreak? How long will this night last?” The night watchman calls back, “Morning’s coming, But for now it’s still night. If you ask me again, I’ll give the same answer.” A Message concerning Arabia: You’ll have to camp out in the desert badlands, you caravans of Dedanites. Haul water to the thirsty, greet fugitives with bread. Show your desert hospitality, you who live in Tema. The desert’s swarming with refugees escaping the horrors of war. The Master told me, “Hang on. Within one year—I’ll sign a contract on it!—the arrogant brutality of Kedar, those hooligans of the desert, will be over, nothing much left of the Kedar toughs.” The GOD of Israel says so.

Isaiah 21:1-17 New American Standard Bible - NASB 1995 (NASB1995)

The oracle concerning the wilderness of the sea. As windstorms in the Negev sweep on, It comes from the wilderness, from a terrifying land. A harsh vision has been shown to me; The treacherous one still deals treacherously, and the destroyer still destroys. Go up, Elam, lay siege, Media; I have made an end of all the groaning she has caused. For this reason my loins are full of anguish; Pains have seized me like the pains of a woman in labor. I am so bewildered I cannot hear, so terrified I cannot see. My mind reels, horror overwhelms me; The twilight I longed for has been turned for me into trembling. They set the table, they spread out the cloth, they eat, they drink; “Rise up, captains, oil the shields,” For thus the Lord says to me, “Go, station the lookout, let him report what he sees. When he sees riders, horsemen in pairs, A train of donkeys, a train of camels, Let him pay close attention, very close attention.” Then the lookout called, “O Lord, I stand continually by day on the watchtower, And I am stationed every night at my guard post. Now behold, here comes a troop of riders, horsemen in pairs.” And one said, “Fallen, fallen is Babylon; And all the images of her gods are shattered on the ground.” O my threshed people, and my afflicted of the threshing floor! What I have heard from the LORD of hosts, The God of Israel, I make known to you. The oracle concerning Edom. One keeps calling to me from Seir, “Watchman, how far gone is the night? Watchman, how far gone is the night?” The watchman says, “Morning comes but also night. If you would inquire, inquire; Come back again.” The oracle about Arabia. In the thickets of Arabia you must spend the night, O caravans of Dedanites. Bring water for the thirsty, O inhabitants of the land of Tema, Meet the fugitive with bread. For they have fled from the swords, From the drawn sword, and from the bent bow And from the press of battle. For thus the Lord said to me, “In a year, as a hired man would count it, all the splendor of Kedar will terminate; and the remainder of the number of bowmen, the mighty men of the sons of Kedar, will be few; for the LORD God of Israel has spoken.”

Isaiah 21:1-17 New Living Translation (NLT)

This message came to me concerning Babylon—the desert by the sea: 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 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!” 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. This message came to me concerning Edom: Someone from Edom keeps calling to me, “Watchman, how much longer until morning? When will the night be over?” The watchman replies, “Morning is coming, but night will soon return. If you wish to ask again, then come back and ask.” This message came to me concerning Arabia: O caravans from Dedan, hide in the deserts of Arabia. O people of Tema, bring water to these thirsty people, food to these weary refugees. They have fled from the sword, from the drawn sword, from the bent bow and the terrors of battle. The Lord said to me, “Within a year, counting each day, all the glory of Kedar will come to an end. Only a few of its courageous archers will survive. I, the LORD, the God of Israel, have spoken!”

