The burden of the desert of the sea. As whirlwinds in the south pass through; so it cometh from the desert, from a terrible land.
2 A grievous vision is declared unto me; the treacherous dealer dealeth treacherously, and the spoiler spoileth. Go up, O Elam: besiege, O Media; all the sighing thereof have I made to cease.
3 Therefore are my loins filled with pain: pangs have taken hold upon me, as the pangs of a woman that travaileth: I was bowed down at the hearing of it; I was dismayed at the seeing of it.
4 My heart panted, fearfulness affrighted me: the night of my pleasure hath he turned into fear unto me.
5 Prepare the table, watch in the watchtower, eat, drink: arise, ye princes, and anoint the shield.
6 For thus hath the Lord said unto me, Go, set a watchman, let him declare what he seeth.
7 And he saw a chariot with a couple of horsemen, a chariot of asses, and a chariot of camels; and he hearkened diligently with much heed:
8 And he cried, A lion: My lord, I stand continually upon the watchtower in the daytime, and I am set in my ward whole nights:
9 And, behold, here cometh a chariot of men, with a couple of horsemen. And he answered and said, Babylon is fallen, is fallen; and all the graven images of her gods he hath broken unto the ground.
10 O my threshing, and the corn of my floor: that which I have heard of the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, have I declared unto you.
11 The burden of Dumah. He calleth to me out of Seir, Watchman, what of the night? Watchman, what of the night?
12 The watchman said, The morning cometh, and also the night: if ye will enquire, enquire ye: return, come.
13 The burden upon Arabia. In the forest in Arabia shall ye lodge, O ye travelling companies of Dedanim.
14 The inhabitants of the land of Tema brought water to him that was thirsty, they prevented with their bread him that fled.
15 For they fled from the swords, from the drawn sword, and from the bent bow, and from the grievousness of war.
16 For thus hath the Lord said unto me, Within a year, according to the years of an hireling, and all the glory of Kedar shall fail:
17 And the residue of the number of archers, the mighty men of the children of Kedar, shall be diminished: for the Lord God of Israel hath spoken it.
In the previous chapter, Isaiah mentioned that people were fleeing from the king of Assyria as he invaded Egypt which at that time was ruled by the Ethiopians. So there were mass-deportations of both Egyptians and Ethiopians. When the Assyrians took Samaria they also deported Israelites. That’s why Isaiah in the previous chapter said that the people were asking where they could find security and a safe haven.
In another vision, Isaiah’s focus was turned to Edom. The vision is short and he hears someone calling out: “Watchman, how far is the night?” The question is really: How long do we have to wait before the coming? The watchman answered that the morning is coming and also the night, meaning that potential danger or trouble is not on the immediate horizon, but it will come (vv. 11-12). Isaiah calls on the inhabitants of Tema to take care of the refugees that fled from the war (vv. 13-15).
Help us that we, too, will do all we can to assist faithful refugees and migrants of war who have come to where we live. We ask this in Jesus name. Amen.
Koot van Wyk
Kyungpook National University
Sangju, South Korea