Isaiah 21:1
Verse (Click for Chapter)
New International Version
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.

New Living Translation
This message came to me concerning Babylon--the desert by the sea: Disaster is roaring down on you from the desert, like a whirlwind sweeping in from the Negev.

English Standard Version
The oracle concerning the wilderness of the sea. As whirlwinds in the Negeb sweep on, it comes from the wilderness, from a terrible land.

New American Standard Bible
The oracle concerning the wilderness of the sea. As windstorms in the Negev sweep on, It comes from the wilderness, from a terrifying land.

King James Bible
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.

Holman Christian Standard Bible
An oracle against the desert by the sea: Like storms that pass over the Negev, it comes from the desert, from the land of terror.

International Standard Version
A message concerning the pasture by the Sea. "Like whirlwinds in the Negev sweep on, it comes from the desert, from a distant land.

NET Bible
Here is a message about the Desert by the Sea: Like strong winds blowing in the south, one invades from the desert, from a land that is feared.

New Heart English Bible
The oracle of the wilderness of the sea. As whirlwinds in the Negev sweep through, it comes from the wilderness, from an awesome land.

GOD'S WORD® Translation
This is the divine revelation about the desert by the sea. Like a storm sweeping through the Negev, an invader will come from the desert, from a terrifying land.

JPS Tanakh 1917
The burden of the wilderness of the sea. As whirlwinds in the South sweeping on, It cometh from the wilderness, from a dreadful land.

New American Standard 1977
The oracle concerning the wilderness of the sea.
            As windstorms in the Negev sweep on,
            It comes from the wilderness, from a terrifying land.

Jubilee Bible 2000
The burden of the desert of the sea. As the whirlwinds which pass through the wilderness in the land of the south, so they come from the terrible land.

King James 2000 Bible
The burden concerning the desert by the sea. As whirlwinds in the south pass through; so it comes from the desert, from a terrible land.

American King James Version
The burden of the desert of the sea. As whirlwinds in the south pass through; so it comes from the desert, from a terrible land.

American Standard Version
The burden of the wilderness of the sea. As whirlwinds in the South sweep through, it cometh from the wilderness, from a terrible land.

Douay-Rheims Bible
THE burden of the desert of the sea. As whirlwinds come from the south, it cometh from the desert from a terrible land.

Darby Bible Translation
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.

English Revised Version
The burden of the wilderness of the sea. As whirlwinds in the South sweep through, it cometh from the wilderness, from a terrible land.

Webster's Bible Translation
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.

World English Bible
The burden of the wilderness of the sea. As whirlwinds in the South sweep through, it comes from the wilderness, from an awesome land.

Young's Literal Translation
The burden of the wilderness of the sea. 'Like hurricanes in the south for passing through, From the wilderness it hath come, From a fearful land.
Study Bible
Babylon is Fallen
1The oracle concerning the wilderness of the sea. As windstorms in the Negev sweep on, It comes from the wilderness, from a terrifying land. 2A harsh vision has been shown to me; The treacherous one still deals treacherously, and the destroyer still destroys. Go up, Elam, lay siege, Media; I have made an end of all the groaning she has caused.…
Cross References
Isaiah 5:28
Its arrows are sharp and all its bows are bent; The hoofs of its horses seem like flint and its chariot wheels like a whirlwind.

Isaiah 13:1
The oracle concerning Babylon which Isaiah the son of Amoz saw.

Isaiah 13:20
It will never be inhabited or lived in from generation to generation; Nor will the Arab pitch his tent there, Nor will shepherds make their flocks lie down there.

Isaiah 14:23
"I will also make it a possession for the hedgehog and swamps of water, and I will sweep it with the broom of destruction," declares the LORD of hosts.

Jeremiah 51:42
"The sea has come up over Babylon; She has been engulfed with its tumultuous waves.

Ezekiel 1:4
As I looked, behold, a storm wind was coming from the north, a great cloud with fire flashing forth continually and a bright light around it, and in its midst something like glowing metal in the midst of the fire.

Ezekiel 38:9
"You will go up, you will come like a storm; you will be like a cloud covering the land, you and all your troops, and many peoples with you."

Zechariah 9:14
Then the LORD will appear over them, And His arrow will go forth like lightning; And the Lord GOD will blow the trumpet, And will march in the storm winds of the south.
Treasury of Scripture

The burden of the desert of the sea. As whirlwinds in the south pass through; so it comes from the desert, from a terrible land.

the burden. The first ten verses of this chapter contain a prediction of the taking of Babylon by the Medes and Persians; which is here denominated 'the desert of the sea,' because the country around it, and especially towards the sea, was a great morass, often overflowed by the Tigris and Euphrates, and only rendered habitable by being drained by a number of canals.

Isaiah 13:1 The burden of Babylon, which Isaiah the son of Amoz did see.

