Search Bible
Click for Help   Click for QuickNav   Click for Advanced Search Options
Search KJV

Search a pre-defined list

OR Select a range of biblical books



OR Custom Selection:

Use semicolons to separate groups:
'Gen;Jdg;Psa-Mal' or 'Rom 3-12;Mat 1:15;Mat 5:12-22'

Your Bible Version is the KJV
Go to Top
Link to This PageCite This Page
Version Selector Up Arrow
Share this pageFollow the BLB
Version Selector Up Arrow

Follow the Blue Letter Bible on:



Or subscribe to our Newsletter:

Printable Page
Left Contextbar EdgeLeft Contextbar Edge BackgroundRight Contextbar Edge2Prior BookPrior ChapterReturn to CommentariesReturn to Author BiographyNext ChapterNext BookRight Contextbar Edge2Right Contextbar Edge BackgroundRight Contextbar Edge1
The Blue Letter Bible
BLB Searches
Search the Bible
Search KJV

Advanced Options

Search a pre-defined list

OR Select a range of biblical books



OR Custom Selection:

Use semicolons to separate groups: 'Gen;Jdg;Psa-Mal' or 'Rom 3-12;Mat 1:15;Mat 5:12-22'

Other Searches

Multi-Verse Retrieval
Search KJV

Line-By-Line Order:
Line-By-Line Verse-ReferenceVerse-Reference
Line-By-Line Reference-VerseReference-Verse
Line-By-Line Separate LineSeparate Line
Line-By-Line Verse OnlyVerse Only
Line-By-Line Reference OnlyReference Only
Reference Delimiters:
No Reference DelimitersNone — Jhn 1:1 KJV
Square Reference DelimitersSquare — [Jhn 1:1 KJV]
Curly Reference DelimitersCurly — {Jhn 1:1 KJV}
Parenthesis Reference DelimitersParens — (Jhn 1:1 KJV)
Paragraph Order:
Paragraph Verse-ReferenceVerse-Reference
Paragraph Reference-VerseReference-Verse
Paragraph Reference-OnlyReference-Only
Number Delimiters:*
No Verse NumbersNo Number
No Verse DelimetersNo Delimiter — 15
Square Verse DelimitersSquare — [15]
Curly Verse DelimitersCurly — {15}
Parenthesis Verse DelimitersParens — (15)
Other Options:
Abbreviate BooksAbbreviate Books
Use SBL Abbrev.Use SBL Abbrev.
En dash not HyphenEn dash not Hyphen
Quotes Around VersesQuotes Around Verses
Remove Square BracketsRemove Square Brackets
Sort CanonicallySort Canonically

* 'Number Delimiters' only apply to 'Paragraph Order'

Let's Connect
Daily Devotionals

Blue Letter Bible offers several daily devotional readings in order to help you refocus on Christ and the Gospel of His peace and righteousness.

Daily Bible Reading Plans

Recognizing the value of consistent reflection upon the Word of God in order to refocus one’s mind and heart upon Christ and His Gospel of peace, we provide several reading plans designed to cover the entire Bible in a year.

One-Year Plans

Two-Year Plan

Jamieson, Fausset & Brown :: Commentary on Isaiah 21

toggle collapse
Choose a new font size and typeface

Customize your font sizeIncrease your font sizeDecrease your font sizeReturn to default font size

Choose a Bible text color
Read the Bible in blackRead the Bible in dark blueRead the Bible in blue

Customize your text type
Arial font
Trebuchet MS font
Georgia font
Times New Roman font

Customize your Hebrew text type
SBL Hebrew font
Times New Roman font
Arial font

Customize your Greek text type
Gentium font
Times New Roman font
Arial font

Close font preferences

The Book of the Prophet Isaiah

Commentary by A. R. FAUSSET



      He does not narrate the event, but graphically supposes himself a watchman in Babylon, beholding the events as they pass.

