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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.


9. Babylon is fallen, is fallen. This shews plainly that it is not king Belshazzar’s watchman who is introduced, for this speech would be unsuitable to such a character. The Prophet therefore makes known, by the command of God, what would happen. Now, this may refer either to God or to Darius, as well as to the watchman; and it makes little difference as to the meaning, for Darius, being God’s servant in this matter, is not inappropriately represented to be the herald of that judgment. There would be greater probability in referring it to God himself; for Darius had no such thoughts when he overthrew the idols of the Babylonians. But the speech agrees better with the character of a guardian, as if an angel added an interpretation to the prophecy.

And all the graven images of her gods. There is here an implied contrast between the living God and dead idols. This mode of expression, too, deserves notice, when he calls them “images of gods;” for the Babylonians knew, as all idolaters loudly proclaim, that their images are not gods. Yet they ascribed to them divine power, and when this is done, “the truth of God is changed into a lie,” (Romans 1:25,) and not only so, but God himself is denied. But on this subject we shall afterwards speak more largely. Here we see, that by her destruction Babylon was punished for idolatry, for he assigns the reason why Babylon was destroyed. It was because the Lord could not endure that she should glory in her “graven images.”

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