- 1 Oracle on the wastelands by the sea: Like whirlwinds sweeping in waves through the Negeb, there comes from the desert, from the fearful land,
- 2 A cruel sight, revealed to me: the traitor betrays, the despoiler spoils. "Go up, Elam; besiege, O Media; I will put an end to all groaning!"
- Therefore my loins are filled with anguish, pangs have seized me like those of a woman in labor; I am too bewildered to hear, too dismayed to look.
- My mind reels, shuddering assails me; My yearning for twilight has turned into dread.
- 3 They set the table, spread out the rugs; they eat, they drink. Rise up, O princes, oil the shield!
- For thus says my Lord to me: Go, station a watchman, let him tell what he sees.
- If he sees a chariot, a pair of horses, Someone riding an ass, someone riding a camel, Then let him pay heed, very close heed.
- Then the watchman cried, "On the watchtower, O my Lord, I stand constantly by day; And I stay at my post through all the watches of the night.
- Here he comes now: a single chariot, a pair of horses; He calls out and says, 'Fallen, fallen is Babylon, And all the images of her gods are smashed to the ground.'"
- O my people who have been threshed, beaten on my threshing floor! What I have heard from the LORD of hosts, The God of Israel, I have announced to you.
- 4 Oracle on Edom: They call to me from Seir, "Watchman, how much longer the night? Watchman, how much longer the night?"
- The watchman replies, "Morning has come, and again night. If you will ask, ask; come back again."
- 5 Oracle on Arabia: In the thicket in the nomad country spend the night, O caravans of Dedanites.
- Meet the thirsty, bring them water; you who dwell in the land of Tema, greet the fugitives with bread.
- They flee from the sword, from the whetted sword; From the taut bow, from the fury of battle.
- 6 For thus says the Lord to me: In another year, like those of a hireling, all the glory of Kedar shall come to an end.
- Few of Kedar's stalwart archers shall remain, for the LORD, the God of Israel, has spoken.
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Footnotes1 Wastelands by the sea: Babylonia. Negeb: the desert south of Judah.
2Elam . . . Media: nations which, under the leadership of Cyrus, captured Babylon in 538 B.C. End to all groaning: those who were captive of Babylon shall be freed.
3 Babylon is destroyed while its leaders are feasting; cf Daniel 5. Oil the shield: shields were oiled and greased so as to divert blows more easily.
4[11-12] Seir: another name for Edom. The Edomites ask the prophet how much longer they must suffer (the night of suffering); he answers ambiguously: "Liberation (morning) and further suffering (night)," but perhaps they will later receive a more encouraging answer (ask, come back again).
5 [13-14] Arabia: that is, the nomad country. Dedanites: an Arab tribe associated with Edom and Tema, and living east of the Red Sea; cf Genesis 10:7; 25:3; Jer 25:23.
6 Year . . . of a hireling: see note on 16:14. Kedar: a nomad tribe in Arabia; cf Isaiah 42:11; 60:7; Psalm 120:5.
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