      1. desert--the champaign between Babylon and Persia; it was once a desert, and it was to become so again.
      of the sea--The plain was covered with the water of the Euphrates like a "sea" ( Jer 51:13, 36; so Isa 11:15, the Nile), until Semiramis raised great dams against it. Cyrus removed these dykes, and so converted the whole country again into a vast desert marsh.
      whirlwinds in the south-- ( Job 37:9 Zec 9:14 ). The south wind comes upon Babylon from the deserts of Arabia, and its violence is the greater from its course being unbroken along the plain ( Job 1:19 ).
      desert--the plain between Babylon and Persia.
      terrible land--Media; to guard against which was the object of Nitocris great works [HERODOTUS, 1.185]. Compare as to "terrible" applied to a wilderness, as being full of unknown dangers, Deu 1:29.

      2. dealeth treacherously--referring to the military stratagem employed by Cyrus in taking Babylon. It may be translated, "is repaid with treachery"; then the subject of the verb is Babylon. She is repaid in her own coin; Isa 33:1 Hab 2:8, favor this.
      Go up--Isaiah abruptly recites the order which he hears God giving to the Persians, the instruments of His vengeance ( Isa 13:3, 17 ).
      Elam--a province of Persia, the original place of their settlement ( Gen 10:22 ), east of the Euphrates. The name "Persia" was not in use until the captivity; it means a "horseman"; Cyrus first trained the Persians in horsemanship. It is a mark of authenticity that the name is not found before Daniel and Ezekiel [BOCHART].
      thereof--the "sighing" caused by Babylon ( Isa 14:7, 8 ).

      3. Isaiah imagines himself among the exiles in Babylon and cannot help feeling moved by the calamities which come on it. So for Moab ( Isa 15:5 16:11 ).
      pain--(Compare Isa 13:8 Eze 30:4, 19 Nah 2:10 ).
      at the hearing--The Hebrew may mean, "I was so bowed down that I could not hear; I was so dismayed that I could not see" ( Gen 16:2 Psa 69:23 ) [MAURER].

      4. panted--"is bewildered" [BARNES].
      night of my pleasure--The prophet supposes himself one of the banqueters at Belshazzar's feast, on the night that Babylon was about to be taken by surprise; hence his expression, "my pleasure" ( Isa 14:11 Jer 51:39 Dan 5:1-31 ).

      5. Prepare the table--namely, the feast in Babylon; during which Cyrus opened the dykes made by Semiramis to confine the Euphrates to one channel and suffered them to overflow the country, so that he could enter Babylon by the channel of the river. Isaiah first represents the king ordering the feast to be got ready. The suddenness of the irruption of the foe is graphically expressed by the rapid turn in the language to an alarm addressed to the Babylonian princes, "Arise," &c. (compare Isa 22:13 ). MAURER translates, "They prepare the table," &c. But see Isa 8:9.
      watch in. . . watchtower--rather, "set the watch." This done, they thought they might feast in entire security. Babylon had many watchtowers on its walls.
      anoint. . . shield--This was done to prevent the leather of the shield becoming hard and liable to crack. "Make ready for defense"; the mention of the "shield" alone implies that it is the Babylonian revellers who are called on to prepare for instant self-defense. HORSLEY translates, "Grip the oiled shield."

      6. Go, set a watchman, let him declare what he seeth--God's direction to Isaiah to set a watchman to "declare" what he sees. But as in Isa 21:10, Isaiah himself is represented as the one who "declared." HORSLEY makes him the "watchman," and translates, "Come, let him who standeth on the watchtower report what he seeth."

