Isaiah 21:5
Verse (Click for Chapter)
New International Version
They set the tables, they spread the rugs, they eat, they drink! Get up, you officers, oil the shields!

New Living Translation
Look! They are preparing a great feast. They are spreading rugs for people to sit on. Everyone is eating and drinking. But quick! Grab your shields and prepare for battle. You are being attacked!

English Standard Version
They prepare the table, they spread the rugs, they eat, they drink. Arise, O princes; oil the shield!

New American Standard Bible
They set the table, they spread out the cloth, they eat, they drink; "Rise up, captains, oil the shields,"

King James Bible
Prepare the table, watch in the watchtower, eat, drink: arise, ye princes, and anoint the shield.

Holman Christian Standard Bible
Prepare a table, and spread out a carpet! Eat and drink! Rise up, you princes, and oil the shields!

International Standard Version
They set the tables; they spread the carpets; they eat, they drink! Get up, you officers! Oil the shields!"

NET Bible
Arrange the table, lay out the carpet, eat and drink! Get up, you officers, smear oil on the shields!

New Heart English Bible
They prepare the table. They set the watch. They eat. They drink. Rise up, you princes, oil the shield.

GOD'S WORD® Translation
Set the table. Spread the rugs [by the table]. Eat. Drink. Get up, you leaders! Prepare your shields for battle!

JPS Tanakh 1917
They prepare the table, they light the lamps, they eat, they drink-- 'Rise up, ye princes, anoint the shield.'

New American Standard 1977
They set the table, they spread out the cloth, they eat, they drink;
            “Rise up, captains, oil the shields,”

Jubilee Bible 2000
Prepare the table, watch in the watchtower, eat, drink; arise, ye princes, and anoint the shield.

King James 2000 Bible
Prepare the table, watch in the watchtower, eat, drink: arise, you princes, and anoint the shield.

American King James Version
Prepare the table, watch in the watchtower, eat, drink: arise, you princes, and anoint the shield.

American Standard Version
They prepare the table, they set the watch, they eat, they drink: rise up, ye princes, anoint the shield.

Douay-Rheims Bible
Prepare the table, behold in the watchtower them that eat and drink: arise, ye princes, take up the shield.

Darby Bible Translation
Prepare the table, appoint the watch; eat, drink: arise, ye princes, anoint the shield.

English Revised Version
They prepare the table, they set the watch, they eat, they drink: rise up, ye princes, anoint the shield.

Webster's Bible Translation
Prepare the table, watch in the watch-tower, eat, drink: arise, ye princes, and anoint the shield.

World English Bible
They prepare the table. They set the watch. They eat. They drink. Rise up, you princes, oil the shield!

Young's Literal Translation
Arrange the table, watch in the watch-tower, Eat, drink, rise, ye heads, anoint the shield,
Study Bible
Babylon is Fallen
4My mind reels, horror overwhelms me; The twilight I longed for has been turned for me into trembling. 5They set the table, they spread out the cloth, they eat, they drink; "Rise up, captains, oil the shields," 6For thus the Lord says to me, "Go, station the lookout, let him report what he sees.…
Cross References
2 Samuel 1:21
"O mountains of Gilboa, Let not dew or rain be on you, nor fields of offerings; For there the shield of the mighty was defiled, The shield of Saul, not anointed with oil.

Jeremiah 46:3
"Line up the shield and buckler, And draw near for the battle!

Jeremiah 51:39
"When they become heated up, I will serve them their banquet And make them drunk, that they may become jubilant And may sleep a perpetual sleep And not wake up," declares the LORD.

Jeremiah 51:57
"I will make her princes and her wise men drunk, Her governors, her prefects and her mighty men, That they may sleep a perpetual sleep and not wake up," Declares the King, whose name is the LORD of hosts.

Daniel 5:1
Belshazzar the king held a great feast for a thousand of his nobles, and he was drinking wine in the presence of the thousand.
Treasury of Scripture

Prepare the table, watch in the watchtower, eat, drink: arise, you princes, and anoint the shield.

eat

Isaiah 22:13,14 And behold joy and gladness, slaying oxen, and killing sheep, eating …

Daniel 5:1-5 Belshazzar the king made a great feast to a thousand of his lords, …

1 Corinthians 15:32 If after the manner of men I have fought with beasts at Ephesus, …

arise

Isaiah 13:2,17,18 Lift you up a banner on the high mountain, exalt the voice to them, …

Isaiah 45:1-3 Thus said the LORD to his anointed, to Cyrus, whose right hand I …

Jeremiah 51:11,27,28 Make bright the arrows; gather the shields: the LORD has raised up …

(5) Prepare the table, watch in the watch-tower.--The words (historical infinitive) are better taken as indicative: They prepare . . . they watch. The last clause has been variously rendered, they spread the coverlet; i.e., for the couches of the revellers (Amos 6:4); and they take a horoscopes (Ewald). Here, with hardly a shadow of a doubt, there is a reference to the temper of reckless revel such as was the immediate forerunner of the capture of Babylon. The prophet had, perhaps, an analogue of such blind security before his eyes at the very time he wrote (Isaiah 22:13), which led him to anticipate a like state of things in Babylon.