Isaiah 21:1-17 King James Version (KJV)

The burden of the desert of the sea. As whirlwinds in the south pass through; so it cometh from the desert, from a terrible land. A grievous vision is declared unto me; the treacherous dealer dealeth treacherously, and the spoiler spoileth. Go up, O Elam: besiege, O Media; all the sighing thereof have I made to cease. Therefore are my loins filled with pain: pangs have taken hold upon me, as the pangs of a woman that travaileth: I was bowed down at the hearing of it; I was dismayed at the seeing of it. My heart panted, fearfulness affrighted me: the night of my pleasure hath he turned into fear unto me. Prepare the table, watch in the watchtower, eat, drink: arise, ye princes, and anoint the shield. For thus hath the Lord said unto me, Go, set a watchman, let him declare what he seeth. And he saw a chariot with a couple of horsemen, a chariot of asses, and a chariot of camels; and he hearkened diligently with much heed: And he cried, A lion: My lord, I stand continually upon the watchtower in the daytime, and I am set in my ward whole nights: And, behold, here cometh a chariot of men, with a couple of horsemen. And he answered and said, Babylon is fallen, is fallen; and all the graven images of her gods he hath broken unto the ground. O my threshing, and the corn of my floor: that which I have heard of the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel, have I declared unto you. The burden of Dumah. He calleth to me out of Seir, Watchman, what of the night? Watchman, what of the night? The watchman said, The morning cometh, and also the night: if ye will enquire, enquire ye: return, come. The burden upon Arabia. In the forest in Arabia shall ye lodge, O ye travelling companies of Dedanim. The inhabitants of the land of Tema brought water to him that was thirsty, they prevented with their bread him that fled. For they fled from the swords, from the drawn sword, and from the bent bow, and from the grievousness of war. For thus hath the Lord said unto me, Within a year, according to the years of an hireling, and all the glory of Kedar shall fail: And the residue of the number of archers, the mighty men of the children of Kedar, shall be diminished: for the LORD God of Israel hath spoken it.

Isaiah 21:1-17 New Century Version (NCV)

This is a message about the Desert by the Sea: Disaster is coming from the desert like wind blowing in the south. It is coming from a terrible country. I have seen a terrible vision. I see traitors turning against you and people taking your wealth. Elam, attack the people! Media, surround the city and attack it! I will bring an end to the pain the city causes. I saw those terrible things, and now I am in pain; my pains are like the pains of giving birth. What I hear makes me very afraid; what I see causes me to shake with fear. I am worried, and I am shaking with fear. My pleasant evening has become a night of fear. They set the table; they spread the rugs; they eat and drink. Leaders, stand up. Prepare the shields for battle! The Lord said to me, “Go, place a lookout for the city and have him report what he sees. If he sees chariots and teams of horses, donkeys, or camels, he should pay very close attention.” Then the lookout called out, “My master, each day I stand in the watchtower watching; every night I have been on guard. Look, I see a man coming in a chariot with a team of horses.” The man gives back the answer, “Babylon has fallen. It has fallen! All the statues of her gods lie broken on the ground.” My people are crushed like grain on the threshing floor. My people, I tell you what I have heard from the LORD All-Powerful, from the God of Israel. This is a message about Dumah: Someone calls to me from Edom, “Watchman, how much of the night is left? Watchman, how much longer will it be night?” The watchman answers, “Morning is coming, but then night will come again. If you have something to ask, then come back and ask.” This is a message about Arabia: A group of traders from Dedan spent the night near some trees in Arabia. They gave water to thirsty travelers; the people of Tema gave food to those who were escaping. They were running from swords, from swords ready to kill, from bows ready to shoot, from a hard battle. This is what the Lord said to me: “In one year all the glory of the country of Kedar will be gone. (This is a year as a hired helper counts time.) At that time only a few of the archers, the soldiers of Kedar, will be left alive.” The LORD, the God of Israel, has spoken.

Isaiah 21:1-17 American Standard Version (ASV)