      7. chariot, &c.--rather, "a body of riders," namely, some riding in pairs on horses (literally, "pairs of horsemen," that is, two abreast), others on asses, others on camels (compare Isa 21:9 Isa 22:6 ). "Chariot" is not appropriate to be joined, as English Version translates, with "asses"; the Hebrew means plainly in Isa 21:7, as in Isa 21:9, "a body of men riding." The Persians used asses and camels for war [MAURER]. HORSLEY translates, "One drawn in a car, with a pair of riders, drawn by an ass, drawn by a camel"; 'Cyrus is the man; the car drawn by a camel and ass yoked together and driven by two postilions, one on each, is the joint army of Medes and Persians under their respective leaders. He thinks the more ancient military cars were driven by men riding on the beasts that drew them; Isa 21:9 favors this.

      8. A lion--rather, "(The watchman) cried, I am as a lion"; so as is understood ( Isa 62:5 Psa 11:1 ). The point of comparison to "a lion" is in Rev 10:3, the loudness of the cry. But here it is rather his vigilance. The lion's eyelids are short, so that, even when asleep, he seems to be on the watch, awake; hence he was painted on doors of temples as the symbol of watchfulness, guarding the place (Hor. Apollo) [HORSLEY].

      9. chariot of men--chariots with men in them; or rather, the same body of riders, horsemen two abreast, as in Isa 21:7 [MAURER]. But HORSLEY, "The man drawn in a car with a pair of riders." The first half of this verse describes what the watchman sees; the second half, what the watchman says, in consequence of what he sees. In the interval between Isa 21:7, the overthrow of Babylon by the horsemen, or man in the car, is accomplished. The overthrow needed to be announced to the prophet by the watchman, owing to the great extent of the city. HERODOTUS (1.131) says that one part of the city was captured some time before the other received the tidings of it.
      answered--not to something said previously, but in reference to the subject in the mind of the writer, to be collected from the preceding discourse: proclaimeth ( Job 3:2, Margin; Dan 2:26 Act 5:8 ).
      fallen. . . fallen--The repetition expresses emphasis and certainty ( Psa 92:9 93:3; compare Jer 51:8 Rev 18:2 ).
      images--Bel, Merodach, &c. ( Jer 50:2 51:44, 52 ). The Persians had no images, temples, or altars, and charged the makers of such with madness [HERODOTUS 1.131]; therefore they dashed the Babylonian "images broken unto the ground."

      10. my threshing--that is, my people (the Jews) trodden down by Babylon.
      corn of my floor--Hebrew, "my son of the floor," that is, my people, treated as corn laid on the floor for threshing; implying, too, that by affliction, a remnant (grain) would be separated from the ungodly (chaff) [MAURER]. HORSLEY translates, "O thou object of my unremitting prophetic pains." See Isa 28:27, 28. Some, from Jer 51:33, make Babylon the object of the threshing; but Isaiah is plainly addressing his countrymen, as the next words show, not the Babylonians.


      One out of Seir asks, What of the night? Is there a hope of the dawn of deliverance? Isaiah replies, The morning is beginning to dawn (to us); but night is also coming (to you). Compare Psa 137:7. The Hebrew captives would be delivered, and taunting Edom punished. If the Idumean wish to ask again, he may do so; if he wishes an answer of peace for his country, then let him "return (repent), come" [BARNES].

      11. Dumah--a tribe and region of Ishmael in Arabia ( Gen 25:14 1Ch 1:30 ); now called Dumah the Stony, situated on the confines of Arabia and the Syrian desert; a part put for the whole of Edom. VITRINGA thinks "Dumah," Hebrew, "silence," is here used for Idumea, to imply that it was soon to be reduced to silence or destruction.
      Seir--the principal mountain in Idumea, south of the Dead Sea, in Arabia-Petraea. "He calleth" ought to be rather, "There is a call from Seir."
      to me--Isaiah. So the heathen Balak and Ahaziah received oracles from a Hebrew prophet.
      Watchman--the prophet ( Isa 62:6 Jer 6:17 ), so called, because, like a watchman on the lookout from a tower, he announces future events which he sees in prophetic vision ( Hab 2:1, 2 ).
      what of the night--What tidings have you to give as to the state of the night? Rather, "What remains of the night?" How much of it is past? [MAURER]. "Night" means calamity ( Job 35:10 Mic 3:6 ), which, then, in the wars between Egypt and Assyria, pressed sore on Edom; or on Judah (if, as BARNES thinks, the question is asked in mockery of the suffering Jews in Babylon). The repetition of the question marks, in the former view, the anxiety of the Idumeans.