Isaiah 17:1 The burden of Damascus. Behold, Damascus is taken away from being …

the desert

Isaiah 13:20-22 It shall never be inhabited, neither shall it be dwelled in from …

Isaiah 14:23 I will also make it a possession for the bittern, and pools of water: …

Jeremiah 51:42 The sea is come up on Babylon: she is covered with the multitude …

as whirlwinds

Job 37:9 Out of the south comes the whirlwind: and cold out of the north.

Daniel 11:40 And at the time of the end shall the king of the south push at him: …

Zechariah 9:14 And the LORD shall be seen over them, and his arrow shall go forth …

from

Isaiah 13:4,5,17,18 The noise of a multitude in the mountains, like as of a great people; …

Ezekiel 30:11 He and his people with him, the terrible of the nations, shall be …

Ezekiel 31:12 And strangers, the terrible of the nations, have cut him off, and …

XXI.

(1) The burden of the desert of the sea . . .--The title of the prophecy is obviously taken from the catch-word of "the desert" that follows. The "sea" has been explained (1) as the Euphrates, just as in Isaiah 18:2; Isaiah 19:5, it appears as used of the Nile (Cheyne). (2) As pointing to the surging flood of the mingled myriads of its population. (3) Xenophon's description of the whole plain of the Euphrates, intersected by marshes and lakes, as looking like a sea affords, perhaps, a better explanation.

As whirlwinds in the south . . .--The "South" (or Negeb) is here, as elsewhere, the special name of the country lying south of Judah. The tempests of the region seem to have been proverbial (Zechariah 9:14; Jeremiah 4:11; Jeremiah 13:24; Hosea 13:15).

So it cometh.--The absence of a subject to the verb gives the opening words a terrible vagueness. Something is coming "from the wilderness, a terrible land," beyond it. The "wilderness" in this case is clearly the Arabian desert, through part of which the Euphrates flows. The context determines the "terrible land" as that of Elam and Media.

Verses 1-10. - THE BURDEN OF THE DESERT OF THE SEA. This is a short and somewhat vague, but highly poetic, "burden of Babylon" It is probably an earlier prophecy than Isaiah 13. and 14, and perhaps the first revelation made to Isaiah with respect to the fall of the great Chaldean capital. It exhibits no consciousness of the fact that Babylon is Judah's predestined destroyer, and is expressive rather of sympathy (vers. 3, 4) than of triumph. Among recent critics, some suppose it to refer to Sargon's capture of the city in B.C. 710; but the objection to this view, from the entire absence of all reference to Assyria as the conquering power, and the mention of "Elam" and "Media" in her place, is absolutely fatal to it. There can be no reasonable doubt that the same siege is intended as in Isaiah 13, where also Media is mentioned (ver. 17); and there are no real grounds for questioning that the event of which the prophet is made cognizant is that siege and capture of Babylon by Cyrus the Great which destroyed the Babylonian empire. Verse 1. - The desert of the sea. The Isaianic authorship of this title is doubtful, since "the desert of the sea" is an expression elsewhere wholly unknown to biblical writers. Some regard "the sea" as the Euphrates, in which case "the desert of the sea" may be the waste tract west of the Euphrates, extending thence to the eastern borders of Palestine. As whirlwinds in the south pass through; rather, as whirlwinds in the south country, sweeping along. The "south country" is that immediately to the south of Judaea. Its liability to whirlwinds is noticed in Zechariah 9:14 and in Job 37:9 (compare Major Palmer's 'Sinai,' p. 33). It cometh. What cometh? Dr. Kay says, "God's visitation;" Rosenmüller, "a numerous army." But is it not rather the "grievous vision" of the next verse? From the desert. The great desert bounding Palestine on the east - a truly "terrible land." Across this, as coming from Baby-Ionia to Palestine, seemed to rush the vision which it was given to the prophet to see. The burden of the desert of the sea,.... That this is a prophecy of the destruction of Babylon is clear from the express mention both of the Medes and Persians, by whom it should be, and of Babylon itself, and its fall, Isaiah 21:2 which, though prophesied of before, is here repeated, partly for the certainty of it, and partly for the comfort of the people of the Jews, who would be captives in it, and so break off and prevent their confidence in a nation that would be ruined; and perhaps this prophecy might be delivered out about the time or on account of Merodach king of Babylon sending letters and a present to Hezekiah, who showed to his messengers all his treasures. Babylon is here called "the desert of the sea", not because it was a desert land, for it was a very fruitful one; or because it would be laid desolate, and become as a wilderness; but either because there was one between that and the countries of Media and Persia, as Kimchi, from whence its destroyers would come; or rather, because it was, as the word may be rendered, a "plain", for so the land of Chaldea was, and the city of Babylon particularly was built in a plain, Genesis 11:2 and because this country abounded with pools and lakes, which with the Hebrews are called seas; and especially since the city of Babylon was situated by the river Euphrates, which ran about it, and through it and which therefore is said to dwell upon many waters, Jeremiah 51:13 hence it has this name of the desert of the sea; besides, Abydenus (l), from Megasthenes, informs us, that all the places about Babylon were from the beginning water, and were called a sea; and it should be observed that mystical Babylon is represented by a woman in a desert, sitting on many waters, which are interpreted of a multitude of people and nations, Revelation 17:1 and some here by "sea" understand the multitude of its riches, power, and people. The Targum is,

