Isaiah 21:16
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:
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(16) According to the years of an hireling . . . The prophet uses, as in Isaiah 16:14, the formula which expressed the most precise measurement, and so gives a test as to his forecast of the future.

And all the glory of Kedar shall fail.—Kedar is used, as in Psalm 120:5, Song of Solomon 1:5, generically for the nomadic tribes of Arabia, including Dedan.

Isaiah 21:16-17. For thus hath the Lord said — Hitherto the prophet had spoken figuratively: now he ceases to do so; within a year — From the time of the delivery of this prophecy, according to the years of a hireling — Namely, an exact year: for hirelings diligently observe and wait for the end of the year, when they are to receive their wages. And this prophecy “was probably delivered about the same time with the rest in this part of the book, that is, soon before or after the 14th of Hezekiah, the year of Sennacherib’s invasion. In his first march into Judea, or in his return from the Egyptian expedition, he might, perhaps, overrun these several clans of Arabians, whose distress, on some such occasion, is the subject of this prophecy.” — Bishop Lowth. And all the glory of Kedar shall fail — Their power and riches, and all things wherein they used to glory The Kedarenes were another division of the Arabians, descended from Kedar, Ishmael’s son, (Genesis 25:13,) who were famous for the use of the bow, as is intimated in Isaiah 21:17, at which weapon their ancestor Ishmael was very expert, Genesis 21:20. The same people are said to dwell in the tents of Kedar, (Psalm 120:5; Song of Solomon 1:5,) and were remarkable for their swarthiness, the word Kedar signifying black or tawny. It is here foretold that they should suffer a grievous slaughter, whereby their mighty men should be diminished, and that they should be deprived of their flocks, tents, furniture, and wealth, and be obliged to save themselves by fleeing into the interior parts of the desert.

21:13-17 The Arabians lived in tents, and kept cattle. A destroying army shall be brought upon them, and make them an easy prey. We know not what straits we may be brought into before we die. Those may know the want of necessary food who now eat bread to the full. Neither the skill of archers, nor the courage of mighty men, can protect from the judgments of God. That is poor glory, which will thus quickly come to nothing. Thus hath the Lord said to me; and no word of his shall fall to the ground. We may be sure the Strength of Israel will not lie. Happy are those only whose riches and glory are out of the reach of invaders; all other prosperity will speedily pass away.Within a year - What has been said before was figurative. Here the prophet speaks without a metaphor, and fixes the time when this should be accomplished. It is not usual for the prophets to designate the exact "time" of the fulfillment of their prophecies in this manner.

According to the years of an hireling - Exactly; observing the precise time specified Job 7:1. See the phrase explained on Isaiah 16:14.

All the glory - The beauty, pride, strength, wealth, etc.

Of Kedar - Kedar was a son of Ishmael Genesis 25:15. He was the father of the Kedareneans or "Cedrai," mentioned by Pithy ("Nat. Hist." v. 11). They dwelt in the neighborhood of the Nabatheans, in Arabia Deserta. These people lived in tents, and were a wandering tribe, and it is not possible to fix the precise place of their habitation. They resided, it is supposed, in the south part of Arabia Deserts, and the north part of Arabia Petrea. The name 'Kedar' seems to be used sometimes to denote Arabia in general, or Arabia Deserts particularly (see Psalm 120:5; Sol 1:5; Isaiah 42:11; Isaiah 60:7; Jeremiah 2:10; Jeremiah 49:28; Ezekiel 26:21).

Shall fail - Shall be consumed, destroyed (כלה kâlâh).

16. years of … hireling—(See on [719]Isa 16:14).

Kedar—a wandering tribe (Ps 120:5). North of Arabia-Petræa, and south of Arabia-Deserta; put for Arabia in general.

Within a year, from the time of this prophecy.

According to the years of an hireling, to wit, an exact year; for hirelings diligently observe and wait for the end of the year, when they are to receive their wages.

All the glory; their power, and riches, and all things wherein they used to glory. This was executed by the Assyrians.

Kedar; of whom see on Psalm 120:5 Jeremiah 49:28.

