Isaiah 21:2

2 A grievous[a] 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.

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 The burden of the desert of the sea. As whirlwinds in the south pass through; so it cometh from the desert, from a terrible land.
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.
3 Therefore are my 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.
4 My heart panted, fearfulness affrighted me: the night of my pleasure hath he turned into fear unto me.
5 Prepare the table, watch in the watchtower, eat, drink: arise, ye princes, and anoint the shield.

Footnotes 1

The King James Version is in the public domain.