The Book of Isaiah Bible Study Chapter 21 Part 2

Our next reading is Isaiah 21:11-17

v11: Note: This is a very important prophecy against, ultimately, Edom (the descendants of Esau). Although the name ‘Edom’ is not mentioned, we know that it is referring to Edom because Dumah and Seir were both locations within Edom.  

  • Seir: Mountains in Edom (See Ezekiel 35).
  • Watchman: The one who keeps watch and guards what is valuable or important. 
  • What of the night: In this context, night has to do with vision. 

Note: The destruction of Dumah, Seir, Edom is very important prophetically. It represents a final battle taking place (Isaiah 63:1-6, The book of Obadiah, etc). Edom joined with Babylon to pour judgment upon Judah. Edom was never called to do that. In Psalm 137:7 we are told that Edom wanted Judah torn down to its very foundations. Amos 1:11-12 reveals to us that Edom hunted down his brothers in his anger and he delighted to put them to death (showed them no pity). G-d never instructed Edom to do this and for his actions Edom is going to be judged. 

v12: Watchman: The keeper. The one who guards.

  • Morning comes…also… night: This is an idiom. It means that when something important must be done it will be done – whether it is day or night. This prophecy, in its time of fulfilment, can happen in the day or night. It will be done timeously when it needs to be accomplished. 
  • Inquire, inquire: This is a word that indicates a very strong petitioning or supplication – a great desire for something. This word appears twice, indicating a complete, utter or sincere desire to do something (in this context to repent – ‘return’).
  • Return! Come back!: Those who do not have a strong desire will not answer the call to repent or to turn back to G-d. 

v13: Arabia: This area today would include Saudi Arabia, UAE, Qatar, Yemen, Oman. These nations are also going to be judged. 

  • In the forest in Arabia you will lodge: The people are going to flee, in fear, into the forests because of the judgment that is going to fall on them. 
  • Dedanites: These were a group of trading people that feared the Arabians and so would not stay in the cities when they travelled but would camp out in the forests. 

v14: Tema: Tema (possibly descended from Ishmael – Genesis 25:15) was part of Saudia Arabia. They were a group of people who made their living by selling supplies (bread, water, etc) to those who were afraid and fled from the powerful people in this country. This is an image depicting that the Arabians are going to find themselves in this same predicament. They are the ones who are going to flee when judgement falls on them. They are the ones who are going to be in need of bread and water. 

v15: Note: These individuals are going to experience the consequences of judgment. War is going to be brought to them and they are going to be defeated.   

v16: Within a year: G-d is giving Isaiah very precise timing. 

  • The year of a labour: The image here is of a one-year contract that is signed between two parties. When that year, to the day, comes to an end, payment is made, and the work is terminated. If a year contract is signed the working days are exact. Noone works after the end date of the contract. Similarly, this prophecy is going to be exact and precise. 
  • Kedar: This is another name for Arabia. Kedar was the second son of Ishmael (1 Chron 1:29). 
  • The glory of Kedar will fail: Arabia is associated with Ishmael. Kedar (Ishmael’s son) speaks of the next generation. The concept of the next generation for Israel is that it has a good connotation. However, for the enemies of G-d the next generation is cut off. The enemies of G-d have no future hope. 

v17: Archers: People who have bows and arrows (those who are equipped for war)

  • Be diminished: There will not be many survivors. They will be few. 
  • The L-rd G-d of Israel: This name of G-d gives a text last day implications.

Note: Prophecy reveals to us that G-d is faithful to judge the enemies of His people, no matter who they are – Babylon, Edom, Arabia. Prophecy also teaches us that G-d is faithful to renew and reestablish His covenantal promises (the great covenantal promise being the establishment of His Kingdom through Messiah Yeshua). 

  • The L-rd G-d of Israel has spoken: We can be encouraged by the fact that what G-d has said G-d will do!

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