Isaiah 21

Isaiah 21  •  2 min. read  •  grade level: 8
In chapter 21 we return to the doom of Babylon. It is to be “the desert of the sea.” In Jeremiah’s prophecy against the city he says, “The sea is come up upon Babylon” (51:42), which helps to explain the expression. Babylon would be swamped by the sea of nations and become a desert. In verse 2 The call comes to Elam and Media to go up and besiege, helped to the spoil by treachery. Verses 3-5 prophetically describe in the most graphic language the scenes of revelry, turning into confusion and terror, which are described for us in Dan. 5. Then the prophet foresees a watchman, who from an oncoming chariot gets the tidings of the fall of Babylon, and announces it with a voice like the roar of a lion.
The burden of Dumah is compressed into very few words. He was, as Genesis 25:1414And Mishma, and Dumah, and Massa, (Genesis 25:14) shows, of the stock of Ishmael, and Seir was a dwelling-place of the sons of Esau. These “burdens” on the various peoples were bringing upon them a “night” of Divine displeasure. What was the prospect that lay before them? The answer was indeed prophetic. A morning was surely coming, but a night was coming also. The morning will be for those who fear God and are subject to Him: the night for those who are His foes.
In other scriptures very strong judgment is pronounced against Seir, but verse 12 here indicates that a door of mercy will open to them. If any have a desire to inquire of God they may do so. And if, as the result of inquiry, any desire to return, they may do so. They are even invited to “come.” In these words we discern an indication and forecast of that grace which comes to light so fully in the New Testament Gospel.
At the close of the chapter Arabia comes under judgment. Disaster should overtake them too, but not in such overwhelming fashion as in the case of Babylon. Their mighty men should be “diminished”, and there should be a “residue”, and not a complete destruction. It is striking that of all these burdens the one upon Babylon is the most complete without any hope of recovery. So also in Revelation 17 and 18, the “Mystery” Babylon is going to be completely destroyed and not a trace left.
The copyright for this material is assigned to Scripture Truth Publications. Used by permission.