113-121 Isaiah Chapter 21
God Commands That Babylon Be Taken
The wilderness of the Sea is Babylon. It is called so because Babylon is divided into lakes and marshes. “And the title of the sea might well be given to the waters of Babylon, because of the great plenty and multitude of them . . . the name of sea being given by the Hebrews to ever great collection of waters.” (Poole)
The ancient name of the people of Persia was Elam and Media. Today Persia is modern-day Iran. The Babylonian Empire was conquered by the Persian Empire. Isaiah prophetically saw the Persian armies marching in Babylon.
The people are filled with fear and pain in their preparation for war. “Nothing is more hopeless and crestfallen than a wicked man in distress: for why? His life and hopes end together.” (Trapp)
The watchman in his tower sees that Babylon has fallen. The prophecy was fulfilled when the Medo-Persian Empire conquered Babylon. The prophecy is more far-reaching than ancient Babylon. In Revelation, we see that the world system is judged by God, both commercial and spiritual Babylon. “And he cried out with a mighty voice, saying, “Fallen, fallen is Babylon the great! She has become a dwelling place of demons and a prison of every unclean spirit, and a prison of every unclean and hateful bird.” (Revelation 18:2)
The terror and panic of the people of ancient Babylon will be seen again. The Lord will strike the world system, both commercial and spiritual Babylon, and the world will mourn in the same way. (Revelation 18:9-19) The people of God will rejoice at the fall of Babylon. (Revelation 18:20)
Oracles about Edom and Arabia
Edom is in the mountainous region of Seir. The Edomites descended from Esau, the brother of Jacob. The land that they settled in was to the southeast of Israel.
The judgment of Edom is mysterious and may speak of the confusion and darkness that will strike Edom at the time of their judgment. The watchman of the night is a dramatic scene of the cry of the watchman of the night. The picture of Isaiah is that of judgment and terror that will come upon Edom. “What he may be saying is that the long night of Assyrian oppression is almost over, and the night of Babylonian rule would follow a brief ‘morning’ of respite.” (Wolf)
Isaiah is speaking of the refugees from the attack of Arabia. They were traveling companies of those who thirst and needed food. They were fleeing from the sword of their enemies. The attack will come within the year according to the hired men. “An exact year; for hirelings diligently observe and wait for the end of the year, when they are to receive their wages.” (Poole)