The burden of the wilderness of the sea. As whirlwinds in the South sweep through, it cometh from the wilderness, from a terrible land. A grievous vision is declared unto me; the treacherous man dealeth treacherously, and the destroyer destroyeth. Go up, O Elam; besiege, O Media; all the sighing thereof have I made to cease. Therefore are my loins filled with anguish; pangs have taken hold upon me, as the pangs of a woman in travail: I am pained so that I cannot hear; I am dismayed so that I cannot see. My heart fluttereth, horror hath affrighted me; the twilight that I desired hath been turned into trembling unto me. They prepare the table, they set the watch, they eat, they drink: rise up, ye princes, anoint the shield. For thus hath the Lord said unto me, Go, set a watchman; let him declare what he seeth: and when he seeth a troop, horsemen in pairs, a troop of asses, a troop of camels, he shall hearken diligently with much heed. And he cried as a lion: O Lord, I stand continually upon the watch-tower in the day-time, and am set in my ward whole nights; and, behold, here cometh a troop of men, horsemen in pairs. And he answered and said, Fallen, fallen is Babylon; and all the graven images of her gods are broken unto the ground. O thou my threshing, and the grain of my floor! that which I have heard from Jehovah of hosts, the God of Israel, have I declared unto you. The burden of Dumah. One calleth unto me out of Seir, Watchman, what of the night? Watchman, what of the night? The watchman said, The morning cometh, and also the night: if ye will inquire, inquire ye: turn ye, come. The burden upon Arabia. In the forest in Arabia shall ye lodge, O ye caravans of Dedanites. Unto him that was thirsty they brought water; the inhabitants of the land of Tema did meet the fugitives with their bread. For they fled away from the swords, from the drawn sword, and from the bent bow, and from the grievousness of war. For thus hath the Lord said unto me, Within a year, according to the years of a hireling, all the glory of Kedar shall fail; and the residue of the number of the archers, the mighty men of the children of Kedar, shall be few; for Jehovah, the God of Israel, hath spoken it.

Isaiah 21:1-17 New International Version (NIV)

A prophecy against the Desert by the Sea: Like whirlwinds sweeping through the southland, an invader comes from the desert, from a land of terror. A dire vision has been shown to me: The traitor betrays, the looter takes loot. Elam, attack! Media, lay siege! I will bring to an end all the groaning she caused. At this my body is racked with pain, pangs seize me, like those of a woman in labor; I am staggered by what I hear, I am bewildered by what I see. My heart falters, fear makes me tremble; the twilight I longed for has become a horror to me. They set the tables, they spread the rugs, they eat, they drink! Get up, you officers, oil the shields! This is what the Lord says to me: “Go, post a lookout and have him report what he sees. When he sees chariots with teams of horses, riders on donkeys or riders on camels, let him be alert, fully alert.” And the lookout shouted, “Day after day, my lord, I stand on the watchtower; every night I stay at my post. Look, here comes a man in a chariot with a team of horses. And he gives back the answer: ‘Babylon has fallen, has fallen! All the images of its gods lie shattered on the ground!’ ” My people who are crushed on the threshing floor, I tell you what I have heard from the LORD Almighty, from the God of Israel. A prophecy against Dumah: Someone calls to me from Seir, “Watchman, what is left of the night? Watchman, what is left of the night?” The watchman replies, “Morning is coming, but also the night. If you would ask, then ask; and come back yet again.” A prophecy against Arabia: You caravans of Dedanites, who camp in the thickets of Arabia, bring water for the thirsty; you who live in Tema, bring food for the fugitives. They flee from the sword, from the drawn sword, from the bent bow and from the heat of battle. This is what the Lord says to me: “Within one year, as a servant bound by contract would count it, all the splendor of Kedar will come to an end. The survivors of the archers, the warriors of Kedar, will be few.” The LORD, the God of Israel, has spoken.

Isaiah 21:1-17 Amplified Bible (AMP)