"the burden of the armies, which come from the wilderness, as the waters of the sea;''

understanding it not of Babylon, but of its enemies and invaders, as follows:

as whirlwinds in the south pass through; and nothing can hinder them, such is their force and power; they bear all before them, come suddenly, blow strongly, and there is no resisting them; see Zechariah 9:14,

so it cometh from the desert; or "he", that is, Cyrus; or "it", the army under him, would come with like irresistible force and power as the southern whirlwinds do, which come from a desert country; at least that part of it in which their soldiers were trained up, and which in their march to Babylon must come through the desert, that lay, as before observed, between that and their country, and through which Cyrus did pass (m):

from a terrible land; a land of serpents and scorpions, as Jarchi; or a land afar off, as Kimchi and Ben Melech; whose power and usage, or customs, were not known, and so dreaded, as the Medes and Persians were by Nitocris queen of Babylon, who took care to preserve her people, and prevent their falling into their hands. The Targum is,

"from a land in which terrible things are done.''

(l) Apud Euseb. Prepar. Evangel. l. 9. c. 41. (m) Xenophon. Cyropaedia, l. 5. c. 5, 6. CHAPTER 21

Isa 21:1-10. Repetition of the Assurance Given in the Thirteenth and Fourteenth Chapters to the Jews About to Be Captives in Babylon, that Their Enemy Should Be Destroyed and They Be Delivered.

He does not narrate the event, but graphically supposes himself a watchman in Babylon, beholding the events as they pass.

1. desert—the champaign between Babylon and Persia; it was once a desert, and it was to become so again.

of the sea—The plain was covered with the water of the Euphrates like a "sea" (Jer 51:13, 36; so Isa 11:15, the Nile), until Semiramis raised great dams against it. Cyrus removed these dykes, and so converted the whole country again into a vast desert marsh.

whirlwinds in the south—(Job 37:9; Zec 9:14). The south wind comes upon Babylon from the deserts of Arabia, and its violence is the greater from its course being unbroken along the plain (Job 1:19).

desert—the plain between Babylon and Persia.

terrible land—Media; to guard against which was the object of Nitocris' great works [Herodotus, 1.185]. Compare as to "terrible" applied to a wilderness, as being full of unknown dangers, De 1:29.21:1-10 Babylon was a flat country, abundantly watered. The destruction of Babylon, so often prophesied of by Isaiah, was typical of the destruction of the great foe of the New Testament church, foretold in the Revelation. To the poor oppressed captives it would be welcome news; to the proud oppressors it would be grievous. Let this check vain mirth and sensual pleasures, that we know not in what heaviness the mirth may end. Here is the alarm given to Babylon, when forced by Cyrus. An ass and a camel seem to be the symbols of the Medes and Persians. Babylon's idols shall be so far from protecting her, that they shall be broken down. True believers are the corn of God's floor; hypocrites are but as chaff and straw, with which the wheat is now mixed, but from which it shall be separated. The corn of God's floor must expect to be threshed by afflictions and persecutions. God's Israel of old was afflicted. Even then God owns it is his still. In all events concerning the church, past, present, and to come, we must look to God, who has power to do any thing for his church, and grace to do every thing that is for her good.
Jump to Previous
Awesome Burden Desert Dreadful Feared Fearful Greatly Invader Negeb Negev Oracle Passing Rushing Sea South Southland Storm-Winds Sweep Sweeping Terrible Terrifying Terror Waste Whirlwinds Wilderness Word
Jump to Next
Awesome Burden Desert Dreadful Feared Fearful Greatly Invader Negeb Negev Oracle Passing Rushing Sea South Southland Storm-Winds Sweep Sweeping Terrible Terrifying Terror Waste Whirlwinds Wilderness Word
Links
Isaiah 21:1 NIV
Isaiah 21:1 NLT
Isaiah 21:1 ESV
Isaiah 21:1 NASB
Isaiah 21:1 KJV

Isaiah 21:1 Biblia Paralela
Isaiah 21:1 Chinese Bible
Isaiah 21:1 French Bible
Isaiah 21:1 German Bible

Alphabetical: a An As by comes concerning Desert from in invader It land Like Negev of on oracle Sea southland sweep sweeping terrifying terror the through whirlwinds wilderness windstorms

OT Prophets: Isaiah 21:1 The burden of the wilderness (Isa Isi Is) Christian Bible Study Resources, Dictionary, Concordance and Search Tools
Isaiah 20:6
Top of Page
Top of Page