      12. Reply of the prophet, The morning (prosperity) cometh, and (soon after follows) the night (adversity). Though you, Idumeans, may have a gleam of prosperity, it will soon be followed by adversity again. Otherwise, as BARNES, "Prosperity cometh (to the Jews) to be quickly followed by adversity (to you, Idumeans, who exult in the fall of Jerusalem, have seized on the southern part of their land in their absence during the captivity, and now deride them by your question)" ( Isa 34:5-7 ). This view is favored by Oba 1:10-21.
      if ye will inquire, inquire--If ye choose to consult me again, do so (similar phrases occur in Gen 43:14 2Ki 7:4 Est 4:16 ).
      return, come--"Be converted to God (and then), come" [GESENIUS]; you will then receive a more favorable answer.


      Probably in the wars between Assyria and Egypt; Idumea and Arabia lay somewhat on the intermediate line of march.

      13. upon--that is, respecting.
      forest--not a grove of trees, but a region of thick underwood, rugged and inaccessible; for Arabia has no forest of trees.
      travelling companies--caravans: ye shall be driven through fear of the foe to unfrequented routes ( Isa 33:8 Jdg 5:6 Jer 49:8 is parallel to this passage).
      Dedanim--In North Arabia ( Gen 25:3 Jer 25:23 Eze 25:13 27:20; a different "Dedan" occurs Gen 10:7 ).

      14. Tema--a kindred tribe: an oasis in that region ( Jer 25:23 ). The Temeans give water to the faint and thirsting Dedanites; the greatest act of hospitality in the burning lands of the East, where water is so scarce.
      prevented--that is, anticipated the wants of the fugitive Dedanites by supplying bread ( Gen 14:18 ).
      their bread--rather, "his (the fugitive's) bread"; the bread due to him, necessary for his support; so "thy grave" ( Isa 14:19 ), [MAURER].

      15. they--the fugitive Dedanites and other Arabs.

      16. years of. . . hireling--(See on JF & B for Isa 16:14).
      Kedar--a wandering tribe ( Psa 120:5 ). North of Arabia-Petraea, and south of Arabia-Deserta; put for Arabia in general.

      17. residue. . . diminished--The remnant of Arab warriors, famous in the bow, left after the invasion, shall be small.

Introduction to Song of Solomon ← Prior Book
Introduction to Jeremiah Next Book →
Commentary on Isaiah 20 ← Prior Chapter
Commentary on Isaiah 22 Next Chapter →

The Blue Letter Bible ministry and the BLB Institute hold to the historical, conservative Christian faith, which includes a firm belief in the inerrancy of Scripture. Since the text and audio content provided by BLB represent a range of evangelical traditions, all of the ideas and principles conveyed in the resource materials are not necessarily affirmed, in total, by this ministry.


Verse Tools Arrow
Login to your account

Email / username or password was incorrect!

Check your email for password retrieval


Complete the form below to register  [?]

Error: That Email is already registered

Error: Please provide a valid Email

Error: Passwords should have at least 6 characters

Error: Passwords do not match

Error: Please provide a valid first name

Error: That username is already taken

Error: Usernames should only contain letters, numbers, dots, dashes, or underscores

[ Cancel ]← Login to Your Account

Passwords should have at least 6 characters.
Usernames should only contain letters, numbers, dots, dashes, or underscores.

Thank you for registering. A verification email has been sent to the address you provided.

Error: That Email / Username is not registered

Enter Your Email or UsernameUsername or Email Address


← Return to Login

Close LoginCLOSE
Tap to Close