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Oracles concerning Babylon, Edom, and Arabia


The oracle concerning the wilderness of the sea.


As whirlwinds in the Negeb sweep on,

it comes from the desert,

from a terrible land.


A stern vision is told to me;

the betrayer betrays,

and the destroyer destroys.

Go up, O Elam,

lay siege, O Media;

all the sighing she has caused

I bring to an end.


Therefore my loins are filled with anguish;

pangs have seized me,

like the pangs of a woman in labor;

I am bowed down so that I cannot hear,

I am dismayed so that I cannot see.


My mind reels, horror has appalled me;

the twilight I longed for

has been turned for me into trembling.


They prepare the table,

they spread the rugs,

they eat, they drink.

Rise up, commanders,

oil the shield!


For thus the Lord said to me:

“Go, post a lookout,

let him announce what he sees.


When he sees riders, horsemen in pairs,

riders on donkeys, riders on camels,

let him listen diligently,

very diligently.”


Then the watcher called out:

“Upon a watchtower I stand, O Lord,

continually by day,

and at my post I am stationed

throughout the night.


Look, there they come, riders,

horsemen in pairs!”

Then he responded,

“Fallen, fallen is Babylon;

and all the images of her gods

lie shattered on the ground.”


O my threshed and winnowed one,

what I have heard from the L ord of hosts,

the God of Israel, I announce to you.


11 The oracle concerning Dumah.


One is calling to me from Seir,

“Sentinel, what of the night?

Sentinel, what of the night?”


The sentinel says:

“Morning comes, and also the night.

If you will inquire, inquire;

come back again.”


13 The oracle concerning the desert plain.


In the scrub of the desert plain you will lodge,

O caravans of Dedanites.


Bring water to the thirsty,

meet the fugitive with bread,

O inhabitants of the land of Tema.


For they have fled from the swords,

from the drawn sword,

from the bent bow,

and from the stress of battle.

16 For thus the Lord said to me: Within a year, according to the years of a hired worker, all the glory of Kedar will come to an end; 17and the remaining bows of Kedar’s warriors will be few; for the L ord, the God of Israel, has spoken.


6. For thus hath the Lord said to me. The Prophet is commanded to set a watchman on the watchtower, to see these things at a distance; for they cannot be perceived by the eyes, or learned by conjecture. In order, therefore, that all may know that he did not speak at random, he declares that he foretells these things; for although they are unknown to men, and incredible, yet he clearly and distinctly knows them by the spirit of prophecy, because he is elevated above the judgment of men. This ought to be carefully observed; for we must not imagine that the prophets learned from men, or foresaw by their own sagacity, those things which they made known; and on this account also they were justly called “Seers.” (1 Samuel 9:9.) Though we also see them, yet our sight is dull, and we scarcely perceive what is at our feet; and even the most acute men are often in darkness, because they understand nothing but what they can gather by the use of reason. But the prophets speak by the Spirit of God, as from heaven. The amount of what is stated is, that whosoever shall attempt to measure this prophecy by their own judgment will do wrong, because it has proceeded from God, and therefore it goes far beyond our sense.

Go, appoint a watchman. It gives additional weight that he “appoints a watchman in the name of God.” If it be objected, “You relate incredible things as if they had actually happened,” he replies that he does not declare them at random; for he whom the prince has appointed to be a watchman, sees from a distance what others do not know. Thus Isaiah saw by the revelation of the Spirit what was unknown to others.

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