For thus hath the Lord said unto me,.... The prophet; which confirms what is before said, as well as assures the accomplishment of what follows:

within a year, according to the years of an hireling; that is, exactly and precisely, as soon as ever the year is come to an end; for the hireling, when his year is up, instantly demands dismissal from his service, or his wages, or both. The time is to be reckoned from the delivery of this prophecy; and so the calamity predicted was brought upon them by the Assyrians, perhaps under Sennacherib, when he invaded the cities of Judah, and might take Arabia in his way; less time is allowed than was the Moabites, who suffered by the same hand; see Isaiah 16:14,

and all the glory of Kedar shall fail; these were another sort of Arabians, as the Targum calls them: they descended from Kedar, a son of Ishmael, Genesis 25:13 their "glory" were their multitude, their riches and substance, and which chiefly lay in their flocks; for the sake of which they moved from place to place for pasture, and dwelled in tents, which they carried with them, and pitched where it was most convenient for them; hence they were called Scenites; see Psalm 120:5.

For thus hath the Lord said to me, Within a year, {t} according to the years of an {u} hireling, and all the glory of Kedar shall fail:

(t) He appoints them respite for one year only, and then they would be destroyed.

(u) Read Isa 16:14.

16. according to the years of a hireling] See on Isaiah 16:14.

Kedar] a tribe of pastoral nomads (Isaiah 60:7; Ezekiel 27:21) in the Syrian desert (Jeremiah 2:10), is here apparently a comprehensive designation of the north Arabian tribes (cf. Song of Solomon 1:5; Psalm 120:5).

Verse 16. - Within a year, according to the years of an hireling (see the comment on Isaiah 16:14). All the glory of Kedar shall fail. "Kedar" is a name of greater note than either Dedan or Tome. It seems to be used here as inclusive of Dedan, perhaps as a designation of the northern Arabians generally. The people of Kedar, like those of Dedan, carried on trade with Tyro (Ezekiel 27:21). They dwelt partly in tents (Psalm 120:5; Jeremiah 49:29), partly in villages (Isaiah 42:11), and were rich in flocks and herds and in camels. Though not mentioned in the inscriptions of Sargon, Sennacherib, or Esarhaddon, the contemporaries of Isaiah, they hold a prominent place in those of Esarhaddon's son and successor, Asshurbanipal, with whom they carried on a war of some considerable duration in conjunction with the Nabathaeans (G. Smith, 'History of Asshur-bani-pal,' pp. 261-290).

Isaiah 21:16Thus does the approaching fate of Arabia present itself in picture before the prophet's eye, whilst it is more distinctly revealed in Isaiah 21:16, Isaiah 21:17 : "For thus hath the Lord spoken to me, Within a year, as the years of a hired labourer, it is over with all the glory of Kedar. And the remnant of the number of bows of heroes of the Kedarenes will be small: for Jehovah, the God of Israel, hath spoken." The name Kedar is here the collective name of the Arabic tribes generally. In the stricter sense, Kedar, like Nebaioth, which is associated with it, as a nomadic tribe of Ishmaelites, which wandered as far as the Elanitic Gulf. Within the space of a year, measured as exactly as is generally the case where employers and labourers are concerned, Kedar's freedom, military strength, numbers, and wealth (all these together constituting its glory), would all have disappeared. Nothing but a small remnant would be left of the heroic sons of Kedar and their bows. They are numbered here by their bows (in distinction from the numbering by heads), showing that the righting men are referred to - a mode of numbering which is customary among the Indian tribes of America, for example.

(Note: See the work of V. Martius on the Indians of Brazil, i. 395, 411, etc.)

The noun she'âr (remnant) is followed by five genitives here (just as peri is by four in Isaiah 10:12); and the predicate ימעטוּ is in the plural because of the copiousness of the subject. The period of the fulfilment of the prophecy keeps us still within the Assyrian era. In Herodotus (2, 141), Sennacherib is actually called "king of Arabians and Assyrians" (compare Josephus, Ant. x. 1, 4); and both Sargon and Sennacherib, in their annalistic inscriptions, take credit to themselves for the subjugation of Arabian tribes. But in the Chaldean era Jeremiah predicted the same things against Kedar (chapter 49) as against Edom; and Jeremiah 49:30-31 was evidently written with a retrospective allusion to this oracle of Isaiah. When the period fixed by Isaiah for the fulfilment arrived, a second period grew out of it, and one still more remote, inasmuch as a second empire, viz., the Chaldean, grew out of the Assyrian, and inaugurated a second period of judgment for the nations. After a short glimmer of morning, the night set in a second time upon Edom, and a second time upon Arabia.

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