Isaiah 21:12

12 The watchman replies, “Morning is coming, but also the night. If you would ask, then ask; and come back yet again.”

Isaiah 21:12 in Other Translations

12 The watchman said, The morning cometh, and also the night: if ye will enquire, enquire ye: return, come.
12 The watchman says: "Morning comes, and also the night. If you will inquire, inquire; come back again."
12 The watchman replies, “Morning is coming, but night will soon return. If you wish to ask again, then come back and ask.”
12 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."
12 The watchman said, "Morning has come, and also night. If you want to ask, ask! Come back again."

Isaiah 21:12 Meaning and Commentary

Isaiah 21:12

The watchman said, the morning cometh, and also the night,
&c.] Not only a morning, but a night; and as sure as the morning comes, so shall the night; there wilt be a constant succession of morning and night; as a morning of prosperity, so a night of adversity: the morning of the Gospel dispensation was coming on, or of Christ's coming in the flesh, which was attended with joy and cheerfulness; like the morning, it dispersed the shadows of the law, introduced light, which gradually and irresistibly spread itself over the Gentile world; but then followed a night of darkness to the Jews, blindness happened to them, which still continues; and to the Arabians, Saracens, and Turks, when the bottomless pit was opened by Mahomet, which let out smoke and locusts in the eastern part of the world; and to the western part, when the Romish antichrist established himself as universal bishop: a morning came on again at the Reformation, and a night will follow, which is now begun; it is already a time of darkness, coldness, sleepiness, and of error and heresy, which will issue in an eventide, in a dark night: if it be asked what time it is with us, or how far we are gone toward the night? the answer is, we are in and toward the close of the Sardian church state; we are in the twilight, or in that part of time which is neither day nor night, ( Zechariah 14:6 Zechariah 14:7 ) the slaying of the witnesses is yet to come, which, with the general spread of Popery all over Christendom, will make it entire night; after which will come on the morning of the spiritual reign of Christ, when the light of the Gospel will be spread everywhere, and joy and gladness will attend the saints in all places; and it will be a time of great prosperity, both spiritual and temporal; which will be succeeded by another night of coldness, deadness, and carnal security, and will last till the second and personal coming of Christ; which will bring on the morning of a glorious resurrection to the saints, after which there will be no more night to them, though there will be an eternal one to the wicked. The Targum is,

``the prophet said, there is a reward for the righteous, and punishment for the wicked;''
and so the Jews elsewhere F4 interpret it of the morning of redemption to the righteous, and of the night of darkness to the wicked; or, as they sometimes express it F5, the morning is for the righteous, and the night for the wicked; the morning for Israel, and the night for the nations of the world. Dumah they sometimes F6 make to be the angel appointed over spirits, who they suppose gather together, and say to him, "watchman" if ye will inquire, inquire ye;
seriously and in good earnest, diligently and constantly, with all humility and reverence, by prayer to God and by searching the Scriptures, and by application to the watchmen, the ministers of the word, who make it their business to study it, and have the mind of Christ: return, come;
return by repentance, and come to God, who receives backsliders, heals their backslidings, and loves them freely; or, "come again", to the watchman, and to the Lord, and renew your inquiries till you get satisfaction.

F4 Gloss. in T. Bab. Sanhedrin, fol. 94. 1. & in Bava Kama fol, 3. 2.
F5 T. Hieros. Taaniot, fol. 64. 1. & Kimchi in loc.
F6 T. Bab. Sanhedrin, fol. 94. 1.

Isaiah 21:12 In-Context

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.
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.”
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.
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