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Saturday, June 11, 2011

Isaiah 21: Prophecies against Babylon, Edom and Arabia

     Babylon was a very flat area,and is described in the opening verse as 'The Desert by the Sea', and is by the Persian Gulf. There are some who suggest that this prophecy was fulfilled at Babylon's fall in 539 BC, but others suggest that it is more likely that it was a prophecy of Babylon's revolt against Assyria around 700 BC. Her destruction was often prophesied by Isaiah because of the Babylonians revolt against God, and the destruction described is typical of that which would befall the enemies of the New Testament Church, as foretold in the Book of Revelation.
     The vision of the riders on donkeys and camels is most probably a reference to the Medes and the Persians. Babylon is guilty of idol worship, yet all of their idols are worthless and powerless against the might of God, and they lay in shatters on the ground.
     The analogy of the wheat and the chaff symbolises the difference between the true believers (wheat) and the hypocritical rebels (chaff). God will separate one from the other, disposing of the latter (the chaff) and retaining the true believers (the wheat) in order to rebuild Israel.

1 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.
2 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.
3 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.
4 My heart falters,
   fear makes me tremble;
the twilight I longed for
   has become a horror to me.
5 They set the tables,
   they spread the rugs,
   they eat, they drink!
Get up, you officers,
   oil the shields!
6 This is what the Lord says to me:
   “Go, post a lookout
   and have him report what he sees.
7 When he sees chariots
   with teams of horses,
riders on donkeys
   or riders on camels,
let him be alert,
   fully alert.”
8 And the lookout shouted,
   “Day after day, my lord, I stand on the watchtower;
   every night I stay at my post.
9 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!’”
10 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 Edom
11 A prophecy against Dumah:
   Someone calls to me from Seir,
   “Watchman, what is left of the night?
   Watchman, what is left of the night?”
12 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
13 A prophecy against Arabia:
   You caravans of Dedanites,
   who camp in the thickets of Arabia,
14 bring water for the thirsty;
you who live in Tema,
   bring food for the fugitives.
15 They flee from the sword,
   from the drawn sword,
from the bent bow
   and from the heat of battle.
16 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. 17 The survivors of the archers, the warriors of Kedar, will be few.” The LORD, the God of Israel, has spoken.

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