Isaiah 21:13-17

13 The burden upon Arabia. In the forest in Arabia shall ye lodge, O ye travelling companies of Dedanim.
14 The inhabitants of the land of Tema brought[a] water to him that was thirsty, they prevented with their bread him that fled.
15 For they fled from the swords,[b] from the drawn sword, and from the bent bow, and from the grievousness of war.
16 For thus hath the Lord said unto me, Within a year, according to the years of an hireling, and all the glory of Kedar shall fail:
17 And the residue of the number of archers,[c] the mighty men of the children of Kedar, shall be diminished: for the LORD God of Israel hath spoken it.

Isaiah 21:13-17 Meaning and Commentary

INTRODUCTION TO ISAIAH 21

This chapter contains prophecies against Babylon, Idumea, and Arabia. The prophecy against Babylon is called "the burden of the desert of the sea"; whose enemies are described by the fierce manner of their coming, and by the land from whence they came, Isa 21:1 which vision being declared to the prophet, is called a grievous one; what made it so was treachery among themselves; and the Medes and Persians are invited to besiege them, Isa 21:2 their terror and distress upon it are represented by the pains of a woman in travail, whom the prophet personates, Isa 21:3,4 and by the methods they took to defend themselves, to which they were alarmed, when in the greatest security and jollity, Isa 21:5 all which is illustrated by the vision of the watchman, who saw the Medes and Persians on the march, signified by a chariot and a couple of horsemen, who declares the fall of Babylon, and the destruction of its gods, Isa 21:6-9 which would issue in the good and comfort of the church and people of God, Isa 21:10 then follows the prophecy against Idumea, which consists of a question put to the watchman, and his answer to it; to which an exhortation is added, Isa 21:11,12 and the chapter concludes with another prophecy against Arabia: the calamities threatened are lodging in a forest, thirst, famine, and fleeing from the sword Isa 21:13-15, and the time is fixed when all this should be, by which their glory would fail, and the number of their archers and mighty men be lessened; for the confirmation of which the divine testimony is annexed, Isa 21:16,17.

Isaiah 21:13-17 In-Context

11 The burden of Dumah. He calleth to me out of Seir, Watchman, what of the night? Watchman, what of the night?
12 The watchman said, The morning cometh, and also the night: if ye will enquire, enquire ye: return, come.
13 The burden upon Arabia. In the forest in Arabia shall ye lodge, O ye travelling companies of Dedanim.
14 The inhabitants of the land of Tema brought water to him that was thirsty, they prevented with their bread him that fled.
15 For they fled from the swords, from the drawn sword, and from the bent bow, and from the grievousness of war.
16 For thus hath the Lord said unto me, Within a year, according to the years of an hireling, and all the glory of Kedar shall fail:
17 And the residue of the number of archers, the mighty men of the children of Kedar, shall be diminished: for the LORD God of Israel hath spoken it.

Footnotes 3

  • [a]. brought: or, bring ye
  • [b]. from the swords: or, for fear, etc: Heb. from the face, etc
  • [c]. archers: Heb. bows