Isaiah 21:1
Parallel Verses
New American Standard Bible
The oracle concerning the wilderness of the sea. As windstorms in the Negev sweep on, It comes from the wilderness, from a terrifying land.

King James Bible
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.

Darby Bible Translation
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.

World English Bible
The burden of the wilderness of the sea. As whirlwinds in the South sweep through, it comes from the wilderness, from an awesome land.

Young's Literal Translation
The burden of the wilderness of the sea. 'Like hurricanes in the south for passing through, From the wilderness it hath come, From a fearful land.

Isaiah 21:1 Parallel
Commentary
Barnes' Notes on the Bible

The burden - (see the note at Isaiah 13:1).

Of the desert - There have been almost as many interpretations of this expression, as there have been interpreters. That it means Babylon, or the country about Babylon, there can be no doubt; but the question why this phrase was applied, has given rise to a great diversity of opinions. The term 'desert' (מדבר midbâr) is usually applied to a wilderness, or to a comparatively barren and uncultivated country - a place for flocks and herds (Psalm 65:13; Jeremiah 9:9 ff); to an actual waste, sandy desert Isaiah 32:15; Isaiah 35:1; and particularly to the deserts of Arabia Genesis 14:6; Genesis 16:7; Deuteronomy 11:24. It may here be applied to Babylon either historically, as having been "once" an unreclaimed desert: or by "anticipation," as descriptive of what it "would be" after it should be destroyed by Cyrus, or possibly both these ideas may have been combined. That it was "once" a desert before it was reclaimed by Semiramis is the testimony of all history; that it is "now" a vast waste is the united testimony of all travelers. There is every reason to think that a large part of the country about Babylon was formerly overflowed with water "before" it was reclaimed by dykes; and as it was naturally a waste, when the artificial dykes and dams should be removed, it would again be a desert.

Of the sea - (ים yâm). There has been also much difference of opinion in regard to this word. But there can be no doubt that it refers to the Euphrates, and to the extensive region of marsh that was covered by its waters. The name 'sea' (ים yâm) is not unfrequently given to a large river, to the Nile, and to the Euphrates (see the note at Isaiah 11:15; compare Isaiah 19:5). Herodotus (i. 184), says, that 'Semiramis confined the Euphrates within its channel by raisin great dams against it; for before, it overflowed the whole country like a sea.' And Abydenus, in Eusebius, ("Prepara. Evang.," ix. 457) says, respecting the building of Babylon by Nebuchadnezzar, that 'it is reported that all this was covered with water, and was called a sea - λέγεται δὲ πάντα μεν ἐξ ἀρχῆς ὕδωρ εἶναι, θαλασσων καλουμένην legetai de panta men ech archēs hudōr einai, thalassōn kaloumenēn (Compare Strabo, "Geog." xvi. 9, 10; and Arrianus, "De Expedit. Alexandri," vii. 21). Cyrus removed these dykes, reopened the canals, and the waters were suffered to remain, and again converted the whole country into a vast marsh (see the notes at Isaiah 13; 14)

As whirlwinds - That is, the army comes with the rapidity of a whirlwind. In Isaiah 8:8 (compare Habakkuk 1:11), an army is compared to an overflowing and rapid river.

In the south - Whirlwinds or tempests are often in the Scriptures represented as coming from the south, Zechariah 9:14; Job 37:9 :

Out of the south cometh the whirlwind,

And cold out of the north.

So Virgil:

- creberque procellis

Africus -

AEneid, i.85.

The deserts of Arabia were situated to the south of Babylon, and the south winds are described as the winds of the desert. Those winds are represented as being so violent as to tear away the tents occupied by a caravan (Pietro della Valle, "Travels," vol. iv. pp. 183, 191). In Job 1:19, the whirlwind is represented as coming 'from the wilderness; that is, from the "desert" of Arabia (compare Jeremiah 13:24; Hosea 13:15).

So it cometh from the desert - (see Isaiah 13:4, and the note on that place). God is there represented as collecting the army for the destruction of Babylon 'on the mountains,' and by mountains are probably denoted the same as is here denoted by the desert. The country of the "Medes" is doubtless intended, which, in the view of civilized and refined Babylon, was an uncultivated region, or a vast waste or wilderness.

continued...

Isaiah 21:1 Parallel Commentaries

Library
Letter Xlii to the Illustrious Youth, Geoffrey De Perrone, and his Comrades.
To the Illustrious Youth, Geoffrey de Perrone, and His Comrades. He pronounces the youths noble because they purpose to lead the religious life, and exhorts them to perseverance. To his beloved sons, Geoffrey and his companions, Bernard, called Abbot of Clairvaux, wishes the spirit of counsel and strength. 1. The news of your conversion that has got abroad is edifying many, nay, is making glad the whole Church of God, so that The heavens rejoice and the earth is glad (Ps. xcvi. 11), and every tongue
Saint Bernard of Clairvaux—Some Letters of Saint Bernard, Abbot of Clairvaux

Cross References
Isaiah 5:28
Its arrows are sharp and all its bows are bent; The hoofs of its horses seem like flint and its chariot wheels like a whirlwind.

Isaiah 13:1
The oracle concerning Babylon which Isaiah the son of Amoz saw.

Isaiah 13:20
It will never be inhabited or lived in from generation to generation; Nor will the Arab pitch his tent there, Nor will shepherds make their flocks lie down there.

Isaiah 14:23
"I will also make it a possession for the hedgehog and swamps of water, and I will sweep it with the broom of destruction," declares the LORD of hosts.

Jeremiah 51:42
"The sea has come up over Babylon; She has been engulfed with its tumultuous waves.

Ezekiel 1:4
As I looked, behold, a storm wind was coming from the north, a great cloud with fire flashing forth continually and a bright light around it, and in its midst something like glowing metal in the midst of the fire.

Ezekiel 38:9
"You will go up, you will come like a storm; you will be like a cloud covering the land, you and all your troops, and many peoples with you."

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