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The New Oxford Annotated Bible New Revised Standard Study Bible that provides essential scholarship and guidance for Bible readers.

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Commentary on Isaiah

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21.1–10 : Judgment on Babylon.

The historical setting of this fifth oracle is uncertain; perhaps shortly before or after the fall of Babylon in 539; cf. Isa 47; Jer 50.2; 51.8,11,28,50–51.

1 :

The wilderness of the sea, lower Mesopotamia contiguous with the Persian Gulf, known as the Sealand. The Negeb is the desert region of southern Palestine.

1b–4 :

The onset of prophetic ecstasy, cf. Jer 4.19; Hab 3.16 . Elam, the nation east of Babylon; see Jer 49.34–39 . Media aided Persia against Babylon ( 13.17–19 ).

5 :

Oil the shield, to protect the leather, cf. 2 Sam 1.21 .

6–9 :

The lookout or watcher is the seer preparing for a visionary revelation, cf. Ezek 3.16–21; 33.1–9; Hab 2.1 . The fall of Babylon is announced in the vision.

10 :

The seer addresses his own people who have suffered so much from the Babylonians.

21.11–17 : Two oracular sayings about Arabian peoples.

11–12 :

The reference is uncertain, but Seir is Edom, and Dumah is therefore probably a code name for Edom rather than a place with a similar name in the north‐central region of the Arabian peninsula. There is as yet no prophetic answer to the question of how long the night, i.e., the time of distress, will last.

13–15 :

An appeal to Arabian tribes to support Arab or Edomite refugees.

13 :

Dedanites, inhabitants of the oasis of Dedan in the Hijaz on a major trade route. Tema, an oasis north of Dedan on the incense route.

16–17 :

An appendix similar to 16.13–14 . Kedar, a north Arabian people who came into hostile contact with Judah at the time of Nehemiah. They were expert archers (Gen 21.20 ).

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