Like strong winds blowing in the south, 2
one invades from the desert,
from a land that is feared.
Someone calls to me from Seir, 4
“Watchman, what is left of the night?
Watchman, what is left of the night?” 5
21:13 Here is a message about Arabia:
In the thicket of Arabia you spend the night,
you Dedanite caravans.
1 sn The phrase is quite cryptic, at least to the modern reader. Verse 9 seems to indicate that this message pertains to Babylon. Southern Mesopotamia was known as the Sealand in ancient times, because of its proximity to the Persian Gulf. Perhaps the reference to Babylon as a “desert” foreshadows the destruction that would overtake the city, making it like a desolate desert.
2 tn Or “in the Negev” (NASB).
3 tn The noun דּוּמָה (dumah) means “silence,” but here it is a proper name, probably referring to a site in northern Arabia or to the nation of Edom. See BDB 189 s.v. II דּוּמָה. If Dumah was an area in northern Arabia, it would be of interest to the Edomites because of its strategic position on trade routes which they used. See J. N. Oswalt, Isaiah (NICOT), 1:398.
4 sn Seir is another name for Edom. See BDB 973 s.v. שֵׂעִיר.
5 sn The “night” probably here symbolizes distress and difficult times. See BDB 539 s.v. לַיְלָה.