Isaiah 21:8
And he cried, A lion: My lord, I stand continually upon the watchtower in the daytime, and I am set in my ward whole nights:
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(8) And he cried, A lion.—Better, As a lion. The cry seems to be the low murmur of the eager, almost angry, impatience by which the prophet or the ideal watchman was stirred.

Isaiah 21:8-9. And he cried, A lion — “The present reading, אריה, a lion, is so unintelligible,” says Bishop Lowth, “and the mistake so obvious, that I make no doubt that the true reading is הראה,” (he that saw, or looked out,) “as the Syriac translator manifestly found it in his copy, who renders it by רוקא, speculator,” the observer, or watchman. The bishop, therefore, renders the clause, He that looked out on the watch cried aloud. My lord, I stand continually upon the watch-tower — The watchman speaks these words to the prophet, who, by command from God, had set him in this station; to whom, therefore he gives the following account of his discharge of the office wherewith he was intrusted. In the daytime, &c., whole nights — According to thy command I have stood, and do stand continually, both day and night, in my ward. This is said to express his great care and attention, and thereby to confirm the truth of the prediction which follows, as that which would as certainly come to pass, as if a watchman had descried the approach of an enemy afar off. And behold, here cometh a chariot, &c. — Or, as in Isaiah 21:7, a cavalcade of men; two file of horse, &c. Bishop Lowth renders it, from the Syriac and Ephraim Syrus, Behold, here cometh a man, one of the two riders: and he answered — Answered to the prophet, who set him to watch, or the Lord, by whose command he was set. Babylon is fallen, is fallen — The expression is doubled, to show the certainty of the event. It is usual, likewise, for the prophets to speak of a thing future as if it were already accomplished, to signify that it will certainly be accomplished; and all the graven images of her gods he hath broken, &c. — “It is remarkable that Xerxes, after his return from his unfortunate expedition into Greece, partly out of religious zeal, being a professed enemy to image-worship, and partly to reimburse himself after his immense expenses, seized the sacred treasures, plundered or destroyed the temples and idols of Babylon, and thereby accomplished this prophecy.” — Bishop Newton.

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.And he cried, A lion - Margin, 'As a lion.' This is the correct rendering. The particle כ (k) - 'as,' is not unfrequently omitted (see Isaiah 62:5; Psalm 11:1). That is, 'I see them approach with the fierceness, rapidity, and terror of a lion (compare Revelation 10:3).

My lord, I stand continually upon the watch-tower - This is the speech of the watchman, and is addressed, not to Yahweh, but to him that appointed him. It is designed to show the "diligence" with which he had attended to the object for which he was appointed. He had been unceasing in his observation; and the result was, that now at length he saw the enemy approach like a lion, and it was certain that Babylon now must fall. The language used here has a striking resemblance to the opening of the "Agamemnon" of AEschylus; being the speech of the watchman, who had been very long upon his tower looking for the signal which should make known that Troy had fallen. It thus commences:

'Forever thus! O keep me not, ye gods,

Forever thus, fixed in the lonely tower

Of Atreus' palace, from whose height Igaze

O'er watched and weary, like a night-dog, still

Fixed to my post; meanwhile the rolling year

Moves on, and I my wakeful vigils keep

By the cold star-light sheen of spangled skies.'

Symmons, quoted in the "Pictorial Bible."

I am set in my ward - My place where one keeps watch. It does not mean that he was confined or imprisoned, but that he had kept his watch station (משׁמרת mishemeret from שׁמר shâmar "to watch, to keep, to attend to").

Whole nights - Margin, 'Every night.' It means that he had not left his post day or night.

8. A lion—rather, "(The watchman) cried, I am as a lion"; so as is understood (Isa 62:5; Ps 11:1). The point of comparison to "a lion" is in Re 10:3, the loudness of the cry. But here it is rather his vigilance. The lion's eyelids are short, so that, even when asleep, he seems to be on the watch, awake; hence he was painted on doors of temples as the symbol of watchfulness, guarding the place (Hor. Apollo) [Horsley]. And he cried, A lion: the sense of the words thus rendered is this, The watchman cried out, I see also a lion, to wit, marching before the horsemen and chariots already mentioned; which they suppose to represent Cyrus or Darius marching in the head of their armies. Or, as it is rendered in the margin, and by divers others, he cried as (which particle is oft understood, as hath been formerly and frequently noted)

a lion, with a terrible cry, as being affrighted with the vision, and withal signifying the dreadfulness of that judgment which was here represented as coming upon Babylon.

My lord; the watchman speaks these words either to God, or to the prophet, who by command from God had set him in this place and station; to whom therefore he gives the following account of his discharge of the work wherewith he was intrusted.

I stand continually upon the watch-tower in the day time, and I am set in my ward whole nights; according to thy command I have stood, and do yet stand, continually, both day and night, upon my watch-tower.

And he cried, a lion,.... That is, the watchman cried, a lion, or that he saw a lion; not Uriah the priest, as the Septuagint; nor Habakkuk, as some Jewish writers; but Cyrus, at the head of the Persian and Median armies, compared to a lion for his fierceness, courage, and strength; see 2 Timothy 4:17 a type of Christ, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, by whom antichrist, or mystical Babylon, will be destroyed, Revelation 5:5. The Targum is,

"the prophet said, the voice of armies, coming with coats of mail, as a lion.''

Aben Ezra interprets it, the watchman cried as a lion, with a great voice; upon sight of the chariots and horsemen, he lifted up his voice, and roared like a lion, to express the terror he was in, and the greatness of the calamity that was coming upon the city.

I stand continually upon the watchtower in the daytime: so that nothing could escape his notice:

and I am set in my ward whole nights: which expresses his diligence, vigilance, and constancy, in the discharge of his duty; and therefore what he said he saw might be depended on.

And he cried, A {l} lion: My lord, I stand continually upon the watchtower in the daytime, and I am set in my post whole nights:

(l) Meaning, Darius who overcame Babylon.

8. If the text be right, the first clause must read: And he cried (like) a lion (Revelation 10:3).

My lord] The A.V. seems here to assume that the prophet is addressed by his watchman. R.V. and most interpreters render “O Lord” (addressed to Jehovah). Nevertheless A.V. may be right, although it requires the substitution of ’Ǎdônî for ’Ǎdônâi.

in my ward] i.e. “at my post.”

For whole nights read “all the nights.”

Verse 8. - And he cried, A lion; rather, he cried as a lion; i.e. with a loud deep voice (comp. Revelation 10:3). The watchman, after long waiting, becomes impatient, and can contain himself no longer. He makes complaint of his long vain watch. My lord; rather, O Lord. The watchman addresses his complaint to Jehovah. Isaiah 21:8At length the procession has vanished; he sees nothing and hears nothing, and is seized with impatience. "Then he cried with lion's voice, Upon the watch-tower, O Lord, I stand continually by day, and upon my watch I keep my stand all the nights." He loses all his patience, and growls as if he were a lion (compare Revelation 10:3), with the same dull, angry sound, the same long, deep breath out of full lungs, complaining to God that he has to stand so long at his post without seeing anything, except that inexplicable procession that has now vanished away.
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