The [mournful, inspired] oracle (a burden to be carried) concerning the Desert of the Sea (the seasonally flooded plains just south of Babylon): As windstorms in the Negev (the South) sweep through, So it (God’s judgment) comes from the desert, from [the hostile armies of] a terrifying land. A harsh vision has been shown to me; The treacherous one deals treacherously, and the destroyer destroys. Go up, Elam! Lay siege, Media! All the groaning [caused by Babylon’s ruthless oppressions] I [the LORD] have brought to an end. Therefore [continues Isaiah] my loins are filled with anguish; Pains have seized me like the pains of a woman in childbirth; I am so bent and bewildered that I cannot hear, I am so terrified that I cannot see. My mind reels, horror overwhelms me; The twilight I longed for has been turned into fear and trembling for me. They set the table [for the doomed banquet], they spread out the cloth, they eat, they drink; “Rise up, captains [of Belshazzar’s court], oil your shields [for battle, for your enemy is at the gates]!” This is what the Lord says to me, “Go, station the lookout, let him report what he sees. When he sees a chariot, horsemen in pairs, A train of donkeys and a train of camels, Let him pay attention and listen closely, very closely.” And the lookout called like a lion, “O Lord, I stand continually on the watchtower by day, And I am stationed every night at my guard post. Now look! Here comes a troop of riders, horsemen in pairs.” And one said, “Fallen, fallen is Babylon; And all the carved images of her gods are shattered on the ground.” O my threshed people [Judah, who must be judged and trampled down by Babylon], my afflicted of the threshing floor. What I have heard from the LORD of hosts, The God of Israel, I have [joyfully] announced to you [that Babylon is to fall]. The [mournful, inspired] oracle (a burden to be carried) concerning Dumah (Edom): Someone keeps calling to me from Seir (Edom), “Watchman, what is left of the night [of Assyrian oppression]? Watchman, what is left of the night? [How long until morning?]” The watchman says, “The morning comes [only briefly], but also [comes] the night [of Babylonian oppression]. If you would ask [of me then], ask [again, if Edom really wishes to know]; Come back again.” The [mournful, inspired] oracle (a burden to be carried) concerning Arabia: In the thickets of Arabia you must spend the night, Caravans of Dedanites. Bring water for the thirsty [Dedanites], O inhabitants of the land of Tema [in Arabia]; Meet the fugitive with bread. For they have fled from the swords, From the drawn sword, from the bent bow And from the press of battle and grief of war. For the Lord has said this to me, “Within a year, according to the years of a hired man [who will work no longer than was agreed], all the splendor of [the tribe of] Kedar will end; and the remainder of the number of archers, the mighty men of the sons of Kedar, will be few; for the LORD, the God of Israel, has spoken.”

Isaiah 21:1-17 English Standard Version 2016 (ESV)

The oracle concerning the wilderness of the sea. As whirlwinds in the Negeb sweep on, it comes from the wilderness, from a terrible land. A stern vision is told to me; the traitor betrays, and the destroyer destroys. Go up, O Elam; lay siege, O Media; all the sighing she has caused I bring to an end. Therefore my loins are filled with anguish; pangs have seized me, like the pangs of a woman in labor; I am bowed down so that I cannot hear; I am dismayed so that I cannot see. My heart staggers; horror has appalled me; the twilight I longed for has been turned for me into trembling. They prepare the table, they spread the rugs, they eat, they drink. Arise, O princes; oil the shield! For thus the Lord said to me: “Go, set a watchman; let him announce what he sees. When he sees riders, horsemen in pairs, riders on donkeys, riders on camels, let him listen diligently, very diligently.” Then he who saw cried out: “Upon a watchtower I stand, O Lord, continually by day, and at my post I am stationed whole nights. And behold, here come riders, horsemen in pairs!” And he answered, “Fallen, fallen is Babylon; and all the carved images of her gods he has shattered to the ground.” O my threshed and winnowed one, what I have heard from the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel, I announce to you. The oracle concerning Dumah. One is calling to me from Seir, “Watchman, what time of the night? Watchman, what time of the night?” The watchman says: “Morning comes, and also the night. If you will inquire, inquire; come back again.” The oracle concerning Arabia. In the thickets in Arabia you will lodge, O caravans of Dedanites. To the thirsty bring water; meet the fugitive with bread, O inhabitants of the land of Tema. For they have fled from the swords, from the drawn sword, from the bent bow, and from the press of battle. For thus the Lord said to me, “Within a year, according to the years of a hired worker, all the glory of Kedar will come to an end. And the remainder of the archers of the mighty men of the sons of Kedar will be few, for the LORD, the God of Israel, has spoken.”