Isaiah 21:2

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.

Isaiah 21:2 in Other Translations

King James Version (KJV)
2 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.
English Standard Version (ESV)
2 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.
New Living Translation (NLT)
2 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.
The Message Bible (MSG)
2 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.
American Standard Version (ASV)
2 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.
GOD'S WORD Translation (GW)
2 I was shown a harsh vision. The traitor betrays. The destroyer destroys. Go to war, Elam! Surround them, Media! I will put an end to all the groaning.
Holman Christian Standard Bible (CSB)
2 A troubling vision is declared to me: "The treacherous one acts treacherously, and the destroyer destroys. Advance, Elam! Lay siege, you Medes! I will put an end to all her groaning."
New International Reader's Version (NIRV)
2 I have seen a vision about something terrible that will happen. People are turning against Babylon. Robbers are taking its goods. Elamites, attack the city! Medes, surround it! The LORD will put an end to all of the suffering Babylon has caused.

Isaiah 21:2 Meaning and Commentary

Isaiah 21:2

A grievous vision is declared unto me
The prophet; meaning the vision of Babylon's destruction, which was "hard", as the word signifies, and might seem harsh and cruel; not to him, nor to the Jews, but to the Chaldeans: the treacherous dealer dealeth treacherously, and the spoiler
that is, according to Jarchi, one treacherous dealer deals treacherously with another, and one spoiler spoils another; the Medes and Persians deal treacherously with and spoil the Babylonians, who had dealt treacherously with and spoiled other nations: and to this sense some read the words, "the treacherous dealer hath found a treacherous dealer, and the spoiler one that spoileth" F14: some take it to be a compellation of the Medes and Persians, calling upon them, under these characters, to go up and besiege Babylon, as, "O treacherous dealer, O spoiler" F15; though the words may be understood of the perfidy and treachery of the Babylonians, of which they had been frequently guilty, and which is given as a reason of their fall and ruin; or rather they suggest the treacherous means by which they should be ruined, even by some from among themselves; particularly, history


F16 informs us, that Gobrias and Gadates, two noblemen of the king of Babylon, being used ill by him, revolted from him, and joined with Cyrus; and when the river Euphrates was drained, went at the head of his army in two parties, and guided them into the city, and took it; or rather Belshazzar king of Babylon himself is meant, who acted, and continued to act, most impiously and wickedly: and therefore, go up, O Elam;
or Elamites, as the Targum and Septuagint; see ( Acts 2:9 ) these were Persians, so called from Elam, a province in Persia; who are here called upon by the Lord of armies, through the mouth of the prophet, to go up to war against Babylon; and these are mentioned first, because Cyrus, who commanded the whole army, was a Persian: or if Elam is taken for a province, which was indeed subject to Babylon, of which Shushan was the capital city, ( Daniel 8:2 ) the governor of it, Abradates, revolted from the Babylonians, and joined Cyrus, and fought with him F17: besiege, O Media;
or, O ye Medes, join with the Persians in the siege of Babylon; as they did: all the sighing thereof have I made to cease;
either of the army of the Medes and Persians, who, by reason of long and tedious marches, frequent battles, and hard sieges, groaned and sighed; but now it would be over with them, when Babylon was taken; or of the Babylonians themselves, who would have no mercy shown them, nor have any time for sighing, being cut off suddenly, and in a moment; or rather of other people oppressed by them, and particularly the Lord's people the Jews, who had been in captivity for the space of seventy years, during which they had sighed and groaned, because of the hardships they endured; but now sighing would be at an end, and they should have deliverance, as they had, by Cyrus the Persian. The sighing is not that with which they sighed, but which they caused in others.
F14 (ddwv ddwvhw dgwb dgwbh) "praevaricator prevaricatorem et vastator, vastatorem [sub.] inveniet"; so some in Vatablus; also Gataker.
F15 "O perfide, perfidus; O vastator, vastator", De Dieu.
F16 Xenophon. Cyropaedia, l. 4. c. 24. l. 5. c. 11. & l. 7. c. 23.
F17 Ib. l. 6. sect. 7, 8, 9, 26. & l. 7. sect. 4, 8.

Isaiah 21:2 In-Context

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!

Cross References 4

  • 1. Psalms 60:3
  • 2. Isaiah 24:16; Isaiah 33:1
  • 3. S Genesis 10:22; Isaiah 22:6; Jeremiah 49:34
  • 4. S Isaiah 13:3; Jeremiah 25:25; Jeremiah 51:28
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