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The Geneva Bible Translation Notes, [1599], at

Isaiah Chapter 21

Isaiah 21:1

isa 21:1

The burden of the (a) desert of the sea. As whirlwinds in the south pass through; [so] it cometh from the desert, (b) from a terrible land.

(a) On the seaside between Judea and Caldea was a wilderness, by which he means Caldea.

(b) That is, the ruin of Babylon by the Medes and Persians.

Isaiah 21:2

isa 21:2

A grievous vision is declared to me; the (c) treacherous dealer dealeth treacherously, and the spoiler spoileth. Go up, O (d) Elam: besiege, O Media; all her sighing have I made (e) to cease.

(c) The Assyrians and Chaldeans who had destroyed other nations will be overcome by the Medes and Persians: and this he prophesied a hundred years before it came to pass.

(d) By Elam he means the Persians.

(e) Because they will find no comfort, they will mourn no more, or I have caused them to cease mourning, whom Babylon had afflicted.

Isaiah 21:3

isa 21:3

Therefore are my (f) 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].

(f) This the prophet speaks in the person of the Babylonians.

Isaiah 21:4

isa 21:4

My heart panted, fearfulness terrified me: the night (g) of my pleasure hath he turned into fear to me.

(g) He prophecies the death of Belshazzar as in (Dan 5:30) who in the midst of his pleasures was destroyed.

Isaiah 21:5

isa 21:5

Prepare the table, watch in the watchtower, eat, drink: (h) arise, ye princes, [and] anoint the shield.

(h) While they are eating and drinking, they will be commanded to run to their weapons.

Isaiah 21:6

isa 21:6

For thus hath the (i) Lord said to me, Go, set a watchman, let him declare what he seeth.

(i) That is, in a vision by the spirit of prophecy.

Isaiah 21:7

isa 21:7

And he saw a chariot [with] a couple of horsemen, a chariot of donkeys, [and] (k) a chariot of camels; and he hearkened diligently with much heed:

(k) Meaning, chariots of men of war, and others that carried the baggage.

Isaiah 21:8

isa 21:8

And he cried, A (l) lion: My lord, I stand continually upon the watchtower in the daytime, and I am set in my post whole nights:

(l) Meaning, Darius who overcame Babylon.

Isaiah 21:9

isa 21:9

And, behold, here cometh a chariot of men, [with] a couple of horsemen. And (m) he answered and said, Babylon is fallen, is fallen; and all the graven images of her gods he hath broken to the ground.

(m) The watchman whom Isaiah set up, told him who came toward Babylon, and the angel declared that it would be destroyed: all this was done in a vision.

Isaiah 21:10

isa 21:10

O (n) my threshing, and the grain of my floor: that which I have heard from the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel, have I declared to you.

(n) Meaning, Babylon.

Isaiah 21:11

isa 21:11

The burden of (o) Dumah. He calleth to me out of (p) Seir, Watchman, what of the night? Watchman, what of the night?

(o) Which was a city of the Ishmaelites and was so named by Dumah, (Gen 25:14).

(p) A mountain of the Idumeans.

Isaiah 21:12

isa 21:12

The watchman said, The (q) morning cometh, and also the night: if ye will enquire, enquire ye: return, come.

(q) He describes the unquietness of the people of Dumah, who were night and day in fear of their enemies, and ever ran to and fro to enquire news.

Isaiah 21:13

isa 21:13

The burden upon Arabia. In (r) the forest in Arabia shall ye lodge, O ye travelling companies of Dedanim.

(r) For fear, the Arabians will flee into the woods and he appoints the way they will take.

Isaiah 21:14

isa 21:14

The inhabitants of the land of Tema brought (s) water to him that was thirsty, they met with their bread him that fled.

(s) Signifying that for fear they will not tarry to eat or drink.

Isaiah 21:16

isa 21:16

For thus hath the Lord said to me, Within a year, (t) according to the years of an (u) hireling, and all the glory of Kedar shall fail:

(t) He appoints them respite for one year only, and then they would be destroyed.

(u) Read (Isa 16:14).

Isaiah 21:17

isa 21:17

And the remainder of the number of archers, the mighty men of the children of (x) Kedar, shall be diminished: for the LORD God of Israel hath spoken [it].

(x) Which was the name of a people of Arabia: and by the horrible destruction of all these nations, he teaches the Jews that there is no place for refuge or to escape God's wrath, but only to remain in his Church, and to live in his fear.

Next: Isaiah Chapter 22