New International Version
The watchman replies, "Morning is coming, but also the night. If you would ask, then ask; and come back yet again."
King James Bible
The watchman said, The morning cometh, and also the night: if ye will inquire, inquire ye: return, come.
Darby Bible Translation
The watchman said, The morning cometh, and also the night: if ye will inquire, inquire; return, come.
World English Bible
The watchman said, "The morning comes, and also the night. If you will inquire, inquire. Come back again."
Young's Literal Translation
The watchman hath said, 'Come hath morning, and also night, If ye inquire, inquire ye, turn back, come.'
Isaiah 21:12 Parallel
CommentaryClarke's Commentary on the Bible
The burden of Dumah "The oracle concerning Dumah" - Pro דומה Dumah, Codex R. Meiri habet אדום Edom; and so the Septuagint, Vid. Kimchi ad h. 50. Biblia Michaelis, Halae, 1720, not. ad 50. See also De Rossi. Bishop Lowth translates the prophecy thus: -
11. The Oracle Concerning Dumah.
A voice crieth to me from Seir:
Watchman, what from the night?
Watchman, what from the night?
12. The watchman replieth: -
The morning cometh, and also the night.
If ye will inquire, inquire ye: come again.
This differs very little from our common Version. One of Kennicott's MSS., and one of my own, omit the repetition, "Watchman, what from the night?"
This prophecy, from the uncertainty of the occasion on which it was uttered, and from the brevity of the expression, is extremely obscure. The Edomites as well as the Jews were subdued by the Babylonians. They inquire of the prophet how long their subjection is to last: he intimates that the Jews should be delivered from their captivity; not so the Edomites. Thus far the interpretation seems to carry with it some degree of probability. What the meaning of the last line may be, I cannot pretend to divine. In this difficulty the Hebrew MSS. give no assistance. The MSS. of the Septuagint, and the fragments of the other Greek Versions, give some variations, but no light. This being the case, I thought it best to give an exact literal translation of the whole two verses, which may serve to enable the English reader to judge in some measure of the foundation of the various interpretations that have been given of them.
The burden of Dumah. - R. D. Kimchi says, "His father understood this of the destruction of Dumah (one of the cities of the Ishmaelites) by the inhabitants of Seir; and that they inquired of the prophet to know the particular time in which God had given them a commission against it. The prophet answered: The morning - the time of success to you, cometh, is just at hand; and the night - the time of utter destruction to the inhabitants of Dumah, is also ready." I have heard the words applied in the way of general exhortation.
1. Every minister of God is a watchman. He is continually watching for the safety and interests of his people, and looking for the counsel of God that he may be properly qualified to warn and to comfort.
2. Such are often called to denounce heavy judgments; they have the burden of the word of the Lord to denounce against the impenitent, the backslider, the lukewarm, and the careless.
3. When the watchman threatens judgments, some are awakened, and some mock: Watchman, what of the night? "What are the judgments thou threatenest, and when are they to take place?"
Treasury of Scripture Knowledge
LibraryThe Morning Breaketh
TEXT: "Watchman, what of the night? The watchman said, The morning cometh, and also the night."--Isaiah 21:11-12. It is very interesting to note that, whether we study the Old Testament or the New, nights are always associated with God's mornings. In other words, he does not leave us in despair without sending to us his messengers of hope and cheer. The Prophet Isaiah in this particular part of his prophecy seems to be almost broken-hearted because of the sin of the people. As one of the Scotch …
J. Wilbur Chapman—And Judas Iscariot
A prophecy against Dumah: Someone calls to me from Seir, "Watchman, what is left of the night? Watchman, what is left of the night?"
A prophecy against Arabia: You caravans of Dedanites, who camp in the thickets of Arabia,
The vision of Obadiah. This is what the Sovereign LORD says about Edom-- We have heard a message from the LORD: An envoy was sent to the nations to say, "Rise, let us go against her for battle"--
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