Anoint the shield . . .--The summons is one which in the prophet's vision breaks in on the songs and music of the revel. The shields thought of were those covered with leather, which was oiled, partly to protect it from wet, partly to make the stroke of the sword glide off from it. The call implies that even this precaution had been neglected by the revellers.

Verse 5. - Prepare the table, etc. With lyrical abruptness, the prophet turns from his own feelings to draw a picture of Babylon at the time when she is attacked. He uses historical infinitives, the most lively form of narrative. Translate, They deck the table, set the watch, eat, drink; i.e. having decked the table, they commit the task of watching to a few, and then give themselves up to feasting and reveling, as if there were no danger. It is impossible not to think of Belshazzar's feast, and the descriptions of the Greek historians (Herod., 1:191; Xen., 'Cyrop.,' 7:23), which mark at any rate the strength of the tradition that, when Babylon was taken, its inhabitants were engaged in revelry. Arise, ye princes, and anoint the shield. In the midst of the feast there enters to the revellers one from the outside, with these words, "Rise, quit the banquet; get your shields; anoint them; arm yourselves." That shields were greased with fat or oil before being used in battle appears from Virg., 'AEneid,' 7:625, and other places. It was thought that the enemy's weapons would more readily glance off an oiled surface. Prepare the table,.... Set it, spread it, furnish it with all kind of provisions, as at a feast; and such an one Belshazzar made, the night the city was taken: these words are directed to him by his courtiers or queen, as represented by the prophet, in order to remove his fears; see Daniel 5:10,

watch in the watchtower; this is said to his servants, his soldiers, or sentinels, that were placed on watchtowers to observe the motions of the enemy, who were ordered on duty, and to be on guard, that he and his nobles might feast the more securely; and all this being done, a table furnished, and a guard set, he, his nobles, and all his guests, are encouraged to "eat" and "drink" liberally and cheerfully, without any fear of the Medes and Persians, who were now besieging the city; when, at the same time, by the Lord it would be said,

arise, ye princes; not, ye nobles of Babylon, from your table, quit it, and your feasting and mirth:

and anoint the shield; prepare your arms, see that they are in good order, get them in readiness, and defend your king, yourselves, and your city, as some; but the princes of the Medes and Persians, Cyrus and his generals, are bid to take their arms, and enter the city while indulging themselves at their feast: it was usual to anoint shields, and other pieces of armour, partly that they might be smooth and slippery, as Jarchi, that so the darts of the enemy might easily slide off; and partly for the polishing and brightening of them, being of metal, especially of brass; so the Targum,

"polish and make the arms bright;''

see 2 Samuel 1:21. Aben Ezra understands the words as an exhortation to the princes, to arise and anoint Darius king, in the room of Belshazzar slain; the word "shield" sometimes signifying a king, for which he mentions Psalm 84:9 so Ben Melech; but they are a call of the prophet, or of the Lord, to the princes of the Medes and Persians, to take the opportunity, while the Babylonians were feasting, to fall upon them; and the words may be rendered thus (u),

"in or while preparing the table, watching in the watchtower, eating and drinking, arise, ye princes, and anoint the shield;''

which was done by their servants, though they are called upon.

(u) "disponendo, mensam, speculando speculam, comedendo, bibendo, surgite principes, ungite clypeum", Montanus; and to the same sense Grotius. 5. Prepare the table—namely, the feast in Babylon; during which Cyrus opened the dykes made by Semiramis to confine the Euphrates to one channel and suffered them to overflow the country, so that he could enter Babylon by the channel of the river. Isaiah first represents the king ordering the feast to be got ready. The suddenness of the irruption of the foe is graphically expressed by the rapid turn in the language to an alarm addressed to the Babylonian princes, "Arise," etc. (compare Isa 22:13). Maurer translates, "They prepare the table," etc. But see Isa 8:9.

watch in … watchtower—rather, "set the watch." This done, they thought they might feast in entire security. Babylon had many watchtowers on its walls.

anoint … shield—This was done to prevent the leather of the shield becoming hard and liable to crack. "Make ready for defense"; the mention of the "shield" alone implies that it is the Babylonian revellers who are called on to prepare for instant self-defense. Horsley translates, "Grip the oiled shield."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.
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